The day before the 2022 Silver Falls Trail Runs was a deluge. It hadn’t rained that hard in awhile. The weather was definitely making me nervous about the race. I figured the trails would be crazy muddy and I was sure I was in for a very soggy run. I was happy to be wrong! Race day turned out to be pretty dry overall. It was cold and grey, but the rain was holding off as we lined up to start the 7 miler on Saturday morning.
Despite many of my non-running friends shaking their heads at me and asking, “Who signs up for a trail race in November?” the Silver Falls Trail races were sold out! Yea, a lot of us signed up. And we were ready to take on whatever weather was thrown at us – in true Pacific Northwest runner form.
The course started us out on grass briefly and I felt cold water soak into one of my shoes as I stepped in a low spot. Oh boy, here we go! Then it was on to pavement for a short stint until we funneled on to the trail. There was a sudden halt as runners had to squeeze onto the much narrower trail. As often happens on trail runs, it took a bit for “traffic” to thin out, so it was awhile before I could settle in to my pace.
As I mentioned, I had been concerned about trail conditions, but they weren’t bad at all. Sure, there were some muddy patches and a few puddles, but they were pretty small. I think the well-maintained trails and the tree coverage made that possible. Instead of slipping around in mud, I was dodging low hanging branches with wet leaves weighing them down. As I watched my footing – and my head – I listened to conversations around me. I heard several comments about how beautiful it was, then it turned to conversations about work, home-life, and running. I settled in to my run as snippets of conversation swirled about me. I was running solo, so I enjoyed the distraction of chatter and the beauty of fall along the trails.
The course meandered along beside waterfalls and underneath several of them. The crashing of the water falling was so amazingly loud. Even the water in the creek seemed louder than usual with the water being high after all the rain. What a great setting for a race! At times I couldn’t enjoy the scenery since I needed to watch the trail, but at least I could hear the water crashing.
If you’ve been to Silver Falls, you know these are hilly trails. And then there are the stairs. And they seem to just keep going. As I did my best to power up the stairs, I heard someone behind me mention the possibility of puking. Now there’s some motivation to keep moving quickly! 🙂 I finally reached the top. I could hear the announcer nearby, but I knew there was still a little detour in store – Nutcracker Hill. Yea, that one is a doozy right near the end.
As I came out of the forested area into an open field and headed toward the finish, I realized it was kind of raining. The trees had really provided decent coverage. And then finally, the finish line! According to my GPS that 7 miler was about 7.42 miles. Whew! Finisher medal earned!
In the finish area there was hot food and drinks to help warm us up. Even though warm sounded great, I wasn’t ready to think about food yet. I downed water and checked results. As I began to cool down from the run, suddenly the cold and wet hit me. I was ready to get out of my wet clothes and get into my warm car. So, I didn’t stick around for long, despite the great post-race offerings.
This was my second time running the Silver Falls 7 miler and it was a great experience. As usual, Run Wild Adventures had everything dialed in and running smoothly. I’m tired and admittedly in need of a good massage, but it was a beautiful, challenging run and the rain held off for the most part. I would definitely categorize this as a must-do trail race.