Hell of the Northwest – 11/16/13

Hell of the Northwest. That name is no lie.

Jesse was away for work when this fun little trail run sparked his interest. I received an email from him randomly containing a link and the words “How do you feel about a 25k?”

Suuuuure, why not!? My [naive] response: “I’d be up for 25k!” I was then instructed to create a profile on Ultrasignup.com (much to Jesse’s delight), which had some sort of error in that everyone had to enter as children, but eventually I was officially registered. Only 15.5 miles. I could handle that.

Later, I poked around the actual website a little more and realized what the hell I had just agreed to. Over 3,000 feet of climbing. Um….okay. So I’ll run some and hike walk some. No biggie.

Here’s the course info (note: these are not our stats):

11-16-13 map

So, we get up at the crack of dawn, as we do, and drove down to the greater Corvallis area. It was cold and was supposed to rain and/or snow (naturally). Jesse had all sorts of extra layers in his pack – base layers, mid-layers, jackets, hats, gloves. Most of which, might I add, went unused. I think I put my jacket on around mile 14 and ran without gloves or a hat the entire way. But I am forever grateful for his preparedness (and even more appreciative that he is willing to run with all this stuff…just in case!). He probably just doesn’t want to hear me whine about being cold without having available options to shut me up! =]

Our plan was to walk the hills, as I had not been training properly for this event. Jesse could probably run it easy, and likely be a top finisher, but I’m still getting used to what it means to do “hill training”. I had been doing too many casual bridge loops downtown! Again, he was prepared enough to have noted exactly when the climbing started, how much it gained, and over what distance. So I had ample warning to take a GU, mentally recharge, or to commence crying. You know…whatever felt right. I kept thinking “Yup, should have dropped to the 10K!”. But I hadn’t and was now internally repeating my favorite running pun: “It’s a hill. Get over it!”

Here we go!

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We were off and the entire pack quickly left us in their dust! “We’ll catch some of them” Jesse claimed, but my legs were already burning by the .25 mark and took in this statement rather skeptically.

Despite my general feeling of being completely unqualified for the event, it ended up being such a gorgeous day for running! We had quite the mix of weather elements – wind, rain, sun, all of which equated to mud, cold, and the debate of whether or not we should be wearing sunglasses at any given moment. Even though we were caught in some rain, I was never miserable (weather-wise). So there’s a major plus!

Need a break – strike a pose!

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The course itself was also spectacular. Set in Blodgett, OR in the Starker Forest area, we had such great terrain. Some gravel road running, single track, grassy areas, and mud! Jesse was testing out his Salomon Spikecross shoes and though they were noisy on the road, he gave them rave reviews through all the mud! While I am consistently in love with my own trail shoes, they were a bit slippery at times and I required more than one arm up while climbing.

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Embarrassingly, the mountain biking sweepers caught us 3 times. “No pressure!” they yelled and hung back for a while. But you know the saying “You won’t be last. There’s always someone slower than you!” Yeaaaahhhh…..I was the slow one. Granted, there were only 50 people in the 25k, I was reassured time and again that it didn’t matter, and I knew/know in my heart I’m the only one who cares, but I was still mortified to be the one holding up the event finish. The poor aid station people, the volunteers at the finish line, and Jesse. I didn’t feel like a badass at all. I felt like an amateur in over my head.

I had to talk myself out of these feelings in order to finish at all (I was tempted at aid stations 3 through 7 to drop), and was again deflated when we had no sooner crossed the finish line when they immediately took down the banner. Everyone was super congratulatory and sweet as could be, but I just wanted to hang my head. I was in need of an attitude adjustment and that came with the free cookies at Eats & Treats Cafe on our way home!

This run was on a Saturday and I was sore and hobbling around until Wednesday. Again, the name was not just for dramatics!

Although I am beating myself up over this one pretty badly, in hindsight I’m glad I did it. I’d do it again (or another one like it) and just have to remember that it’s really all about getting out there and getting it done. No one except me cares that I’m last. And I suppose someone has to be!

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One thought on “Hell of the Northwest – 11/16/13

  1. Pingback: Condor 25k – 10/5/14 | Half Is My Lucky Number

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