After collecting my bib and race t-shirt, I spotted Joe. He had just gotten back from running the course and checking it out. He gave me the low down of what to expect; out-and-back on two separate portions of the Alton Baker Park multi-use paths, then zing past the finish line to wrap-around the block to get those last tenths of a mile in to cross the finish line after looping the block. I am very thankful he told me this, so I could gauge where I was on the course. Why? Because, I forgot my Garmin GPS watch and my inhaler. Not cool, Jessica, not cool at all.
As you may know, I have been racing a lot lately in preparation for The San Francisco Marathon, taking place the end of July. Having raced both days last weekend (Saturday was the Alsea Falls Spring Fling, and Sunday was the Portland Shamrock half marathon), I was breaching unknown territory by racing again so quickly. I knew as the week progressed and I was recovering from the weekends craziness that I was going to use the Bring in Spring 5k race as a recovery run … and after forgetting my Garmin and my inhaler, I knew this was going to have to be a recovery style run.
The race started promptly at 6 p.m. The start area was plenty big to prevent any crowding issues. James, race director of Level 32 Racing, used the loud speaker to give pre-race instructions that were very much appreciated by us participants. He also informed racers about the superb after party that was taking place at Oakshire Brewing, just a short three blocks away, after the race.
When the air horn sounded, we were off. I lined up towards the back of the pack of runners, and was able to see Joe blazing out near the front of the pack. We run past Sladden Park on the quiet neighborhood streets to get, very quickly, to the Alton Baker Park paths. We raced past Owen’s Rose Garden towards Lamb Cottage. The first turn around point was located by the Veterans War Memorial in the park. Prior to reach this point, which was about the one mile mark, I was able to see Joe and all the super fast runners heading toward the next loop point at Maurie Jacobs Park. Again, out-and-back portions of courses I really enjoy; I love seeing everyone out there, regardless of where they are on the course!
After making the first loop, and heading back towards Owen’s Rose Garden, it seemed like the entire city of Eugene hit the multi-use paths. They were quiet, now they were packed. I don’t blame everyone for wanting to be at the lovely park on such an impeccable evening. It did, however, prove to be a ‘jostling for position’ sort of endeavor for the next mile or so. An aid station was set-up at the River House Community Center, which was perfectly placed at about 1.75 mile point. I was hoping to see Joe heading toward the finish line (yeah, he is fast), but I didn’t see him (which proved to be good, as he was even FURTHER ahead of me!).
Nearing Maurie Jacobs Park, a volunteer was stationed to direct runners around the loop at Maurie Jacobs, and not run over the pedestrian bridge. Excellent white course markings were on the paths of the entire course, too, but it was great having someone there directing, as there are a lot of intertwining paths that you could mistakingly take. So many choices!!
After completing the second loop around Maurie Jacobs, we were on the final stretch back to the River House, to take the connector trail back to the neighborhood streets past Sladden Park. Again, during this point, lots of opportunity to see fellow racers who were at different points at completing their 5k adventure.
Passing the finish line to take the final loop, which was really running around Sladden Park on the streets, runners took on the final piece of the course which was about one-tenth of a mile (you know, that .1 in the 5k’s 3.1 miles?). Racers were being announced as they were crossing the finish line, and there was energy bringing all the participants back home to the finish. This last loop around Sladden Park proved excellent, as there was a lot of opportunity to cheer on participants.
After I crossed the finish line, I saw Joe! “Joe, Joe, Joe … how did you do?!?!” He came in second overall in the race. Go, Joe, Go! As stated in the pre-race announcements, after the last participant crossed the finish line, race officials would pack up and head down to Oakshire Brewing for the post-race party and awards ceremony. Oregon Wood Fired Pizza was providing free pizza to runners, and Oakshire Brewing was offering a free pint of beer to all participants 21+.
Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the post-race festivities, but I got the run down from Joe, who attended. Lots of participants were there celebrating, and the Oregon Wood Fired Pizza was divine. Random prizes were handed out, and the top three male and female finishers received awards. Joe said he scored a pint glass and a race shirt; sweet.
Pros: On-time start, enjoyable out-and-back’s multiple times on the course, wonderful event shirt (it’s my new favorite material!), easy race logistics with no issue parking or picking up packet quickly, fantastic post-race celebration at Oakshire Brewing.
Cons: I didn’t have my Garmin GPS, and I forgot my inhaler, which, of course, has nothing to do with the race; it’s all my fault for the cons!
Top three male finishers:
Top three female finishers: