Sunday, January 25, 2015 was a foggy morning in Eugene, Oregon. And it was COLD! The previous day, Saturday, we had experienced record high temperatures in the area, so I just assumed, incorrectly, that Sunday would be a warm, sunny, beautiful day for racing! Boy, was I proved incorrect.
The Dash ‘n Dine 15k and 5k races started at 10 a.m. I do appreciate races that offer “later” start times, even when I am a local racer and don’t have to spend an hour or two commuting to the race (which I do a lot). Especially when beer is involved at the finish line, right? I mean, starting a 5k or 15k at 6 a.m., 7 a.m., even 8 a.m. would mean you were enjoying that post race beer way too early in the morning. Or, am I just crazy for thinking that? Feel free to let me know either way.
Anyway, pre-race logistics were smooth as silk. Thank you Level 32 Racing for this. I never thought I was such a stickler for pre-race logistics; you know, parking, knowing where to go to get your race bib and t-shirts, where exactly the start line is (heading west, heading north, etc.). Everything went so effortlessly. I even had plenty of time prior to the race, and after securing my bib, to enjoy a Dutch Bros. $1 beverage. Dutch Bros. on Franklin was generous enough to allow race participants to show their bib and receive a $1 drink of their choice. Fantastic perk!!!!
The race host site for the Dash ‘n Dine was the Holiday Inn Express on Franklin Blvd. This is where participants picked up race bibs, tech shirts, and were treated to complimentary coffee or water while being able wait inside and use real, flush toilets!
Promptly at 10 a.m., the race kicked-off. Both the 15k and 5k participants toed the starting line together. The announcer instructed participants to line up according to their race pace, as there were no formal corrals (none were needed). I was pleased that the course took racers along a fairly wide stretch of pavement right from the start. This allowed easy movement, instead of a chaos of jockeying for position, right off the line. It’s fantastic how smooth this process is when the course can handle the initial participant load well. Great job with strategizing the start in such a fashion.
At approximately the one mile mark, the 15k racers split off to the left, while the 5k participants headed to the right over the Autzen Footbridge along the Ruth Bascom Bike Path. I am so thankful for the expansive, integrated multi-use pathways we have in Eugene. It’s wonderful that Level 32 Racing can hold events on these paths and keep participants off the roadways for a lot of events.
After cresting the Autzen Footbridge, the fog began to lift and the sun shone on racers. After a quick zig-zag, following next to Pre’s Trail, there was this bright oasis. Oasis? Yes, water station. I neglected to bring my handheld water bottle, so the water stations oasis was so pleasing on the eyes.
Approximately the 2.5 mile mark, participants came to another split based on which distance they were completing. The 15k racers split along the pathways heading north towards the I-5 underpass paths into Springfield. 5k’ers did a short out-and-back under the new I-5 bridge, then proceeded to cross the Knickerbocker Footbridge heading towards the finish line.
While zipping down the Knickerbocker Footbridge, I suddenly remembered, with horror, the steep-ish hill that was ahead of us to get to the finish line. This hill greets runners on the Eugene Marathon/Half course going the opposite way; so we are running it downhill, but for the Dash ‘n Dine, we got to run up that sucker! I love hills, hills are fantastic. I don’t know why, but I just don’t like this hill. I let the hill dictate my pace, which meant I was walking. About half way up the hill, a runner that I had been in front of the entire race passed me. Sigh. Jessica, you can do better than this! However, once I walked to the top of the hill, I started running and caught up to the runner in front of me. She crossed the finish line in what seemed like nanoseconds ahead of me … but still. That hill and I … not friends.
There was a nice group of spectators at the finish line, and the finish line announcer with Eclectic Edge Racing pronounced my last name correctly – hooray! My husband met up with me at the Eclectic Edge van to get the print out of my initial race results. Upon looking at the print out, I found out I placed 4th in my age group, which immediately made me dislike “the” hill even more.
The post-race festivities took place back inside the Holiday Inn Express on Franklin Blvd., which served as the start and finish line as well. Sporks a la Cart catered the event, and the menu was pretty impressive. I fell in love with the “James’ Cajun Tots with Spicy Remoulade”. YYYuuummm. This might have to be renamed to “Jessica’s Cajun Tots with Spicy Remoulade” … just sayin’.
Also, Claim 52 Brewing was pouring some super nice IPA and Amber ales for participants. I’m not a beer drinker, but the IPA was surprisingly good.
One of my colleagues at work brought his entire family to the event, and 4 of them took home age group finisher medals! Nice! Did I mention how I dislike “the” hill? It was great seeing lots of new and familiar faces out on the course today!
The next event hosted by Level 32 Racing is the Bristow Trail Run on February 7th, 2015. This is also the first event in the Run Big Trail Series. I’ll be out there tackling the 5 mile trail event, and hope to see lots of you out there!
Pros: Super smooth pre-race logistics; easy parking, indoor packet pick-up and indoor restrooms thanks to the Holiday Inn Express on Franklin, lovely technical event shirts, on time start, excellent post race food and beverages.
Cons: Not a thing.