Monday, October 16, 2017

Twisted Pine Half (9/16/17)

In September, the McKee side of the family gathered at the coast to spread the ashes of Grandma and Grandpa. It was a good family time, hanging out, remembering, and eating :)

Since we were spending the weekend at the coast, I checked to see if there might be a nearby race - you know, just for fun. That's what I do.

The Twisted Pine was set for Newport, just a few miles south of our campground. There was a 5-mile trail run and a half marathon, half on trails, half on roads. My training schedule called for 10 that weekend, so I picked the half. Eryn signed up for the 5. Brad decided to do his own run.

We woke early Saturday at our Beverly Beach campsite, prepped, and drove to South Beach for the race. It was just the second year, so we knew it would be a small race. (Just 33 people ran the half, 21 ran the 5 miler)

The half started first, so I got ready to go!
Free race pics are my favorite!
The first part of the course was the same:
Through the woods and over some dunes at South Beach State Park on our way to the jetty:
We popped out of the woods and ran east toward town. Pretty nice view!
The course went along Yaquina Bay, past the aquarium and the NOAA facility. Then we ran out to Idaho Point, which provided a surprise hill. But I've been training on hills for my next half, so I just powered up. No problem :)
Back down along the bay:
The course description was vague, intentionally so, according to the race director. And since I'm not from the area, I just went with it. I ran a bit hard on the in-town sections, staying comfortable but taking advantage of the flat pavement.

We returned to the jetty and ran straight onto the beach. Oh, man - that was really challenging! We first went over the dune, which I had to walk. Then we had to "run" through really thick, dry sand to reach the hard pack near the water. It was brutal. Then we ran a 2-mile out-and-back on the sand. I kept thinking, "I'm from Portland. We don't have sand in Portland!!!!"

Exiting the beach required climbing another big dune. A photographer was stationed at the top and captured Brad run past:
Eryn had to run a bit on the beach, too, but not as much as the halfers:
FINALLY off the beach:
Look at that loose sand!
After leaving the beach, the course took a hard left off the asphalt onto a very subtle, narrow, dirt trail. There were signs, but I absolutely didn't see the trail. I blew past it and ended up in the ground ground loop. I turned around and returned the short distance, but two women who I'd passed early on got in front of me. BUMMER! 

The final 2 miles were on hilly, twisty, sandy single track. The relief I was hoping to get after the beach was not there! I think this was the hardest part of the race. Part of that might be because I wasn't really trained up to half distance. But part was the course. 

I had to walk portions, and another racer got past me. I really hate it when I can't hold off the competition in the last half of a race.

I passed Eryn in this last section, and she may have yelled some curse words at me for suggesting she sign up ;)

Finally, I emerged from the woods into the finish area:
Eryn wasn't too far behind:
An amazing meal of homemade tacos was waiting! Also, my parents surprised us at the finish line! I didn't know they were coming.

But the biggest surprise was when they announced the "Female Masters" winner: Liz Wood! WHAT? Oh, the beauty of small races :)
The plaque was gorgeous!
My official time was 2:24:44, an 11:03 average. I was 18/33 overall and 6/18 female. I wonder if I could have held off those two women if I hadn't missed that turn.... maybe, maybe not.
This was a much tougher race than I was anticipating. But, it was a beautiful course with tons of variety - trails, sand, ocean, bay, asphalt, streets, paths, wilderness, flat, hilly. It was also super organized! I would do this one again - and I recommend it to anyone :)

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