Sunday, November 15, 2015

Silver Falls Trail Runs 2015

What a difference a year makes!!

Last year I was up to my eyeballs in grad school.  I hadn't run in months.  I was signed up to do the Silver Falls 7 Mile Trail run and I wasn't ready.....not even slightly.  I went in to that race planning to enjoy the day and not worry about the time.  And I did have a great time.

But that doesn't mean I can't do better.

This year I have been much better about getting my workouts in.  The distances haven't been super long but I have been getting three or four 30 minute workouts during the week and then at least one, sometimes two, long workouts on the weekends.  Not all of the workouts have been running.  I have been swimming at least twice a week and there have been bike rides here and there.  I have lost more weight.  Not a lot but enough that I notice a difference when I run.  I don't feel like I'm fighting my body as much trying to get it to move.

So my goal for this years 7 miler was to kick last years time to the curb.  And maybe stomp on it a few times for good measure.  Here is the results from last years race:

Not too bad for a nice hike at Silver Falls State Park.  Not too great for a run.  But it is where I was at on that day and the win was that I did it at all and I got to have a great day hanging out with my friends.

This year I wanted to get under two hours.  That seemed reasonable.  If I got 1:59 minutes then my average pace would have to be at least 17 minute miles.  I was pretty sure I could get that done.  But in the back of my mind the thought was that maybe I could get an average pace of 16 minute miles.  Anything that was below 16 minute miles would be awesome!

Joe got off work and came home to get me so we could take off for the park.  I was a little nervous but not too bad.  We had fun talking on the drive up and enjoying each other's company.  (At least I did, I hope Joe did too.) :-)

We got to the park and saw our friends Chad and Beth almost right away.  Chad was also doing the 7 miler and Beth was there to cheer everyone on.  Kari had been following us for quite awhile on the main road to the park.  We soon found Wendie, Tony and Trevor and got updates on how the 50k peeps were doing.  It was fun having so many people there participating and spectating that we know!  Makes it like a big party!

One nice thing about getting there only a half hour before start time is that there isn't a lot of time to get cold or nervous.

Soon it was time to line up and get this party started.

We took off and started to make our way up to the Rim Trail.  There was a lot more people than last year and a couple of times we had a bottleneck on the trail where we slowed down to a walk.  But it got better after the first half mile.  I had to walk a little on that hill but as soon as we got where it leveled out I got moving and felt really good.  I had decided not to look at my phone to see my pace and had the volume turned down so I couldn't hear the updates every mile.  I knew I would start obsessing about going faster or get mad if I wasn't doing as well as I thought I should.  I wanted to enjoy the run and have the results and how I felt speak for themselves.

I didn't take as many pictures during the race this year because I was actually racing.  I didn't want to loose my momentum and I didn't want people that I had passed to pass me.  :-)  It is a weird thing to be passing people!
View from behind the North Falls.
It was also very strange being surrounded by people for most of the race.  I'm used to being at the back of the pack where the people are more spread out.  I can usually see people in front of me and hear people behind me but they are always far off so a lot of the time I am very solitary.  Not this year.  I had people right in front of me and right behind me the entire 7 miles.  It was very odd and took some mental adjustments.  I found myself being annoyed by the very loud talkers that were behind me.  Especially since I wasn't listening to music.  It was hard to tune people out.  One girl seemed to be shouting all the time.  Her and her friends would pass me and then stop somewhere to take pictures and then I would pass them.

I had passed the North Falls and came up to the next set of falls that you have to go behind at around mile six.  Right after this is the dreaded stairs.  Last year I had to stop at every single landing and catch my breath.  Then I would slowly trudge up the steps to the next landing.  It was a very slow grind last year and I really expected the same thing this year.

I started up the steps and while I wasn't running, I wasn't going at a snail's pace either.  As a matter of fact I passed about 15 people on my way up.  What?  That felt crazy!  I passed all the ladies in the group that had kept stopping to take pictures and then would pass me again.  They never caught me again.  I would hear them occasionally but kept putting distance between us whenever we came to an incline.  That was fun!

