Eugene - Holiday Half - T-Shirt


21 down only 31 to go.

I am so done with Oregon. We woke up Saturday morning to the sound of rain, drove to Eugene in the rain and then ran 13.1 miles, in the rain. Oh yah – I also stood in line to use the port-o-pots, in the rain.
Luckily, there was a small indoor expo and dry gathering place near the start/finish line.

We saw our new friend, Jeanie, who had wisely chosen to run the 10k rather than the HM. We also saw Atheana and Robin. Tim met Atheana through the Half Fanatics and we have seen her at a couple of races. We met Robin at the Run Like Hell race when she took a picture of us for her Run Oregon blog post. Just as we are getting to know some cool Oregon people we are moving to San Diego. Yes – we will soon be leaving Elkton. More about that next week.

I have been looking for a pair of running shorts with an iPhone sized pocket for over a year. I have found mens running shorts with large pockets but the pockets in womens running shorts either don’t exist or will only hold a gel or set of keys at best but not a phone. Although it was a tiny expo they had the one thing I wanted. I found a black pair of shorts with a phone sized pocket and they had a no slip guarantee. ( I tried them on in the bathroom and did a mini kung-fuish jumpabout – they didn’t slip. I’m hoping to wear them in San Diego next week. Thanks Tim for buying me absurdly overpriced running shorts. I love them.

This race had the worst weather I have ever run in.

Eugene - Holiday Half

Race start: notice the umbrellas

I have to admit that I was not crazy about this course. It had a scenic river view but most of the race was run on concrete sidewalks and bike path. Concrete is one of the worse surfaces to run on for your joints. As I have gotten older and heavier I notice the running surface much more then I used to. My shins did not like this race. Tim, also, found this to be a joint jarring run.

I am so glad that we took a week off before this run. My feet got soaked but I didn’t feel any of my old blisters and I didn’t get any new ones. I also had a better attitude at the beginning of this race. I knew it was going to rain because I had been watching the forecast all week. In fact, I was okay with running in the rain for about the first 6 miles. I noticed how much easier it was to run in the rain when I was mentally prepared. I was congratulating myself (silently) on my adult attitude – And then the wind started. It was a cold, sideways rain, try to blow runners into the marsh kind of wind. Then it started to rain harder. It wasn’t until I hit the turnaround that I realized that what I thought was a crosswind was actually a tailwind. I figured this out because when I turned around I had a headwind trying to push me backwards. It was too windy to run and too cold to walk. And then it started to hail! I think I yelled, “Really!” out loud. Luckily the hail was small and only lasted a couple of minutes.

A wonderful volunteer helped me open my Gu and put water in my handheld because my fingers wouldn’t work. I have rheumatoid arthritis and my joints seize up when they get cold. While I was hanging out at the aid station trying to get my gloves over my fingers (about 4 minutes) I thanked the volunteers for being out there. The guy said he wouldn’t miss it and told me about Ophelias Place a beneficiary of the run. Sounds like a great place. I love it when the volunteers are excited about the race. They must have been freezing. A special thanks to the volunteers who stood out in the cold rain (and hail) to take care of runners.

For me, the worse part about the race was having to run under the last 2 flooded underpasses. I hate getting my feet wet. Luckily, they weren’t flooded on the way out but they were very flooded on the return trip. I had thought that my feet were as wet as they could get but I was wrong. I got quite a shock as I ran through the cold, shin deep water. My feet almost stopped working.

The last three miles were a death march, mostly walking but small amounts of shuffle running. Often, when I feel like I can’t run anymore I play a game with myself. I try to run for 20 seconds then I look at my watch to see how much further I have until the end. I only let myself look at my watch after running. I love looking at my watch. When I was dragging along the last quarter mile I thought I heard someone yell my name. I looked up and over the river to see Tim, Jeannie, and Atheana waiting to cheer me in. That gave me enough of a boost to start running (slowly, 20 seconds) again. Thanks, you guys.

I had thought I would be shedding clothes (not wishing I had more) like I usually do as I warm up, so my bib number was under 3 layers of clothing. When I came through the finish line they yelled that they needed to see my number. Tim got a picture of me trying to hold up my shirts so my number was visible as I tried to run through the finish. I was so wet, cold, and exhausted that I felt disoriented. I’m glad Tim was there to lead me inside.

