My friend Amy suggested that we race in the Smith Rock Sunrise Classic a few months ago. I was intrigued by the idea as there were several different lengths to choose from 5k, 10k, and half marathon. I was very worried about my ability to run well due to the issues I’ve had with my IT Band. But a few weeks ago, I did a leg workout and the pain in my IT Band mysteriously disappeared.
Unfortunately Amy was not able to participate because of an ongoing issue with her shoulder/arm. I was very sad that Amy wasn’t able to come with me to Redmond/Terrebonne but I had been training for the half marathon and took time off of work to attend.
On Friday, (the day before the race) I traveled to Eastern Oregon. The start time for the half marathon was 6:15am but after ten minutes of being out at Smith Rock State Park I understood why. It was hot. And dry. And hot.
Scouting the location
So beautiful here...
I visited the site of the race, picked up my packet, and checked into my room at Motel 6 in Redmond. I had tried to get a room in Bend but it seemed like every place was booked. Staying in Redmond actually turned out to be better as it was significantly closer to the start of the race. So rather than driving 28-32 miles to Smith Rock State Park at 5am, I only had to drive 5-8 miles.
I laid all my gear out so that when I was cold and clumsy at 4:30am, I wouldn’t waste time looking for items.
The official t-shirt
I logged onto Yelp to find some suggestions for dinner. I came across a few promising reviews for a place called Red Dog Depot. If you are in Redmond, I highly recommend that you try the place out. Great food and good service.
I headed back to the hotel to try to get to bed early.
I couldn’t really sleep past 3am on the morning of the race but forced myself to lie there until 4:30am. I hurried through pre-run rituals trying to choke down as much oatmeal and banana as I could. I arrived early to the site and was one of the first runners to arrive at the start line.
I felt very ready for the race until I saw the parking attendants slapping their legs. Mosquitoes were rampant at 5:30 in the morning. The next forty-five minutes were spent slapping various body parts, sipping water, stretching, and going to the bathroom.
I had a plan based on some advice I received about starting slow and gradually increasing my pace. I would love to write that I did that. But I did not. I am terrible at pacing. The race wasn’t marked so I wasn’t sure where I was at on the course. During my pre-race preparedness I failed to drive the course to visually mark each mile. I mistakenly assumed that at least some of the miles would be marked. The first mile was the only one that was marked. None of the volunteers knew what mile they were on either. We were told that there would be a porta-potty on mile 8, but later I asked a volunteer where I was at and he said 9k (which made no sense as I was running a 13.1 mile race not a 5k race).
There were a few long rolling hills on the course that I wasn’t anticipating. The landscape was gorgeous. We ran numerous farms where the scent of fresh hay and junipers could be smelled. The other runners were very friendly and jovial. As this was my first half marathon, I didn’t really know what to expect from myself. It was a hard race and I wish I had been much faster but I wasn’t. I finally finished somewhere around the 2 hour 30 minute mark. I was shooting for 2 hours and 15 minutes. But please note that the last mile and a half was very difficult due to the traffic snaggle (the road wasn’t closed to traffic). At one point I had to either stop running (due to a huge school bus that was shuttling runners) or jump over a huge tangle of barbed wire. I chose to stop as I didn’t trust my jumping abilities at that point. I also had to stop when a parking person told me to stop so a car could leave the parking lot. I did NOT appreciate this and let him know. Loudly.
Will I do this again? Hell yeah!