A perfect day is not only having everything fall into place, it's the ability to notice all of the wonderful things happening as they happen.
The day started a little later than normal. Tim, Rory and I waking up at 8:30. I had planned on heading out the door at 5:00 to get my long run in before the family woke up, but I'm still not feeling 100% from this flu bug, and sleeping in sounded a lot better. It's been 2 weeks since I first started hacking, and although I feel so much better, I still have fits of coughing that would put smokers to shame.
During breakfast and morning coffee, it was obvious the day was going to be gorgeous. The sun was shiny, no clouds in the sky - not a typical Eugene day especially this time of year. One thing I've learned after living here for the past 2 years is seize the day means seize the sunshine! So we all decided we need to be outside. After some discussion, we decided to go up to the McKenzie River. Rory had never been there, Tim and I loved running that trail and it would be easy enough for us to split up and for each of us to get the miles we needed. Best of all, the dogs could run free without leashes and hopefully there wouldn't be too many people sharing the trail.
A little selfish I know, but one of the things I miss the most about Klamath Falls. In Klamath, I was spoiled in having most of the trails to myself. Running for hours without seeing anyone. Just me and Lilly (Buddy wasn't in the family yet) running in the mountains.
So we loaded up the truck, a mountain bike for Rory, and running shoes for Tim and I. Enough Gu and bars to feed the three of us and an optimistic spirit. It took about an hour to get to the trail head, and on the way we spied Ike's Pizza and made a promise to eat there after our adventure.
Rory had never mountain biked before, but he is quite an athlete so as long as he seemed motivated, Tim and I thought we'd keep going. When we started unloading the gear, Buddy was in his impatient mode, whining and yipping trying to tell us we were taking too long. The first part of any run is always more energetic, especially with Buddy. Here he practices his best herding techniques. Today it was running between Rory on the bike in the lead, back to me and Tim and then nipping Lilly on the neck on his way to Rory. He kept this behavior up until we got to the 4mile turnaround for Rory and Tim.
Being back on the McKenzie again brought back memories of the McKenzie River 50k I'd run in September 09. Today I ran in the opposite direction for the first part of the run, running through the finish line and the place in the river where I sat to ice my legs. It wasn't the best race for me (time wise - no PR), but the trail is one of my favorites.
Rory proved to be a natural, slow and steady on the uphills and racing down the backside. There were even a couple of places where he hit loose dirt and tumbled off, but what a trooper! 3 miles into our trek he said he was losing steam, so I introduced him to Gu. Although he was able to suck it down and said it did seem to give him more energy, he definitely like the Luna Bar at mile 7 a lot better.
After we split up, Tim and Rory headed back to the truck to pack up and head to the store for some drinks and popcorn to hold them over until I was done. Buddy and I continued on the trail and turned around at mile 8. When we got back to the truck, Rory and saved popcorn for Buddy and had a cold drink for me. He sat by the river ice I sat in it and shared stories about his mountain bike adventure. It sounded like after he and Tim turned around, he raced so fast back to the truck, Tim lost sight of him. So much for being tired. Next time he'll have to go longer.
Ike's Pizza turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Great pizza for a post run meal. The crust was a little doughier than I like most of the time, but after 16m, it was perfect. As we were leaving we spied orders of roasted chicken and jo-jo's coming out of the kitchen and vowed we'd have to try it next time.