Tuesday, October 15, 2013

September 21st: Forest Grove Lions Run-Walk for Sight 10k

Mark and I had originally planned to run a 10k on Cannon Beach. It would have been really neat; half the race took place on the beach itself and it definitely would have been one of the most scenic races I've done. Good thing we waited to register, though...they canceled the whole thing just days before the race! We were pretty disappointed, but then I found something that worked even better: the Forest Grove Lions Run and Walk for Sight. They offered both a 5k and a 10k option, and it was only a 15 minute drive from Sue and Wayne's house. Even better, it started at 9am, so we could sleep in a bit. Perfect!

Wayne made fantastic pre-race breakfast burritos. I tried again to convince him to come live in our guest room back in VA. It was seriously delicious...just looking at it makes me want another one!

We drove over to Forest Grove, easily found the Pacific University College of Optometry, and registered for the race. They were giving out great race shirts; I always love races that give out shirts made of that tech fabric that dries really fast. One of the great parts of having packet pickup and registration at the college was easy access to real bathrooms. We hadn't even started and I liked the race already.

I had only run one 10k before this race and that was the one in Switzerland last fall, which easily ranks as the worst race I've ever run thanks to food poisoning, a pulled groin, and a snowstorm. I didn't have too much of a plan going into this one, but my goal was to at least beat my time of 1:15:21 that I limped through in the last 10k.

I'm not sure exactly how many people registered for the race, but it seemed like a pretty good turnout for a local race. It looked like one of the high school cross country teams was there, too, which was both cool and somewhat intimidating. As 9am got closer, people started drifting over toward the starting line, which was about a block away. After a quick warmup jog around the building, we followed them, and a few minutes later we were off.

The course was pretty nice and the volunteers did a great job of keeping everyone on track. The 10k started with a loop through a neighborhood that brought you back near the starting line, then after rerunning about a third of the loop you made a left instead of a right and followed a long path that followed one of the roads on the outskirts of the town. I was near the back of the pack but held a decent pace (for me, at least), and spent the first two miles running almost dead even with a girl who I think I eventually passed. I wound up taking a walk break about halfway through because my hair was starting to fall out of my ponytail and flip all over the place, but aside from that I kept running the whole time.

The course wound through a bunch of neighborhoods and past a couple commercial areas, and even better, didn't really have any hills. Toward the end it would have been easy to get lost if you weren't paying attention, but the race organizers did a great job putting volunteers at the spots where you needed to turn, so I had no problem figuring out where I should be. Which, for a slower runner like me, was pretty nice. There were a few spots where I didn't see anyone else running at all! 

Mark ran back and found me as I was coming up on the last little bit of running and ran the rest of the way with me. His goal had been to finish in less than an hour, and he crushed that by finishing in 47:15. My goal had been simply to run faster than I did in Switzerland, and I managed to pull it off with an official time of 1:07:04. I probably could have pushed myself harder but hey, I was on vacation. Still, cutting 8 minutes off my time was pretty sweet, and, after running my very first 5-miler the Saturday before, made for my second PR in a row!

After the race we hung out for a little while. They had live music, which was pretty neat, and as we walked back up to the front of the college a volunteer handed each of us a raffle ticket. Since Mark had run pretty fast and it was a smaller race, we figured we'd hang out to see if he won anything. 

They even had a Tot Trot for the little kids. It was a really short course that looped around the grass in front of the building. It was pretty funny; some of the kids were super serious, and some of them had no idea what was going on.

Eventually the award ceremony started. Mark got first in his age group! He got a ribbon to add to his collection of speedy runner winnings. I was kind of hoping that since the race was so small, I might somehow get 3rd in my age group and get a ribbon, too, but no such luck...the 30-39 age group is always full of speedy ladies. Sigh.

Right after the award ceremony was the raffle. We didn't want to hang out too long since we had to get back to Sue and Wayne's, get cleaned up, and head out for some other stuff we had planned for the day, but we figured we'd at least hang out for a little while and try our luck. As they got ready, the guy in charge explained how it would work and announced the prizes. They were sweet prizes! The best prize was a 21-speed bike donated by a local bike shop, and a local landscaping company had donated $250 worth of plants. There were a bunch of gift certificates to local businesses and restaurants, and some water bottles and other odds and ends, too.

As we were standing there waiting for it to start, I turned to Mark and said, "How funny would it be if one of us won the bike?" He, of course, thought it would be ridiculous, since we were in Oregon and we live in Virginia and we were going to fly home in a few days and how the heck would we get the bike back to our house, clear across the country?

To which I replied, "I want to win the bike."

What the heck are you going to do with a bike out here in Oregon? Mark asked.

"I'm going to win the bike", I said.

The first prize up in the raffle was the bike. The guy in charge pulled the first number.

"Oh ^&#$%, I won the bike!!"

Everyone started clapping and I made my way through the crowd and up to the front. It turns out I had the choice of any of the prizes, but really...there was no way I was going to pick anything else! Logistics be damned.   :)    I thanked them all for the bike, conveniently leaving out the part that I live on the other side of the country, and wheeled my way back down to Mark, who I promptly told, "See, I told you I was going to win the bike." It was hilarious.

We hung out for the rest of the raffle. A few people came by to congratulate me, and a photographer took a picture of me with the bike, which was pretty neat. Mark didn't have any luck with the raffle, so when it was over we made our way back to the car, took the front wheel off (thank goodness Mark has a similar fancy bike...I never would have figured that out myself!), and packed it into the car to drive back. We overheard a few people saying they wished they'd won the bike, which was pretty funny. Nope, sorry...this bike is somehow making its way back to VA.   :)

We drove back to Sue and Wayne's and met up with them and Granny. We told them all about the race and how Mark won first in his age group, which they thought was great. I told them that I won something in the raffle and Mark went outside to get the bike, which they still didn't know about. Their reaction was priceless when he wheeled it in the door...they thought it was just as funny as we did.   :)

Overall, this was a great race! The course was nice and wound through the town, so there was always something to look at. The volunteers did a great job from start to finish. There weren't any big hills (which was a nice change from running back home), and we both PR'd. And I won a bike! If I lived in Oregon I'd gladly run this race again.

As far as my bike? Turns out Sue and Wayne's son, Steve, used to work in a bike shop and knows all about packing bikes up to ship so that they don't get damaged. I left a bunch of money with them so that he can eventually box it all up and send it out to VA. I'm looking forward to eventually taking it into DC and biking around a bit once I get it!

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