Eugene - Holiday Half

Barely concious

Tim is so awesome. He got me a plate of pasta and had already brought in my dry clothes from the car. As soon as I was able to stand up I went to the bathroom and changed into blissfully dry clothes.

I have often thought about getting one of the free massages offered after the race but there is usually a long wait list. They had two massage therapists and almost no line. I was called before I was done changing. It was great. I usually like deep massage but I was so stiff and sore that I had to ask for less pressure. Why don’t they have tip jars? Is it appropriate to tip the after run masseuse? If anyone knows the answer please let me know because this will not be my last after run massage.


  • Aweful weather
  • Running on concrete
  • Flooded underpasses
  • Ran out of soup (before I got any)


  • Parking close to start/finish
  • Indoor expo area
  • Nice sweatshirt (optional purchase)
  • Extra wonderful volunteers
  • Well marked our and back course
  • Scenic course
  • After race pasta
  • Nice glass medal
  • Good cause
  • After party at a brewery (we skipped it this time)

Would I recommend this race? Well – even without the epic wind and flooding I don’t think I would do this race again because I try not to run on concrete. That said, if the weather was better this would be a beginner friendly race. It was well organized and had extra helpful volunteers. There were no hills, the only climbing was the small rise coming out of the underpasses. This run had scenic river and marsh views, that I only saw briefly because for most of the race my head was down trying not to get a face full of rain. It was a festive race that benefits a good cause. This would be a fun race to dress up for. There were runners in tutus, covered in Christmas lights, dressed up as elves, and I saw at least 2 Santa runners. If you are looking for a holiday run in Oregon you won’t find a friendlier race. As for me, I’m glad we are running in San Diego next weekend.


We are taking a week off to let Sharon’s feet heal.

St. Helens Reindeer Run - T-Shirt


20 down only 32 to go.

It’s December in Oregon so I should expect that it will rain but I never do. I think that I have lived in Tucson for so long that I forget other places actually have weather other than hot and really hot. We stayed at Americas Best Value Inn which was less expensive (even after the race discount) then the official race hotel, the Best Western. Our hotel was really nice. It was closer to the race than the Best Western and they let us do a 1pm checkout so we could take a shower after the race. They also gave us a $10 gift card to use at the adjoining Village Inn. That was nice because it was too cold to walk anywhere so we probably would have eaten there anyway. It is worth asking hotels for a late checkout if you need to drive back from a race. I wish I had thought of it sooner.

St. Helens Reindeer run - Carb loading

Extra carb loading
(we should have split the pasta)

It was a small race so packet pickup was quick and easy. Unfortunately due to a UPS mess-up they didn’t have T-shirts. This was a race where you had to order a T-shirt if you wanted one. I see no need to spend extra for a T-shirt (I have a few) but Tim always orders one. This is the third race we have done with an optional T-shirt and the 2nd race that didn’t have them by race day. Tim is still waiting for his shirt from the Battle to the Pacific run. Both places promised to mail them. Kudos to the Enchanted Forest Wine Run for for having the shirts people ordered.

Luckily this race had an indoor gathering area to stay warm and dry in, before and after the race. The place was decorated in a festive Christmas way and a lot of people were dressed in holiday costumes and colors.

St. Helens Reindeer Run - Holiday runners

A family in the holiday spirit

I really liked being able to hang out indoors before the race. Also nice – indoor bathrooms. This picture was taken just moments before we were herded out into the rain. It rained or drizzled for the next almost 3 hours that it took me to finish this race. It is nice to know that the reflective strips on our cloths work so well.

St. Helens Reindeer Run - dry

Look how dry and happy I am

I knew I was in trouble by the second mile of this race. My legs felt tired and heavy from the start. I just felt exhausted. I don’t think that I was fully recovered from last weeks race. I just didn’t want to run. I was wet and cold, I still had blisters and mentally I just wasn’t into this race. I had the worse asthma attack I have ever had during a run. Besides the cold and rain the air was really smokey. It seemed like every house had smoke coming out of their chimney. It felt like trying to run next to a fire or a smoker.

