Brrrrrrrr! But beautiful.
The Fall Creek Run Around 20 mile race made for a fun, low-key, chilly, hilly morning. My buddy and ultra mentor, Carolyn, and I headed up to the reservoir at about 9:15. The race started at 10:00, so we grabbed our bibs and hopped in the porta-potty line for a quick pee. I ran into my friend Laurie of the fab blog [Mis] Adventures of a Jogging Stoller Mom while we waiting in line. We chatted for a minute, risking frozen hands to grab a quick photo. She’s speedy, so I knew that would probably be the last I saw of her.
As I headed back to the car to stay warm and wait for the start, I heard someone mention “soup at the finish” over the loud speaker and made a mental note.
At 2 minutes to 10:00, we all moseyed up to the start. William from Eclectic Edge Racing gave a us a short briefing to be safe and sounded his little hand horn. After a quick and slick mile around the park, we headed around the lake for a little 19-mile loop. Although my butt was frozen as were my hands and my toes, it was sunny. Getting my feet under me and thinking about how to negotiate the ice and snow patches made the first 5 miles go by quickly.
The next 5 miles were snowier, less sunny and steeper. I hadn’t really studied the route much, so I hadn’t realized the first half was going to be quite a bit up hill. The road was pretty cambered in parts and at one point I found myself doing a little impromptu “soft shoe” as I slid toward the shoulder and ditch. Carolyn took a bad fall on the ice as did the gal running next to us. Up ahead a tall guy in short shorts took a nasty spill as well. I figured I was next, so I tried harder to stay on the shoulder where there was more snow and my shoes could catch a better grip.
We plodded along in the snow and ice until about mile 13 or 14. Carolyn is better going up hills, so I watched her slowly slip away ahead of me. We rounded the lake’s corner and down we came at a nice downward slope for the next 4 miles. We got pretty spread out and I found myself running alone with the cold, white trees. It was a gorgeous morning. While I tried to keep my eyes on the snowy shoulder of the road, I managed to look around now and then at the winter wonderland we don’t often get in this part of Oregon.
The last mile and a half was uphill. I didn’t need that and was tired by then. My long runs lately had been only 15 milers and I had not been doing much in the hill department. I was stoked to be done and ready for my soup. Campbells never tasted so good.
While I would love to be able to keep up with her, I sort of like it that Carolyn has been about 10 minutes faster than me in our last few races together. That means she’s there to cheer me through the finish line. She placed 1st in her age group and I placed third in mine. Hey, not bad for a chilly day in the woods.