Friday, June 10, 2016

Run for the Hills 30k

Last weekend we embarked on our 2nd Run for the Hills race in Corvallis, Oregon.  We both ran this race last year on a whim with some friends, and kept it as an easy going, "mostly will be hiking" mentality as I just only been back to running a couple months after having our daughter.  So we knew what to expect this year and had been running all year so far.  The race this year meant seeing where our progress is at, and of course enjoying the beautiful course and having fun.  I'll admit that training is/was beginning to get tricky again with the natures of, kids, you know the story...but non-the-less we keep at it.
The week of the race, and looking ahead at the weekend, the weather was HOT!!!!!  It was projected to be in the 90's on race day.  Not our ideal weather conditions, but we made sure to take precaution and drank a lot of water in the days leading up to the race.  I tried doing a little carbo loading with an extra scoop of carbo pro in my water twice a day for 2 days just to help with energy and hydration.

Sunday rolls around and we are ready to go!  We had our awesome Orange Mud packs (I used the double barrel and Chris used the newly released endurance pack) loaded with GU, water, carbo pro (in mine) and of course a camera (phone) to take pictures and record this beautiful race.  It was probably high 70's when we started the race, so it was warm, but I honestly didn't feel bothered by it at the start.  We all started the race together and began trekking up the trails.  I had forgotten that we pretty much start climbing within the first few miles, so my mind was playing a few tricks on me, but I just told myself to take it one step at a time and don't worry so much about time.  My goal going into the race at the starting line was to enjoy myself, walk when I need to, and to stay hydrated.  Hydration is always something I struggle with during runs, so I was trying to pay special attention to that since it was so hot today.  Chris stayed with me for a little while, then I told him to go on ahead, because I knew he could go faster, and I didn't want to hold him back.  So we split around mile 3, and each did our own thing.  

I trekked up the trail doing a few 60/60's (walk a minute, run a minute) along the way on some steeper parts, and just enjoying the scenery around me.  One thing I really like about this race is that it's small and many times you are by yourself with only nature as your running partner (I love it!).  As I creeped up to the summit, the views make the difficult hills so worth the climb.  You can just see for miles, plus there was a nice breeze up top to help cool us down.  I made it to the aid station at mile 6 and consumed some water, carbo pro, and a couple orange slices.  Knowing I'll be stopping back by here in 6 miles again, I headed down my least favorite part of the course.  It's my lease favorite because it's on gravel, and mostly down for a few miles, then we turn around to head back up it.  It's the most difficult part because this is where most of the climbing happens, but the gradual downhill was definitely a nice break for a few miles to catch back up.  

One section of this that ends right before the aid station is very steep.  This is the 2nd year they have had this portion of the trail.  Most people around me were walking this piece of the course, but alast, the aid station appears.  As I approached the aid station, I got a weird feeling on the outside of my lower left shin.  Not a sensation I have felt before, so I said to myself, "great, I'm getting leg cramps and I still have 6-7 miles to go!"I took my time here and fueled up with some GU, oranges, water, and doused myself with some ice...oh and clear my nose from my nasty allergies!  But the ice...oh man that felt so good.  I didn't realize how warm I probably was, so that was very refreshing.  As I finished taking care of business, I headed out for the last portion of the race.  Most of it would be downhill, with a few rolling hills.  As I began my journey down, I began to get another uncomfortable feeling in my left quad above my knee.  This one hurt a bit.  I thought maybe I needed more salt, so I took a salt tablet, rubbed my leg out and continued on.  I took it easy the rest of the way, stopping when it began to hurt, and taking my time.  I wasn't sure if it was a cramp, or a muscle, so I didn't want to push anything too hard.  It wasn't a super enjoyable the last hour of my run, but I muddled through it.  I was definitely getting hot and continued to drink water and stay cautious with how my body was feeling.

Way to go Chris!
The last 2.5 miles were hard for me.  I walked most of it because the heat was there, and my quad wasn't happy.  I ran when I felt I could, but it was hard.  It was definitely a mental game at the end, but I kept pushing on and telling myself that this is all part of training, that time doesn't matter, and to try and enjoy these last miles.  I continued on and finished in 3:26. (7 minute PR).  Not the time I was hoping for, but still better than last year.  Chris finished in 2:58, running 35 minutes faster than last year and placing 3rd in his age group (yay Chris!!!).
This is Patterson!

A side note, I ran off and on with a couple girls who had done a few ultras.  They had matching shirts on, so I asked what they meant.  I learned that they were running for charity (their team called Pursuit for Patterson) to bring awareness and funds for one of the girls' nephew who has Epidermolysis Bullosa, a rare skin condition he was born with. He is now 1 and is doing awesome  I was so grateful to have met these girls and learn about this rare condition, and to meet this adorable little cutie!  Here is a link to learn more about

How this race has tested our training thus far...well we need to do more hill and interval training...I think that's the gist of it.  Both of our quads were definitely sore for a couple days.  Of course some soreness is to be expected, but with more training, I think it would have been less.  We also need to add more strength training into our schedule (I need to write another blog just about trying to schedule workouts, ugh, it's tricky).

All in all, we enjoyed this race.  We're happy to have found this race because it is a small, community oriented race, has a nice small fee for a race that goes towards maintaining the trails, a race director that puts a lot of care into the course, and great people throughout.  I also love that they take pictures and post them on their website.  Thank you Run for the Hills for another great race! Till next year! 

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