Sunday, November 07, 2010

Silver Falls Trail Half Marathon Race Report




This was the inaugural  running of this race and the folks at Run Wild Adventures nailed it. What a fun event! The course was so extremely gorgeous, very challenging, and well marked and supported. They limited entry to 400 runners so it was never crowded, but I was never alone either. Everyone was super nice and I’m so glad I ran it.

We signed up a few months ago (which is good- it sold out fast!) and it kind of snuck up on me. I’ve been doing a lot of trail running, but my overall mileage is low and I certainly haven’t been “training” for anything. I haven’t run a race since the Helvetia Half in June, so I’ve been taking it pretty easy! 

My only goal was to finish and have fun. The morning of the race I said if I could finish under 10:00 average pace I’d be very happy- my pace on trails varies a lot but I usually average 10:00-11:00 ish. I didn’t know what to expect- I had seen the elevation chart but didn’t know what that would really look like out there. Also, due to my lack of racing lately, I wasn’t sure how hard I would push myself.

We drove the hour or so down to Silver Falls State Park- truly one of the gems of Oregon. It was misty but not really raining and a comfortable 50 degrees. We arrived and got our numbers and used the park’s nice facilities a couple of times. We saw Marya and her husband! We sat in the car for a while to stay warm and then made our way to the start.

The first mile is on the road through the parking area and campground which was nice- this served the purpose of sorting everyone out by pace so by the time we hit the trail we were somewhat seeded. Unfortunately, I probably started out way too fast and was too far up front when we hit the trail, which resulted in me getting passed quite a bit in the next couple miles. That’s not fun! I need to start lining up farther back and starting off easier. Ya right.

The trail was pretty muddy in places but not bad. I wore my trail shoes and my feet stayed nice and dry. I could tell I was running hard, probably too hard, in the first couple of miles so I tried to back off. I was sipping water and trying to pace myself.

There was a big hill just past the mile 4 marker which slowed me a lot. I walked a bit of it. Then the course was flat to down hill for several miles. It was so beautiful out there. I was running with no one ahead of  me but the course was well marked at trail junctions. I did have a little trail of followers though- about 4 runners who were pacing themselves off me. I chatted with them a bit and told them I was glad to hear their footsteps to remind me I was in a race, and not just out on a fun run! They stayed right behind me miles 8-10.

There was a steep hill leading up to one of the waterfalls (the trail goes behind two huge waterfalls) and the gang passed me. Apparently I am not a great climber. Right after the waterfall there was a HUGE set of stone stairs that was labeled “House of Pain” in chalk (flour). HA! I got in a new line of people and we walked/jogged up them. Dear Lord were my quads burning! There was another huge climb in mile 11 which I walked some of. I was amazed at the people running up it. It was steep and long!

I was still feeling really good and not too tired, which was good because there was a final big hill in the last mile. I leapfrogged with a girl Summer and we encouraged each other. We flew down the last steep and muddy down hill and into the finish area. I couldn’t catch her but she helped me push! I finished with a big smile on my face. Easily the most fun race I’ve ever run!!

1- 8:06
2- 8:40
3- 8:14
4- 9:07
5- 10:17 (big hill)
6- 9:45
7- 8:36
8- 9:46
9- 9:42
10- 10:55 (Stairs)
11- 11:16 (big hill)
12- 8:55
13.1 8:52 (8:04 pace)

Official Finish time: 2:02:16 (9:20 pace)

Yay! I was very happy. I hugged Zach and we talked about our races.

Can I just take a minute here to discuss that guy? He is REALLY good at trail running. All those giant steep hills out there? He ran up them. He ran the whole thing! He kept pace with the second place female the majority of the race and finished right behind her. He averaged like 7:40 on this course. I couldn’t run that on a pancake flat course! He makes me SICK! He was 21st overall. He had a blast too and loved the challenge. I think he has found his niche because wow. He is absolutely incredible!!

While I’m sidebar-ing, I am also going to take a minute here to talk about age groups. This was my first race as a 30 year old and can I just say OUCH. These ladies are for real. The reality is, there aren’t THAT many 20-somethings into running compared to older AG (there were twice as many 30-39 as 20-29 here) So it’s way easier to place high in your age group. I appreciated this very much in my 20’s and collected some nice age group medals. In this new age group, I ain’t shit. Also I’m not exactly in peak running shape here, which didn’t help. On top of those harsh realities, this race decided to go with 10 year age groups, so I was extra screwed by the older-is-faster rule. Burn! 

