I signed up for this race before I signed up for the marathon training. My friends and I first did this race 5 years ago, when we were all just getting into walking. We’ve gone back 3 more times and turn it into a girls weekend. We drive over Friday, get our race packets, get to the house we rented and settle in for the weekend. Saturday morning we are up and off to the race and then after the race we rest, relax, hot tub, and have fun. And it wasn’t any different this year, except this year it was only my friend Karen and I doing the race.
Sunriver, Oregon is 15 miles from Bend, Oregon and is a planned “resort” community along the Deschutes River. There is a resort there, but in Sunriver there are houses that people own and you can rent and it has 37 miles of paved trails which the race takes place on. (The weekend also has a marathon, duathlons and triathlons—events on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.) Its about 180 miles from Portland and you go over Mt. Hood to get there.
The weather in the Portland area was sketchy and it didn’t look very good in Sunriver for the weekend. We’ve always had beautiful, sunny weather when we’ve been there, so it was really disappointing to have a down pour hit outside of Bend. We were really hoping for some warm weather.
Karen did a race several years ago where it was raining (and I was there with her) and she was soaked and cold and it apparently traumatized her because even the mere mention of rain during a race sends her into a tailspin. She declared she wasn’t going if it rained. I told her she needed to woman up and she’d be fine (I’m such a nice friend, huh?). She’d be warmer because she’d be running some of it.
We shared the same room and our alarms went off at 6:30 and it was raining. I laid there in the dark and said “we could just skip the race.” She said “yeah.” Of course we both got up and got dressed. I knew it would feel like a total cop out if I didn’t go. I told her she could skip it, but I needed that 10 mile training run so I had to do it.
Our friends made us breakfast and gave us a ride to the race and miracle of miracles it stopped raining. In fact, the sun even came out. Now, don’t get me wrong, it was chilly and 40* (and this is the desert, so its almost always cool in the morning), but it wasn’t raining, which was sweet.
As far as the race went, well, I really did treat it just as a training run. Sure, it would have been nice to PR, but I was (1) at 4500 foot elevation and wasn’t sure how I would do and (2) didn’t want to run a lot of extra miles and totally piss off my body.
Karen is a run/walker and I decided to walk the first 2-3 miles with her. We had a great time walking and talking, but I took off at the 2.5 mile mark and ran. At mile 3 I timed myself to mile 4. 12:50 mile. Yeah, it was going to be like that. I felt like I was moving okay, but man, it was deceiving. When I tried to pick up my pace I’d start to breathe really heavy. I thought, so its going to be like that, huh?
I also had to keep stopping every once in a while to stretch my left hip and hamstring. I was kicking myself for not throwing in my foam roller. I mean, KICKING. MYSELF. I passed this little old man and he told me “good job.” I said “thanks! You too!” And then I stopped later to stretch and he came up on me and asked if I was okay. I told him I was fine, but things were tightening up on me a little.
The race is nice beccause it goes along the Deschutes River before it heads back to the village area and the finish line. But it can also seem like a really long stretch. We hit the 10 mile mark and I thought “now its just a 5k. Probably 40 minutes at the pace I’m moving.” I came up on this guy walking just past the 10 mile marker and told him “its only a 5k now. That’s all!” And he said “just a walk in the park.” Yep, pretty much.
Since I wasn’t making great time I did stop to take a picture out by the river. It runs right along the race course.
I kept having to take the occasional 30 second to 1 minute walk break because things were tight, and so I didn’t bother timing my miles. I was determined to run all of the last 2 miles and at mile 12 I hit the split on my watch and timed my last mile. 14:14 people. Yeah, I ran the whole thing, but it was like moving through sludge. All I can say about this is that it had to be the elevation gain.
I was approaching the finish line and they had signs up. Only 500 yards to go. Only 300 yards to go. 200, and then 100. At the 300 yard line there was a deer standing right there by the sign. A doe. Yep, its not unusual to see deer grazing through the properties. In fact, we saw 5 right off of the dek of our house.
100 yards from the finish line and then I was done. Nothing climatic or earth shattering, except they did have a great crowd of people to run through cheering you on. That was nice. They had a nice spread of food (strawberry shortcake!) and I grabbed some orange slices and a cookie and waited for Karen, who came in about 7 minutes later. She said she was light headed and so I grabbed her some food.
After a while we called one of our frends to pick us up. We got back to the house and hit the hot tub shortly after and we were sitting there soaking and it started hailing. It was kind of fun, but hail hurts when all you have on is a swimsuit. Just sayin’.
All and all a great weekend.