I had been feeling really solid about my race and this was a huge confidence booster.  There was another small flat-ish section and then I came to the bottom of the South Falls.  This is a beautiful area and I love it but it is also a good climb to get up behind the falls and then more climb to get back up to where the parking lot is.  I knew that if I was going to end the run with a time I would be happy about I would have to not creep up these hills.  I worked at keeping a steady pace.  I wasn't running but I was moving along at a pretty good clip.  I pretended that Kristy and Wendie were just ahead of me and we were just doing one of our weekend hikes.  I just needed to try and keep them close so I could catch up when I started running.  lol  It worked.  :-)
Coming up to the South Falls.

Always have to stop and get a picture behind the South Falls.  :-)  
I got to the top and got some water at the aid station and it was so good.  Now for the last little bit.  The last brutal hill.  Nutcracker Hill.  It's a beast.  It is steep and at the end of a long run seems to last forever.  Then going down the other side is really steep as well so none of it is fast for someone like me.  But I was doing great and felt great so off I went.  Again, I wasn't setting any speed records but I was definitely moving along at a steady clip.  I could hear some of those ladies that I had passed on the stairs behind me and at this point I was not about to let them pass me at the end.  We had less than half a mile to go to the finish.
The last hill.  
When I came off the hill the trail comes out into a grassy area.  I had to run towards a bridge that went across Silver Creek and then I could see the finish.  The ladies running behind me sounded closer so I picked up the pace a little.  (Okay, a lot, I was determined!)

When I crossed the bridge I could hear my husband and friends cheering me on and that was awesome.  I knew I had done better than last year.  I was pretty sure I had beaten the two hour mark.  As I came around the corner and looked at the clock I couldn't believe it!  It said 1:51!!!  What?  I couldn't believe it!  I was looking at about a 20 minute PR at least.

You will never guess what I did next.  Well, if you know me or have been reading my blog for any length of time you will know....I started to cry.  I got my timing chip removed from my shoe, got my fabulous race medal and then got a HUGE hug from my #1 fan.  Best way to end a race!!!!

I kicked last years time to the curb...and stomped on it.

I have to tell you that it felt amazing!!
I did it!!  :-)
Last year I had a fantastic time because I proved to myself that even without training and having to put other things as a higher priority I could still go out and be active, enjoy the day and be proud of myself for being out there.

This year was about working towards a specific goal and managing to make it happen, in spite of stresses and things that made working out a hard choice to make at the end of the long, tiring day.

Here are my official results from this year:

This was an improvement of 19 minutes and 36 seconds from last year!!  Holy Crap Batman!!  Also, I'm usually one of the last or close to last in my age group.  Being in the middle of the pack for my age group was also pretty cool.  I improved my average pace by 2 minutes 47 seconds a mile!  That is pretty stinking good.

It has been a really long time since I've had a race that put that big of a smile on my face.  When I started thinking about it, the last race that I was this excited about was the Thanksgiving Day run almost two years ago.  Right before I started taking medication to help lower my A1C numbers for pre-diabetes.  I've worked through a lot since that race and it hasn't always been pretty.  I'm exceptionally proud of myself for continuing to work towards becoming a healthier me, inside and out.

I know that not every race is going to feel this good.

I have learned to value it even more when they do because of that.

We had planned on hanging out and watch our friends finish their 50k.  We loaded up and headed to the North Falls so we could see them pass one of the aid stations.  I was able to change out of my wet clothes and get warmed up which was wonderful.

Joe and I stood on the trail with Tony and Trevor and cheered people as they ran by and yakked when there was no runners.  It didn't seem to take long before we saw Josh come running up.  He was struggling a bit but he was still moving along well.  Then later we saw Kristy and she looked great.  They are so badass!  I can't even imagine running that far, let alone have a smile on my face when I see my friends.

After Kristy went by we loaded up again and headed to the finish line.  By now the rain that had held off while I was doing the 7 miler was pouring down.  We set up chairs under one of the big tent areas set up by the race people.  It was great, we had an awesome view of the finish line and we were dry.  More cheering and yakking.  The afternoon passed quickly.  Beers for the guys and cider for me didn't hurt any either.  Joe was driving home so I didn't have to worry about that.

