Bend, Oregon – Horse Butte 10 Miler race report.
Short version: It was AWESOME. Perfect weather, wonderfully well marked course, only ONE aid station but lots of heads up about that from inception to race start so it was no problem. I ran alone almost the entire way which ended up being super zen-like and was 194 out of 196. I would recommend it and run it again.
SUPER Long/detailed version: I live at 491′ above sea level. This race starts at 3,976′ and maxes out at 4,329′. Last year I ran my first trail run ever, at The Dirty Half in Bend with my brother. I was not last, but only because I would have pushed that 82 year old guy over that finished behind me had he come too close. He already had one new hip, what would a second have mattered. It took me 3:27:38 to finish and I thought I would DIE (temp was mid-70’s, but high desert). I would have quit numerous times had my brother not been there (disclaimer: he’s 7 years younger, lives in Bend, doesn’t train and can totally smoke me in a half marathon getting up off the couch and probably drinking too much the night before. Jerk.) I swore I would never, ever, ever, never run there again.
January 26th at 7:29pm I had 1:30 to go in my plank and had already done 70 push-ups and get the following text from my brother: “Hey do you want to come down and run the Horse Butte 10 mile run on April 4? Go check out the foot zone website. It fills up uber quick.” Check out the screenshots of the conversation:
In March I finally got some actual trail shoes (Brooks Cascadia 9’s – because my feet don’t care about last season shoes on sale) and started actually running ON trails. And hills. And I’m totally in love with all of that now (almost sort of dreading the pancake flat half coming up this Sunday (Blooms to Brews race recap coming soon) – shhh.)
Fast forward to Wednesday when my brother let’s me know he, his wife (who’s also supposed to run it) and baby are all sick. He may back out, SIL is going to decide Friday (she had to bail on Dirty Half because she came down with strep). Red (my daughter) & I drove down Friday (6-1/2 hours – hardly any traffic which was a treat), got a burger and met up with them in downtown Bend. It’s First Friday in Bend, which means Art Walk, free snacks and wine/champagne at a lot of shops, etc. We walked around for 3 hours, had a lovely Bulleit on the rocks (my sister paid – I totally took advantage), then free Gelato at their friends stores Pre-Opening party. Finally to their place, got Flat Honoré ready and finally crashed around 11pm.
Race morning was about 27° at my brothers house. We all (a couple friends, my daughter, me & my brother) loaded into their motorhome and headed up to the start. I wanna motorhome at every race now, by the way.
Porta potty line went quickly. Please – when you get in, LOCK the damned door. Seriously, no one needs to see that.
Race directors announcements included brief trail description including “if you end up in a housing neighborhood – you went the wrong way” and “when you get to the one road you have to cross, look for cars because they don’t give a shit about you and may not slow down”. Gun and we’re off. Uphill, on the sandy, frosty road.
The first .25 is the road to the start and then it’s on to single track for the remainder of the run. Lots of roots in some areas, rocks, but overall not too technical. Some of it is pretty crappy though because it’s more like a chute than a trail. A little over a foot wide and cupped so you are either stepping exactly one foot in front of the other, or one is up/down hill. Speaking of hills, they weren’t as bad as I was expecting. You are on a gradual uphill the first 2 miles, then at 3 you go up switchbacks to the top of the butte, then meander around for a couple miles, down a bit, up another quick steep butte, then from 9.25 to the end it is mostly downhill and not so steep you loose control, just steep enough that I ran sub-11 pace to the finish and literally sprinted to the chute. Views were amazing – and although I did look around, because of the random roots and rocks, I was looking down most of the time. I did keep track of a girl in a pink shirt though – she was behind me and I was determined to keep her there. At the aid station I stopped for about 2 minutes and ate my chia bar (dark chocolate & cherry – yum) and drank a full cup of water. This break was delightful, but did cost me my A goal, I just didn’t realize how close I was to sub-2hr because I was trying mostly to enjoy myself and not stress so I hadn’t been looking at my Garmin (sleeve pulled down over it & no contacts – not hard!). Oh well – if I factor in the altitude time adjustment per http://www.runworks.com of -15.5 seconds per mile, my adjusted time would have been under 2hrs, and that’s good enough for me.
I was prepared for the ‘little bump’ at 8.25 and took it easy from 8 until the top of it, drinking a bit of extra water. At the top though, I was ready to be over and that’s when *Leonardo & Peter took over, giving me the drive, courage and determination to keep going. If they can fight their battles, I can finish this little run. And I just started smiling when I hit that downhill at 9.25 – it was as if they got me to the hump and then said “see, you’ve got this, now finish it”. Official time is actually better than my Garmin so – 2:02:15.4! 194/196 runners. 591′ elevation gain overall.
(*Leonardo and Peter are from the Sub30 Club Facebook Group. One is battling cancer and the other a traumatic brain injury. I have never met either of these two incredibly determined men, but they keep fighting when faced with horrendous odds, pain, etc. There is nothing I can do – but they remind me of what I can do even when it’s hard and I want to quit. So I keep going…and so do they!)
I just want to talk heart rate training really quick, too. I KNOW it made the difference. My overall pace at the Dirty Half was 15:42mm (I had run the Seattle RnR Half a couple weeks earlier at 13:31mm). My overall pace on Saturday was 12:24mm! And I NEVER felt like I’d maxed out. Someone reminded me not to panic if I couldn’t catch my breath in the first few miles, so I went easy (whoops, first mile was sub-11) and backed off the few times I felt like breathing was getting too labored. Had I not run so many runs at MAF or 80/20 rate and known how that felt, I never would have known how this run
could should feel. Obviously, my HR was higher (didn’t wear my HR strap because I didn’t want to risk chafing), but pretty sure it never went above 165-170 based on feel…except when I finished, and found out Red had finished (2nd in her age group – 1:50:55), then passed out. I think SHE needs to HR train (she is totally fine and their med staff was awesome). Once she said she was fine – I got my beer, because… um, I was really thirsty.
And for the stats:
Winner was a guy (you may have heard of him, Ryan Bak) age 33 – 53:23.8
First Woman finisher 28 – 1:03:34.8 (perspective, last place 2:21:58.6)
Fastest Woman in my (45-49) age group – 1:12:23.1 (holy shit!)
Oldest Male age 72 – 1:46:50.5 (double hell!)
Oldest Female age 63 – 2:01:51