I am a girl who loves mountains, changing seasons, running, true backpacking, strong coffee, and knitting with high quality yarn.

When something bad happens, you have three choices: let it define you, let it destroy you, or let it strengthen you.

The purpose of life is to discover and develop your gift. The meaning of life comes from sharing your gift with others. - David Viscott

Monday, July 28, 2008

It's show time!

I am one of the luckiest people in the world. Really, I am. I am truly blessed - I have fabulous kids (Stephen is such a sweetheart and maturing by day, and whatever you think of Alex, he is an awesome kid), I live in an amazing place, I have fantastic friends, great "adoptive" family, wonderful boyfriend - and I co-direct one of the best and most beautiful trail races in the country!

There is no question Monika is THE driving force behind PCT50. It was her 5th year directing it, and what an awesome RD she is!!! Experienced as they ever get and almost OCD about precise planning, she organized all the lists, all the runners, all the volunteers, Medical help, Ham radio Operators, food, distribution of it for AS's', assignments for volunteers, website updates..the list can go on forever. Without her there would be no start. Jeff from ORRC, our "behind the scene" guru, is invaluable for getting all the permits for the race, hauling all the stuff to the location, and then - standing all day on his feet "flippin' burgers" for runners and their families. Monika's "other half" Stan can not go unmentioned either - for what he endures during a prep phase, advice he gives, and then works the finish line taking times of the runners as they cross the line. We have great help from EMT services and Ham Radio guys - it is so great to have their support, and they ease off our job by communicating all the needs between AS's and the start/finish area. Volunteers...are brought up last not because this is where they are, but because there will be not enough cyber-space to tell them "Thanks"!. You gotta believe me, we had folks inquiring about coming over and lending us help since a day after PCT race was over last year, and they took charge of everything: theme for the aid stations, food supply, marvelous knowledge of "how to" and "what to". What a hoot they are too! And, of course, our runners, who come year after year - because once you visit with us, you come back, and bring family and friends!

All of us (Monika, Jeff, Stan, Max, Stephen and I) drove in with cars full of load up to the roof and more on Friday late afternoon to Clackamas ranger station.
My car got a new name now - "a pickle", for it's size, but it sure still fits quite a bit! We set up the registration pick up, and while Monika and Jeff worked the distribution of supply for the aid stations, I manned packet pick up. Bushwhacker and his brother-in-law Jeff came to help me stuff the packets after they helped Monika and Jeff hauling stuff around - thanks! I could now drink a beer when they showed up:)

About half the field came to number pick up Friday night, and that was good for the next morning’s chaos. Eventually, we packed and hid the race stuff away and went to our campsite to have a little rest before the Big Day…

The morning came early, 4 am wake up call, as we rolled out of tents in our PJ’s and drove to the start. Good deal we look cute whatever is that we wear!!! We set all back on and registered a few more folks, after what Monika gave all the directional/organizational words of wisdom to runners and I wooed them to go. First wave for early starters left at 5:30am on the clock…

And the runners kept pouring in! This is what I love the most about coming to the race – to see all dear friends coming back together after a bit of a break, for some a short (“Just seen you last weekend!”), for some longer (“Remember me from last year?”). Bad Ben from KS came again and brought a whole group with him! He also brings us his “staple” t-shirt from Kansas Trail Nerds. Lots of smiley faces and many hugs, and it was a breeze this year to have all done and settled for registration with good 10 minutes to spare. Monika went for a speech with turns, aid stations, “no garbage on trails or both RD’s will get deported from country as nasty foreigners”, and many jokes. I had whole 2 minutes to spare, so I went around for hugs and good luck kisses, my specialty. And at 6:30am they were off! A little out-n-back for 0.12 miles on the road to make up the distance – and then runners hit the single track of Pacific Crest Trail for the rest of the race…what’s not to love??!!

So, with some time in hands Monika headed out to have breakfast and I left for a run. I kind of am training (hmm, too big of a word for me right now for sure) for another 100 miler…ain’t I? Anyhow, I ran out to AS#1 and back and had a grand time taking pictures of this part of the course – we have our official Race Photographer Brian, so don’t you worry about quality of my shots

In a meantime, Monika drove with Sarah to all the aid stations to make sure all’s good. I came back and set up an awards table, helped Jeff some, and we were on communication and decision making with ham radio people (hey, it was my first time in “power”!). When time kept clicking, I predicted Rod's winning time and we began to wage whether or not Monika will beat him while she marks the last section with flour…what she did!

And 10 minutes later comes our man Rod Bien, in 6:53:53, a scant 8 minutes off course record!

Soon the finishers poured in, one by one as a trickle, and in groups, and so many of them finishing with kids – so touching, and many cried, and many laughed, and every ONE of them (not a single miss) got my promised hug at the finish line! I love my job!!! Monika and Stan worked their butts off on the computer and paper sheets to take all the finisher's times!

We had a great time, and I feel drained right now, mostly emotional, and don't feel like writing right now, so I’ll refer you to the captions of my photoalbum (as few pictures as I took). I was giving away little paper clocks “Gone for running” to all the kids at the race, and Monika had a great suggestion of having a sitter/child service person at the finish line next year to accommodate all the families and have even more fun. Bushwhacker Burke broke his own 50+ CR by 10 minutes (that dude, holly cow, 2 weeks after HR100!). Ian McIlvenna drove here all the way from BC with his family (again) and placed a solid second, and his wife Veronica won the women’s division! We had runners from 19 states this year and couldn’t be happier. Full results will be posted on PCT50 website once we get in touch with our web designer. Please make sure to check out Brian’s pictures, he supports our race a lot! I am so very sorry I am cutting you short on re-cap, but I have a job to do. We finished cleaning by 8:45 pm and already can’t wait for next year. All your smiles and tears are a great pay-off!!!

Of course there were minor mishaps, like a couple of rude hikers out on the course who shoved and elbowed and shouldered our runners, what was dangerous. We had our EMT stationed at the middle AS for a quick access to any other AS (instead of finish line like last year) and one mom was concerned about it. The weather Gods were great to us though as the highest temps hit only 75F. NUUN and HEED proved to be great supplements as always. We had 2 young finishers - one at 17 yo! Handling only 50 miler is better and more efficient than spreading thing for 50M/50k combo, but 50k is missed dearly and we will give some thoguht about it as a separate race next year (no promises). Monika and I will write up a race official thingy some time in the next couple of days, this one is just for blogger's satisfaction.

Once more (and many more) thanks to Monika, who is awesome to work with (and who basically snatches a ground from under your feet with her power-through-everything-at-a-speed-of-light), to Jeff for his absolutely hands-on-best-at-everything support, to all the groups of volunteers coming from all over Oregon, to ORRC, Oregon Trail Series, to our runners and their families – and to a gift of having this incredible magnificent piece if mother-land at our hands to run on and enjoy the views of. Come back again!!!

More pictures from Cheri Redwine HERE.
and from John Pearch are
Pictures from Trail Nerds (KS) posted


rick said...

Wow what a great time and a lot of work and sacrifice on your guys' part. My legs are done for the summer but this post reminds me it's time to get out there and volunteer again, to support the RDs and the community.

Sarah said...

Thanks again for another great PCT 50! I think its you that's the bad influence. ; ) : ) : )

Julie B said...

What a great race you guys put on. Who knows...maybe I'll be able to make my way out for next year? That would be a blast!

I am glad so many things are going so well for you :)

Larry said...

Looks like I'm going to have to run your race next year! I have a feeling you're doing more as a co-RD than you're admitting. ;) Hey! We have something in common--I have a wonderful girlfriend!

kendrara said...

Super job, Olga and team! Directing a race is no joke. You really have to be on that side of it to even begin to realize the scope of the responsibility (as well as the joy)...if everyone had to do it, you probably would eliminate those unrealistic and petty complaints (not that your wonderful participants made any - but surely you've heard the stories, wink wink).

Bob Gentile said...

Way to go Miss "HUGS" Olga :-) sounds like a long weekend but a great time! Congrats !

Anonymous said...

Don't burn yourself out. We all love your spirit and giving nature so rest up and see ya for a few relaxing runs.


robtherunner said...

Sounds like it was a successful race. Get some rest!

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous Photos! I've always wanted to take a loooong run in Oregon! Neat!

Donald said...

What a great race! Did I hear correctly that you're also going to have a 100 next year? That might be worth a trip to Oregon.

Meghan said...

Hey Olga,

Way to pull off a big, successful weekend.

Not only do you sound happy in your writing, but you look so happy in your photos!

Be well and take a little time for yourself!


Pete said...

Olga -- A thousand thanks to you, Monika, Jeff and the cast of many who gave we who ran the great gift of this race. You guys are tremendous.

Ben, aka BadBen said...

You're a star on our Mud Babes webpage.
Happy trails,
Bad Ben

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