Monday, May 7, 2007

Back from Portland in One Piece

Portland's 'Alphabet District' was chock full of cute neighborhoods, shops and glorious Victorian homes.Wow: has it been nearly a week already?

I made it to and from Portland, Oregon, fairly without incident. If you have a chance or haven’t been, I strongly recommend visiting the city. Right now I’m pitching a great Northwest trip to Neil: perhaps starting in Portland, heading up to Seattle and then spending a few days in Vancouver. We’ll see how that works out—maybe after I finish my M.A. in December.

My return flight arrived at Akron-Canton Airport early Saturday morning, and there was something in the air that told me that my bag (which contained my computer) wouldn’t be making an appearance on the baggage carousel. In fact, I didn’t even take an active position around the baggage claim to catch my luggage as it went by. I knew it wouldn’t show. Lo and behold: when the carousel stopped and the remaining bags were unloaded, mine was nowhere to be found.

If only I could find more constructive uses of my clairvoyance sometimes!

As it turned out, my bag never made it onto the plane in Portland (even though I checked in 2 hours before my flight), and perhaps I should have taken its lead. Given a few more days, I would have been able to take advantage of the prime running real estate all over Portland.

It rained in Portland. And it hailed. And then it rained some more.Between my conference schedule and some hail/thunderstorms across the three days, I didn’t get a chance to run at all—although I did walk at least 8-12 miles every day.

Portland was such a fit city packed with so many runners that at any given location it felt like I was strolling through the less dense areas of a distance race. But I’ll have to admit that as runners passed by I felt so jealous and excluded. All I wanted was to take to the road myself (without lugging a big bag and umbrella) and I realized that I have now taken running on as an addiction. I suppose, however, that it works well to counteract my cupcake addiction.

Ahh, red velvet cupcakes from Saint Cupcake. Just one more reason to go back to Portland.Speaking of cupcakes, I went to one of my favorite cupcake stores in the world: Saint Cupcake. It may sound strange, but I stalk out good cupcake Web sites (because they tend to be so hip) and happen to have Saint Cupcake at the top of my list. And thankfully their baked treats were just as good as their Web site. They even had my favorite treat: red velvet. Sigh.

As such, I had plenty to run for on Sunday once I had recovered from Saturday’s super lag. It took much will power and promises of one last cupcake treat to get my running shoes on, but it was well worth the struggle. I have this deep-seeded fear that I will lose my running fitness far too quickly—that if I haven’t run in nearly a week, I will forget how to intuitively put one foot in front of the other. And let’s just say it was too far from the truth when I headed out yesterday.

The first half mile was pure struggle. My muscles were cold; my ankles were stiff; my knees wanted to know WTF was going on. The break served as nice rest for my knees, but they weren’t too keen on getting back in the swing. So, I thought I would run two miles and see how I felt. And after the first mile, I thought I would never make it to two!

But that magical thing of warming up and loosening up happened around 2-2.5 miles, so I took an easy jog past three, four and five miles… for a total of 5.07 miles. I woke feeling refreshed and energized this morning with an extra dose of confidence that I won’t lose my running abilities from this trip (like I did with Boston last year!).

I should have more on my Portland trip and 10-miler, including photos, on my other ill-used blog in a couple of days.


Jim said...

Those first few miles of running after some downtime are always hard. Glad you stuck it out after a yucky first mile.

The Salty One said...

Welcome back! Sounds like a nice, albeit rainy and annoyingly-bag-snafu-ish, trip!

PS Mmmm, cupcakes.

Sarah said...

New visitor! But I couldn't really get past the cupcake, so uh, I"ll be back :)

- Sarah