trail running, portland & BEND!
hello, my lovelies!
you may have seen on my social media that i spent the weekend in portland & bend, oregon running a TRAIL RACE and exploring both adorable cities — and i have to say, i am in love. with all of it.
trail running included, even though the race itself was HARDER than life… probably harder for me than the full LA Marathon, but i’ll get to that!
there is so much i want to break down in this post, like my favorite spots in portland, what it was like running a half marathon in the mountains after taking a huge break from running, and how amazing it was to be in nature and reconnect to the earth in such a powerful way.
oh, and how fun it was to celebrate the love of my life’s birthday on our trip. he turned 31 yesterday, and ran 31 miles on saturday. he is a boss.
let’s start with portland.
we only got to spend two nights in portland, which was not nearly enough given the amount of things i was dying to do there, but we used our time to the fullest and had such a blast.
we stayed in the CUTEST airbnb that i will definitely be staying in again & again, slightly south of the city but only about 10 minute drive into the downtown area. it makes me wish LA was not so spread out, it would make life a trillion times easier!
jonathan and i flew in on wednesday night and our friend alexi flew in thursday morning to join us — so for all the people wondering on instagram “who took that photo of you guys in bed?!?!” it was alexi, aka the best photog ever. but i have been known to self timer that shit as well, so no judgement on those who thought it was timered, lol!
thursday morning we took it nice and slow, which was SO BEYOND NEEDED. we had all been working nonstop before the trip to ensure that we could relax and take some time off while we were there, so the exhaustion was very real on thurs morning (for me, at least… i needed to take it EASY now that i was finally on vaycay!).
we hung out in our airbnb, sipped some coffee, and ventured into the city in the late morning for brunch at Harlow, which had been highly recommended to me by SO MANY OF YOU (you guys are awesome).
when we arrived at the restaurant, i immediately knew it was a place i was going to fall in love with. their menu is all vegetarian, with tons of gluten-free yumminess, smoothies, bowls, egg dishes, etc. basically my heaven.
i ended up ordering the “betty bowl” even though EVERYTHING looked so good, and i had to fight myself not to order the Harlow Latte with hazelnut-cashew milk (you guys know i am a sucker for delicious coffee drinks) but after the coffee i’d already had, i knew that would be a bad idea.
i opted for the iced earl grey latte instead (same milk, no honey), and it was delish.
i believe i said multiple times while eating that bowl, “if this was available everywhere, being plant-based would be ridiculously easy.” TRUTH, although you know i love that variety.
after we ate, we walked around the cute street we were on before making our way over to NW 23rd street to do some shopping and strolling around that street, as a bunch of people told us that was a great place to explore!
we spent the day popping into cute shops with CRYSTALS, adorable cards, quirky books and oregonian t-shirts, and i can safely say i fell in love with all of it. i bought a book on mindfulness meditation called “the things you can see only when you slow down,” which i felt was a TOTAL sign because so many people have been reminding me, ever so gently yet ever so often, to SLOW THE F DOWN.
my acupuncturist gave me a 25 minute speech about the importance of slowing down the day before i left, and then when i saw that book i knew it was placed in my hands for a reason.
portland has the CUTEST book stores, i could get lost in them for days and days on end. last time i was in portland i think i spent an entire day in Powell’s book store — the hugest i’ve ever seen, with a fiction section that bursted my heart open with it’s vastness.
J & i took a yoga class at Yoga Pearl in the late afternoon, which was so freaking nice after siting on the plane and also getting our bodies ready for the race. it’s always hard for me to take yoga at places i’ve never been before because i am such a creature of habit with my studios, but Yoga Pearl is beautiful and the experience of being in the space alone made me feel very oregon-esque. 😉
then the three of us went to Bamboo Sushi for dinner (huge winner) and next-door to Salt & Straw for ice cream afterward!
i am not the hugest ice cream person, but holy shit that ice cream was good. i had chocolate gooey brownie and almond brittle, because if i’m going to have ice cream… i’m going to go all out. 😉
thennnn we headed to bend!
i told you our time in portland was way too short! we woke up the next morning to meet our friends (electric flight crew!!!) at the airport to head to Bend, and admittedly i was a stress basket for a multitude of reasons.
ONE, i had found out that morning that someone very dear to me had passed away. my next post will be about her, so you guys will learn more soon. secondly, i do not like waking up and scrambling to get to the airport without time to eat breakfast or get all my stuff together. we were pretty rushed, we didn’t know a whole lot about where we could get healthy food in a pinch before our 3 and a half hour drive to Bend, and we were walking around downtown trying to agree on a place with ALL of our luggage and bags.
i went into Kure Juice because i recognized it from my last trip to portland and had probably the best oatmeal of my LIFE. J & alexi decided on whole foods, where we met some people who drove us to the airport in their cross-country road trip van (great story, new friends hehe), arriving at the bus with plenty of time (and me thinking i left my purse and laptop in the road trip van which thankfully i did not, but there was a minor panic attack that’s for sure), and then driving to Bend.
we stopped in the super cute yet totally not wellness friendly town of Governor’s Camp on the way, had some less than decent Mexican food, and eventually made it to Bend 4 hours later. it was a BEAUTIFUL drive, with rolling green hills and tons of lush, gorgeous mountain scenery that we simply do not get in LA or anywhere near.
