Sunday, October 28, 2012

Inaugural Snohomish River Run recap

It seemed like it would never arrive, but the big opening of the Snohomish River Run finally came with true fall PNW weather - upper 40's/low 50's temps, downpour of rain, winds, and slippery leaves on the ground. (I kinda like it!)
Spoiler: 2nd AG finish = beer mug = very cool!
I'm a bad blogger and although I met up with MANY Seattle-area bloggers & runners (Tall Mom, Sybil, Stacie with her 11-yr old daughter both running the half marathon, Rabenki, Sally, Jen, Julie, Born&Raced in Chicago, friend Mr. S who I ran the Indy Mini with & was supposed to run THIS race with, Rabenki's sis running her first 10k, two high school classmates I hadn't seen in 21 years, and everyone came with more friends and friends of friends), I didn't take ANY photos.

Because this was a first run of the SRR, there were a couple hiccups. The only significant one was a slight shortage of porta-potties (easily fixed for next year), which meant long lines and a delayed start. Well, with the delay it was a bit uncertain when it would be best for me to ditch my warm-ups and I was quite pre-occupied with socializing so forgot to pay attention to announcements.

Too late, I decided to run ~200m back to my car to ditch my raincoat & sweats. On the way back, I heard the starting horn for the 10k race. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! 

I SPRINTED to the start line, arriving out of breath, and for the first time I was LAST in a race. What a crazy feeling! I instantly thought of the Traveling Runner who missed the RNR NOLA start this year.

I spent the first mile weaving between walkers and joggers trying to find Sybil who had a similar finishing goal: sub-50:00 or bust. I found her (gunmetal Sparkle skirt!), admiring her beautiful mid-foot strike as I approached, and tried to hang on. I was pretty pooped already from the crazy start but found a rhythm.

The course followed a rural road, which was a nice change from my city runs. We looped back toward the start after about 1.5 miles then headed in the opposite direction on a paved path along the Snohomish River.

Between miles 2.5 and 4, I felt my energy flagging and it seemed like Sybil was pushing the pace. I told her I was going to drop back; she picked up the pace a bit. I managed to keep pace a bit behind her, just focusing on following her footsteps. I concentrated on watching her feet and trying to have the same nice stride (yeah Sybil!). This saved me.

By the time we were on the river path, Sybil & I were in pace together but not talking. I couldn't. But, I was SMILING from ear to ear because I LOVED this section of the race. The last 3 miles along the path reminded me of cross country because except for being paved instead of dirt or wood chips, it was rather narrow and windy, tiny little hills, slippery leaves, and trees around. Most people DIDN'T like this part of the course for these same reasons but what can I say? It made me think of the old days.

At mile 4, I checked my watch and realized that if I maintained pace, I'd probably break 50:00 but I wouldn't hit my A goal of breaking 49:21 (2010 You Go Girl finish time). My first thought was to wait until mile 5 to pick up the pace. Some quick math made me realize that wouldn't be good enough. I had to go NOW.

Fright. Could I pick up the pace for another 2 miles without tanking? I usually play things quite safe and wait until the last mile or even half mile to push. Would I be ok with not meeting my A goal? Nope. UNcharacteristic of me, I decided to go for it with 2 miles left. I picked up the pace just a bit. I passed a few people and just kept focusing on the next people to move up on. I cheered for runners who were already doubling back to the finish.

I kept smiling.

Spectators smiled back, telling me to keep smiling. I think they thought I was delirious. I was, I was having SO MUCH FUN! But, I had no idea if I could make it to the finish at that pace (whatever that was, I don't wear a Garmin).

Sure enough, at mile 5+, I started to get weak in the legs. OH NO, YOU DON'T! SUCK IT UP BUTTERCUP! I talked myself down and told myself I would be the biggest lame-ass that ever was if I couldn't make it just ONE MERE MILE while my friends were out running a full 13.1 miles.

I checked my watch. 46:##. It was going to be close.

The cheers of spectators along that last half mile really helped. I kept smiling and crossed that finish in 48:36! A very flat course and nice cool temps certainly didn't hurt. This gave me a 2nd place in the age group, 6th overall female.

Women's 10k winning time: 42:12, not far behind the winning men's time of 38:04. 
Women's Half Marathon winning time: 1:24, with first male finishing in 1:09. 

