The top of the hill … or is it? This is a photo from the ZRR facebook page; the 2016 race was sunny by the time I reached mile 3.I love races that fit the criteria of low-cost, non-profit, community events. So with an early sign up cost of $15, the Willamette Valley Road Runners’ Zena Road Runs definitely fit the bill. It also fit into my training perfectly – I’m working my way up to the ORRC Vernonia Half Marathon on April 10.
Perhaps I should have looked at the elevation profile. But it wouldn’t have changed anything. That hill still would have angered me. At the end of the race, though, I was really glad I did it. My legs were shot, I was one of the last finishers, and still I plan to sign up for this one again.
The entire first 2.5 miles are a climb. You start at 204 feet and top out at 810 feet. But it’s a tricksy climb. From the start, you see a pleasant incline that then bends around the side of the hill, out of view. But then you start running, or shuffling, or walking, as the case may be. And you go around the side of the hill, and see the hill continuing to rise. Not “gently rise” or lead to a “slight incline.” No, this hill is a total jerk. As my phone app cheerfully announced, “Mile 2, total time: 22:13, mile split: 11:34.” I turned to my friend and said, “I have never been this ANGRY at mile 2 of a race.”
Mile 3 was just about as bad, but the next three were faster (sub-10 minute miles), and then fellow Run Oregon blogger Joe Dudman found us to run along. He’d run the 3-miler and good friend that he was, logged another three to meet us and then three more running us in. One thing you may know about Joe is that he knows a LOT about music. I had my Pandora tuned to 80’s Cardio, and as great tune after great tune came on, we realized that they were perfectly fitting for our run.
So, a little quiz for you. The following is a mile-by-mile description of how I felt at the 2016 Zena Road Runs, by song lyric. We’ll post the answers tomorrow, but see how many of them you can get! The bold/italicized is your hint: what I was thinking that mile. It’s truly a mixed bag … good luck!
Mile 1: From the start, the hill looked manageable. But then I turned the literal corner …
Things go from bad to worse
You’d think they can’t get worse than that
And then they do
Mile 2: So. Angry. Very tired. Seven point three to go. Seriously.
Traveling around sure gets me down and lonely
Nothing else to do but close my mind
I sure hope the road don’t come to own me
Mile 3: Well, those hills were disgusting. But look at the view! Let’s stop for a photo.
I’ve got to admit it’s getting better (Better)
A little better all the time (It can’t get more worse)
Mile 4: This downhill is pretty rock-tacular. My fastest mile.
Everybody’s bopping ’til there’s nothing left upon your heels
Keep a rocking ’til your legs are aching’ like a tractor wheel
Mile 5: Those first miles may have stunk, but I’m cruisin’ now! Love it!
You can ponder perpetual motion, fix your mind on a crystal day.
Mile 6: I think Joe will be at Mile 7 to run with me. He’s a cool dude.
Traveled down the road and back again
your heart is true you’re a pal and a confidant
Mile 7: Hooray, feeling decent and my friend Joe is pacing me and keeping me entertained!
Lovely to see you again my friend.
Walk along with me to the next bend.
Mile 8: “Rolling hills” … a few walk breaks and a few downhills, more like it. At least I had company.
When it’s all said and done you can walk instead of run
‘Cause no matter what you’ll never be alone
Mile 9: This song came on Pandora in the last mile … it was perfect!
I have climbed the highest mountains
I have run through the fields