Sunday, May 25, 2014

Walkin' the Hippie Chick

Being injured really sucks....

Starting line crowd from above

Especially when I'd won a free entry into the Hippie Chick Half Marathon.  This race has always been special to me.  Back in 2009, it was my very first half marathon.  When I ran it again the following year, it was my first sub 2-hour half.  (Recaps of these races can be found by clicking Hippie Chick 2009  and Hippie Chick 2010.) 

At the back of the pack....

But I broke my rib in a skiing accident two weeks before this year's Hippie Chick.  With race day approaching, I knew there was no way I'd be able to run 13.1 miles.  And even though I could probably walk the entire distance, it wouldn't be pretty.  Luckily, this event offers a quarter marathon option (which, if you're wondering, is a grand total of 6.55 miles).  I was fairly sure I could get through walking six and half miles with a busted rib.

Almost to the starting line

My neighbor and morning running partner Penny was also signed up for the quarter marathon.  Although Penny is usually the injured party of our duo, in today's race our roles were reversed.  Penny planned to run the quarter distance, while I'd be the walker.

This group had cute matching skirts

Saturday, May 10th dawned with typical spring weather - cloudy and cool.  Dark skies threatened rain.  But Penny and I donned our jackets - we're PNW runners after all.  We weren't gonna let a little rain stop us!

Loved these tie-dye shirts

Before the race, my friend and I lost each other, when Penny went to check her gear, and I made one last potty stop.  So I ended up at the starting line by myself.  Sadly, I shuffled towards the back of the pack to join the walkers.

Only mile one?

Walking instead of running a race was a first for me.  I really thought I'd be okay with it, but when the gun sounded and the crowd started out, I was immediately passed by tons of people.  Ladies much older than me trekked by like I was standing still.  Oh did the ego take a beating!

Beautiful tree lined street

But I had camera in hand, and moving at this slow pace, I could fully partake of the photo ops.  The Hippie Chick is an all-woman's race, and a very popular one.  Many ladies dress up in brightly colored gear for the occasion.  Tu-tus and tie-dye shirts were a common sight.  I spotted a few groups of walkers all decked out in matching t-shirts.  One group even sported cute matching skirts.

Struttin' through the countryside

It took an eternity before reaching mile one.  Used to being closer to the front of the pack, I was still trying to make the mental adjustment.  I snapped a photo of the mile marker sign, and decided I might as well capture each of the six signs along the way.  Why not?  I had time.

Mile two

The course started in a local football/baseball stadium.  After winding through a bunch of business parks, mile two found race participants cutting through an agricultural area.  It was a this point, the clouds began to lighten.  Maybe we'd luck out and miss the precip.

Penny looking strong

Not long after the mile two marker, I started seeing quarter marathon runners making their return trip.  Since this course was an out-and-back, I'd be able to see most of the participants.  I began to cheer the runners passing by.  Spotting Penny approaching, I gave her an especially loud woo-hoo (and took her picture!)  Although battling a sore knee, she was looking strong.

Return runners

The long line of runners and walkers wound through beautiful rural countryside.  The fields were all decked out in their best spring greenery.  And then - lo and behold - the sun actually peeked out of the clouds for a short spell!

Mile three!

I spied a couple of ladies posing for photos at the mile three marker.  I offered to take their picture, and they in turn took one of me. Yahoo - almost halfway!

Loved these huge trees

Although it turned out to be a nice day for a walk in the country, I was used to moving much faster.  This way taking way too long.....I yearned to run, even for a short distance.  But my injured rib kept reminding me this was not an option.

The sun came out for a bit

Just after the course turnaround point, I caught up and began to follow another lady.  She and I struck up a conversation and found we had some things in common.  We were both in our early 50s, both fighting injuries, and both had grown children. 

Mile four - still goin' strong

Having a companion to chat with really helped the final miles speed along.  The lady offered to take my photo at the mile 4 marker.  Although I did capture a shot of the mile 5 sign (which sadly was too poor quality to include here) we were so deep in conversation, I totally missed mile 6.