This was a well marked course with great volunteers at every intersection slowing and trying to direct traffic. That said there was more traffic than I was expecting and many of the drivers didn’t seem too happy about being stopped for runners. Quite a few people were driving too fast. Because of the rain it was hard to avoid cars without going into the mud and puddles.

I wasn’t crazy about the running surface. About the first couple of miles of the race was on sidewalk or residential roads that slanted down. After that we were on an asphalt country road to a turnaround point. I love out and backs. As always, it was fun to see the front runners. This was definitely a road in need of repair. It was a straight road but potholes full of water turned it into a twisty run. I hope no one twisted an ankle. It was a scenic country run. I saw dogs, ducks, cows, a horse, and 2 ponies (who looked down as soon as I tried to take their picture).

St. Helens Reindeer Run -

No you may not take our picture – now move along

The aid station volunteers were super sweet and friendly. They stood in the rain handing out water and cheering their hearts out. As always, a big thank you to the volunteers and extra good deed points to those volunteering in the rain.

The race had an early start for walkers and any HM runners who planned to be on the course for more 3 hours. I usually come in close to 3 hours so I wasn’t sure if I should start in front with the group that left a half hour earlier or in back of the runners. I chose to start later with the runners because I wanted to run with Tim for a bit. I was moving pretty slow but amused myself in the second half of the race by trying to pass walkers, which was not as easy as it sounds. I thought for sure I would be the slowest runner but there were 11 people slower then me. The walkers had a separate category so if you are a speed walker this would be a good race to check out.

St. Helens Reindeer Run -

Seen a few blocks from the finish

Tim met me about 2 blocks before the finish line and ran in with me. I’m so glad he did. By that point I must have looked like a drowned puppy. I felt completely destroyed by the time I saw him. I was cold, wet, chafed, disoriented, having trouble breathing and my blistered, sore feet almost had me in tears. I hate wet feet. Tim held my water bottle for me and I ran in as fast as I could.

I was never so happy to be indoors. They had cozy couches and chairs as well as a nice post race food spread. They had bagel spreads! This may not seem like something that deserves an exclamation point but we have been at many races that had post race bagels but nothing to put on them. Who eats a naked bagel? I have never been so happy to see cream cheese.


  • No T-Shirts (they promised to mail them)
  • Rain
  • Ornery Traffic
  • Treacherous running surfaces
  • No bathrooms on the course
  • Lots of smoke from fires


  • Parking lot next to the start
  • Indoor area for before and after the race
  • Indoor bathrooms are much nicer than port-o-pots
  • Early start for walkers and slow runners
  • Wonderful volunteers
  • Scenic country views
  • Well marked course with traffic control volunteers
  • Great cause (food bank, local police, toy drive)
  • Cream cheese with bagels
  • Festive atmosphere

This race was well organized (except for the T-shirts) and the volunteers were great but there was nothing special enough about it to make it worth running in Oregon in December. A volunteer told me the weather was nice this year, last year it was 24° and icy. I won’t do this race again but if you are looking for a winter race in Oregon I would recommend it. Just be prepared for weather.

St. Helens Reindeer Run -

Our reflective clothing rivals Christmas lights

There will be no blog next week. We are taking next week off so my feet can heal and my attitude can improve. Really – I do love to run. It will still be 52 HM in a year. At some point we plan to do a double week. Maybe New Years or a Saturday then Sunday run. Were not sure yet but stay tuned.

If you have read this please leave a comment or ask a question. I love feedback.

Seattle marathon - T-Shirt


19 down only 33 to go.

