This race is part of the Shelton Forest Festival and I have been wanting to run it for years. Happy that I am finally able to be here. Great low price and a fund raiser for the hospital. Odd distance that I have never raced before. Also odd that it is a point to point course.
Small event, but there is a seven mile walk that started at 7AM. Also a two mile walk and two mile race that start at 8AM with my race. We stay at the Canal so in the morning it is a fifteen minute drive to the start and I find great parking near where Railroad Ave is closed down due to the race and parade. I think that by being part of the Forest Festival the costs of the race are kept low. "Main Street" finish with the road closed as the parade will start after our race. Also we have Mason County Transit to bus us out to the start. The start is only 2 miles away and I consider just jogging out there. But I am not exactly sure where I am going and the buses are right there to take us. I get to the start line at 7:30.
Plenty of time for a good warm up. Only a few people here that I know. Nice to see Missy again. And Richard Olafson (81 years old and will race the two miles in 18 minutes and change) and Barb.
Start - Brief word from the RD and then something a little different. The seven mile racers walk a ways down the road, just around a bend. The two mile racers are facing us but we can not see them. We start just a few minutes late, when the signal goes off between us. We rush forward on the right side of the road as the two milers come at us on the left side of the road. I like things like this as I know they are making the courses an accurate distance. Now we shift to the left and run away from town.
Mile 1 - (7:25) The first five miles will be on this country road. Open to traffic, but no cars. Cones with warnings to drivers on one side and words of inspiration (and sponsor recognition) facing us. Small race and some are already far ahead but I am in a small group. Passing and being passed. Wondering if I am going too fast.
Mile 2 - Starting to feel that negativity that comes with running so hard. Some ups and then some downs and I keep the pace fairly steady but I wonder how long it will hold. So hard to know what to do for a seven mile distance. Aid station and I slow to get some water. Now a longer uphill. Scenic country course though, I really like running here.
Mile 3 - After the hill it is gentle down and although I feel like I am pushing it too much, I keep up the effort and pass a couple of people.
Mile 3.5 - Halfway there and feeling good. Relaxed but giving a hard effort. Then suddenly out of nowhere a serious upper back spasm. Wow! That hurt and it throws me off my game. Where did that come from? Can I keep running? What should I do? I keep moving but I also raise my arms and try other stretching things. One guy I had just past gets ahead of me. I am moving along, but it seems slower. I am surprised that the others are not catching me.
Mile 4 - Back hurts but not like the huge spasm. I can run with it. Just a lot less fun.
Mile 5 - Slowed some but still running OK. Pass my first walker. Then on to Railroad Ave and under Highway 101. A few cars coming at us, only one is going too fast and too close. I had been hoping to at least be under 56 minutes. Under 54 would be great. Looks like I should be in the 53 range, so even with the back issue it has been a good morning.
Mile 6 - Soon the straight shot on the closed part of Railroad Ave. Still looking at the watch. Finally stop thinking about time and start a final kick to the end.
Mile 7 - Finish - Strong finish. 6.98 on the GPS. Happy with my time. Now I can rest and stretch out my back, try to make it feel better. Twisting right or left brings on more spasms so I do not do that.
Watch the others come in. Bib tags are posted on boards right away. 4th in my age group, so no ribbon. Watch the kids race. Now the raffles. Some really good prizes, but alas I do not win anything. I would run this one again for sure.
53:00 (7:35 per mile pace)
15th place of about 58 runners