To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
-Steve Prefontaine
Stepping outside the comfort zone is the price I pay to find out how good I can be. If I planned on backing off every time running got difficult I would hang up my shoes and take up knitting.
-Desiree Davila

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Scappoose Half Marathon

Training run.
Rural.
Inaugural.
Freezing.
Smallest half EVER.

Punctuation? Complete Sentences?
The above are ways I would describe the Scappoose Half Marathon put on by the local rotary club.  When I couldn't make it to the Runaway Pumpkin Half I decided to find one to sneak into my schedule to keep me busy racing. A little search on my phone led me to Scappoose! With only a few days until the race I decided to register. It promised a finisher's medal, t-shirt and boxed lunch. What's to complain about!?!

The race started at Scappoose High School at 10am. We were basically there while they were still setting up, and took advantage of the situation and time by staying inside the warm high school. I snooped around the girl's locker room, checked out the cafeteria, used the "girls room", marveled at the gym and entertained myself by reading some signs...

Check-in, once I finally decided to, was very simple. I got my cotton t-shirt and crazy enough didn't even complain that it was cotton. I realized quickly that this truly was a race put on by older men without any sort of race/running knowledge. They had good intentions and I thought for a first time during a cold month in a small town, well I think they pulled it off. Every single volunteer was very nice and chatty, even on the course! We got our bibs and MF noticed that there were hardly any people getting bibs for the half marathon. It was then that I knew I'd officially be the back of the pack. I didn't care. We later learned from locals that there was no advertisement for the race, hence the small turn out. Good thing I had no ego going into this race. 

I found Prefontaine in the locker room!!
This race was strictly a long training run as I prepare for Goofy weekend in just 2 months. I'm still getting back into the groove and rebuilding my ability to breathe, so I knew I wasn't going to be "racing". Fun was the name of the game!

Soon the 5K, 10K and half runners were making their way to the track. I was shocked at how many people were in shorts as it was still not even 40 degrees out (I think it even got cooler during the race)! I was in pants, long sleeves, gloves and a headband to keep my head warm. Just a week before I was in a t-shirt and skirt and sweating!  The half started first with a lap around the track before heading into the wilderness. I did push myself and keep up with the pack for that lap, staying around 9 minute mile pace or lower. Off the track I slowed down and four tenth of a mile into the race I was officially in the back where I'd stay the rest of the 12.7 miles!

Early on I decided to "Galloway It" with a .4 run/.1 walk ratio. We kept that the entire time and it really did help, especially mentally. I was able to assure myself that I could run .4 miles with no problem. Those .1 breaks were glorious! After the first 2 miles we were on our own. The 5K runners and come, turned and gone while the 10K runners were fairly sparse. Drink stops happened quite frequent in the beginning. I think we had 3 of them before we hit mile 3! And I'd call them water shots, certainly not big cups. I think at each stop I had two "shots". 

So there we were, on our own, just MF and I. Most of the race we could look ahead and behind and never see another person. I decided it would be fun to play music from my phone that was in my iFitness belt. It helped keep us entertained, especially around mile 5 when we had a full performance of Bohemian Rhapsody. I bet the wildlife really enjoyed that!

We saw horses, llamas, dogs, cows, birds and a snake that I had to jump around to avoid stepping on it.  I heard all sorts of animals as well. It was pretty cool! Not as cool was the road kill I had to avoid stepping on. 

Smells were prevalent. For a while it was pine trees. Loved it! But, crazy as it is, I was really excited near miles 9 - 10 when it smelled like .... wait for it .... manure. Yes, wildlife and manure. I don't hate it. It reminds me of when I was a child and of the county fair. 

The course was pretty quiet, human wise. We rarely had cars pass us, and only at a couple houses did we see residents out and about. Most interactions we had were with the volunteers at the water stations - minus the station that was only a table, bottled water and plastic shot glasses! I can't say enough how nice all the volunteers were. They were out there freezing and always greeted us with smiles and encouragement!

It was a very cold race.  MF had no gloves or pants yet (we remedied that later that night!), so he was losing feeling in his hands. I was pretty toasty compared to him, but I also have tons of accessories available for warmth. I started going numb and my legs didn't want to bend anymore. I think the pain started in my ass and worked its way down, making every joint stiff. I did my best to ignore it so I could get myself to the finish line sooner than later. 

The exciting finish line....
And soon it was there, the end.... Most of the time you hit the finish line and hear cowbells, announcers, music, cheering family members. This was not one of those times. I had a hard time even seeing where I was supposed to run to enter the track. Once I did I saw the finish line right there ... with 3 men. They were the 3 men running the timing equipment. Not one single spectator or volunteer welcoming us to the end of a cold, long race. They did say our names when we crossed, gave us bottled water and were nice, telling us where to go to get our medals, warm soup and sandwiches. We quickly went back into the high school.  Finishers were few and far between so nobody even realized there were two new frozen people arriving, wanting food and medals.  The boxed lunches were really nice - a BIG sandwich (sadly ALL of the meat variety), a banana, cookies and a Clif bar. I had to go find someone else for my medal. Being one of the last runners I ended up with a 1st in Division medal versus a regular medal. I didn't complain, again I knew this was a first time race put on by older men as a way to kind of celebrate Veteran's Day. I just decided I came in 1st in the Awesome Person division.  

We hurried to the car to thaw out and decided on pizza for some post-race food. It was glorious! Pizza, nachos and bread sticks. Pure Heaven!! Later on I checked the results. I wanted us to finish in less than 3 hours - and we did with no problem at all. AND I was 3rd in my division .... ignore that there were only 4 of us in my division. A half marathon with 55 runners! Smallest half I've ever done. And really, No complaints! For someone wanting a nice, relaxing run through the countryside and a lunch at the end, I'd actually recommend it! That's my Sweet Sixteen half marathon, and a sweet little race it was!


5 comments:

  1. Congrats!! A first in division is pretty sweet! Love that the three stooges put this race on, timed it and cheered for the runners. With only 55 racers, I can imagine how spread out things got. I still have visions of putting on a half in Elkton some day, but i think we can beat 55 people. :) Still, there is something nice about not being crowded.
    I'd love to see your garmin map on this one!

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  2. What a tiny half but it sounds like you had a great time with it! I love small races and I think it's mostly because I run by myself so I don't need other runners around me to motivate me to run faster. Congrats on taking 3rd in your age group!

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  3. Congrats on your age group award. That's super awesome!
    I'm so scared of small races.

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  4. Ack!! I'm so behind on my blog reading!! But congrats!! I love it - first in the Awesome Person Division!! And congrats on 3rd place!! Small races scare me because I'm afraid I'll be last and they'll be waiting to take down the finish line as I cross it.

    Mmmm, pizza!! I think I might need to have that for dinner now.

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  5. Congrats! I too placed third in my age group during a 1st time half marathon and just like yours, there were only 4 people in my age group. In my case I say...Hooray for being an older runner in a small race (mine had between 100 & 150). But its a "podium" finish and something that my faster running husband has never accomplished. Hee Hee

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