It is Sunday night and KW is cooking up a storm of spicy chicken red curry as Hank is collapsed on the floor eying anything that may fall on the floor. Will sits holding several books in his blue chair eying anything that may fall on the floor that Hank couldn’t reach first. The first major Fall storm thumps the windows with wind and rain. Been a long but enjoyable weekend.
Will and I picked up KW at an after work party Friday at 5pm to hit Hwy 90 heading East to Umatillo, OR. Stopped in Ellensburg, WA for some pasta to carbo-load. Rolled into the parking lot of the Desert Inn Hotel about 10pm. The race would start just down the street. Our room held a king sized bed but no crib meant all three slept in the same bed. Since Will is a loud and active sleeper, knew I wouldn’t get much slept. I didn’t.
About 200 folks gathered for the 8am the start. Weather was very humid, after a light rain overnight, and a very mild 48 degrees. Luckily, the rain had stopped and no wind. Yeah, I was nervous but anxious to start rolling.
The route took us quickly off the plateau down to the Columbia river, across to the Washington state side. About 6 miles later crossed back into Oregon. KW and Will met me around mile 9. Usually I run most or all of the race with a water bottle/fuel belt. Today, I decided to give up the belt early.
By about mile 13, the route turned off the streets, entered the “trail” section. We ran East along the Columbia on the Louis and Clark Trail, 4.5 miles each direction. Due to the rain, the trail wasn’t dusty but some loose gravel, soft sand and rocks made it challenging. I’d rather not run 26 miles on hard concrete or asphalt but 9 miles is too long to be worrying about getting rocks in your shoes, tripping, or twisting an ankle.
By mile 23, returned to the streets and up the largest hill to get back on top of the plateau. Slowly climbing a couple hundred feet, on weary legs and achy feet wasn’t pretty. But after the climb I surprised myself by finding a bit of gas left in the tank.
A young woman passed me on the hill so I decided to try to catch her in the final 2 miles. That didn’t happen but she gave me motivation to try and hold the quicker pace. Running back to the hotel, I finished the course in just over 4 hours, which is better than I expected. After a very tasty baked potato and chile, at the finish line, I jumped in the notorious “ice-bath” while drinking a cup of hot tea. Switching to a regular coke (body loves that sugar) and salty peanuts, packed up and hit the road home.
Few more hills than expect but even with the soft, rocky trail running, I enjoyed this race and would consider running it again. Lucky once again with the weather and the Columbia River scenery is always stunning.
Today, I’m sore in the feet and around the knees but not too bad. Can walk up and down the stairs (slowly). Don’t think I’ve done any permanent damage.
What’s next– tomorrow I’m going to eat a cheeseburger with a side of onion rings !!