With so many participants, the Silver Falls Trail Runs was slated for two days; Saturday, 11/5, which included the 50k, the marathon and the 7 miler & Sunday, 11/6, which was designated solely for the half marathon. From having previewed this event, I was stoked all week at the idea of running the 7 mile race. When Saturday finally rolled around my excitement level was through the roof. The morning even started off with a gorgeous sunrise, followed by a double rainbow while en route to Silver Falls. I arrived to the park by 830am (the 7 mile race was scheduled to start at 9am) which left me the perfect amount of time to pick up my packet. The packet pickup process was just about as smooth as ever and took me maybe 2 minutes. While waiting, the rain began to slowly roll in. Luckily throughout my run, it remained light, picking up only after most had completed their 7 miles.
So let me tell you about the 7 mile course. Prior to the race, I had imagined in my head that there would probably be some rolling hills, but nothing too serious. Even after reading the course description and even after viewing the elevation chart, I felt confident that this was going to be an easy jaunt through the park. Shortly after the race began however, the course almost immediately began to gain noticeable elevation. I actually had several people pass me on the first hill which was incredibly disheartening for me (overly competitive probs).
Luckily, after the first mile, the course began to even out and included lots of elevation gains and losses, and eventually at mile 3, the steady elevation loss began and continued all the way until about mile 6. (Although, let’s not forget those stairs we had to climb at mile 5ish, which I admittedly walked up the entire way). Anyway, mile 6 introduced us to Nutcracker Hill. I don’t know how else to describe Nutcracker Hill other than “up.” My poor little legs wanted to be able to actually run up that hill, but unfortunately I found myself walking for 3/4 of it. Right after Nutcracker hill though, and with approximately .30 miles to the finish, the course dropped some major elevation. So much elevation that I almost felt like I could have easily tripped and went flying down the hill. Lucky for me that didn’t happen and I was able to use my momentum to pass another runner and finish the race feeling really strong. My overall finish time was 1:04:23.
My favorite part of the course was obviously the waterfalls. We got to run behind, in my opinion, the two prettiest waterfalls at the park; the North & South Falls. I have been to Silver Falls many times before, but it was such an awesome feeling to get to experience it in a different way. My least favorite part of the course was probably the hills and the set of stairs. But to be honest, those things were only my least favorite part because I was not as in shape as I could have been, making them much more of a challenge.
Post race, I enjoyed some warm chili and bread under one of the covered shelters available. At this point, the light rain had turned much heavier and steadier, so I was even more grateful that this particular shelter also had a fire built that we could nestle up near. At around a quarter after 11, awards were given out to the top 3 male and female finishers, quickly followed by age group awards. Top finishers received a plaque and age group winners were given either a bronze, silver, or gold medal to indicate their age group placement. After receiving my age group award, I stuck around the park a little bit longer and revisited a view of the South Falls. Even in the rain, I have to say, Silver Falls is such a sight to be seen. All in all, it was a great day and a great event. For those interested in doing this race next year, I highly recommend it. Registration for the Silver Falls Trail Runs opens up August 1, 2017, so mark your calendars!