This was a miserable run for me, which is a real shame, because this was also a beautiful run. I don’t deal very well with cold and the temperature was 27° at the start of the race. I’m from Tucson, so as far as I was concerned it might as well have been the arctic. I have never run in weather this cold before. Cold triggers my asthma so just breathing was an endurance sport. I also have rheumatoid arthritis (thanks mom) which makes it hard for me to move my joints in cold weather. The colder it is the more my joints stiffen up. It was a little painful but I was able to keep my legs moving although I did walk more than usual. The real problem was my fingers. I had trouble with the zipper on my shirt that held my inhaler and I had to ask a volunteer to open my gel. I had on warm socks over compression socks so my calves were warm but from the knees up I was so cold that my ass was numb. I had a warm headband that covered my ears but my face was exposed so my two coldest areas were my cheeks and my cheeks. As if the cold was not enough to deal with I had 2 blisters and am working on an ingrown toenail on my big toe. Oh – And I get stuck behind 3 Gallowayers (interval walk/runners) who I had to fight to get around every time their beeper went off. If complaining was a sport I would probably make the Olympic team. So that segues nicely to my weekly tangent. I have seen people do some pretty interesting things at races so I’m going to make a list of tips for someone running their first HM/race.

Etiquette tips

  1. If you are walking step to the right. If you are walk/running as a group (talking to you Gallowayers) do not stop running as a group, blocking the whole road (or path) making everyone behind you stop short and fight to get around you. Walk/running is great but move to the right to walk. Also, if you are walking or running slow and someone yells, “on your left” move to the right – not the left, to let them pass.
  2. If you know you are a slow runner start towards the back. Most races are chip timed so your time won’t start until you cross the starting line.
  3. Do not hold your phone and play loud music while running. Every time I have been running near someone so clueless that they are subjecting everyone to their music it has either been rap or country music. If listening to someone scream, “Fuck the police” or twanging on about how their dog left them for a train is what it takes to get you through a race use headphones.
  4. Please do not litter. Some races (Haulin’ Aspen) will ban you if you are caught littering. At least throw your cup and/or gel wrapper near the trash receptacle or to the side of the road. People slipping on cups is a real problem for mid to back of the packers. And please never throw trash in the forest or someones yard. That may seem obvious but I have seen it happen.
  5. Look before you spit. Enough said.

Practical tips

  1. Don’t overdress. I see this a lot. For a run you should dress as if it were 20′ warmer than it is. Often it is much colder in the beginning of a race and warms up as you run, but even if it stays cold (talking to you Seattle) you will warm up as you run. Dress in layers that you can wrap around your waist or discard. Many races donate discarded clothing to charity.
  2. Do not drink whatever sports drink (usually Gatorade) that is offered at the aid stations until you are at least 45 minutes into your race. You will sugar crash. Save it until you are starting to deplete your carbs and need it.
  3. Make sure to drink a full cup of water after taking a gel. Failure to do so will make you feel like you swallowed a large eraser.
  4. Do not mistake vasoline (usually on cardboard sticks) for gels. I know they taste similar but the vasoline is for chafing problems.
  5. Do not be rude to volunteers! I shouldn’t even have to write this but I have seen it happen.
  6. Even if it is cloudy always wear sunscreen. Don’t forget your ears or the back of your neck. I have burned the back of my neck forgetting that my ponytail exposes my, usually covered by hair, neck.
  7. Never try something new on race day. If you train with Gatorade and the course has Poweraid (I hate that stuff) your stomach might rebel, those new shorts might chafe (make sure that’s vasoline, not a gel) or you could find out that your new fuel belt will be bouncing against your back for the next 13 miles. Test all your gear before a race.
  8. It is customary not to wear the event shirt to the race. The theory is that you are supposed to earn it before you wear it. A lot of people do this and it isn’t a big deal but it will peg you as a newbie. Also see #7
  9. Use all 4 safety pins on your bib otherwise it will flip all over the place.
  10. Do not listen to anyone who says running in a costume is stupid. Oddly enough there is an anti-costume faction out there who seem to feel strongly about this. I’m guessing these are the same people who say idiotic things like, “I’m not here to have fun” or “act your age”. Costumes are fun and they make everyone around you smile. So go ahead – wear a silly hat or a tutu, cover yourself in glitter, or be your favorite superhero.

Packet pickup was quick and easy. We had to enter the expo to get our T-Shirts This was the best expo ever with lots of free samples and services. We saw Dean Karnazes speak. We got there late and we were way in the back so I don’t have a lot to say about him. He was a good speaker and even from a distance looked extremely fit. We got tons of sample products and got our alignment tested. I’m all out of whack and Tim is damn near perfect.