i will skip our welcome dinner with Under Armour and my scramble to try to get to sleep early which really didn’t happen because i was starting to get so nervous about the half in the mountains, once i officially heard how insane the elevation and the hills were… BUT with jonathan running the full 50k, i felt a lot better about my own *short in comparison* 13.1 mile distance.
it had been a while since i had woken up for a race. over a year, in fact. the last race i ran was the Vine, Body, Sole Half Marathon in Napa LAST May! i took a long running break after my Panchakarma and during my teacher training in favor of slower, more low-intensity exercise, but a few months ago i knew i was ready to dive back into more running. because i love it, even though that ish is hard.
running is like a moving meditation for me. it’s certainly not easy for me the way it comes naturally to some people, but i think that’s one of the things i love most about it. running is a huge challenge for me. even when i am very well trained for a race, it takes my body several miles to warm up and to feel up to speed (literally).
but once i get into my groove, it becomes a true out-of-my-head, reflective, meditative experience. this time was no different, even though… the entire half marathon was on a TRAIL, so way high up in the mountains. to give you an idea of the elevation and incline, it looked a little something like this:
intense, right?! and yes, that downhill from about mile 2 – mile 5 felt like pretty much the best thing of my entire life. that’s when i really got into my groove and felt like the race would be a piece of cake after my MAJOR uphill “warmup.”
the first hill was freakishly hard. it was one of those hills that is so steep, there is zero point in trying to run it because you’d burn yourself out in .2 seconds. my mind was doing crazy things during that uphill climb… including convincing myself that the race was going to be my demise and that i’d never be able to finish it if the entire thing was as hard as that first massive hill.
of course, as all things do, it got easier after my body was warm and my mind started to calm down. plus, i kept thinking about jonathan who was in the middle of his 50k while we were doing the half — and that inspired me more than words can even begin to say. (50k is 31 MILES!)
after mile 6 or so when the incline started to get really steep again, i decided to be easy on myself and walk as much as i needed to. this made the race super enjoyable, because there was no pressure to keep moving fast the whole time — it was a slow and steady, enjoy the scenery, take in the mountains, and give love to the growing tightness in my hip flexors and calves by walking it out kind of race, and just jogging when it felt right.
the last 4-ish miles were when it started to feel particularly painful & hard. because of all of the inclines, my iPhone “Health App” now told me i had gone 17 miles. that’s 4 miles more than a half… and i knew i had several miles to go! it was starting to get really frustrating not knowing where i was, or how much further i had to go, but when i finally past the “Mile 9” marker i knew i had it in me to go 4.1 further.
and also because of the inclines, going 0.5 of a mile felt like a full 4 miles in itself. it was killing me! but i tapped into my breath, took in the serenity of the total silence around me, and kept going. i knew i was so close to finishing! my hips and calves were screaming, but my lungs felt 100% fine which was nice considering the major elevation and altitude!
i also had a moment out there talking to the person who passed away this weekend that i was close to — i’ll get more into that in my post about her, but it was very special and oh so calming.
because i allowed myself to walk so much throughout the race, the final half mile was really not so bad at all. i knew i was SO close to the finish, so after the last big hill i jogged through to the finish line and found our EFC crew.
i foam rolled it out, watched alexi finish her 5k (she sprained her ankle last month or else she would have been in the half with me!), and all of us anxiously awaited jonathan crossing the finish line of his 50k… ahhh!!
watching him finish was hands down one of the coolest, most memorable experiences i’ve ever had. he texted us when he was 45 minutes out, and my anxiety level was WAY TOO HIGH to not go right down there to start waiting at the finish line so i rallied everyone down there to get our beers & cameras ready and… wait.
the giddiness was way too much fun. every single one of us got to soak in the excitement of his massive accomplishment because it is just so freaking amazing to know someone who is finishing such a huge, challenging race — let alone be madly in love with that person. 😉
he came through pretty much right when we thought he would (a full hour earlier than his goal time!!!) like a TOTAL champ, and by far the best part of my entire day was giving him a huge, beer-soaked hug and kiss at the finish line.
it’s an incredible feeling to be with someone who motivates you to be the best version of yourself, huge physical challenges and all, but that’s a blog post for another day. 🙂
not to mention, he ran this race for his BIRTHDAY which is just incredibly cool and inspirational.
then we celebrated the night away in Bend, checking out some super adorable spots like Bend Brew Co, a cute little pub that i didn’t catch the name of, and a hilarious but AWESOME “night club” called Seven.
safe to say, we had a really freaking amazing time. i even had two cocktails AND a shot, and you guys know for me… that is a LOT.
all in all, the trip was incredibly fun. it was so awesome to be somewhere new surrounded by so many good people that we love, to push ourselves and do something VERY HARD but very awesome, and ultimately — to watch J finish his 50k and totally crush it.
now i am dying to go back to portland AND to bend to hit up all the cute, healthy, yogi spots that we didn’t have time for on this trip!!! do you have any oregon faves that i missed?! any trail racing or half marathon / 50k experiences of your own?! i’d love to hear!! XO