The Super-fantastic Bowl XLVII 2014 Zena Road Runs recap

Start and Finish of the Zena Road Runs

Start and Finish of the Zena Road Runs
– Photo courtesy of Matt Rasmussen

Football season is over. Here’s a final little recap from the Zena Road Runs 15k, held on the morning of the Super Bowl XLVII.

Joe: Welcome to the pre-pre-pregame show, sponsored by watered down domestic beer, webhosting sites with scantily clad women, and products we are never made aware of until we are forced to go their websites. The Seahawks vs. Broncos will be getting underway in Super Bowl XLVII here shortly. But before we jump into the action, FOXX Sports has made the decision to provide a verbal recap of the 46th Annual Zena Road Runs, sponsored by the Willamette Valley Road Runners. Because with an estimated 110 million people expected to tune into the game, it is ABSOLUTELY necessary that we cater to about 5400 runners in the Pacific Northwest.

Troy: The only running I ever did was when I was attempting to allude abnormally large guys like Lavar Arrington.

Joe: Ouch. Well, this race is a lot less painful than that, and all runners are expected to walk away with a memory of the event, as opposed to you after that hit.

Troy: What hit? I don’t remember any hit.

Joe: Exactly. Let’s get to the action with Erin on the field.

Erin: Thanks Joe. I’m over here at the Spring Valley Community Center in Salem. The weather at race time today is overcast, but pretty ideal for the 319 runners who are participating today. The line of cars parked along the road are too numerous to count and the busses shuttling runners are packed to the brim. By my count there are 93 runners heading north for the 15k, and another 226 runners heading south for the 6 mile and 3 mile runs (95 and 131 respectively). And they are off!

Top of the first 1/3 mile climb. Pacing was crucial! - Photo courtesy of Matt Rasmussen

Top of the first 1/3 mile climb. Pacing was crucial!
– Photo courtesy of Matt Rasmussen

Joe: Thanks Erin. Troy, from the looks of the courses, it appears that the 15k runners will face an uphill battle.

Troy: That’s correct Joe, especially over the first 3 miles. It is this challenge that each runner will have to figure out how to overcome. From the looks of things, there are quite a few deciding to tackle this incline with full force, in an effort to separate themselves from the pack.

Joe: We have mic’d up one competitor today – a strapping lad in a Run Oregon shirt. Man, he looks ridiculously attractive and runs like a gazelle across the pavement.

Troy: Maybe like a gazelle who has been shot in the leg and torso…

Joe: Well let’s go live to him on the course. Matt?

A beautiful incline - Photo courtesy of Matt Rasmussen

A beautiful incline
– Photo courtesy of Matt Rasmussen

Matt: Hey guys. It’s an honor to be mic’d up today – and an honor to be running in this race. Can you believe this has been around almost as long as the Super Bowl itself?! Last year, I was majorly injured and ran the 3 mile distance. I am happy to report that I feel like an excited rookie out here today – healthy and with feelings of hope about today’s race. Sorry if I am hard to understand, as I just finished the major hill section over the first 3 miles. My goal was to stay really slow over these first few miles to avoid exhausting myself for the remaining 2/3 of the event. I feel I accomplished that with about an 8:00 min/mile average. The field has really spread out over these first few miles and I feel lost somewhere in between the fast groups and the ones a bit behind me. The lonely running has made the rural landscape really enjoyable though.

Joe: Thanks for the update, Matt. We will check in with you later. Troy, what are you seeing over the first 20 minutes?

Troy: Let’s break it down. The 3mi and 6mi runners are in the lead running along the rolling hills along Spring Valley Road. There are a wide array of runners out there this morning – which is unfortunate for us as they should be watching our 8 hours of pre-game coverage! How else are they going to know what Peyton Manning’s favorite film noir movie is, or what the Seattle Secondary ate for snacks this week? This is necessary information!!! Anyways, some 3mi runners are finishing up, including the ridiculously fast Brian Bernier, a member of the Run Oregon blogging team cruising to a win!

Joe: Let’s go back to Erin…uh Erin?

Wine Barrels from one of the multitude of wineries along the course. - Photo courtesy of Matt Rasmussen

Wine Barrels from one of the multitude of wineries along the course.
– Photo courtesy of Matt Rasmussen

Erin (smiling abnormally big with eyes 3/4 open): Hey guys!!!

Joe: Uh hi Erin. Where are you?

Erin (still smiling): I am hanging out at Bethel Heights Vineyard, which is one of a multitude of wineries surrounding this event. This is the best! I love vineyards! I love Tebow! I love running!!! I  love…

Joe: Great Erin…just stay there. Let’s go back to Matt. It appears you are at about mile 6 now.

Matt: That’s correct. The previous 3 miles has been a welcome reprieve from the continual climb. In fact, my speed between miles 3 and 4 decreased by 1:15! I feel good and have been taking mental notes to remember the myriad of local wineries I have passed. I noticed that there was someone passed out between a few barrels back there…

Joe:…couldn’t imagine who that may be…anyway…Troy, do you have any updates on the weather out there?

Troy: It looks as if the weather has been about as ideal of conditions as there could be for running in the Pacific Northwest. The temperature has hovered in the low-mid 40’s, with periods of sun peeking through mostly cloudy skies. The weather has been dry and looks to continue that way. .I notice runners peeling off layers and gloves with each passing minute Joe.

- Photo by Matt Rasmussen

– Photo by Matt Rasmussen

Joe: Perfect! In fact, let’s just be quiet for another 20 minutes or so and soak in the calm countryside and the weather…

Troy: (silence)

Joe: (silence)

Erin: zzzzzzzzzzzzz….

Joe: And we’re back! Matt is making his final stretch to the finish. Let’s check in before he is too tired to talk. Matt?

Matt: Hey guys. I am just over a mile from the finish line. Beginning around mile 7, there has been a nice stretch of rolling hills. I have gotten to the part that looks familiar from last years run. That has really helped me mentally. I know I am just right around the corner from the finish – regardless of how many up and downs I have to deal with.

Joe: That’s great! Good luck. It looks like there is a healthy spread afterwards consisting of raw carrots, Dave’s Killer Bread, coffee from the Governor’s Cup, amongst other things, so enjoy those Matt. Finish strong!

Troy: I am sad to see this race come to an end, but I just know that the Big Football Game coming up will be thrilling and not at all lopsided!

Joe: You got that right Troy! Check out the “final scores” for the 3mi, 6mi, and 15k. Congratulations to all the participants!

About Author

Matt Rasmussen lives in Keizer, Ore. with his wife and three daughters. He enjoys watching hockey, going to as many breweries (618) and wineries (152) as he can, and all things Canada (he was born there). Matt was raised as a baseball player and officially transitioned over to running in 2010.

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