Sunday, February 27, 2011

Fall Creek Run Around 20M Race Report

Saturday was the Fall Creek Run Around, a 20mile, 15K or 5K run around Fall Creek Reservoir near Lowell, OR. I thought signing up for the 20 mile run would be a great way to get in a long run for my marathon training.  As race day grew near, and the weather grew colder and snowier, I started thinking that maybe it wasn't the best idea anymore, but with entry fee paid I couldn't back out.  As I was driving to the start, which seemed like forever away, I realized it wasn't quite 22 miles from my house and I would soon be running almost that far.  Dan and the kids stayed at home, so I played race photographer.

Here I am just getting to the start... nice and toasty in the car.
After a quick jaunt across the slippery parking lot to pick up my packet (and be given a weather advisory stating that there could be hazardous and slippery conditions) and to take a few more pictures of myself and the frozen ground, it was back into the car to try and stay warm before the start.  My toes were seriously numb and they wouldn't end up thawing out completely until about 2 miles into the race.

With only a few minutes until race time, I thought it would be a good opportunity to hit up the port a potty line, which is where I got to also meet up with the lovely Laura of Run Momma Run.  Yes, it really was that cold... check out all the big puffy coats in the background.
After the starter let us know how hard core we all were and a little bit of warning to let us know that there was going to be a fair amount of ice and also the promise that if we got out there and didn't feel it was safe, to come back and they'd try and hook us up with a different race, we were sent on our way.  I've never raced with a phone before or taken pictures on a run but thought this would be the perfect race to try it out.  Here are a few pictures I took, mostly on the first 10 miles of the race.  As you'll see, some spots were a lot better than others, but for the most part it was really icy.  I almost ate it several times.  I finally learned that it was a lot better running in the shoulder where there was powdery snow then trying to dodge the icy spots on the road. There was a guy running behind me that tried to cross the road to get a drink at a water stop and he fell big time.  It was the most graceful fall I have ever seen though, as he managed to do some awesome sliding roll thing and get back up as though nothing had happened.  He did say he was just fine, but I'll bet he's feeling pretty beat up now that the race is over.

It was kind of cool because there was a guy somewhere in front of me running in Vibrams, so his footprints looked like Bigfoot was out there running in the snow.

It was kind of a lonely race.  I seemed to be right in between two groups of people and pretty much stayed that way the entire 20 miles.  I felt really good the first half and it seemed to pass fairly quickly.  The second half of the race though didn't treat me quite so well.  I got a really bad side ache and I must have been really tensing my whole body because my arms where just aching.  About mile 15 I caught up to a guy who had run the race the year before but in reverse.  He was pretty sure that it was mostly uphill to the finish from there out, but only a gradual incline.  He was mostly right, it was gradually uphill until the last 2 miles which seemed straight up hill.  I'll be honest, by that point I. was. done.  There was a water station right at the start of the hill, I grabbed some water and walked while I drank it.  Then I ran for a bit and decided to walk some more.  I'm not really sure how much I walked, probably not much more than a minute or so, but it was long enough that I provided someone the opportunity to pass me, while encouraging me to "hang in there".  I think if I hadn't been so tired I probably would have burst into tears.  I've never walked in a race, especially that close to the end, but I could not make myself go.  Finally I pulled it together and got going again... there was no way I was going to be walking when I got close to the finish line.

I never did see the 19 mile marker, so I was super excited to see the turn into the park for the finish line.  I was so happy to be done.  I ended up finishing 24th overall, 5th place for the women and 2nd in my age group.  Due to the cold and snowy conditions it was a pretty small turnout with only 48 runners in the 20miler.  The event people were super nice and friendly.  There was warm soup and other goodies at the finish (that I'm sure tasted great, but the thought of any food made me want to puke, so I can't tell you for sure) as well as quite a few people still hanging around to cheer on the finishers.
Overall, I think it was a pretty well organized race and quite scenic.  I would love to run it again sometime on roads that are a little less icy and see if maybe I could have a better go at it.  For right now though, I'm pleased that I did it, it was a great training run and I feel like maybe I have a better idea what actually running a marathon will be like.  Also, since it was my first 20 mile race, it's an automatic PR.  Hooray!

 Final time:  3:03:39
first 10 - 1:30:24
second 10 - 1:33:15
average pace 9:11 - I was hoping to be more around 8:30 to 8:45ish pace, but that's okay I guess.

(I'm not really sure how they got the split as there was no one around at the 10 mile marker and we weren't wearing chips, but I'll take their word for it.)


me/mom/NANA said...

WOW good for you to run the race in those conditions. You are a very dedicated mom so I would expect it in all aspects of your life and it shows here. Great story and photos as well. I for one am very proud of you and very impressed. Great job.

Joleane said...

Way to go!!! You did awesome! You did it. You finished. 20 miles is a loooooong way.
Never feel bad for walking during a race. It's more important to listen to your body. Taking little walking breaks throughout a run or race is actually supposed to help with things like fatigue and sore muscles. It's not a "bad" thing.
Congrats on your great finish.

(Just) Trying is for Little Girls said...

Wow, amazing. Could you have had worse conditions for 20 miles? Congrats on your 2nd place too!

Amanda@runninghood said...

brrr. Great job getting out there. We drove up to Vernonia to run the 13 mile course of the half marathon we will be running in April (my hubs and I) and the trail was covered in snow. the roads we ended up running on looked a lot like these pics. You look great!

Julie D. said...

wow. super hardcore. great race and what a great way to get a 'training run' in. Congrats!

Anonymous said...

i am so proud of you! twenty miles in those conditions is great! you inspire all of us.

BeePieRuns said...

Good job! I've done a couple of really snowy/icy long runs before and know that can really slow down your time, so you should definitely be proud of your effort! Especially 5th woman overall - awesome!!

AshleyR said...

Good job! This race will just build up your mental toughness for the next tough spot you get into. Good luck with the rest of your marathon training!