17/84  30-39 Age Group

I played with the results in excel and if I may take the liberty of creating a hypothetical 5 year age group, I finished 5/39 in the 30-34 AG. Yay! That makes me feel better! Ha!

Zach’s age group screw-ed-ness is even more pronounced. He finished 21st overall but ended up 10th in the 30-39 AG. But really, he was 3rd out of 29 30-34 year olds. Very cool!

Back to the race at hand. They  had a great finisher’s area set up in the park’s shelter area with hot chili and bread, a fireplace, water and coffee. They posted the results as soon as they could which was nice. We hung out for a bit, scored some free shirts and hit the road.

Back at home we soaked in the hot tub for a bit, Zach made a big brunch, and then we met Emily and Josh at Goose Hollow for some Europe stories and a couple of beers. Zach and I went to Rogue for more beer and a burger and then we were done. We went to bed ridiculously early… set our clocks back before we crashed and so technically we went to bed at 7:00. Hilarious. Not surprisingly, I am typing this race report at 5:00 am on Sunday. Even after that big race, I do not need 20 hours of sleep. My legs (mostly knees) are super sore but I’m going to suck it up and go climbing later. :)

Here are a few pictures. There are my pictures from before and after the race, some official photos, and I put in a few pictures from Zach’s parent’s visit last fall and a couple others I found online.

Thanks for reading! :)

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Marathon Maritza said...

YAAAAAAAAAAAAY great job!! That half sounds tough! Glad you were able to push through and run smart and challenge yourself. Gorgeous scenery too!

Miss you XOXO

Lisa said...

I've never been to Silver Falls in the fall. How scenic!! Was it hard to run with the slippery ground/leaves etc?

Carolina John said...

wow, that looks like a lot of fun Jen!

Susan - Nurse on the Run said...

Wow, that race looks gorgeous! Congrats on what looks like a fun run!

Marya said...

It was great to see you out there! So glad you had fun! It was definitely a tough course, but the scenery certainly made up for all the effort we put in!

Great job to you and Zach. He really killed that course! I can't imagine speeding through all that trail in that amount of time! Amazing!

Jo Lynn said...

What beautiful pictures. You both had great times. But, you are right - Zach did kick some ass. Wow! ;)

Alisa said...

Great job on the run! You smashed your 10 min mile goal for sure.

And DAMN to Zach. I can't run 7:40 for 30 seconds =).

Silver Falls is a beautiful place, glad it wasn't pouring for you either.

PS I kinda love all your age grouping numbers, for me to place I have to put myself in an age group with 65+ and then I'm still not usually first in the top 3 LOL!

Kim said...

jen, awesome job out there! how beautiful! congrats on a job well done to both you and zach!

Amy said...

Nice job! That race sounds amazing! (I am already bookmarking it for next year.)

Great job on pace - to you AND Zach.

I've never been to Silver Falls, which makes me extraordinarily sad all of a sudden - so pretty!

Beth said...

Yay for trail running! Congrats ot both of you on the great race.

Nitmos said...

You killed the 'under 10 pace'. Great job!

Ewen said...

Ah, that was more than a minute... he's not THAT great ;)

You both did well, even age-group wise. Now just keep getting faster as you get older! Silver Falls looks beautiful in autumn colours - we were there in summer and it wasn't nearly as spectacular.

KK said...

Congrats on such a fun, scenic and fantastic race!

That first picture is so amazing it looks fake-like one of those neon-ish, glowy ones you would see on the wall at a nail salon.

Also, 30-39 year old women are no joke. I always think, shouldn't these women be having babies by now?!?! Apparently they aren't.

Also, the other night I may or may not have stalked your IMAZ race reports for every detail possible concerning this race. Thanks for your help :).

DaGirls said...

I know this is a very old post but was hoping you would be able to tell me if my good ol' "Asics Nimbus" will suffice for the trail....I have never run Silver Falls and thought I should figure this out before I get out their for the half...