Nice shirts (female sizing!), medal, mug.
All finishers in running skirts got a raffle ticket for a running skirt drawing at the end (we didn't stay for this, too cold & wet). All finishers also received a medal and space blanket. Nice touches! Also, 10k finishers got to have the same post-race food as the half marathon runners: HOT SOUP, chips & salsa, fruit, artisan bread.

While I ran a mere 10k, my friend Mr. S was kicking some serious butt on his half and managed a P-f'in-R in the rain = 1:44:43! Mel didn't have her best day but STILL finished in sub-2:00, as did Sally. All in all, I think everyone had a good race.
Pre-race, Mr. S saying that he felt it was a good day to PR.
Aside from Mr. S's PR, I think most impressive feat of the day goes to Stacie's 11-yr old daughter who not only finished during the heaviest downpour, but finished in 2:23. Yes, pretty freaking awesome. The best part was seeing mom & daughter cross the finish line together with HUGE smiles on their faces.

A great day for PNW running, indeed. I would definitely recommend this race for next year and hope to participate again myself. Gold stars awarded to race planners for:

  • Female sizing of shirts (v-neck tech tee)
  • Nice color RED with simple but bold logo.
  • Great sponsors - local health practitioners, RunningSkirts, PowerBar, Endurance Sports NW (which has an AWESOME selection of RS, SkirtSports, and Oiselle clothing), and StockPot Soups
  • FOUR KINDS OF HOT SOUP post-race!!! 
  • Water from coolers instead of bottled water (THANK YOU for not contributing 1,000+ bottles to the landfill)
  • Beer mug age-group awards, very cool 
  • Interesting course with a mix of roads and river-front path (despite being a narrow path, I wouldn't mind more of the course running along the path for next year) 
  • Large tents to huddle under, including kerosene heater
  • Post-race give-aways
  • Friendly race organizers  


Looking for a 5k tune-up? Check out this same group of folks who are organizing the MUSTACHE DASH on November 17.


  1. Wish I would have seen you there! I saw Jen, Julie, Andrea, and Mel. This race didn't go so well for me. I think the wind during the first half got to me. Great job on your AG award! So awesome!

    1. NUTS! How did we miss each other? Very sad.

  2. It was great to see you and I think your wrinkly bib numbers are cute. :) When I first saw it on you yesterday, I wondered how the heck that happened. :) Way to go on both getting across the start line and the finish line!

    Now, I know the trail was Jen's least favorite part, but like you, it was my favorite part. Except for the fact it was at the end and I was dying. :)

    Stacie's daughter was awesome - she was really out there getting it done!

    Umm, I didn't get a space blanket!

  3. Great great job! Wow!Sounds like a great race. You did an awesome job.

  4. Congrats on a new PR!!! You did amazing. Proud of you for not quitting when it got tough at mile 5.

  5. Running with you was great! I loved that winding trail, too. It broke the monotony of the flat course. Wish I could have kept up when you took off! You did so awesome and looked strong the whole time!

  6. Well done! That is a super time! You kept pushing and that is awesome! Nice swag!

  7. You are having quite the successful return to running from the IR list.

    I don't drink beer, but the few pint glasses I have from races are some of my prized possessions. I get SO mad when someone drinks out of my glass. Especially because they are all from marathons or higher and represent lots of blood, sweat and tears on my part.

    Enjoy your well deserved beer mug. I'm sure you will put it to good use!

  8. Oh wow, that's a great time! Well done! T-shirt looks really nice, and congrats on the AG win! Fantastic running!

  9. SOOOO proud of you in your award-winning race!

  10. Finally got my race report up. I'm an emotional mess from this. All good though :) Reading the race reports that included not only me, but Makenna, has been amazing. So glad we were able to share this with you and that you were also there to see us finish. It turned out better than I could have imagined. Congrats on your 2nd place win. Now you and Makenna have matching mugs :)

  11. she’s baaccckk!!! woohoo! congrats on a fabulous race and an AG award!! sounds like a really good race, even with the hiccups.

  12. I'm glad you were able to claim your AG award this go round. I must say a beer mug is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better than a cheap duffel bag. Excellent job :)

  13. It sounds like an awful weather but at least you like it and It can give an advantage in the race.