Monday, October 19, 2015

Molalla River Trail Race (10/17/15)

This weekend was my first real trail race!
Early in the year, Brad and I signed up for the Run Molalla Series, three races for just $89 - The Goat, the Freedom 5K, and the Molalla River Trail Race. Every race was a blast, including this final one on Saturday!

We planned to leave before 7 a.m. for the drive to Foothills Community Church to catch the shuttle to the start line. Ready to go!
I laughed at what I cropped out of that photo - think runners live here??
Parking was easy, as was the bus ride up, up, up into the woods. We wondered briefly if the driver was lost, but then we rounded the corner and spotted the party. There were porta-potties, a trailer for bag check, packet pickup for those who couldn't attend Thursday's pickup in Tualatin, and volunteers prepping food for finishers.

And there was Bigfoot:
This event included a half, 10K and 5K, all with staggered starts. Our 10K was at 9:15 a.m., and since the actual starting line was about 1/3 of a mile away, we all made the trek up the hill shortly before 9 a.m.
I love small, organized races! Everyone was so nice and friendly and helpful. The head guy gave us the rundown, letting us know about the colored course markings, the massive ant hill near Mile 6, and the "relentless" hill known as "The Wall" - and he basically dared anyone to run up the entire thing (500 feet in 3/4 of a mile!).
Then he had us split into two groups to keep down the crowding. We chose the first group - for those who typically run a 10K in under an hour.
Soon, the first group was off, trudging up the first of many hills. My TomTom watch was all set to go, but I turned it on too early, and when the horn went off, it had timed out :( I turned it back on, but since I was running, it didn't sync. So I was totally blind! Eventually, I turned on the treadmill setting so I could at least watch my heart rate.

Brad and I planned to run casually and just for fun. I brought the camera and wanted to take some pics along the way. But I could tell that Brad was itching to see if he could run up the entire hill. I told him I really was OK with him ditching me... GO FOR IT!

So we did the first couple miles together, including high-fiving Bigfoot at the first aid station!

Then came The Wall... I walked and Brad took off. Bye!

I walked almost the whole way. It was just too steep! My calves were screaming and my heart rate was redlining just walking, so that was A-OK with me.

I had no idea of my pace or time or distance. But the only people who passed me were on The Wall. A few people ran past me but then stopped to walk a short time later.

I finally reached the "top", and double track turned to single track. For a while, a woman in blue, a man in green and I became an impromptu pace group, charging up and down the trail, through a couple streams, and chatting a tiny bit. We all offered to let the others pass but declined and stuck together at a good pace.

THANKFULLY, what goes up must come down!

The single track turned back to double track... downhill double track! The woman in blue didn't speed up, so I had a decision to make. I down shifted, pulled up next to her and then left her in the dust!

The double track was short lived, and soon I was back to the windy, steep, downhill dirt. I was FLYING! I didn't know my pace, but my heart rate was HIGH and I was zooming! It was so fun!

I passed a handful of other people, and no one caught up to me.

OH - and I spotted the ant hill... it was HUGE - like waist height! Fortunately, I was going too fast to get any ants on me :)

At about 6 miles, the single track joined back in with the main road, and the DOWNHILL end was in sight. With the finish line just feet away, I tried to pick off the final two people in front of me. But when the man heard my footsteps approach, he downshifted and pulled away. UGH! I almost had him.

But I left it all out there - so much for a casual run in the woods! ;)

Brad was waiting at the finish line, just 6 minutes ahead of me. A nice lady handed me my medal and a bottle of water. THANKS!
My official time was 1:10:56, an 11:26 average pace:
That's good enough for 42 out of 112 overall, 16/73 in women and third place in my division!

(My family all asked if it was 3rd out of 3.... HAHA! No - 3rd out of 18!!) Brad also took third place in his division!

After cooling down a bit and commiserating with fellow runners, including my friends in blue and green, it was time to walk back to the parking lot for our chicken noodle soup!

Pardon my crazy eyes! I was very excited about this soup :)
A bus shuttled us back to the church. Nice and smooth. Then it was time to refuel at Pizzasmith at Bridgeport Village. That hit the spot!
This was a great experience! I really enjoyed racing on trails - but it was definitely the toughest 10K I've ever run!

The Molalla Running Club did an excellent job hosting this race. I saw no problems at all. All details were covered. I can't wait to do more :)

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