A sweet little girl was handing out licorice

Back to the industrial area, I knew the finish was getting close.  Spectators began to line the course, most cheering, some holding signs.  And there was one very sweet girl handing out licorice to participants.

This little guy made a drawing for his mom

There was also a cute little boy holding up a sign he'd made himself (I think it's supposed to be his mom running).

The finish line in sight

By now many of the half marathon racers began to pass us walkers.  These were the front of the pack runners, and boy, were they hauling! 

My debut on the jumbo-tron

But my companion and I continued on our swift walking.  Approaching the stadium entrance, volunteers cheered and directed us to the baseball field.  Just before the finish line, I looked up and saw myself on the stadium jumbo-tron.  Yes, I'm the one in blue holding up a camera!

There was chocolate!

After crossing the finish line, I realized Penny and I hadn't made any plans for meeting up after the race.  (And Penny had my car keys!)  There was already quite a large crowd gathered.  How would I find her?  It was dumb luck, that five minutes later, we practically ran into each other near the massage table.  Penny said she'd run strong until about mile 5, when her knee began to give her trouble.  She ended up walking most of the final mile.


We partook of the pancake breakfast, and Penny got a massage.  But best of all - we discovered one booth handing out full-size Ghirardelli chocolate bars.  Oh yeah!  Now that's what I call perfect race swag.

I survived walking my first (and hopefully only) running race.  Although a humbling experience, I ended up enjoying my time at the back of the pack.  And I've got a whole new appreciation for all you race walkers.

But...darn it rib, hurry up and heal!  I've got a fall marathon to start training for.

Sharing with:  Our World Tuesday.


  1. Congratulations for finishing! I bet it was the chocolate at the end that kept you going ;)

  2. I think you are terrific for participating even while injured..Congrats. I enjoyed the photos..

  3. I am so happy for you, Linda, great photos of the event.

  4. Yay. I'm so glad you finished.

  5. I LOVE that you were on the jumbo-tron. I am SHOCKED you did a quarter marathon with a broken rib--even at a walk. I KNOW you are impatient to be back full speed--so GET WELL woman:):):)
    Blessings, Aimee

  6. I completely understand. A couple weeks ago, my knee started having problems on mile 4 of a 7 mile run. Ugh. I feel like it is getting stronger, but still constantly worry about it. The favorite part of running for me is to try and beat the last run's time. For me - that was 2 hours 3 minutes. Hopefully recovery continues and I might get a half in later in the year. The first goal...a 10k in two weeks.

  7. Glad you survived, even if you had to walk!

  8. Injuries are crummy!
    My ankle sprain/ tear is healing up well. I never did get a chance to stay off it, such a busy time of year. It feels good for the most part, but boy, after some long days lately it sure does stay swollen!
    I wanted to join a softball team this summer, but not sure if I should hold off or not.
    I finally posted after my long absence, but I just realized that my update posted with a very old date, 10 days old - so I don't think it showed up in blogger feed. In any case, part of that update what that one of our twin boys has to have surgery this week - he fragmented a finger bone in his dominant hand playing baseball, DARN!! Playoffs tomorrow, and the team is needing him badly. Injuries that keep you from participating in what you love are the ultimate un-cool!!
    Hope that rib mends up fast, Linda. :)

  9. Good for you- doing it is what matters.

  10. Congratulations! I wouldn't have even tried, much less finished.

  11. That was fun, I really felt as if I were there with you as you walked your way through the course. Way to Go!

  12. Oh wow. Looks like a fun run. Thanks for sharing your experiences. Good luck on your upcoming full marathon.

  13. Bummer news about your rib, Linda. Hope you're feeling better soon!

  14. Sorry to hear about your broken rib. Ouch! Pray that is heals well and glad you survived the walk and had fun in the mean time. Turtle pace but still finished. Good for you! Ghiradellia chocolate....yummy!

  15. I said I would never race again, but a hippie chick run is just my style! Love the skirts and I love that you walked it anyway--others would have stayed home and sulked.

  16. Walking a quarter-marathon with a busted rib is impressive in my opinion. Congratulations, and heal quickly!

  17. I admire your determination to soldier on. You are always an inspiration Linda.


Don't be shy! Please leave a comment.