I KNOW some of my enthusiasm about this race might seem exaggerated because it’s my first race post-back, I but I swear that has (almost) nothing to do with it.
A few months ago, my friend suggested this race in Eastern Washington that had races on both weekend days and some ridiculously HUGE medals. Since I really enjoyed the 3 days of races at Runners World Fest last October, I looked into it, and added it to my Wish List on FitFam. When it was time to register though, I was out. Super bummed, I knew I was going to miss out on yet another race that had been on this years ‘to do’ list.
But soon, I was running again. I was good not going because that’d be crazy. And then… Thursday (12th?) I could NOT get to sleep. I’d run that night, again, and felt great. As in, I wanted to go running again. Mind racing (ha), I quickly checked the race website for the Sage Rat Run and online registration was still open until Wednesday. I checked with my two friends that were going for sure and asked if I could camp out on their hotel floor IF (and it was still a big IF) I registered – yep, they were game.
I saw Dr Zach on Monday and got another thumbs up progress report – okay to add mileage, or lengthen the run time and walk less, or both. Just listen to my body.
I made a deal with myself, to see how Sunday’s long run felt. We were scheduled for 1:15, which would be the longest run (time) since February. Verdict? Grrreat! So, Monday I registered for the 12k!
Finally, to the race part. Okay, not quite, but almost. Friday, my best running buddy jokingly responded to a group message “Dammit H! If I didn’t already have family plans…” To which I responsibly responded “Such as?”. Short story – 90 mins later she was showered, packed, and dropped off at my girlfriends house! We all met in North Bend, where their highway met mine, she hopped in my car (that left 3 in the other car), and our caravan was off! Road trip, girls weekend AND a race!!!NOW the race…
L hadn’t preregisteted, and tried to say she was just there to cheer, but we didn’t buy that and after we said goodbye to the two that were running the half marathon (90 minute earlier starting time), we headed to the start of the 12k (after coffee, food, blah blah blah). We were a bit early, so we hung out in the car since it was a bit breezy outside. Packet pick-up and L’s registration was fairly quick, though the volunteers had some teens helping out that needed a tad bit of hand holding but not a big deal. Back to the car to pin bibs, take off sweatshirts, admire the Johnsons running form….
Safety briefing before the start, reminded runners that we would be crossing LIVE train tracks right before the finish line. In case you’re wondering, the train will ALWAYS win. If you are stopped, you get a special medal (no train for us, damn)!
This race wasn’t chipped timed, but we were all in it for fun so we didn’t care – gun time works. And at 9:30am, we were off.Let’s make this easy:
- Amazing course support. National Guard, Police, Volunteers were EVERYWHERE. As in every road crossing and every 2 miles for aid stations.
- Aid Stations were well stocked. The 12k follows the half, yet the aid stations had plenty of water, Gatorade, Huma gels, candy, goldfish crackers, even chunks of banana!
- No big hills. This was actually important to me because I wanted something ‘easy’.
Having my running buddy L there, was HUGE. My plan was to run 1:1 intervals for the first 5-6 miles, then see how I felt and change the plan if I I wanted or needed to. I was nervous that I’d just say screw it and do too much. But she was there, and with her came the calm. Run. Walk. Repeat. At mile 6 or so, we DID decide to switch it up. We went to 2:1, doubling our running time. We had been leap-frogging with three steady runners, and from experience we knew how frustrating it can be to have run/walkers catch or pass you over and over again. Since whadn’t been ‘able’ to slow our running pace below 11:30 (and sometimes we were in the 10’s), we decided we both felt good enough and went for the new interval (and never saw those 3 again).
At about mile 7, our speedy half finisher friend was running back to meet us and she pointed to the finish. We could see it. I said “lets go for it” and off I went. L came along but it started going slightly uphill at which point I’m pretty sure I heard “fuck you”and then “go for it, you’ve got this”, so I didn’t stop. And then I remembered that I haven’t been running much, or fast, and I thought my lungs might explode. I made it through the finish, got my medal, pulled my phone out and turned around to catch L and our other friend doing the half with us cross the finish line!
And that finish area was amazing. Starbucks coffee (boo, no half & half, so I skipped it), Gatorade (had some, diluted it first), Krispy Kreme donuts (had one, wished I hadn’t within 2 mins, I really don’t like them), and then bliss…Mexican food! Rice, grilled chicken, amazing salsa, chips and a dollop of guacamole. This was exactly what I needed!
There was also a DJ playing great music, activities for kids, National Guard booth handing out bottles of water and collapsible hydration flasks, lots of happy runners and their families. We headed over to the finish line where the last our our group was coming in from the 5k…which she started immediately after finishing the 12k. Because you get an extra medal and she’s crazy. We taunted her with food and she crossed the Finish Line in style.
Shuttle busses/vans took us back to our cars, and L and I headed back to the hotel. Crap – we realized that our room key went to the half start, so we were ‘forced’ to head to the restaurant for our own personal race finishers reward – beer.
I don’t usually like to repeat races, since I’m all about adventure and seeing new places, but this is one that I am seriously considering doing again. Great value, support, medal, shirt (which is an extra $12), and all around event.