We were able to get a late checkout from our hotel, The Quality Inn. This was great because we had a long drive home and being able to take a hot shower after the race was worth an extra Yelp point. The race was only 4 blocks from the hotel so I put on almost all my clothes. I was still cold.

For the first couple miles I looked like a sleeping bag with legs in my puffy coat. I was sweating with it on but too cold without it. Around mile 4 I donated it to the charity bin and went with too cold.

The first part of the race had some beautiful views of Seattle. This was a large race and we could see runners on the bridge forever.

Seattle marathon - runners

And there were more behind us

The crowd support was amazing. Super kudos to those out supporting friends, family, and strangers. I saw some great signs – “I don’t do marathons, I do marathoners”, “Go you” and my favorite “Time goes by so fast, Running helps slow it down”.

Seattle marathon -

For more information about the Blerch check out The Oatmeal

One of my ongoing complaints (Olympics!) is cambered roads. They weren’t as bad in Seattle as in Eugene but enough to make running awkward. Luckily we were soon out of the city and onto a nice park path road. There were also some real hills in this race. I just walk them and save myself for the downhill.

Running through the arboretum was beautiful, but what was all that fluffy white stuff on the ground? I couldn’t get over the fact that I was running through snow. A couple sections were coned off because of large patches of ice. This is the first time I have ever had to watch my footing because of ice during a run. I don’t like running on ice. Lets add that to my complaint list, although I must admit that trying not to fall on my already frozen ass while slipping on ice was a great core workout.

Seattle marathon - Snow

What the hell?

By mile 10 of this race my only goal, except to finish, was to beat those damn Gallowayers, which I did. At the very end a guy kicked hard and tried to pass me and I was like – oh no you don’t, so it was an all out sprint at the end. He didn’t pass me.

Wonderful Tim cheered me in and met me at the other side with hot tea. I got my medal and a Mylar blanket. We have 3 of them now. They had a warm recovery area. I was never so grateful to sit down and have a cup of hot tea. Once I stopped running I got really cold. Even after a hot shower I felt cold on the drve home. Tim was down to a T-Shirt while I had 2 jackets over my shirt.

Seattle marathon - Finished

In heated recovery area – still cold


  • Unseasonably cold weather complete with snow and ice
  • Small amount of cambered roads
  • Some traffic with annoyed drivers
  • The medal was small and nothing special
  • So many cups littering the road that it was as dangerous as the ice
  • No race day packet pickup
  • Like most large races, it was spendy


  • Fast and easy packet pickup
  • Great expo with speakers and lots of free stuff
  • Long sleeve tech shirt
  • Scenic views of city and park
  • Friendly volunteers (they will even cheerfully open a Gu)
  • Place to donate clothing
  • Great crowd support (fun signs)
  • Heated recovery area
  • After expo with hot and cold food
  • Lots of timing mats to catch cheaters
  • Crews working hard to salt ice
  • A really good, positive, friendly vibe

Unfortunately my perception of this race was influenced by the weather. I think I would recommend it. Even half frozen I couldn’t help but notice how scenic the course was. The volunteers were super friendly, especially considering how cold it was and they had such frequent aid stations that I didn’t need my handheld. I hate running on cambered roads but that was a very small part of the course. I would say that this race is beginner friendly but be aware that the course is not flat. It is a large race so be prepared for crowds. I think this is the largest race we have done so there is zero chance of getting lost. In spite of the cold this race had a good vibe. I will leave you with this advise – do not try the soup. It came in two flavors, tomato basil vomit and ginger carrot vomit. We amused ourselves for a couple minutes watching people take soup, try soup, make face, throw soup away.

Seattle marathon

Please leave a comment. I love comments and questions.

EWEB Run to Stay Warm - T-Shirt


18 down only 34 to go.

All week the forecast predicted rain in Eugene on race day. I was prepared. I had a waterproof jacket, gloves, and a headband ear warmer thingy with a built in ponytail cutout in back. I had a talk with myself and we decided that I was going to act like an adult about the weather, I wasn’t a sugar witch, rain is our friend, etc… It didn’t rain! Yipee! I hate running in the rain. I hate trying to act all adult about stuff I want to complain about.

