Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Gorge Waterfalls 50k and SPRING BREAK!

Photo credit: Glenn Tachiyama
I finally did my first race of 2012! It was a great way to kickoff the start of my spring break. Running a 50k race is probably not most people's idea of fun, but then again I'm not really typical….

The Gorge Waterfalls 50k was a spectacular race course! I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a great trail race with some beautiful scenery. We passed at least a dozen waterfalls and the aid and finish line spread were top notch! The race was an out and back this year, meaning, the first 7 miles and last 7 miles were up and over a pretty tough climb. Honestly, the last few miles of climbing were much more difficult than I had imagined. I usually like going uphill, but by the time I hit the hill a second time, I was definitely in the pain cave. As I attempted to run/power hike up the steep grade, I tried to to simultaneously ignore the signs that told me how many switchbacks I had yet to encounter and dodge all the tourists that were now out hiking. As I passed two guys one of them commented to me "Wow, you sure look tired." I resisted the urge to tell him what I really thought, but just mumbled back "Well you would be too if you'd just run 25 miles!" I think this took them by surprise as the other hiker yelled after me "We didn't even drive that far to get here!" I also had a little girl inform me that I needed to take a shower when I got back, because I was really dirty.

2012 Champions!

The race itself was just what I needed. I was a little nervous when we started the first climb and Jenn Shelton took off like a bat out of hell. I heard her yelling at Jeff Browning just ahead "Browning I'm going to beat you if I have to kill myself to do it!" Oh boy. I resisted the urge to chase and reminded myself this is supposed to be fun- it's spring break after all! I ended up catching back up to Jenn a few miles later and then we ran together and chatted for awhile. At some point I think she backed off due to a sore ankle.
Post race with Jen, Erik, & Firecat!

With fellow North Face teammate Ian Sharman

Despite almost everyone going off course within the first 200 meters (yes, we all missed the first turn), the race went smoothly. I felt solid about my effort and was pretty excited about receiving a handmade coffee mug after finishing!

Now, on to the more exciting part of the weekend: Wine tasting!

I had not spent any time in Hood River before, so Zach and I decided to stay a few days to explore the area. Hood River is a cute little town with great trails and vineyards (two very important qualities in my book)! The day before the race we decided to do a little wine tasting at  Marchesi Vineyards. It was pretty awesome! They had some great wines (huge selection) and the vineyard overlooked Mt. Hood.

Marchesi Winery
After racing, we hurried home and went to a few more places, including Cathedral Ridge and Naked Winery.

Post-race at Cathedral Ridge
The following day Zach and I had planned to do a nice 'recovery run' on some of the nearby trails. I forget that every time Zach and I do something it turns into an adventure. Like the one time we were going to 'spin out our legs' on a nice bike ride after the Mt. Ashland hill climb….which turned into a 5 hour ride with a 10 mile climb in the middle. Or the time we rode around crater lake after racing, where we were either going 3 or 30mph, or the time after the PPP when we did an adventure race that resulted with me in tears because I was riding so hard to try to keep up so we could win….. :)

In similar fashion, we ran on the Syncline trail, which basically went straight up and then straight back down. I can't really complain though, the view of Mt. Hood from the top was pretty amazing and as much as I joke about it- I do really enjoy the spontaneous adventures :)

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