I had an injury-free 2017, but for a variety of reasons, my weekly mileage tailed off at the end of the year and I hadn’t run a race since Thanksgiving. Now that it was 2018, I was ready to get back into racing.
My first race of the year was the Oregon Winter Event. As an Uberthons Ambassador, I received a comp entry to this race, which offered the choice of a half marathon, quarter marathon, or 5K. Maybe I’ll run another half marathon some time in the future, but I’m all about the 5K and 10K distance. Last year, I ran the 5K at this race, so I opted for the quarter marathon this time.
Race day was Saturday, January 20. During the week before, I’d been checking the weather forecast occasionally, and it was fairly consistent: temperatures in the low 40s with showers. I think I’ve lived in Oregon long enough now that I can say, “Pfft, showers….” The biggest downside would be having to poke holes through my running jacket for the race bib.
But when I woke up on Saturday morning, it looked clear outside. Cold, but clear. I opted for a Columbia Sportswear longsleeve tech shirt with Omni-Heat lining underneath a vintage Uberthons tech shirt, and shorts. No need for running tights or a jacket. I did bring a pair of thin gloves, because I don’t like frozen hands.
I arrived at The Reserve Vineyards and Golf Club around 8:15 a.m., which was ample time before the 8:45 start for the quarter marathon, but the parking lot was already mostly full because the half marathon start time was just 15 minutes away. In fact, I got directed to the farthest spot, an auxiliary lot near the entrance, and I ended up with the second to last spot there.
Considering it was mid-January, temperatures in the low 40s really were about the best that could be reasonably expected. Still, since I had dressed according to the usual rule of thumb of “10 degrees warmer,” I was cold just standing there! We quarter marathoners and 5Kers watched the half marathoners line up and head out in waves, and then we had another 10+ minutes to wait so that they could get deeper into the course (and thereby lessen clogging on the path).
It may have been dry that morning, but it had rained during the week, and the golf course still showed signs of it. Announcer Margo Glass pointed out to us that while it might be tempting to avoid puddles on the path by running on the grass, we should avoid doing so, because we would end up adding five pounds of mud to each shoe.
As you can see from the map above, the course was very twisty, especially for the first four miles. In the beginning, the path was open and ample. I had started in the first wave with a small group of runners who were mostly faster than I was. Around the 1 1/4 mile mark, though, I caught up to some half marathoners, and from then on, the path was more crowded. To be sure, not too crowded. I never had to run off the path to get around people – yea for not adding 5 pounds of mud to each shoe!
It had been cold while waiting for the race to start, but within 10 minutes or so after starting, I was feeling comfortable, temperature-wise. Not only did it stay dry but the sun started to peek out around the clouds.
Meanwhile, whoever designed the race course had either a wicked sense of humor or a desire to test our mental strength. Just after mile 2, the start/finish line was so close that I not only saw it but also heard race director Darwin Rasmussen’s announcements. I managed to gasp to the nearest runner (Amy Hopkins), “So close, yet so far!” She responded, “Yeah, really!”
And then again, right at mile 4, I was just a few dozen yards away from the finish line (as the crow flies, or maybe as the rabbit hops), but still had more than a third of the distance left. Ha ha, I thought to myself, good thing I’m not running the half marathon!
Right past the mile 4 marker, where the course turned away from the staging area, was an aid station. There had been an earlier one, too, but this one was offering something other than water or electrolytes.
It was the bacon station!
As I approached it, I saw a couple of half marathoners in front of me stop to take short strips of bacon (wrapped in napkins) from the volunteers. Now I like bacon, but the thought of eating even a small strip of bacon in the middle of a race was not too appetizing to me. More power to those who were able to eat and run!
In retrospect, maybe I should have eaten the bacon. By mile 6, I was pretty gassed, and my pace, which had been steady from miles 2-5, slowed by about half a minute per mile. When I reached the mile 6 marker, I had a little over half a mile left. Almost there, I thought, and sped up a little.
The end! I crossed the finish line, accepted a cup of water and a finisher’s medal from volunteers, and staggered off to the side. I saw DuWayne Olson, who had finished about a minute and a half ahead of me, and congratulated him on a great run.
Notice that yellow card in the upper left corner? It’s part of the Uberthons’ new Eat Right, Exercise Right program. I’ll have a more detailed post in the near future about it, but as a sneak preview, it’s like a collectible card game, with prizes available based on how many different cards you collect.
Unfortunately, I was unable to stay long after finishing the race. I had managed to take second place in the male 45+ category (behind DuWayne Olson), but I wouldn’t have been able to stick around for the awards ceremony. I headed over to the podium in the covered tent area, where Darwin Rasmussen was announcing the overall and age group winners for the 5K. At a suitable break, I told him that I was sorry that I had to leave, and that I would just pick up the quarter marathon 45+ medal at the next Uberthons event (Chocolatathon). Nonplussed, Darwin accommodated me by moving up the announcement of that part of the quarter marathon awards!
On my out of the race area, I stopped by the soup bar for clam chowder sprinkled with real bacon bits. Mmmm!
This was another well-organized, well-executed race, as expected from Uberthons. Good course support, delicious post-race food, and tight mileage markers.
5K: 152 finishers
quarter marathon: 116 finishers
half marathon: 236 finishers
For full results of all race distances, click here.