Soon we saw Josh coming across the bridge but it was quite a bit sooner than we had expected him so Joe and Tony had both stepped away and had to come running back to cheer him across the finish.  Kristy was only about 10 minutes behind him and she totally crushed her time from last year!!  AWESOME!!
Tony, Joe and Josh
Pote rocked the 50k!!  Love this lady!!
We hung out for quite awhile with everyone after Josh and Kristy finished and watched more of the 50k runners finish.  It is so cool watching people do something that hard and finish with a smile on their face.  :-)

Joe and I headed home with Josh in tow.  We dropped him off in Stayton where Wendie was waiting to meet us and then we went home.  I had chicken in the crock pot for enchiladas.  I got the chicken shredded and put in tortillas.  Yummy!  That was the best dinner after a long fun day!

The next day we got up so Joe could have his turn.  He was doing the half marathon along with Josh and Wendie.  They were going to ride with us and they brought Kristy along so she could spectate with me.  :-)

Back to Silver Creek Falls we went.  Another beautiful day in the northwest.  A little bit of fog, a little bit of rain and a lot of fall color.

The half marathon started in two waves.  We had friends in the first wave and got to see them start off.  Fifteen minutes later it was time for the second wave to start and Kristy and I cheered our peeps on as they started.

Joe wasn't sure if he was going to be able to do the whole race because his hip has been bothering him.  He was going to get started and see how it went.  If he pulled out we could get him at the North Falls.  We thought that was about mile 8 so we stayed in the car for awhile before heading down.  It didn't take long before we saw people that we had seen after both the guys at the three mile mark.  Oops.  Turns out it was mile 6.  Joe and Josh were long gone.  I figured that Joe must have been feeling okay because otherwise he would have just waited for us to show up if he had decided to stop.

We did get to see Wendie though.  She was struggling with some IT pain but in her usual badass way she was powering through.  It's not like she had run a 7 miler the day before or anything.  :-)

Kristy and I headed back to the finish and set up chairs under a tree by the finish.  We got to see more of our friends finish and it wasn't long before Josh got done and then not long after that came Joe.  Wendie wasn't too much longer after that!  Wow!  So cool to see my hubby and friends working hard and kicking ass.

We got a chance to talk to Gary who runs the organization that puts on the Silver Falls Trail Runs.  It's called Run Wild Adventures.  They do many races all year long, mostly in the fall, winter and spring.  Here's their website if you want to check it out:  He is a great guy and his whole family helps out putting all the races together.  His wife always has a smile on her face and I see her everywhere doing everything with their little boy following along behind.  Gary's parents always are happy to see us.  His mom especially always makes me feel like a rock star and gives me big hugs and tells me she is so proud of me for doing these races.  Can't get much better than that.  She wasn't at the races this weekend but Gary assured me she will be at Shellburg Falls.  I just might have to get two hugs to make up for the one I missed this weekend.  :-)
Gary let us get a selfie with him.  :-)
After a few beers and some hot soup the race peeps changed their clothes to get warmed up and then we loaded up and headed for home.  There was much laughing and giving of shit on the drive home.  Never boring hanging out with this crew.

At home I made up hamburgers and Wendie made some guacamole.  We had a great afternoon hanging out and relaxing after all the hard work of the weekend. And yes, there was more laughter.  My favorite part!!

I've had a lot of discouragement along the way the last couple of years.  But I kept plugging away and working at what I could, when I could.  Sometimes it wasn't much, most of the time it wasn't easy but I didn't give up.  I'm very proud of that.

Now on to the next thing.  Shellburg Falls is in a month.  I have my first Olympic triathlon on the calendar in July.  I will officially sign up next month.  (Gulp!)  It's good to have things that are coming soon to keep my going and to have big goals in the future to scare the crap out of myself.  lol

If things are going the way you want, or you are seeing the progress you think you should don't give up!  It may feel like you are running in place and going nowhere fast but you ARE getting somewhere, even if it's a bit at a time.  That's better than nothing!!  Hang in there! You aren't alone!  You got this.  Maybe not today, or tomorrow or even this year.  But if you keep at it the benefits will start to become more and more apparent!!  Believe me, I know!!

No comments:

Post a Comment