If you do call yourself a runner, can you handle the truth?

 

 

From the Rage Archives

Truth is found through devotion,
and intensity is the only true measure of devotion.

And On Our Way to The Palouse in November 2002, We Went for A Little Run…

I have learned that one needs to be ready for anything when going for a run with Bruce. This is especially true if you have earned the privilege of accompanying him and his lovely wife on a guided tour of his old haunts in Eastern Washington, including being invited into the home of his gracious in-laws, Dee and Barbara.

This was a serious road trip. Our excuse for traveling so far for this particular run was my 11 year old son Shawn and I's first trip to "The Palouse." Not that either of us are rabid fans, Shawn was off on Friday from school and I asked if he wanted to see the University of Oregon Ducks take on the Washington State Cougars in Pullman, which is about an eight hour drive from Eugene. Next thing you know, I call Bruce, Bruce calls his nephew Ben and the WSU freshman scored us some tickets. We'd be staying over in Ellensburg at the Eberhart home, which is still about two and a half hours from Pullman.

We pulled into their driveway and the sun had already sunk behind the hills.

Bruce was fidgety. In a few minutes, I was about to find out why.

Located just outside of Ellensburg, where the Eberhart family produces the best apples on the planet (www.fruitfromwashington.com), Bruce and I would be running up the hill behind Cory's mom and dad's house, within minutes of completing our five hour drive. Undoubtedly being no strangers to Bruce's addiction, there was no time for chit-chat, especially when the sun goes down in this part of the world on a moon-less night. In fact, I even detected an omniscient trace of "you'd better get going if you know what's good for you" after learning I was about to join a short list of visitors who would be making this particular back orchard ascent.

He had his running gear on before me. I left Shawn in good hands and we were out the door.

Of course, Bruce immediately heads up hill and I tuck in behind him. For about a half a mile, we actually had a discernable road on which to run!…a rare treat on most inaugural runs I have been on with Bruce. I have learned not to ask too much about where we're going. While I have struggled all my life putting way too much trust into authority figures, as long as I don't have to swim on one of our runs, I have complete confidence in Bruce. However, I have been known to balk at his requests for tick inspections a little on the too thorough side or participate in his beloved and highly effective elk mating call ritual. I have my limits.

We were rapidly running out of road heading up in the general direction of some serious steep hill action up ahead. Of course, Bruce picks the only hill with a microwave station on top of it. Gee. Only a runner heading in that general direction would wonder why they put it on a particular hill. Not only is this thing waaaaay up there, I don't see any signs of a switchback trail cut into the face of this bad boy and Bruce still has his head down heading straight at the steepest part and is really starting to pump his arms. We are not going to take this thing head on, are we?…

Suddenly, we are in the sage brush following some game trail. After popping through a drainage tunnel running under the highway, it appears we have changed course and won't be taking on the north face after all, and we head west. I finally sense Bruce is planning on doubling back from the west and following the ridgeline to the summit.


A Northwest Late Evening View - Photograph by Kathryn Eberhart

Up we go…and up…and up. Magnificent view in every direction…especially to the southwest. While we took a moment to stop and catch our breath at the summit, we didn't take much time to take it all in. We had a decision to make. It would be dark soon. It had taken about 30 minutes to get to the top and we briefly considered heading straight down, but quickly ruled it out. Too steep and dangerous to do in the dark. We decided to keep following the ridgeline, which would be longer, but safer. Bruce pointed out the lights of the Eberhart home. I took his word for it.

On the way down, I couldn't help but feel like we were heading in the opposite direction from where we needed to go. We pressed on, only to find ourselves now trespassing on military property, and finally found another drainage tunnel from which to get back under the highway. Well, at least we are back on the side of the road we started on and in the worst-case scenario, the chow's always hot at Guantanamo Bay.

By now, it's really dark and we are consciously high stepping through the sage brush to avoid catching a toe on a root and becoming human tumbleweeds. Keeping our knees up to this extent after an hour and a half was an added bonus to the quality of this workout. We come upon a barbed wire fence and carefully step over it and continue to zig-zag our way in the general direction of the house. We stop, and Bruce points out the lights. I see them this time, and we start working toward them, then zig-zag back and something faint seems to be emerging from the dark….FENCE!…Bruce puts on the brakes just in time. I don't know how the heck we saw it.

By the time we got back, we'd been out for about an hour and a half. Amazingly, neither of us hit the deck at anytime running in the dark through the sage brush with no moon.

I hope Bruce will take me on it again. I had the advantage of following. Leading must have been real difficult…and waiting for us to show back up at the house must have generated a comment or two in the living room.

Hope you weren't scared, Shawn. Oh, well. Your dad's a runner and he has a friend named Bruce who married very well, so everything has a way of working out.

And that's The Truth.

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   Date and time page last updated: 07/21/2006 9:43 AM