Sunday, November 2, 2014

Silver Falls Trail Runs 2014

Last summer I signed up for the Silver Falls 7 Miler.  This is the first time they have had this length of a trail run during the event.  I have done the Half Marathon twice before and thought it would be nice to do the shorter route this year. I signed up back on August 1st before I had done my big reassessment of my goals and priorities.  So what's a girl to do when they signed up for a 7 mile trail run and they haven't been running?

Run it anyway.

I didn't plan to run at all.  I actually just planned on hiking it and enjoying the day.  No biggie because I absolutely love Silver Falls State Park and figured there are definitely worse ways to spend a fall morning.  If you want a gorgeous hike any time of the year this is the park to go to!

We had three friends who were participating in the 50k that was going on as well.  They started their journey at 7:30 in the morning.  I waited for Joe to get home from work and we loaded up the car and we headed out.  Our race started at 9:00 and we made it to the park by 8:30 so we had time to get ready and get started. puts on a fantastic race and we enjoy every single one of their trail runs that we participate in.  The Silver Falls weekend has morphed over the years.  Originally it was just a half marathon and the numbers were limited.  The numbers are still limited but now they have a 7 miler, a 50k, a Marathon and a Half Marathon over the first Saturday and Sunday of November.  If you think you want to get into one of these races next year I suggest you put a reminder on your phone, it fills up fast!

We found Wendie right away and she let us know that Josh, Kristi and Tony had gotten off to a good start.  She would be meeting up with them at various aid stations on the route to make sure they had anything they needed and were doing alright.  She got this picture of me and my fabulous hubby.

Always encouraging and supportive in whatever I'm doing!  
The race began and Joe took off.  I decided to run for a bit just to get warmed up.  I actually felt pretty good.  As I was going I begin to think maybe I could change what I planned to do for this hike.  Now I decided I would run (slowly) as much as I could and then walk on the up hills.  If I got to a point where this was too much I would go back to the original plan of hiking the route.

I had to walk up a little bit when the trail went up to the Rim Trail but then it flattened out, somewhat, so I began to run again.  Because I have a track record of tripping and falling on the trails I took it easy in areas with lots of rocks or roots showing.  We followed the Rim Trail down to the North Falls where I had to stop and get some pictures. 
North Falls
Typically by this time of year most of the leaves have fallen off the trees but there were still a lot on the trees and all the yellow was so beautiful to run through.
Oregon beauty!
I was not running fast but I was still running and I felt good.  It was fun to be out and have no specific goal other than to finish.  I think my journey the last few months has been remembering that having a goal to finish is an excellent goal.  I don't always have to be fast or beat my time from a previous year.  I can have a goal that says "Yay!  I got my butt off the couch today!  Winner!"

I knew that the trail was not too steep until I got to the Lower South Falls.  Then there would be stairs.  I think stairs are worse than hills!  So I figured as long as I felt good I would keep running until I got to those stairs.  

Lower South Falls
I used the stairs as an opportunity to refuel and use my inhaler.  Then I just plugged away at them.  I didn't count them but according the the trail map brochure for Silver Falls there are 185 steps.  Ugh.  I so need to add stairs and hills to my training!

The trail evens out again for a bit until you get to the bottom of the South Falls.  So I ran until I got there.  There was lots of water coming over the falls and a lot of spray.  I was hot from running so the spray felt good.  I know my pictures look like typical South Falls pictures, but it is so beautiful you can't help but take them.
South Falls view from the bottom.

South Falls from the trail behind the falls.  Gorgeous fall colors!

South Falls from near the top.  Love the fog and mist and the top.
I knew when I got to the top that I only had one more hill between me and the finish.  I headed back towards the area where the finish line is but then I had to take a right and head up that last, awful hill. I'm not the only one who thinks it is not fun.  Everyone who has done these races talks about that last crappy hill.  You just say "Really? You've got to be kidding me!"  Even when you know it's coming.  Here is the name that has developed over the years for this hill:
That pretty much sums it up.
The problem is that it is super steep up and super steep down the other side so it is hard to go fast either way.  Last year was super muddy so it was slick too.  This year wasn't as slick but still hard to trudge up after all the running without training I had done.  But since I knew I was close to the finish I made it up and then gingerly made my way down the other side.  The fear of falling down, since I tend to do that, kept me from going faster on the downhill side.

A year ago a couple of guys from the Vertebrate team doing the marathon had passed me starting up the hill and encouraged me.  Then one of the guys met me coming down the other side as he was going back up to finish with another teammate.  He smiled at me and said good job.  I smiled back and said thanks.  Now that guy is my friend!  What a difference a year makes.  I sent him a selfie (he LOVES selfies....not) and told him that if he had been there this year I would have given him a big sweaty hug.  :-)  

I finished with my daughter waiting for me at the corner where you turn into go to the finish.  Seeing her smiling face cheering me on kept me running to the finish.  At the finish was my hubby and friends.  No matter how fast or slow I go there are always people at the finish telling me I did awesome.  I am doing a much better job of understanding that I accomplish much by getting out there and doing something, no matter what my speed is.  

I changed my clothes and it felt so good to be warm and dry.  We hung out at the truck for awhile with some guys who work in my school district and had a lot of fun laughing and talking.  One had done the 7 miler as well and the other had come along to cheer him on.  

Later we grabbed our chairs and headed over to the finish line to wait for our awesome 50k peeps.  We had a great time talking with people, cheering people over the finish line and just hanging out.  The marathon and the 50k people were both finishing and it was fun to watch them get loved on by their friends and families at the finish. 

Then we could see our friends.  They were all together and looked great.
Josh, Kristi and Tony come into the final stretch.
Joe, Meighan and Wendie decided they should have to finish under their arm arch while I took pictures.
Here they come! 
Great way to finish! 
Kristy finishing her longest race ever!!  Nice work lady1
Great picture of Friend Josh's awesome smile!  Great way to end the race.
They all looked really great at the finish!  They were all running and still smiling!  Quite the accomplishment.  (Side note:  Josh went back today and ran the Silver Falls Half Marathon!  Beast Mode Activated!)
No complaints about the picture Kristy!  I think you and Tony look fabulous!!
First priority after running a 50k?  Getting a beer.  Second priority?  Getting clean and warm!
Priority #1 taken care of.  Still haven't gotten to Priority #2
Joe and I had brought along our grill from home in the back of the truck.  The plan was to stay at the park and have a little post race celebration.  We had hamburgers and brats, salad, fresh fruit, chips, beer and cider.  What I didn't know was that my friends had decided to make it into a small birthday celebration for me as well.  My birthday is on Monday and they had decided to help me celebrate early.  I got an awesome tote to carry teacher-y things to and from school and some awesome Pote "Made With Love" slippers in my favorite color of purple.  There was also confetti cupcakes and candles.  It was awesome and I felt very loved.  That was just about the most perfect way to celebrate my birthday.  Hanging out, laughing and enjoying my friends after having a great time on the trail.  I love these people!!
Some of my favoritest people in the world!  Love you guys!
Enjoying my Birthday slippers!
When we finally packed up and headed home we had the perfect finish to the day.  The sky was amazing and the sunset was stunning.

Good run, good friends, good day.  I'm still looking foward to making new goals when I'm done with grad school but I sure am enjoying what I'm doing right now.  Life is good.  :-)

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