I first signed up for this race 3 years ago, but my niece’s baptism happen to fall on the same day, and since I’m her godmother, I could not miss it! However, my best friend Miranda, who lives about 5 hours away, ran it anyway without me. I’m still in awe that she ran that trail by herself, especially since she only runs 3-5 miles max, a few times a week, yet decided to tackle the 25K that Sunday morning. I also must mention, since we only see each other a couple times a year, we spent the night before catching up,over a few cocktails, until 2 am. Oops…anyway, Miranda set her alarm and dragged herself to the race. I still argue that she “sweated out the alcohol,” but regardless, she survived that run. Tramautized still a year later, Miranda opted out of the race the next year, so I ran it with on my favorite running gals, Andrea. We had a great time, enjoyed the scenary, and finished the race in about 2:51.
I was happy to hear this year that Miranda
had gotten over her PTSD and signed up for the race again, scheduled for Sunday April 22nd. It would give us an excuse to catch up, talk about our significant others, and just have fun! Currently I’m training for the CDA marathon and that weekend I was scheduled for 22 miles. I wanted to incorporate the trail run with my weekend long run. My first thought was to run 6 miles after the race, but then I remembered how tired I was after the run last year. So instead I got up early and ran beforehand. I decided to base my long run off time, rather than focusing on mileage, and instead ran 50 minutes by myself ~5 miles. After which, Miranda and I got ready for the trail run and headed to the race, picking up my friend Sarah along the way.
Me, Miranda, and Sarah, before the race
Here’s a description of the race: The River Run offers “staggered 5k, 10k, 25k, 25k “Fun Run Challenge”and 50k ultra length. All races are loop courses that start and finish at the old airstrip next to the Seven Mile Bridge at Riverside State Park. All four distances are primarily run on single-track trail with some wide paths at the beginning of the course, 100% dirt trail, some rocks, roots and possibly mud, but little to no asphalt. The 25K “Fun Run Challenge” follows the first 25K loop of the 50K race. This loop allows one the opportunity to experience a hilly technical trail certain to push one’s limits. Courses wind through thick pine forests and are set against basalt cliffs and ends with a tight twisty single-track next to the roaring Spokane River.”
One of the downside of the race is that it starts late-at 8:30 am and we were having unusually warm weather, starting in the high 60’s. In fact, the race director announced that it was the warmest race day temperature they have had since the start of the race 7 years ago! Thankfully, Miranda and I decided to run with our water belts. We were surprised to see many without water belts and hoped they would stay hydrated. There are only about 4 water stations throughout the course, but many areas of the course are unshaded and we knew it was going to be a hot run!
We took off running, settling into a nice pace and chit-chatting along the course, already starting to feel the heat. Sarah left us close to mile 3 and we wished her a good race. We were able to run the hills for the first half, but towards the second half of the course, we would continue running, until about half way, then found ourselves having to walk it. It was eerily quiet as several of us walked, breathing heavily, almost zombie-like up the trails. Most of the race was single track, but what was difficult was the various conditions of the trails, some basalt rocks, large river rocks, and gravel sections increased the intensity of the course. Here’s the course profile, to get an idea.
My favorite part of the course is when you reach the highest elevation near mile 4 and there’s a breath-taking view of the river. We made sure to stop at every water station and refuel, refill water belts, and eat a few gummie bears (yum!). We even stopped for a photo op around mile 8-still smiling!
I felt pretty good, until around Mile 12. That’s when things got mentally hard because technically my legs were around mile 17 (since I ran the 5 beforehand) but I had to convince myself that it was only Mile 12 so I could finish the race. I was so proud of Miranda, despite not training, she did great and encouraged me along those last few miles. We hit a water station around Mile 11 and were told the next one was in two miles. We refuelded but by near Mile 13 I was already out of water! But as we passed the Mile 13 marker, there was no water station to be seen. I was swearing under my breath, freaked out that I would have to run another 2.5 miles until the end without water! The temperatures were hitting in the high 70’s by this point, it was around 11 am, and my face was crusted with salty sweat! Like a mirage in the distance, we saw a water station around Mile 14.5! (BTW…who puts a water station a mile from the end????!!!) We literally bathed ourselves with water and unofficially voted them the BEST water station of the course-they had the coldest water by far! Plus we were desperate and probably a little bit delusional by then!
We finished our last mile strong and sprinted towards the finish line. In race tradition, we finished with a cheesy pose with us holding our hands together up in the air across the finish line, but sadly the photographer missed this awesome pose (super bummed about that!). So our final time? 3:00:36 (11:38 min/mile pace), 9 minutes slower than last ear. Although I was hoping to beat last year’s time, I was still pretty happy with that time. It was a difficult course, an extremely warm day, plus I wasn’t running on “fresh legs,” so overall, I had a great long run, and even better, I was able to run with my best friend