I have been running a few miles here and there the last couple of weeks. 3, 4, 5 mile runs. Not much meaning to them . . . just miles. I still want to run the Rocket City marathon and after this upcoming weekend (Portland weekend), I'll have 10 weeks to reclaim my fitness and put in the miles necessary to run the race.
I am going to Portland. Even though I am not running the race, I have decided to go ahead and take the trip. It will be good to get away and perhaps take a load of my mind. Perhaps the most important piece of this trip is the fact that Susan is going with me. I asked her to go a couple of months ago and she was excited to go. In fact, she was planning on running me in from mile 20. But it is not to be. However, we will have fun. We have 3 full days and 1 half day to take in as much as possible. We've been studying up and we're going to be all over the place.
Friday we get into Portland around 2:30 local time. We'll head straight to the hotel, check in, freshen up, and hit the streets. We're going to try to get in a little bit of a self guided walking tour. I guess we'll probably find a local micro-brewery for dinner-just a taste of local fun.
Saturday we plan on going to the beach. For those who don't know Portland, the beach is about 1 1/2 hours away. We're planning on going to Cannon Beach, eating lunch at a local beachside pub, hitting the shops, seeing Haystack Rock. Then we'll turn south to Tillamook for some cheese and perhaps another view of the west coast beach. From Tillamook, we'll return to Portland sometime in the afternoon. We need to get back in time to clean up since Susan is taking me to dinner for my birthday. She has picked out the restaurant and it is going to be a surprise. We're going to try to clean up early enough to go to the rooftop restaurant/bar in the Hilton Exective Towers where we are staying.
Sunday. The day I was supposed to be running the marathon. NOT HAPPENING. So we're going to have fun. This is Oct. 1 . . . my birthday. We're going to find a nice breakfast buffet or brunch somewhere in town. Then we are going to head SW to Willamette Valley for wine tasting. A day full of wine tasting. My former brother in law lives nearby and he and his wife may meet up with us for a day of winetasting. Plans are not set for meeting up with them yet (calling him tomorrow) but everyone is up for it. Late Sunday afternoon we are heading back to Cary and Retta's for dinner. Not only is it my birthday, it is Retta's (my former sister in law) birthday. This will be a good chance for Cary and the kids to meet Susan. We have all discussed this and though it may be a little wierd, we are all okay with this. Wish Susan and me luck.
Monday we are planning on spending the day in the Columbia River gorge. We will be seeing a lot of very pretty sites and doing a bit of hiking. Hopefully we can take in a paddleboat lunch or dinner cruise of the gorge. . . still working on that. I'd like to go as far east as Hood River but we're going to play it by ear. If we don't eat dinner in the gorge, we'll head back into Portland and find something downtown or maybe go to the rooftop restaurant in our hotel. Then we pack, go to bed early, and get ready for an early morning flight back to Birmingham.
I do need to tell you about my last two Saturdays. Since I have not been doing long runs, Susan and her daughters E and MA asked me to come to the girls' soccer games. Bear in mind that I do not have kids and have not really spent a lot of time around kids until Susan and I started seeing each other. Her girls are pretty cool. E is 6 and MA is 9 but about to turn 10. They both play soccer, though E seems to be more interested in the grasshoppers and butterflys. MA is a very good little athlete. She really enjoys the game, she takes her coaching well, she practices at home and even lets me kick the ball around with her.
E's games are played on a very small field with only two or three players per team plus a goaltender. It's sort of fun (and funny) watching these six year olds running around, kicking the ball, kicking each other, and getting totally bored after about 20 minutes. E enjoys it after she is there but she doesn't really seem to be too excited about it away from the soccer field. Susan and I both think that she just needs to find what she enjoys and is good at doing. Susan is just giving her a chance to see if she likes the soccer. Personally, I think that E will end up being a swimmer. She is better in the pool than half the adults I know. Here's a picture E that I took last week at the soccer game.
MA's games are a little more competitive. Actually, the games are pretty exciting. These 9 year old girls are all pretty good athletes and they are finally starting to realize what they are capable of and how the coaching is helping them. I guess I may be partial, but MA is one of the better players in this group. Her coach asks her to practice the the older group and with the boys at times. And she can handle (if that is the correct term) the ball. The two games I've seen her play in, she plays the striker position (front middle). This seems to be the main attack position. The coaches do rotate her to the wings occassionally but I think the center of the field is where she belongs. She can handle the ball equally well with her left or right foot and she can pass equally well to either side. In her first game, her team won 2-0 and she scored both goals. In her second game, her team won 5-0 and she scored 2 goals and had 2 assists. The coach moved her to a defensive position in the second half since she was running through the other team like cheap whiskey. It was really fun to watch her-especially knowing that she was having fun. Her's a picture of MA bring the ball down field. She's the cutie with the ponie tail on the left.
I'm planning on enjoying my long weekend with Susan in Portland. I'll be getting back to more serious things (like running) when I get back to town! Wish us luck and fun.