NW Mountain Running Championship - 56:20 - This race was first up, about two weeks after McKenzie...it wasn't quite a 10K, but at 6 miles, it was close. The Pain Train talked me into running it...and I had to do it...there was prize money involved! Thinking we had a shot, we decided to form a team to go for the team prize money ($500), assuming that the normal X-Dog runners would show up. The Pain Train recruited Mark Robins and Mike Tyler...both fast and running very well. But when we got to Timberline we discovered that a little prize money attracts some serious runners...Max King, Eric and Kyle Skaggs, and Ian Torrence had made the trip and I found myself a little disheartened...I started thinking about the mid-pack prize money ($300)!
The race itself was brutal...see the video below...and for some reason I felt totally unprepared for the weather which was pretty bad...cold, foggy, rainy, windy...I didn't even bring gloves. We started off by heading down the paved road from Timberline Lodge and eventually turned and headed up the mountain underneath the ski lift. I'm not sure how long the uphill was, but it was very steep and seemed to go on forever. I can't say I'd call myself a "mountain runner"...I did a lot of walking up that mountain. At the top, we did a short traverse and then hit a crazy downhill...my legs felt like Jell-O and just staying on the trail was a challenge at times. By the time I hit the homestretch, the same road section we ran down at the start, I was dying...I wanted to walk up that hill so bad, but I knew there were a couple ladies not far behind me...have some pride!
Needless to say, the real mountain runners took home all the prize money...and it turns out I ran a few minutes too fast, so I missed the mid-pack prize money too! I do have to say, that's a race I would like to try again.
Fall Festival 10K - 38:50 - A week after mountain running, I was looking forward to seeing what I could do on flat ground. This race is an annual event in Corvallis, and I had run it once before in 2006. My pre-race preparation probably wasn't the best...I ran the course on Friday, ran a hard 12 miles in McDonald Forest on Saturday, and did not race well on Sunday. I should have run the 5K, because that's the point in the race I was wishing it was over. My first mile was about 5:45...whoa, I had never run a 10K at better than 6:05 per mile before. At this point I definitely slowed down, but in the next two miles I ran out of gas...a big group passed me...the group I should have been running with from the start. The second half of the race was not real fun...I had pretty much thrown in the towel...so much so that I didn't even beat my time from 2006...38:43. I was a little disappointed and planned to be smarter before the next 10K in two weeks.
Great Pumpkin 10K - 36:56 - I spent the weekend between the Fall Festival 10K and the Great Pumpkin 10K trying to find some new road and trail shoes. I still had a gift certificate from my birthday for Gallagher Fitness Resources, so I went up to Salem...they didn't really have any trail shoes I was interested in, so I decided to get a pair of road shoes. For road shoes, I have been stuck on the Nike Air Max 360 for some time now...only problem is they're pretty expensive and I was in the mood for something different. At the store, I noticed they had the relatively new LunarLite shoes that Nike had released this past summer...I had read about these shoes and was definitely interested. And if I hadn't read this post by Sean Meissner, I probably would have bought the trainer model...Sean gave a glowing review of the Lunaracer...that was good enough for me. I bought a pair of them. I needed road and trail shoes and only came home with racing shoes!
Needless to say, I was very excited to try out my new shoes...and my pre-race preparation was better in the sense that I came into this race fresh. At the start, I noticed that Penny McDermott was running this 10K too...she had run the Fall Festival 10K and was in the big group that passed me about 3 miles into the race...my plan was to not run ahead of her this time. This definitely helped me start off under control...the first mile was right around 6:00...and so were most of the other miles. I ended up keeping her in sight the whole way and finished in under 37:00! Based on my race at the 4th of July 10K this past summer, I figured I could run in the low 37:00 range eventually, so I was a little surprised that sub-37:00 seemed to come so quickly...could it be the shoes?
Run Like Hell 10K - 36:09 - This race was not in my original plans, but I decided to try it for a couple reasons...I wanted to run with Kristin and Carlos again and FMR was the post-race entertainment! I was pretty satisfied with my performance at the Great Pumpkin 10K, so I didn't exactly take preparation for this race too seriously. I only ran a few times between the two races, so I was pretty fresh...a couple of those runs were on the McDonald Forest 15K course in preparation for that race. Since this race was in Portland, my plan was to stay with Kristin and Carlos on Saturday night...I made a few stops on my way up there. First, I went over to my parent's house to watch Game 6 of the ALCS with my dad...I had a couple burgers for dinner...not my normal pre-race dinner. Once the game was over, I stopped by my friend Josh's because he was having some friends over to watch a UFC fight...we ended up going out and I had a few beers...not my normal pre-race hydration strategy. I didn't get up to Portland until after midnight...and the race started at 7:30 AM!
I guess you could say I'm a big fan of 'running how you feel' because there was no way I went into this race thinking I would do that well...I felt so good through almost the entire race...I'd say it wasn't until about mile 5 that I started to feel a little uncomfortable...I was just cruising. After I finished, I was on such a high...I was walking around looking for anyone I knew to talk to...I ended up seeing a couple people. I talked to Mark Robins before and after the race...he ran the half marathon in under 1:21:00...and I talked to Darin Swanson...he was pacing a friend in the 5K. I also got to see Kristin and Carlos finish. After they finished we all went back to the car to get our warm clothes on...it was really cold. Then it was time for beer, buffalo wings, and FMR...but it was so cold that I didn't last too long, and unfortunately, by the time I got home, I was feeling very sick. I had planned to go back up to my parents to watch Game 7 of the ALCS that evening, but I could barely move off the couch. I did my best to make it through the game...but in the end, the Red Sox made me throw up...literally.