The race started at 9am and we only live an hour from Eugene so we decided to drive instead of getting a hotel. Even factoring in driving and getting there early for packet pickup, we were able to sleep in later than last week (Big Sur.)

One of the things I like about smaller races is being able to park close to the finish.

Even though it was colder than my ideal running temperature I enjoyed this run. Most likely I would have been bitching about the cold if I hadn’t been expecting cold rain.

EWEB Run to Stay Warm - wimps

I have on 4 layers (wimps)

This was a fairly uneventful race. The HM was mostly on bike paths. There weren’t very many bikes out (maybe because it was cold) and they were nowhere as aggressive as the bike gangs in Riverside. It was a fairly scenic course with river and forest views. One section had the freeway on the right but it was separated by some trees. You could see the traffic but luckily not smell it. I just tried to look ahead or to the left. We saw quite a few ducks and geese. I thought they looked cold. One thing I did not like was the surface. About half of the path was concrete. Concrete is the worst surface to run on for your joints. I felt my extra weight more on the concrete than on the asphalt.

EWEB Run to Stay Warm -

I talked to a woman named Amy who was doing her first HM. I caught up with her in the last couple of miles. She was hurting but she finished. She wants to do a triathlon next. My idea of a triathlon is swimming in cold water while getting kicked in the face, then you’re all wet trying to find your bike, your butt hurts on the bike because they all have those tiny thong seats – finally you get to run.

One thing I did not like about this race was the impatience of the running company to pack up. They were taking down barriers and water stations while I was running. There were quite a few people behind me. If you are putting on a race don’t start breaking stuff down while people are still on the course. Unless, of course, you have a cutoff that you mention. I saw some people packing up water stations at the last two I went through and Tim noticed them starting to break down the finishers gate shortly after I came in. I know there were more than 20 people still out there.

On a more positive note – they had hot chocolate. Hot chocolate after a cold run is brilliant. They had a beer and pretzel party at the Tap and Growler only a block from the finish. It was really nice to have after race festivities indoors. And they had good beer. Extra credit for hot chocolate and free beer.


  • Not enough port-o-pots and they were set up facing each other. Very weird
  • Packing it up while people were still on the course
  • Running on concrete. UGH


  • Quick and easy packet pickup
  • Close parking
  • Scenic (don’t look at the freeway)
  • Hot chocolate
  • Beer and Pretzel indoor after party
EWEB Run to Stay Warm - Tim

This is what happens when Tim dresses himself

Like most races this HM had positives and negatives. It was well marked, scenic, and mostly flat but about half the pavement was concrete. As always the volunteers were nice but they looked cold and started packing up early. Having an after party in a warm bar was nice touch although it was crowded. If you have your heart set on doing a HM in November, in Oregon I would recommend this one. Plan to be cold and possibly wet (we were so lucky). What I would really recommend is planning not to run races in Oregon during the rainy season.

EWEB Run to Stay Warm - Bridge

Big Sur - T-Shirt


17 down only 35 to go.

Happy birthday to Tim! He turned 47 on November 17th. And this was our 17th HM, so his birthday present was a no brainer this year. Usually, I have to get creative to figure out something that Tim wants that he doesn’t already have. For example, one year I got him a Mister Bubble T-Shirt (makes getting clean as much fun as getting dirty) that I knew he wanted. I also knew that he would never get around to sending in his box tops. Another year, when we were in Hawaii, I got him cage diving with sharks. Because it was Tim’s birthday weekend we chose a more dramatic destination race. I’m happy and relieved to be able to report that this was a wonderful race. I would have felt awful if I got Tim a race for his birthday and then it sucked. This race did not suck at all, in fact it was a damn near perfect day.

