Zach and I spent a wonderful weekend in eastern Oregon for the Peterson Ridge Rumble. The race was awesome, the people were all very nice, and the landscape out there is breathtaking.
On our way into Bend, we stopped at Smith Rock State Park for a bit to take some pictures and check out the climbers. Smith Rock is one of the great places for rock climbing in the western US and we are planning on going climbing there this summer. Exciting! After that quick stop, we spent the afternoon in Bend which has a super cute downtown area and a kickass running store where we picked up our race numbers. While there, the nice folks at Foot Zone helped me find a new pair of trail shoes (which I did not wear for the race- I know that’s rule #1 about racing but they are amazing and I was tempted!) and hooked me up with a free pair of socks and a t-shirt for Zach. Love that place. Zach had been there a couple times and couldn’t stop talking about how great they were and he was right! We checked out a couple antique stores and hit the road.
Late in the afternoon we drove to the tiny town of Sisters, about 20 miles away. I took a few pictures on the way, the sky was amazing and the views of the mountains were just incredible. Sisters is just as cute as little western towns come and we quickly found our hotel. They had upgraded us to a suite which was gorgeous! It was huge and fancy and had a Jacuzzi tub. We went out for dinner at Three Creeks Brewing where we met a couple other runners and listened to some interesting live local music.
So in summary, before I get to the race report, I highly recommend the following things: Smith Rock, Foot Zone running store, Best Western Ponderosa Inn, and Three Creeks Brewing. As well as the towns of Bend and Sisters, the state of Oregon in general, and the sport of rock climbing.
Sunday morning we got up and fixed ourselves breakfast in our deluxe suite’s kitchen. We checked the weather and it was in the upper 30s with temps rising gradually throughout the morning. The sky was partly cloudy and it looked like we were going to stay dry which is always a treat. I wore capri tights, a short-sleeve shirt, arm warmers and gloves. We both also carried Gu and our own water since there were only 3 or 4 aid stations out there several miles apart. We drove the short distance to the start at Sisters Middle School and used the restrooms in the gym. We waited in there until 10 minutes before 9:00 and walked to the start. There were less than a couple hundred people doing the 20 miler (the 40 milers took off an hour earlier) so it was intimate. We listened to the instructions (“follow the yellow Montrail ribbons”) and then we were off!
My plan was to run pretty conservatively since I didn’t know how big the hills would be. I was also slightly concerned that the elevation (about 3500 ft) would cost me some time but that turned out to be a total non-issue. I figured I would have to walk some of the hills, plus stop at the aid stations, so I was hoping to average under 11:00 pace with all that.
The first three or so miles were really flat and mostly on a dirt road. I kept the pace easy- 8:30-9:00 according to my Garmin (which would become useless later, stay tuned!). Finally we turned onto a single track trail and the real trail running began. We immediately hit a little ridge that we had to climb up and then down the other side. There were switchbacks for a bit and then it got a little steep and rocky, but I didn’t have to walk. I was in a line of people which makes pacing easy (you have no options!). The descent on the other side was pretty technical too so we weren’t going that fast. Finally, the ridge was behind us and the trail flattened out for the most part.
We climbed gradually for several miles and the crowd thinned out. The forest was pretty open (not super dense like around here) so I could mostly see runners a ways ahead of me. This was important because there were several places where I almost turned the wrong way. The ribbons were there, but not always very obvious. I had people behind me though and they kept me on track. This was kind of the trend for the next several miles- a couple of people pacing off me and no one in sight ahead of me. Every once in a while I caught up to someone, like after aid stations, or someone passed me and I could just follow them for a while.
My Garmin was telling me I was running between 8:30 and 10:30 pace, depending on the hills, but most were coming in around 9:30. At mile 12 my average pace was 9:30 but then the GPS lost its signal and never got it back. This was a challenging thing because after that I had no idea how far we had left or what pace I was running. As the second half of the course descended again I kept a good pace and ran along with most of the same people from before. I figured I was keeping a 9:30 pace and thought I would finish in 3:10, so I rationed out my energy based on that.
I did stop at the aid stations as planned: drank water twice and refilled my fuel belt once. I ate 3 Gu’s along the way too. The course was really beautiful and I was enjoying the scenery. There were never any really tough climbs, but the trail was rather technical and rocky in many places. In fact, I tripped and fell a few times. I scraped my leg on one fall (landed on a stick I think) but otherwise no harm done. The weird thing was that the trail was not muddy at all so I got covered in regular dirt. Not mud! Fascinating.
We hit the little ridge again and I was able to run up it and back down. Some people were walking at this point so I felt really proud that I was still running. I kept thinking “Good thing I’ve been doing all those runs on the Wildwood!” which I think is a much more difficult trail.
Finally I got back to the dirt road and knew the finish was a couple miles away. I was still operating under the assumption that I would finish in about 3:10, so I started picking up the pace a bit. I was definitely tired, but still had enough gas in the tank to pick off a few runners and push to the finish. As I was passing this older guy I joked “are we there yet?” and he said “just over a mile to go!” and I laughed. Wait, what? I thought we were way closer. We were still in the forest but I figured the school would pop out around the corner any moment now. Well I was pretty disappointed as I kept running and the old guy was right, we were NOT close to the finish. At this point I was really hurting due to my ridiculous pace. I finally saw Zach and he was taking pictures, and told me the finish was just across the road and through the school parking lot. I pushed through, saw the finish banner along the track and someone yelled “Just once around and you’re done!” What?? FML! I couldn’t believe it. Stupid track finish. All the way around and finally I crossed the finish line.
Official finish time: 3:19:44 (9:59 pace)
18/46 (30-39 AG)
So clearly I miscalculated somewhere… I think my Garmin was off for the first part and the 9:30 was not quite right. The course could have been long, but not by much. It is listed on the website as being 20.3 miles which would give me a 9:50 pace but still. Anyway, I learned my lesson: pay attention on the way out so you know when to expect the finish line on your return. Pretty funny. I guess it’s good because I left it all out there and pushed for longer than I thought I could. I actually felt really good the whole time until that last bit, so I think I was going a little easy on myself.
I finished and got a pair of “Ridge Rumble” socks and a bottle of water. After cooling down for a bit I talked to Zach and we shared our race stories. He did really awesome- finished in 2:45 with an 8:15 pace. He is an amazing trail runner!! A few minutes later the first and second place 40 mile guys came in- crazy! They had started one hour earlier but that is still crazy fast. I talked to them both and the race director and they were all cool. That’s the nice thing about doing small races!
We hit up the burrito bar- an actual full-on burrito bar from a local restaurant! I made a huge burrito and drank a coke, delicious! Best post race food ever. They had brownies too which I snagged for later. We headed back to our hotel where we had a late 2:00 check out and took a soak in the Jacuzzi tub. When we checked out we thanked the manager for the upgraded suite and the great service. We’ll definitely stay there if we go back next year!
We drove back to Portland and talked about our races and enjoyed the scenery again. Back home we stuffed ourselves with pizza and beer and crashed into bed early. We had a really amazing weekend from start to finish- it was a nice getaway weekend and awesome trail run. I would highly recommend this race to everyone!!
My legs feel great today, just a little sore. I’m taking this week easy to fully recover and then hitting the marathon training hard for the next few weeks. The Newport Marathon is 8 weeks away and based on this weekend I’m feeling great about my training!
Thanks for reading everyone!
Lots of pictures: