I arrived in Portland, OR this afternoon a little bit before 3, which was good considering that the grace period for me to return the car ended at 3:10 p.m. If I had returned it after that time, I’d have had to pay an extra day’s worth. No thanks.

So, I think when it comes to running in new cities, or places, it is safe to say, I don’t like it. Here’s how tonight’s run went, and things that I observed:

  1. This bike trail should really be better marked.
  2. Wow, running on sidewalk really does feel a lot worse than on trails or on asphalt. Even running on trails  like last week would be better. Wait, did I just think that? ha ha ha. I really must not be in the mood to run tonight.
  3. Why does my Garmin not like to work when I’m near a building that’s only about 10 stories tall, or when I am under an awning. Ugh. Sigh.
  4. Why do people insist on walking 4-people deep on a sidewalk? Why, I ask why?
  5. Lots of dogs around here. Holy crap, that black dog is huge! I think it was a Newfoundland. On one of my many trips past him, I just had to reach out and pet his head.
  6. For a city in the Northwest, it is friggin hot here tonight. When I got home from my run, after 9ish, it was still 77 degrees.
  7. Why is this drawbridge going up and down when there’s nothing remotely even close to it in either direction that would require it to move? Wow, there are a lot of bikers now lined up to cross it!
  8. People here seem to be friendly. At least one biker (when stuck on the drawbridge near me) was incredibly helpful in pointing out running and biking routes to me – I’ll have to try the one he mentioned on Sunday or Monday (Sunday, if I cop out of the Hein Fun Run – I’m still a bit undecided on that one.)
  9. Why do I all of a sudden go from running near a lot of people to an area (looks like NW section of the city to me) where I feel like I am running in an industrial wasteland? All of a sudden there are no people  around.
  10. Ok, so there are some condos. New ones even.  Why in the world would anyone want to pay a lot of money (they look expensive) to look across the water at that ugly view? It looks like another industrial wasteland – is this supposed to be some sort of revival of this part of the city? Hm.
  11. Might be a good time to turn around now – I’m not feeling so comfortable with this idea of running in this direction.
  12. Crap, I put my Gu wrapper in a receptable for “dog waste only.”  Well, it’s still better than just throwing it on the ground, I hope.  I am certainly not sticking my hand in that container (even if I could, which I couldn’t the way it’s put together) to get it back out!
  13. Ok, I’m back in more civilization now. There seem to be a lot of homeless people living down near the river. There but for the grace of God go I.  It reminds me of how many homeless people live practically on the South Lawn of the White House – what does that say about this country?  Ok, I’m ranting now.
  14. Could this run feel any longer tonight, and could I walk just  one more time? It’s not like I’ve walked multiple times already. (Can you tell this run was frustrating as all hell tonight?)
  15. Yes, I have definitely seen that guy sitting on that bench before, this evening. I remember an episode of Cops where they kept picking up people for doing drug deals sitting on the benches near the river in Portland. I wonder if that’s what some of these people are doing. Hm.
  16. Oh yeah, the headphones just started doing that thing where their reception goes in and out on one ear, and then basically stops working, unless I hold it at that one particular angle.  I still have at least 3 miles to go. Great, as if this run didn’t suck enough tonight. Just wonderful…
  17. Yep, more homeless people, and a kid/teenager/early twenty-year-old that I can’t tell if he’s homeless or not. He is completely “sacked out” on a bench and it looks like he has a laptop and a guitar under his park bench. Another guy walking by, who was dressed like a runner, noticed me looking at the kid and commented that he couldn’t tell if the kid was homeless or not.  My thoughts must have been written clear as day on my face.  We talked about how he might be one form of the homeless in this city, like another couple he had seen sleeping in their car. Turns out this other runner was a transplant too. He was friendly and gave me advice on the area, where to run, and where it was not safe to do so.  I am very glad I stopped running in the direction I did earlier when I did – toward the area that seemed like an industrial wasteland. He said to stay in areas where I see people and cars and laughed when I said tonight’s run seemed never-ending.
  18. This may be a good week for me to do cross-training stuff, I have a feeling. At least the fitness center is free in the hotel. Maybe it’d be a good idea to do speedwork on the treadmill, although I really dread the friggin treadmill.
  19.  I can’t believe I have drunk at least 32 ounces of Gatorade now, and I don’t even have to pee. What does this say about how hot it is here, or how much I sweat? GROSS.
  20. Ah yes, to top off the note, I’d like to thank my Garmin for unexplainedly shutting itself off yet again, even though the batteries are pretty fresh (as evidenced by the three bars).  And now that I’ve turned it back on, yep, it can’t seem to find the GPS satellites. I think I’ve run 11 miles tonight (including the walk breaks, sigh) so that’s what I’ll be putting in for my blog stats, which I have not updated all week.
  21. Ok, time to end this run, and to stop feeling sorry for myself. I saw so many people tonight in much worse shape than me. I should think about that next time I run.

Tomorrow will be my day off, and I’m going to wait to see how my legs feel tomorrow night before deciding for good if I want to do the fun run on Sunday morning, which starts at 7.  I’m not going to screw up my training just for a 5K on that day if my legs don’t feel good. if I do end up doing it, I’d like to do some cross training when I get back since the legs will be all warmed up by then. At least that’s my thinking right now.

I promise, as soon as Bubbleshare is up and working again I’ll be putting my pics up there from the coast. It’s kind of bumming me out that it’s not working today the last few times I’ve checked. I guess I’ll just read my Lance Armstrong bio tonight, It’s Not About the Bike. Click here for reviews.  It sounds like his mom is just amazing. There’s a lot to take away from this book. She always told him that he could never quit, and that he should always try to turn obstacles into opportunities.  When he was facing brain surgery, he thought this, “I didn’t fully see, until  the cancer, how we fight every day against the creeping negatives of the world, how we struggle daily against the slow lapping of cynicism….I know now why people feel cancer: because it is a slow and inevitable death, it is the very definition of cynicism and loss of spirit.” This book is really good and helping me in more ways than just to inspire me. (I just need to think of what he says more while I am running, so I can have some better runs than this week.)  It’s also helping me to understand a bit of why Cheryl changed as she did after her cancer spread to her brain, and how the radiation affected her motor skills, and her ability to remember things, or not remember them, etc.  I knew at the time that a lot of it was related to her brain cancer, but now I am understanding it more, especially with the help of hindsight.  

You know, I really needed the last few days, to be in such a beautiful place and to have some time  to myself. However, I told my husband, the next time I see the Oregon coast, I’d really like him to be here. He’s never seen the West Coast, other than for an overnight stay when all he saw was his hotel and the office of his company, for 24 hours.  I’m sure we’ll be back.  Until then, I’ve got my memories (and hopefully my pics up on the web, soon!)