Given the number of people doing this huge race (8905) the packet pickup was extremely efficient. This whole HM was one of the best organized races that we have done. The expo was nice but we didn’t spend much time there. I wished that I needed something but I have so many running clothes that it would be silly to buy more. I do love to shop, so Tim hurried us out of there and back to the hotel to check out our swag bag. We were a bit dismayed to discover that our bag only had a T-Shirt and a couple of advertisements. We also had a virtual swag bag that consisted mostly of local coupons. However, once we did the race it was clear that much of the money went back into the race experience itself. The music along the course, frequent aid-stations (all with port-o-pots), amusing mile markers, and great food more than made up for the fact that we didn’t get any pens, sunscreen or chapstick. Also the long sleeve tech shirt and the medal were high quality.

Big Sur - Music


One of the only complaints we had about this race was the earlieness factor. The race started at 6:55am but if we wanted to park in the free parking garage we had to be there by 5:30am. The roads would be closed for the race (yay) so this was understandable but it meant we had to get up around 4am. As tim so eloquently put it – the race started at, “the butt crack of dawn.” The parking garage was about 5 blocks from the start. It was still dark. It was nice to watch the sun rise over the water.

Big Sur -  Sunrise

Normal people are all still in bed

They slowly hoisted the flag up on a fire truck ladder. It was pretty dramatic with the sunrise in the background and a flock of birds scattering. I love it when someone with a beautiful voice sings the national anthem. I know it’s corny but I felt a little emotional about the whole production.

Big Sur - Flag over crowd

Oh say can you see …

When we signed up for this race they asked us our estimated finishing times. Once at the race we figured out that they had different starting corrals based on finishing times. I was in corral K, the second to the last. Tim was 2 corrals closer but started back with me. I really like the corral system because I have noticed that quite a few slow runners don’t get that they are supposed to start near the back. It’s annoying to get stuck behind walkers in the first mile of a race. I always start near the back because it is way funner to pass than be passed.

The thing you don’t get in smaller HMs is the crowd support of a large event. There were many cheering people with signs. Usually this is not something I care about but during this race I found it charming and invigorating. The bibs had our names on them so people cheered for you by name. One cheering guy was dressed as a bear so, of course, Tim yelled back at him, “Thanks for making it bearable.” Oh dear.

Big Sur - asphalt

Kick some asphalt

Tim ran with me until about mile 4, where a nasty hill forced me to walk. Tim walks only for aid stations, and cold/wet wives having a mental breakdown. We were only around mile 3 when we saw the first elite fly by, already on his way back. Remember, the elites started about a half hour before we did. It was beautiful to see such incredible speed and form blur by. You could hear the cheering well before you saw him. The first woman was wearing a sports bra and a pair of those tiny shorts and did she ever look fit. Sorry no pictures – they were moving too fast for that.

Except for the start and finish most of this race had stunning ocean views. Every mile was marked in an amusing way.

Around mile 6 I hooked up with a woman who I ran with for over 5 miles. I wish I could remember her name because running with her really helped me out but my brain seems to turn off in the middle of every race. I remember that she was wearing a hydration pack because she slowed down to wait for me when I pulled into an aid station for water. This made me really happy because I don’t want to be that person who starts yapping at someone who wants to be alone but is too polite to say so. I did leave her in the last mile because she was walking and I try to run as much of the last mile as I can.

One of my favorite moments happened at some point during the second half of the race. I saw an otter playing in the water and watching runners. The only reason I spotted him was because I saw someone point him out to her friend. The little guy looked quizzical. He would play a bit then stop and watch runners with a – where did you all come from and what are you doing? – look. After crossing the finish line and getting an awesome ceramic medal I saw Tim. There was a longish line for food but it moved really fast. There was a wide variety of food to choose from. When I looked happy about the strawberries the volunteer gave me a whole pint. She said they had too many. Score. They had another line for soup. I have decided that soup after running is as good as chocolate milk. This race also had chocolate milk. Yay chocolate milk and yay to this whole race.

