Size matters! Click on any photo to enjoy a larger version.
|Nice finisher shirt - too bad it's too small!|
As one of my goals for 2012, I vowed not to let any running event interfere with skiing (gotta have your priorities!). It wasn't like I stopped running over the winter months. I just backed off from any serious training. What it did mean, though, was no races during the months of January through March, and no spring marathons. But I figured I could still ski and handle a half by the time April rolled around.
|Ready to rock 'n roll|
Of course, like many races, registration happens months in advance of the actual date. What seems like a good idea when you sign up becomes a "what was I thinking?" moment four weeks before the big event. That's about the time I employ the "oh crap, I've got a race in one month" training plan. (Big thanks to my neighbor Penny who got my sorry butt up early for two morning runs a week - couldn't of done it without you).
|Looking serious at the start|
Then the weather forecast called for amazing weather on Hood the day before my big race. The mountain was calling and I couldn't resist! Not willing to miss skiing on a bluebird day, I headed up to Mt. Hood Meadows. And it was a fantastic day. (Photos and story can be found here.) I got in a bunch of runs on incredible snow before forcing myself to quit early. Yeah, I knew I'd probably pay dearly for this ski trip....
|Following the pack|
|Running through the OSU campus|
I finished prepping for the race at my daughter's apartment. The weather was predicted to be warm and sunny, so I chose shorts instead of my staple winter running capris. And since the race was taking place on the OSU campus, I donned the only orange tech tee I possessed, and my OSU cap. I was going to represent (go Beavs!)
Denise drove me back to the starting line, in the middle of the Oregon State campus. By then, a large crowd of runners had gathered. It was a festive scene, with the OSU band playing peppy tunes. I love marching bands, and really enjoyed the music. Got me all fired up to run. The morning chill and clouds were burning off, making way for a beautiful, dry sunny day.
|Denise caught me at mile one|
And soon enough - we were off! The pack headed around the perimeter of campus, before turning back and running straight through the very heart of it. Crowds of people lined the main road, cheering, ringing cowbells and waving signs. Little kids held out their hands for "high fives" (which I love to give!) I'd loaned Denise one of my cameras to get some photos, and I spotted her on a street corner near mile one, firing away.
|Still feelin' good|
|We ran right underneath this building|
After a nice tour of the OSU campus, the course then took its participants into the rural countryside on the outskirts of Corvallis. We ran by fields just starting to wake up from a long, wet winter. It was very scenic and sure beat running along a busy urban roadway. My body was starting to wake up, and I enjoyed a very pleasant couple of miles.
|Loved the mile marker signs!|
One of the things I loved about this race was its wonderful mile markers. Each sign was bright and cheerful, and had an inspirational slogan. Really helped keep a positive attitude (which was even more important in the later stages of the race).
|Approaching the covered bridge|
|The runners were routed right through the bridge|
|Hooray for the Superheros!|
THE SUPERHEROS! Two guys dressed up in superhero costumes running the race. What fun! I turned around and asked if I could take their picture. They were great sports, and even slowed down and posed so I could capture their greatness. I ran with them for a short distance, joking that I should've donned a Wonder Woman costume.
|Running through the country|
|By mile 7 we were back following the road|
|Denise caught me at mile 8|
|Wave for the camera!|
|More inspirational mile marker signs|
|Passing people at mile 11|
|The finish line is in sight!|
|Everyone's finish was shown on the stadium jumbo-tron|
|My great support crew|
|Reeser Stadium was full of runners|
I zigged and zagged through more campus roads, until finally the walls of Reeser Stadium loomed ahead. Almost done! I turned a corner into one of Reeser's parking lots, and noticed a bunch of spectators holding a sign that read: "Run like you're being chased by a rabid opossum!" I laughed so hard! That sign provided the positive motivation I needed to step on the gas for the final push. I streaked through the parking lot and there before me was the ramp leading down to Reeser's field. I could hear the whoops and applause before even entering the stadium. Hitting the turf, I was engulfed by the noise. The finish was set up on the field's 50-yard line, and no sight was sweeter. As I hit the timing mats, my Garmin read 2:03:49. Although not a PR, it was still a great time. I'd survived another half marathon, with spotty winter training and skiing the day before!
|My wonderful daughter and I|
I was really impressed with this race. The course was absolutely beautiful - a great tour of Corvallis. Took me to parts of town I didn't know existed! (and Denise has been at OSU four years) There was lots of water stations and the volunteers on traffic control were great. I love, love, loved the mile marker signs. And it was fabulous to finish in Reeser Stadium! Made me feel like a true champion.
With a good night's sleep, I recovered quickly and didn't feel too bad the next day. Maybe I need to go skiing the day before a race more often.... :)