A 10K a week after a 50K is a really bad idea. But I justified that it would be local and (I thought) all flat on Springwater Trail. Plus, any chance to earn a medal in the spring sunshine must be pursued.
I was right about the local and the medal. Definitely not about the flat part.
The Gresham Lilac Run 10K was part of a weekend full of races, including 5L and half marathon events. To keep participants more distant and safer, 5K participants lined up on Saturday while the half marathon and 10K racers had separate start times on Sunday morning. Safety measures were also in place through a packet pick-up drive-thru. The swag bag included a cozy sweatshirt, lilac buff, and the medal that I would have to run to earn over the weekend. The set up was great for accommodating participants in so many distances, including virtual race folks.
The starting line was in Main City Park, where I often run on the weekends. Feeling comfortable about the commute and the parking, I drove over with just a few minutes to spare before start time. I was still pinning on my bib as the announcer counted down. It might be my latest arrival ever, which helped in setting up the whole experience as more chill than time pressured.
The 10K racers started by heading East on Springwater Trail for about a half a mile before turning into a neighborhood. I had looked at the course map in advance but not really understood all the turns and hills that were ahead of us. I was walking before mile 2 and content to give away any pressure of a PR. With the sunshine beating down on the asphalt, movement forward was totally enough.
Around mile 3 we were into the woods. I was completely turned around as far as which way was the finish line. I followed the walkers and runners ahead of me, and was grateful for each ribbon or flag that confirmed we were still on the course. There were some portions of the trail that was only wide enough for one runner and passing, and some of the racers need a little more practice on providing room for those who are passing. Again, it was good I wasn’t aiming for any time records. Over the river and through the woods the runners go and go and go.
The last mile and change were back on Springwater (whew!) with an aid station perfectly timed to provide water for the final sprint to the finish.
I have to pause my running recap to highlight my favorite moment of the race: seeing a woman ahead of me recognize a friend she had not seen in months. They ran toward one another, declaring that they were both vaccinated and safe to hug. Even though I did not know either of them, I felt that hug down to my bones.
The few blocks brough participants back to the starting line in Main City Park and back to the happy sounds of cheering friends and family members. Crossing the finish line without a medal on the other side was strange, so I was happy to know my medal was waiting safe in the car for the required happy picture. And since the after-party was safety-limited this year, many of the participants had the same wonderful idea I did and stopped by Café Delirium for treats.
I look forward to running this event again next year. And knowing that those hills need my full attention and effort.