Yesterday I ran the Peterson Ridge Rumble aka The Rumble. It’s a great race in Sisters Oregon that is very near and dear to many runner’s hearts. There is a 20 mile option and a 40 mile option. I chose to do the 20 mile option and am glad I did.
I didn’t feel all that great when I woke up on race day. My stomach was upset and I was nauseous. For about 15 minutes, I contemplated not racing. But I figured it was only 20 miles and I could do it. Plus I’d been reading books that brought up ideas like “Suffering was optimal” and “it was suffering that built character”. I figured running 20 miles with a jinky digestive system was a great way to suffer.
We started off at 9am and it was a bit chilly but the sun was out and it was gorgeous. The first twenty-thirty minutes were rather uneventful except for a few minor scuffles between some of the dogs (dogs were allowed on the 20 mile option). We ran through a trail and then on a road for a bit eventually veering off the road into a forested area. There were a few runners behind me (I could hear the beeps of their various watches, Garmins and other notifying devices). I ran mindful of my pace but thoroughly enjoying the scenery. I got a large fork in the path but there were no markers. The other 2 runners joined me in looking for the yellow Montrail ribbons that marked the course. We ran up and down all of the trails trying to find the markers but to no avail. Eventually we all decided that we had to back track.
We ran back to the road and found that we had missed the turn. You jumped off the road and made an immediate left hand turn onto a very small path. Truth be told, there were paths everywhere. I think we missed the first turn due to all of the vehicles that were parked off the road cheering on their runners. But I don’t know for sure. This mistake would prove very costly for the 4 of us. Our day was severely altered by that turn of events. Initially we thought we were only half a mile off the path but in all actuality we were almost 1.5 miles off course. We also lost a lot of time running back and forth and discussing matters.
Eventually we made it to the first aid station. We looked and found what we thought were the markers for the 20 mile option. I had my suspicions as the marker was on the wrong side of the sign. A nice man in a blue jacket told us we were running the right way so we continued up the hill. We ran into 6-8 runners coming down the hill. Many shouted something like “You must be off course” and “Where are you going”? I shouted to the other 3 that we weren’t on the correct path.
So once again, we back tracked to find the correct way. I had a bit of a breakdown yelling at the aid station kids who could not tell me which way to go. They were sure that we were supposed to go back to the finish. Finally a knowledgeable man directed the other 3 lost runners who were running up the correct path. He came and got me after a few minutes. He let me know that the sweepers were now ahead of us and he had sent text messages to the race director.
I didn’t grasp how having the sweeper ahead of us would affect us. They were removing the course markings thinking that all of the runners were ahead of them. They didn’t know we had gotten lost. So for the next hours we picked our way through the forest stopping at every fork in the path running up and down it trying to find the course markings. Eventually we started seeing other runners and finally a runner with a dog. I remember screaming “only dogs are allowed on the 20 mile option!”
I saw Shadia and she told us which way to go to the aid station. As we made our way up there, other runners shouted at us “How far have you run?”
We got to the aid station and saw the sweepers. We all had a bit of a laugh as to what had happened. Honestly the 4 of us were pretty upset about what had happened but as the time went on, our frustration disappeared (well at least mine did). The 4 of us decided to keep running so to get our full 20. We hadn’t run the actual course and didn’t know how far we had run. I had stopped my Garmin at the first aid station and forgot to turn it back on for a few miles or so.
Eventually we turned around, went to the aid station and then got back on course to go to the finish. I thought the other 3 runners were behind me when I started off but they had stopped off for something. I ran the last 8 or so miles by myself.
My pace was pretty good all the way to the finish. I even passed a woman on the last 3 miles. The finish was on the middle school track.
My FitBit registered 22.99 miles (I walked from the hotel room to the car and then from the car to the start line) so I figure I probably ran about 22.89 miles. It was a beautiful day and a fun run. I cannot wait to come back.