Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Oregon - The Consolation Trip

frolicking on the beach 

I had been really excited for my trip to Ironman Texas and once it became clear that racing (and training) was not an option for the near future, I began to make other plans. Karl and I made an arrangement after we realized that we will be at his parents for longer than originally hoped for: I would get to go on a little trip once a month. Or maybe I just told him that's what I was going to do. Can't remember. Knowing myself and how much not being able to train affects my mental health, I was keen to take a break from doctor visits and physical therapy appointments here and there to do the things that make me feel alive and bring me joy.

As soon as Texas was off the table, I called my good friend Anne and booked a flight to Portland. I had been wanting to visit her for so long but money and time away from home is usually allocated to racing. Might as well make the best of a shitty racing season!

So at the end of May I took the train to Salt Lake, the tracks to the airport, a plane to Portland, tracks and a bus to Julie's house and then drove her car out to Tillamook on the coast. Traveling can be quite enjoyable without bike or kids. Unless your injury is a literal pain in the butt... When I got to Tillamook that night, Anne was still working but I was dying to see the ocean, so she told me of a beautiful secluded little hike to the beach and to meet her there! 

Getting close. I can smell the ocean! 

I still remember the soft sand, salty air, setting sun, and light breeze while I walked down the single track path toward the ocean. It was magical

And when I saw the beach, I took off my shoes and ran down to the water and along the empty beach, laughing and so happy to be here.

To have Anne come and join me was icing on the cake.
It was breathtaking to have this majestic place all to myself but it was even better to share its beauty with my dear friend. I knew then that this was going to be just the trip that I needed in order to make peace with what had happened so far this year and what will likely happen this fall. Naturally, this trip would have looked VERY different if I wasn't injured but I think we made the best of it!

the perfect base for a few Sanne adventures

We drove south to Netarts, a cute little community right at the mouth of Netarts Bay, where Anne is renting this beautiful beach house (with two roommates who were both our of town for a few days). It is indeed as idyllic as it looks. 

Netarts Bay 

I got to sleep up in the crow's nest and enjoy this view every time I looked out the window. I haven't spent nearly as much time by the ocean as I would like to so this was very special to me. It was cold and rainy most days during my visit but I didn't mind. I bundled up on my long beach walks and we made a fire every night. I Thank you for the wonderful and cozy accommodations, Anne! 

Anne had a few days off work and she was a great tourist guide! We enjoy the same things and had so much fun together exploring the area, telling lots of stories, cooking good food, and listening to music. It was the perfect mix of being active outdoors and taking time to just hang out. The Oregon weather and landscape reminds me of growing up in Germany and, having lived in the high desert for many years now, I realize that I miss it. But definitely not enough to give up sunny blue skies anytime soon! 

There was one sunny and warm day! I got super excited to be wearing less than 4 layers! Anne wanted to take me on a hike she really likes and off we went. Except that the hike ended up being in the woods where hardly any sun rays were able to penetrate the many leaves. So I still ended up cold and Anne felt pretty badly. She needed to go for a little run, so I found a tiny sunny spot and just stood there looking over the ocean until she came back. We laughed about that one for a while. "Hey, it's a warm and sunny day finally! Wanna go hike in the cold and shady forest?" 

I pretty much knew from the beginning that I was going to go into the ocean one way or another. Rain or shine, warm or cold. How could I not?!? So on my last day in Netarts, we busted out the bikinis and winter hats, crossed the street, walked down a flight of stairs, and played on the beach for a while just long enough to take some pictures. 

Then we donned our wetsuits, took a hard look at each other, and dove into the waves. The goal was the other side of the bay but neither of us thought we were actually going to make it. The water was damn cold. The deal was that we could turn around at any time. No pressure. But, you know how it goes... You think you are going to die for the first few minutes and then everything goes numb and you're ok. Not comfortable but ok. We made it to the other side and just as we hit the shore, we both noticed a seal to our left swimming with us for a minute! Such a HIGHLIGHT! We waddled out, noticed the current had pushed us quite a bit south, ran squealing back up along the beach, and dove back in. It was CRAZY FUN and we loved it. This is what I live for. We felt so ALIVE. It was pretty damn awesome. YAY for Sanne adventures!

Then we ran back up the stairs and straight into the hot shower with our wetsuits still on!

We spent our last day together biking around Portland where Anne went to PA school. She showed me her favorite parts of the city and I decided that I could live there. For a while. 

In case you can't tell, Anne is the BEST! She is such a great friend and I really treasure our friendship. We don't see each other often, so having had the chance to hang out with her THREE times already during these last few challenging months has been a total treat! Love ya, Anne! 

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