The World’s Oldest Propulsion

After many years of barefoot running, I’ve never used running as a transit system. My runs have been loops or out and backs. Today was different. Instead of hopping on Trimet to get from PSU to Gresham City Hall, I decided to run the 13 plus miles with my own two feet. Why not? It was a beautiful day, I got off a 5PM, and I brought my hydration pack,and my running clothes.

Pitiful Princess Strip Club
Pitiful Princess Strip Club in Southeast Portland

The run didn’t go as well as I expected. I took a wrong turn and added a mile. Most of the run was on the very busy thoroughfare that is Division St. The sun blazed over the exposed, cracked sidewalks which shimmered with heat fumes; black smoke piped out the noisy cars practically choking out my breathe; the route was exhausting and monotonous and since I ran against traffic, I constantly felt watched.

But it was also rewarding. I got see “gentlemen” entering the Pitiful Princess Strip Club, which neighbors a sketchy trailer park called “Golden Estates”.  Just before I passed the Pitiful Princess, two jumpy tweakers tried to block my path under 205. They  wanted money. But so did I, so I plowed my way through without much thought.

Aside from certifying that there are some sleazy sections of Southeast Portland, I also learned a few lessons from my run. First, running long distance from one place to another seems to be psychologically more difficult than running an out and back or laps*. When I run an out and back, I know I’m half way done when I hit the turn around, and that always lifts my spirits, especially on longer runs. But with a destination run, the half way point feels more like a punch in the guts. The long road ahead doesn’t let your brain turn around. The street just seems to go on and on. I also learned that it’s better to leave your work clothes in a locker than to stuff them into your hydration pack. My clothes bobbed up and down more than one of the Pitiful Princesses’s heads in back seat of a red Cadillac behind the strip club.  The straps chaffed my neck. Also, the  combined weight of the clothes and water felt like a jack hammer on my lower back.

I’ll probably run home from work again a few more times while the weather is nice and the sun is still up. Even though I had a challenging run this time around, it was nice to take a ride on the world oldest transit system, even if it did take me on tour of world’s oldest profession.

*Maybe that’s just because I’m not familiar with the route. Unfamiliar routes always seem longer.

How Bigfoot Made Me Run a Boring Marathon

Awesome laser cut Huckleberry Half Marathon Bigfoot medal
Awesome laser cut Huckleberry Half Marathon Bigfoot medal

I usually don’t like organized running races. Mostly because I consider running to be a solitary sport. I always run alone. This year, however, I’m making an exception for I am entering two races. The first is the Welches Huckleberry Half in August. This looks like a super fun race because Bigfoot will be there! And every finisher gets a fancy laser-cut medal!

Boring Oregon where I'll run 26.2 miles barefoot.
Boring Oregon where I’ll run 26.2 miles barefoot.

The other race I’m running this year is the fantastically obscure Boring Marathon. Why the Boring Oregon Marathon and not the World Famous Portland Oregon Marathon? First of all, Portland is forty five minutes away from me, Boring is only fifteen minutes away. Second, Boring is a fun place to run. One racer from Boring wrote: “I was out running in the area the other day and a goat from a local farm came out and ran with me for about half a mile.” How could any barefoot runner resist that? I drive through Boring Oregon every Sunday on my way to work. It’s a cute and quirky town with lots of open space farms and fields. There’s children’s theater house that also hosts terrible local events. One time they held a “Craft Fair.” Aside from a few homemade candies that didn’t smell fresh and some handmade cards that didn’t look original, there were no crafts to speak of. At one of the booths a homeless looking woman spread out all of the junk from her shopping cart: hubcaps, filthy plates with cracks and chips, a broken blender with rusty mixer blades, torn dresses with weird stains, smelly sneakers with holes in them, and other unusable, unsalable items.

But this post isn’t about homeless women at craft fairs. It’s about joining the running community, shod and unshod alike. As I train my powerful feet for the upcoming races, I will do my best to pretend that this is actually a blog about barefoot running and will post my training updates daily.

BTW, I’m shooting for a modest 3 hour 45 min.ish finish for the marathon (as long as I break four hours, I’ll be happy). I don’t have a target time for the Hucklberry Half Marathon. I’m running that one solely for the Bigfoot medal–every finisher gets one.