Some day I’m going to choose a race that’s “flat and fast”. But, that would require actually reading the race course description before I sign up.
I recently completed Oregon by running the Deschutes Dash 10k in Bend, OR. I thought I was running a flat race on a paved path by a river. I was right about being by the Deschutes River. In fact, at one point, I was mere inches from said river.
The race was a very low key part of a multi-sport event. There were also an Olympic distance triathlon, an Aquabike, and a duathlon going on at the same time. The race start was in a parking lot near the transition area – very few signs for it and no one quite knew where to go. Once we found the start, we were informed that there were no volunteers on the course and to follow the markings to not get lost. Umm…
We started with a run down the sidewalk and then down a gravel path, across a muddy grassy area and under a bridge. As we went under the bridge, we were literally inches from the river on a single track dirt path. As we ran back up, we ended up on a paved path by the river. As we hit that path, I thought “Oh, this is a nice race now that the obstacles are done.” Somewhere in the 2nd mile, I ate my words.
The middle three miles of the race were on a single track packed dirt trail. To say I was mentally (and physically) unprepared for that would be an understatement. There were hills. There were tight turns. There were lots of rocks and roots to trip over. I’m sure someone who has experience running trails would say it was not very technical, but for someone who has pretty much never run on non-pavement, it was, umm, challenging. By mile 4 I was mentally done. By mile 4.5 I was pretty sure my legs had nothing left. I nearly cried for joy when we hit mile 5 and returned to pavement. As I approached the finish line, two younger women that I’d been going back and forth with for at least 3 miles decided to make their move and kick it in. I thought to myself “Oh, hell no are you beating me,” dug deep and sprinted past them to the finish. And I didn’t even puke (it was damn close though.)
I got a medal, a beer, and a brownie and suddenly it wasn’t such a bad race after all.
My legs after the race. Please note that I do not normally have a noticeable tan line…