My friend Amy and I headed to Sunriver on Friday, since the half marathon took place on Saturday morning at 8:00am. We were grateful that our friends Ron and Ardara and their kids let us crash in their condo which was just a short walk to the Village (where the Race Expo and Start/Finish line were located). I was a little concerned about the half marathon because of two things: the elevation of Sunriver is, 4,162 feet above sea level (much higher than I was used to running), and the weather was supposed to be hot–in the high nineties. It wasn’t going to be a day to attempt a PR, but I was put at ease because the week of the event, the race organizers (Why Racing Events) decided to double the number of water stations on the course (almost every mile, instead of every two miles), and they also provided sponges and misters for cooling off. I really felt like this went above and beyond what’s expected of the race organizers, because running races in the summer carries a certain level of risk due to the heat, and runners are accepting that risk by registering with the assumption that there would be water stations to the extent described on the race website, but I definitely appreciate when race directors decide to over-deliver!
Things were a tiny bit congested at the start but because there was just one half-marathon wave but the 900 participants spread out within the first quarter of a mile. The half marathon course was beautiful: it went by the Amphitheater, through the golf course, and alongside the Deschutes River. Most of the route was along paved bike paths throughout Sunriver Resort. There were some bicyclists on the paths, but they were mostly considerate, and there were course marshals to assist with stopping traffic.
I ran cautiously for the first half of the race because the heat made me a little nervous, but it was nice being a little leisurely and taking in the sights. It felt tough running at elevation, and it started to feel warm fairly early on. I ran into my friend Den and we kept each other company for a few miles, sometimes leapfrogging one another (isn’t it funny how you can drive four hours and see someone from back home?!) It helped pass the time, and I also appreciated the volunteers at all of the aid stations, who cheered and shouted enthusiastically along the entire course. Once I hit mile 9, I felt pretty comfortable with my pace and pushed a little harder–I was ready to be done and relaxing back at the Village! As I approached the finish line, there were lots of spectators cheering on the runners which was really cool. The medals were really nice and heavy–the medal portion was the same for all Pac Crest events and distances, but the ribbon was different depending on the event. After getting my medal, I headed into the Pavilion for all sorts of food and drink–they really know how to lay out a spread for some hungry runners! There were eggs, salad, pasta salad, cookies, bread, peanut butter, Jamba Juice, Golazo and more. Registration also included a tech tee and a free beer from the beer garden, so after all of my friends had finished, we headed there to hang out.
My first day at Pac Crest was awesome, and I was super excited to continue it the next day with the 5k, which would earn me my BEAST MEDAL! (Stay tuned for part 2….)