Pain and Hell

Three weeks after Bloomsday, I had the priviledge of running my first marathon, the Coer d' Alene Marathon in Idaho. Unlike 1989, when the running team changed the bus pick-up times on me, I drove myself. I was ready...I knew I was ready. My goal was to break a 7-minute mile. I'd done a 20-mile run a week earlier and made it fine, with a lot of pain and discomfort, but I was fine. I greased my nipples, went to the starting line and was off. Miimii came along for photos and moral support.

Things went well at first, and I began talking to an older runner who had done marathons before. The first 45-minutes went well, and I took some engergy drink and little chunks of Power Bar handed out by the kind volunteers who came to watch this torture test. I was consistently under a 7-minute mile until mile nine. I didn't feel right...somehow I didn't feel well. I abruptly left my new-found running buddy and jumped into the weeds where I proceded to have...diarhea. Yuck. I sat there for what felt like five minutes in some crappy, wet weeds. I was sick and had 17 miles to run. Giving up was not an option.

Whoa...where did all these paper cups come from?  You mean I'm not winning? >>>
It must have been the Power Bars and energy drink that did it to me. I'd run two dozen or more runs/races of more than nine miles in my life (some 20+ miles) with never the slightest hint of problem, but I never took in anything but water. I tossed my unmentionables into the weeds and proceded to hobble along. I'd lost so much fluid I was very weak, and over the course of the next 17 miles got slower and slower as my stride deteriorated. The above photo was shot by Miimii at the 21-mile mark. She yelled at me and shot it but I didn't know she was there. When I saw the finish I got choked up...I finished with an undistinguished time of 3 hours 20 minutes 40 seconds (not counting the time lost fertilizing the weeds), in the top 25% of the finishers but was disappointed. In the photo below, that's me underneath the "N" of the finish line. My average pace was a 7 minute 40 second mile. Volunteers hold you up at the finish, which I thought was silly at first, but I went along with it. After the nice lady walked me away from the finish I said,"Thanks but I'm fine". She let go and suddenly WHOA!!! I fell for the first tree and while I was hugging it Miimii walked up. "Hi Horsey". I could barely walk. Miimii went back to the car and I shuffled like a bad Tim Conway impersonation. In 1989 my goal was to win at least one race, run a marathon, and then a triathlon. Cross off #2!
Horsey, crying like a spanked baby, looks for a hugger to hold him but finds a tree will do fine>>>
May 26-27, 1991

The next day I talked Miimii into visiting Hells Canyon along the Idaho/Oregon border. Carved out by the Snake River, at 7900 feet deep, it is the deepest canyon in the U.S.(about 35% deeper than the Grand Canyon), and the deepest low-relief canyon in the world, according to the Guiness Book of World Records. It was only 200 miles south of us. So we were off in our sporty, blast-to-drive, yet noisy, Honda Civic Si. We made it down past Lewiston Idaho, down highway 95 until we ended up at Riggins, Idaho. The problem with this canyon was that there were no paved roads to the top of the canyon walls, and it was not so touristy as the Grand Canyon. It was literally a wilderness, and we were driving a vehicle designed to be fun and hospitable on paved roads.
We made a right turn onto a gravel road at Riggins, Idaho, just past the bridge crossing the Salmon River, and within a few miles we were driving up narrow, gravel switchbacks on what appeared to be a logging road. We climbed higher and higher, and Miimii became more and more irritated. Finally there was a slight flurry of snow, and Miimii blew up, screamed at me, and said she wanted to go home. I held out for a while but the wife was very upset, so I stopped, shot these photos towards where I thought the canyon was, and went home, never to return.
Despite talking with a co-worker about going down again in his SUV (designed for wilderness roads) Miimii became very upset every time I mentioned Hells Canyon, even if I wanted to go alone. I'd ordered detailed maps and a tourist package, but she'd have none of it. The marriage had enough problems already without pushing my personal ambitions into it. So I spent almost five years just a 3 1/2 hours drive from the world's deepest low-relief canyon, and I never saw it.
This became a pattern in our marriage. I gave up 1990, thinking that once I married I'd explore the wonders of the Pacific Northwest with my bride. As it happened, we did some very limited exploring but I regretted wasting 1990. Miimii liked shopping,didn't like grass, and complained the whole time we were in Washington.
In July 1998, my airliner flew over Hells Canyon. My camera was packed under the plane so I couldn't shoot any photos, but I did get a view of Hell's Canyon from 30,000 feet.

Purgatory?>>>Purgatory?>>> Purgatory?>>> Purgatory?>>>