Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hood-to-Coast Relay

The MOTHER of All Relays

  • Hood To Coast Relay

  • 200 miles

  • 15,000 runners

  • 30th Anniversary
  • 4,100 volunteers

  • August 26-27, 2011
  • Largest Relay in the World!
  • Incredible Adventure with Unbeatable Scenery
  • From majestic Mt. Hood to beautiful Pacific Ocean in Seaside

It was early morning dark when I left the house.  As I drove east to Mt. Hood there was a line of pink along the foothills and the blush of pink above.  I drove through the towns heading up to the mountain: Sandy, Welches, Zigzag, Rhododendron.  The sky was slashed a few times with lightning and a light rain fell.11-08-26-06-59-25H

Somewhere along the empty highway I saw the first runner, reflective tape glowing as he moved along on the shoulder of the highway.  Then another, then another.  Soon I began to see road crews out setting up orange traffic cones for the crowd to come.  Vans of runners drove past me, honking their horns and cheering for the runners on the road.

This year the organizers allowed 250 additional teams to run bringing it to 1250 teams of 12 each, mixed male and female, 15,000 individuals participating.  Each team is given a start time based on their calculations of running time.  The first twenty teams left Timberline Lodge at 3:30 AM, then the next wave at 3:45, then Emily’s team along with 19 other teams started at 4 AM and so on through the morning and afternoon.   The elite teams of runners (Nike, Adidas, etc) will start in the afternoon and during the night will likely pass the other competitors.

Each team has 2 vans with 6 runners each, so there are vans going up the mountain to start at their appointed time, and vans coming down from dropping one runner off to drop off the next one at the hand-off site.  The vans leap frog over each other so as to give more rest time to the runners.  The race is scheduled to take about 30 hours and by alternating their 2 vans the team members actually get a little sleep time—sitting up in a crowded-- and possibly smelly--vehicle, of course.

I drove and drove through the little towns and passing runners.  I went by landmarks familiar from other races and began to worry that I had missed the check point for Emily’s lap.  I was looking for the Rhododendron Mt. Hood General Store and imagining buying a cup of coffee to enjoy as I waited.  But I became increasingly anxious that I had missed it, so I did a U-turn and pulled into a wide shoulder to call my darling husband who would know if I had gone too far or not far enough.  I sat in my car with the windows rolled down because of condensation.  As my husband answered the phone, a runner called to me “Hi, Mom!” and I looked in amazement as my daughter ran right by me.  “It’s YOU!!”, I said in shock and delight, and she and the runner behind her laughed.  Of course I didn’t have my camera ready for such a perfect opportunity and I couldn’t ask her to stop in the middle of her race. 

After I gathered my wits I pulled out slowly and went down the road with my passenger side window open, hoping to get a shot of her as I passed.  These are the great results:

I drove down the road looking for the hand-off point.  I passed runners and vans parked on the shoulder to wave their runners on.  I drove past a couple intersections where volunteers in reflective vests were directing traffic. I drove slowly, looking for the end of the leg.  I eventually decided I must have missed it somehow. This leg was 7.2 miles and it seemed to be forever.  But finally, ahead of me was a weigh station filled with tightly parked vans and crowded with runners wearing everything from spandex to tutus.


11-08-26-06-52-24H A van pulled in with a row of pink flamingoes on its roof.  Another van of dentists was titled the “Molar Express”.  People were having fun, cheerily chatting in small groups and watching for their team member to come in.  Their next runner would be getting ready, stripping off the sweat suit and tying back the hair.  The energy was palpable in the early morning air.

I stood watching the runners come in.  They pulled off their wrist bands and snapped it around their team mate’s wrist as he/she took off.   Everyone clapped for everyone:  the personal effort is laudable.  Some come in lightly, bouncing on their toes.  Some come in with awkward strides, twisting shoulders side to side.  One man was quite heavy with a pot belly: I wondered how he could run 7.2 miles.  Gray-haired or teen, thin or chubby, conditioned or not:  this is Everyman’s race.

As runners come in, people crowd in front and want to see who it is.  Some have clipboards and are checking their watches and keeping track of their schedule.  Volunteers have to keep the crowd from encroaching onto the runners’ path.

