After a very warm weekend, I was quite surprised to wake up to an overcast Memorial Day morning. Although I prefer sunshine, I knew I would appreciate a cooler Up The Lazy River race morning. I found parking at Mary S. Young Park easily and was able to quickly pick up my race bib. One thing that really stood out to me as I went through my pre-race rituals was that the RD, Run Oregon’s Kelly Barten, was on top of everything, seemed really calm, and even took the time to greet everyone she came across. As an RD myself, I was extremely impressed. Her demeanor alone assured me that the race was organized and going to run smoothly – and it did, from start to finish.
Before the race started, some local Boy Scouts presented the flag while a trumpet quartet from West Linn High School played the national anthem. It was impressive! After the anthem, a good-sized group of runners and walkers headed out on the 10K course. I was surprised to feel a bit of mist falling as we made our way out of the park. It definitely wasn’t the weather I had expected.
Volunteers and signage were strategically placed along the course to keep us all going in the right directions. There were also signs with trivia questions on them to give you something to ponder or talk about. Apparently my trivia skills are lacking when it comes to the topics of chemistry and music. What letter of the alphabet is the only one not on the periodic table of elements, anyway? I should probably Google that one since I’m still thinking about it.
Even though I ran this race last year, I kept feeling like the course was different. I was noticing things I didn’t remember seeing before. I thought that perhaps I was just paying closer attention to the great scenery. When I got to the infamous hill and began the long upward slog, I finally realized that I had been thinking about a course of a different race. No wonder everything seemed different! Once I figured that out, the rest of the course started coming back to my memory. I always enjoy and dread the physical (and mental) challenge of a good hill. When I finally reached the top (without walking) I felt pretty good about meeting the challenge I had set for myself. Even though I finished with a much slower time than usual, I still felt good about my race overall. Although, I am really bummed about that blister I got on the bottom of my foot! It’s been years since I got a blister while running. Are my favorite socks getting too old to protect me from blisters? Was it my shoes? Regardless, it was a great run.
After I finished I found plenty of water to re-hydrate, along with a variety of snacks. I also picked up my new UTLR socks – one of the awesome perks of this race. Another perk, if you are a mature runner, is that UTLR is a master’s championship race. That means the 40 and over crowd compete within their age, not an entire age division. So, I was only competing with those women who were exactly the same age as me and I managed to walk away with a 3rd place ribbon! Sweet!
I would highly recommend this annual ORRC Memorial Day race with its challenging course, scenic views, and well-organized venue. Put it on your “must run” list for 2018!