Monday, December 2, 2013

Breakfast with Broken Top

Written By: Cristina Stavro
(From that vault, this inspiring piece was written in September 2013)

Motivation to run: It’s different for everyone. I really like early morning runs.  Pre-dawn starts are the cake foundation on which I can make the rest of my day the icing on top.  And I’m particularly motivated by runs that take me cool places and create rad experiences, so it comes as no surprise that this particular run in late September was inspired by this text:
“Snow tonight on the peaks! Look for it tomorrow morning.”

Granted I may have taken this a little more literally than originally intended, but there was no way I’d miss getting a glimpse of the first snow up close on a trail run.  An adventure was in order.  I had to be at the shop by 9 the next morning, so I set my alarm for 5am.

I dug deep for my warmer running layers and laid them out that night.  I’ve found that the key to getting out the door for early runs is letting pumped up and stoked last-night-you pack, prep, and plan ahead for tired, cold, and oh-my-goodness-what-was-I-thinking 5am-you.  If everything is ready, there is no room for a “Where are my lucky early morning run socks? Guess I can ‘t run,” incident or an “I think my headlamp’s batteries are dead anyway” excuse before you even push back the covers.

Waking up the next morning was hardly going to be an issue in this case.  The prospect of snowy mountains nearly kept me up all night anyway.  That’s why my drive out to Todd Lake early that morning was a bit of a disappointment.

I’m picking up on some of the nuances of Bend’s weather.  This particular frosty morning left a bunch of thick clouds (or one really big one?) engulfing the very mountains I’d come out to see.  The clouds hung so low that even the tops of the trees on the side of the road were hidden.  Hopes of seeing a snow-covered Broken Top that morning were dashed, but I got out of my car and headed up to the foggy Todd Lake trailhead nevertheless.
The dark sky was just beginning to show signs of the sun’s return to our side of the horizon.  And the cold made
my nose numb and runny within two minutes of starting my run…right about the same time, I discovered that in my earnest I had over-dressed.  Thankfully there was a hole in my tights (from an impressively graceful fall on South Sister the week before) that kept me from over-heating. (Good rule of thumb: dress like it’s 10-15 degrees warmer than it actually is… so if it was 35, I should’ve dressed like it was 50… not like a sherpa on the trail to Everest’s  basecamp).

Sufficiently winded, I paused at the top of the hill and caught my breath, looking in the direction of where I had seen Broken Top the last time I was on the trail.  That’s when it happened… the perfect orchestration of clouds parting and sun rising, taking my already unsteady breath away.  The still-low sun lit up the South West face of Broken Top, wearing a fresh coat of snow and glowing orange. 

There are times in my life when I think I’ve got horrible timing (i.e. how I always happen to be behind the person who orders the last cookie at Backporch) but that morning at 6:58 AM on Todd Lake Trail, I was right on time.  And I stood there on our coldest morning yet, staring for the 3 or 4 minutes that Broken Top was visible through the clouds.  When the clouds did their thing and drew the curtain on Broken Top’s snowy debut, I continued with my run, high on the utter epic-ness of what had just happened.  The frozen dirt crunched under foot, my breath left my mouth in small clouds, and my nose froze even more.  Waking up super early for a trail run is never disappointing, but this particular time was pretty spectacular.

Cristina first discovered Bend while on a cross-country road trip with a friend this Spring. It was love at first sight, so she turned right back around, came back, and is loving every bit of it. She loves a good trail run and believes that avocados make the world a better place. Cristina is FootZone’s and OutsideIn’s newest crew member and helping out with the Half Marathon Training Group.

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