There she is!!  I see her and recognize her from quite a distance.  I take a picture while no one’s in my way.  Too far away. 11-08-26-07-23-50H I try to take another but the camera is still in review mode.  I snap again and get her exiting right out of the frame.  She’s still running, running strong.  Right past me. 11-08-26-07-23-55H 11-08-26-07-28-45H

I came home with thoughts of a morning nap enticing me,  but for the runners, the race goes on.  Emily’s next leg is during rush hour in Scappoose, and after that at 3 AM tomorrow in Jewel, near the coast.  The race ends in Seaside where the beach is crowded with runners and sightseers watching to see the last runners come in and stretching out on the sand before they get back into their vans for the drive home.

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Vacation Reads

11-08-19-19-05-02H   What I filled my book bag with to go on vacation.  I just love my red-lined western style bag from Trader Joe’s—makes me happy! 11-08-19-19-03-08HConcerning the choice of furnishings we have in our home, April Cornell says;

“Simply said, get rid of unattractive disharmonious stuff.  Add only items of value, richness and integrity.  Value, richness and integrity don’t mean expensive; these qualities come at all price points, as does poor quality and bad design.”

 “Being an artist doesn’t mean you can draw; being an artist means you can see.”           Cornell, April, Decorating with Color, Sterling Publications, New York, 2004

Friday, August 19, 2011

Portrait of the Artist’s Studio

I took a satchel full of books to read on my vacation.  I only finished one while camping. Our second week in 2 resorts, I flipped through the pages of the others but had to come home to pay serious attention. Camping, I read Decorating with Color by April Cornell.  Just last night and today I have read and studied and made notes on Where Women Create; book of inspiration by Jo Packham and Jenny Doh.  It is this latter book I would like to comment on.

Where Women Create is a fascinating and beautiful look at the spaces women artists have as studios.  For some, their studio is just an understair closet.  For many, their work began with only a cupboard and the kitchen table but has grown to a spare bedroom, a top floor, a converted attic or basement, even a rented space.  With about 4 pages per artist, we don’t have too much exposure to their actual creations, but we do learn something about how they fit their art into the circumstances of their lives, what inspires them, what their favorite palette is to work from, and what materials they hunt and gather for their creations.  In a sense, the book is biographical and has a lot of human interest.  Many of these artists have creative and artistic parents and grandparents [which would be an interesting avenue to pursue: nature or nurture?  Are they genetically disposed to producing art, or did they lose the art fear factor from being around people who weren’t afraid to take a risk on income producing through their craft?]

My main frustration with this book is that it didn’t really show the creations of the artist.  Mostly it showed the rooms where they have boxes and bins and baskets and Mason jars full of buttons and laces and paint brushes and rubber stamps and Victorian jewelry and bits and bobs of treasures for their particular craft.  The photos looked like still lifes, beautifully rich and overflowing with their treasures.  At page 102 during the night I was pretty frustrated with the book (well, it was 4:37 AM) because it was calling most of the women “mixed media artists”  and telling what they used but not showing their actual product.  I suppose that was outside the scope of the book, but it was frustrating to me to see so many “mixed media” artists who like to go to flea markets for their inspiration and shopping for supplies.  Presumably they have different outcomes, which is what I would like to see as well as their working space.

Question:  How many collages can the market bear made up of vintage sheet music, buttons and Victorian hat pins? 

I guess I wanted someone to have a big empty space with a window and an easel who said “I’m a painter, pure and simple.”  A can of brushes, a box of paints. 

I guess the joy of the book is the beauty of their work spaces as well as the tidbits we glean about the artist’s obstacles which she overcame in order to follow her dream.  One helpful item is that a website was given for each artist and another for her blog site so I can learn more about what they actually do.

Two quotes which caught my attention:

     “When I feel uninspired, I know I need to start writing my morning pages and get into the process of listening…largely to my inner voice.”   Janice Lowry  (I liked this because she is referencing Julia Cameron’s recommendation in The Artist’s Way which I am also reading)

     “For Jenny, art is about doing. ‘It’s not about envying, wishing, grumbling, complaining, criticizing, regretting, bemoaning, or any of the many blocks that become erected by negativity and passivity,’ she says. “I don’t like excuses that waste time pointing to blocks or walls that get in the way of life.  We all have access to the same hours in a day.  I choose to use those hours to make a life that I love.”                      Jenny Doh