This last Saturday on November 5th, we set out at 5:30 in the morning to Silver Falls State Park to participate in the Silver Falls 50k. This is the race we had both wanted to do earlier in the year, then my plan was sabotaged when I suffered from a stroke 5 months ago. During the summer Chris was not sure if he wanted to do the race since I could no longer run, but I encouraged him to still run...I even got our friends Julie and Jerry to run too :) I signed up to volunteer at the race and still be part of the festivities and experience a 50k through my husband, friends, and fellow runners. There were many times that Chris, Jerry, and Julie all thought they might not run due to a variety of reasons, but indeed they were there at the starting line on a crisp November morning.
|Volunteering early in the morning|
|Julie at mile 9.6|
Chris was using his endurance pack from Orange Mud. While he was preparing, though, a small pinhole was in his bladder that was leaking. Nothing would hold the small leak, but since it would be raining anyways, he decided to deal with it. As the gun set off, I was still busy getting runners their race packets as they prepared for their marathon, and few 50k stragglers that barely missed the start time. I then offered to help at an aid station and good thing I did, cause the van with the goods didn’t know where to go. I had picked up another volunteer and headed to the youth camp aid station. The van with the goods did not know to go through a shut gate, but we indeed found a way and barely had our table set up in time for the first few runners. This was fun seeing the runners early in the race (mile 9.6) and enjoying themselves. Unfortunately our station somehow did not get any Heed or gels, but luckily it was early enough in the race I knew they would be okay till the next aid station at mile 14 who was sure to have all the goods. My husband and friends were surprised to see me here and it was fun to see their smiling faces. They were feeling good and enjoying the beautiful trails. I left my fellow volunteers as the rain began to set in and headed to the next aid station to cheer on everyone and “crew” them with their special needs that they had packed in their drop bags.
I saw Chris and Jerry turn the corner into the aid station and still looking good. They had crossed a river 2 miles prior so I thought Chris may want new socks, but he was good. He was still fine with his pack and hadn’t noticed a leak from the bladder. They quickly took their energy gels and water and headed out. I soon saw Julie and she looked good. She was REALLY hungry and wanted her PB and J so I assisted her and got her the fuel she needed. She also had a couple caffeine pills, which she took, and later learned this was not the best idea (more on that coming up). I wouldn’t see anyone again until mile 24, so I headed back to the finish, warmed up with some yummy chili and coffee and congratulated our friend Olivia for completing the tough 7 mile race. She and her friend did a great job and enjoyed the beautiful falls on their run. I was also hoping to see our friend Tonya, but she finished and left because she hit her head while going under one of the falls and fell flat on her back. She was okay, but needed stitches; ouch!! I checked in at the volunteer tent to see if the needed anymore help. I told them I was headed to the North Falls to meet my friends and brought along more fuel for the runners. I had estimated to see everyone between 12 and 12:30, so I had some time and rested my eyes a bit in the car. I went back to the checkpoint and took a short jog (.2 miles) to a waterfall to enjoy the sights while I waited.
I came back and continued to wait with other spectators, finding shelter under the bridge. It was getting closer to 12:30 and I hadn’t seen anyone yet. Chris had sent me a text about an hour and half earlier saying he was cramping up at mile 17, so I knew he was struggling. Finally I saw Jerry. He looked good and continued on. Chris was no longer with him, so I waited for him. I was maybe expecting him to only be no more than 10 minutes behind, but he still wasn’t there. I knew he was hurting earlier, so maybe he dropped out a few miles back. I didn’t have service anymore, so I couldn’t communicate with him, so I continued to wait. Finally, around 1pm I saw Chris coming down the trail. He had been cramping a ton in his calves and was being cautious as he continued in the race. I gave him some company for a few short minutes down the trail, then away he went. He was nervous about not making the cut off time, but he was safe with 30 minutes to spare.
I still hadn’t seen Julie, so I stuck around. I figured she wouldn’t be too far behind Chris, but time continued to go on and I still hadn’t seen her. I hiked up the trails a bit in hopes of seeing her run down the trail, but no sign of Julie. The cut-off time came and went and I had to make the decision to head back to the finish. I just didn’t want to leave without making sure she was okay...I would’ve felt so bad if she had come through and I wasn’t there with her stuff, but I knew that if she did there were others still there to help and sweepers would be coming through soon. I just hoped that she was okay. I got a text from Chris saying he was around the South Falls with only 4 more tough miles to go. I waited around the finish line looking for Jerry and Julie, but didn’t see them. I just had to hold out hope they were all okay. I knew Chris would be coming down soon, so I went to the bottom of their last hill and at last, I saw him! I walked/jogged with him for a ¼ mile to the finish. He did it!!! He was now an ultra runner! He said he was cramping since mile 17 and had struggled along the way. He said his calves were super tight at one point and fell down. Other fellow runners helped him out and rubbed his calves and gave him salt tablets. He was sore, but happy and proud he did it!! The thing I love about runners, especially trail runners, is that they are always so helpful. Chris received help with his calves and Julie gets another person’s shirt! How awesome is that!!
Runners provide such a fantastic community through support, encouragement, and fellowship. I’m so happy to still be part of it! Many people have asked me if I was bummed that I couldn’t run this race and if it was hard to be there and not be in the race. My answer, ABSOLUTELY NOT!! I enjoyed myself along the way. From checking runners in, providing fuel and aid to others, and most importantly being a cheerleader was awesome!! I was happy to be part of the event and experience my first 50k ultra race through my husband, friends, and fellow runners. I was so excited for all those who were able to run today and even more excited for those who finished. What an accomplishment for everyone!! This was a fantastic event and hope to be part of it again in the future...hopefully running :) Thanks especially to Orange Mud for letting us represent you and for providing an awesome product for Chris to run with.
Oh and the best part, since the race, I haven’t had a headache or felt lightheaded...the first time in 5 months at work!! A co-worker told me, “it’s because you had your nature, fresh air, and were in your element over the weekend”. I think there is some truth to that. I am blessed to be able to enjoy the wonders of our world and be part of an amazing community. Looking forward to more beautiful moments throughout my life!
|He's an Ultra Runner!|
|Nice work guys!!|