Race Recap: 2016 Pacific Crest Half Marathon

Pacific Crest 2016 did not disappoint. I opted for a run this year instead of a triathlon and after I heard the temperature of Wickiup Reservoir, I was so relieved I only had to worry about one discipline. I was concerned enough about the temperature without getting wet. I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Sunriver, so I should know it’s brisk first thing in the morning. The Half Marathon and Marathon started first thing in the morning and it was below 40 degrees. I have no problem running in that temperature, I just needed to prepare for it. Next year instead of just sunglasses, I’ll pack some arm warmers and gloves.

This was my first time running the Half Marathon at Pacific Crest and I was a little surprised the start line wasn’t a little more packed. The Race Organizer was amazing. She gave us a little warm up, reminded us to line up according to estimated times and stood out there in the cold for a lot longer than I did and must have been freezing.

We started on time, which I appreciate and I didn’t see a lot of shedding the first few miles. Clearly I wasn’t the only one on the chilly side. In its twentieth year, Pacific Crest is like a well-oiled machine. The course is well-marked for all of the events, different colors for various events so you get used to looking for your color along the route. The perimeter of Sunriver is pretty flat, but there are definitely a couple of mild rollers along the way. Rollers and altitude, I always feel the attitude in Sunriver.

Fortunately, they had plenty of water along the course. Every mile had a table with volunteers passing out drinks. They had to be cold just standing out there and I noticed one volunteer with two coolers, clearly planning on a long day. It always amazes me how many people are willing to donate their time to help make an event successful.

The Half Marathon was one loop pretty much around Sunriver. We ran by the golf course, down to the marina, by the stables and airport and then back to the mall. I was relieved I was only doing one loop, though I missed the finish turn off, which was completely my fault. At the turn off, I was waved through by the volunteer since my bib wasn’t visible and I guess it looked like I wanted to go again. Little did she know, 13.1 was plenty for me.

It wasn’t long before I discovered I missed the turn and ran back. They had signs noting the yards to the finish and, but I’m terrible at guessing stuff like that. With their signs, I knew fairly quickly that I had gone too far. Blushing a little, I turned back and ran upstream and was so grateful my finish line was in sight versus another lap like the ladies running by me.

The Sunriver Mall is turned into Athletes Village for the Pacific Crest weekend and the atmosphere is exhilarating. Even though I had just finished my run, I was already plotting next year. The booths line the mall and it’s fun to peruse through the goodies. I’m never tempted with food after a run and definitely not tempted with beer, since it takes me a bit to recover and have an appetite again, but a woman walked by with watermelon on her plate and that got my attention. I hadn’t bothered to wear the wristband since I knew I wasn’t going to have a beverage, but the band was for the food area. I decided nothing in there was worth the trip to the car and back, I just wanted a shower and clean clothes, but learn from me and always put on the stylish wristband.

My family loved that I was doing the Half Marathon, that meant I could go play for the rest of the day. We headed into Bend for a hike and then returned for a little Hit Machine at the post-race celebration. It was fun seeing everyone cleaned up and having a good time. Race organizers, volunteers and participants were all hanging out together, which you rarely see off the pavement. Truthfully, that might have been my favorite part. Most people there had endured an extremely long day, but they weren’t ready for the day to end, which I think says something about event. It was another successful Pacific Crest Sports Festival Weekend and I know race organizers are most likely elated when it’s done, but the rest of us are sad when it’s over. Fortunately, we have next year.

 

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