Happy Memorial Day from Lander, Wyoming

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Climbing into the Canopy in the McKenzie River Valley

Surrounded by a rainbow of green and the scent of fresh spring forest, I hung out with my feet dangling and wide grin on my face. Nothing could ruin my spirits – especially at 100 feet off the ground! Gazing over the tree tops in the HA Andrews’ Experimental Forest while attached to an old growth, I breathed in the light and clean McKenzie River Valley air and took in the moment of my first successful tree climb.

I had the joy this past week of taking a tree top adventure with Pacific Tree Climbing Institute. Based out of Blue River, Pacific Tree Climbing Institute is a registered Oregon outfitter that takes visitors on an amazing experience to explore the lush and alive forests of the Pacific Northwest. Using ropes and harnesses, the duo who owns the company, assist, train and teach guests of all ages and abilities how to climb into the forest canopy.

Using my legs to boosted myself upward and then gliding my hands up the rope, I slowly but surely moved my way up the tree. The further up in the tree we progressed, the more the beautiful little details of nature popped out: the bark with its rough surface and color like rich, dark chocolate and sweet smell, the hanging gray-green beard-like moss, and the rush of the nearby the river. In the tree top, the forest fully came alive in an animated orchestra of textures, smells and sights.

Only for a brief moment at the beginning was I afraid – where the heart quickly skipped a beat – but amazingly the higher I went the more confident and exciting the trek became. The first one to the top and the last down, I was a kid again as I hung about the limbs in that evergreen park.

Beyond just leading quick day climbs, Pacific Tree Climbing Institute also offers overnight trips in the tree canopy and educational programs. Find out more about Pacific Tree Climbing Institute and book an adventure that you won’t ever, ever forget!

Check out more photos from my climb:

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Running the Eugene Marathon Half

Last Sunday all of my hard training came together as I crossed the finish line at Hayward field for the Eugene Marathon half. After 13.1 miles I was exhilarated to have finished my first race in 02:27:48. My legs were a tad tired – my hips started hurting around mile 12 – but otherwise I felt good and I even finished a few minutes under my goal time. Surrounded by cheering crowds with cowbells, I couldn’t image a better way to finish my first half marathon then on the historic field in Eugene with my mom (this was her first half-marathon too) by my side!

My next goal is to run the Eugene Women’s Half Marathon on August 26, 2012 in under two hours.  Here’s to long summer evenings pounding the pavement!

Here are few photos from my race:

My Mom and I as we wait in the corral for the race to start.

Runners hit the street for the Eugene Marathon

Runners hit the street for the Eugene Marathon

Running the Eugene Marathon

Trudging on around mile 8

Almost to the finish line at Hayward Field

My mom & I with our half marathon medals after finishing!

Have you ever run a long distance race? What is your best tip for new runners?