Big Sur - US

My shirt that chafes the least


  • Must be by parking garage at 5:30am
  • Race starts at 6:55am, a little early for November (still dark)
  • Limited swag featuring local coupons
  • First couple of miles were crowded
  • Aweful beer (Michelob Ultra) Tim didn’t even take his free beer


  • Perfect weather
  • Free parking close to start/finish
  • Very well organized
  • Very green race
  • Long sleeve tech shirt with no sponsor logos
  • Music on the course
  • Multiple timing mats (option of online timing)
  • Beautiful scenery
  • Great crowd support
  • Name on bib (people cheered for you by name)
  • Frequent aid stations all with port-o-pots
  • Great ceramic medal
  • Great food spread including soup and chocolate milk
  • Immediate results available
  • Out and back course that allowed runners to see the elites
  • Roads were closed so no disgruntled drivers

We both loved this race and would recommend it as a good destination, special occasion race. It was spendy ($135 each) but they put a lot of that back into making the race a great experience. For the size of this race it was amazingly well organized. Although this was the largest race we have done it had the friendly good feeling of a smaller race. It had a beautiful course with fun crowd support and nice volunteers. What’s not to love? The logistics of a race this size take a little more effort (longer lines, having to get up way early) but this race was worth it. You won’t be disappointed.

Big Sur -  Master

The Masters (over 40) champion

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Mission Inn Run - T-Shirt


16 down only 36 to go.

Yay! A nice clean room with a firm bed. Some of the rooms we’ve gotten have made me itch just looking at them. If you do this race or are in Riverside we recommend Americas Best Value Inn. It was close to the race start, friendly, and they let us do a late checkout so we could shower before getting back on the road. The guy at the desk recommended a couple of places to eat. And just as important, where not to eat – the place next to the motel that we probably would have ended up at (because we are lazy) if we had not been warned.

After packet pickup (which was quite chaotic) we had lunch at Elephant Thai. The outdoor expo was packed. Because this was a fundraiser run for the Mission Inn I thought it would be a small local event but between the 3 races (5k, 10k, and HM) there were about 3400 people, according to the volunteer I asked. Elephant Thai was tasty. I like the heart shaped rice, I think I am going to use cookie cutters or jello molds to make my rice in cool shapes. I don’t like Christmas cookies but I could make Christmas rice. Thai food is our go to cuisine because it is usually a reasonably priced source of vegetables.

Mission Inn Run - Tim carb loading

Another picture of Tim carb loading

The desk clerk said that even if we didn’t eat there we should check out Tio’s Taco. And was he ever right. The food was average but that was not why it is a must see. The place is more of a one man recycled art museum. The back patio had the largest, craziest pieces but his stuff was also out front and in the restaurant. Pictures do not do this place justice.

Mission Inn Run - Tio's Tacos

About the artist


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They also had excellent margaritas.

Mission Inn Run - Sharon approves

Sharon approves of her margarita

I was amused to hear people complaining about the heat during this HM. I thought it was perfect. There was not a cloud in the sky on race morning. After the last 2 races my definition of perfect weather was – not raining. But this really was perfect, starting in the 50’s and ending it the mid 70’s. It is surprising how hot 70 is in the direct sun while running.

The races started downtown but soon funneled us onto a scenic bike path that went past a couple of parks.

Mission Inn Run

Most of the race was an out and back on a divided bike path so there was zero chance for me to get lost. I love seeing the frontrunners fly past. It is so inspiring to see how hard they are working. I got a high five from the first woman. Unlike last weeks race on a bike path this race did have bicyclists. In fact, this race had the fastest, most aggressive bikers I have ever encountered running. Groups of bicyclists were weaving in and out of runners. I saw some near collisions. It was both scary and interesting to watch.

This race had a timing mat that you had to cross at the turnaround. I thought that was a good feature. I’m sick of seeing people cut the course. It’s way more common than you would think. I have seen people cut switchbacks, turn around at the 4th aid station (when there were 5) or just turn around and start back when it was obviously not time to turn around. The most eye rolling thing of this sort I have ever seen was at the Elkton Butterfly Run. A woman saw her friend coming back on the road and crossed over and ran back with her. I think I yelled “seriously” at her.

Around mile 11 I talked to a guy who was bonking badly. A bonk in running is basically when you deplete all your carbs (energy) and feel like you can’t take another step. I found out that he hadn’t eaten anything during the run and had only a granola bar for breakfast. Even if you aren’t hungry, if you are going to be running more than 90 minutes you need calories. I gave him a Gu. I hope it helped, but my walk brake was over. I had planned to run to the finish but they put the biggest hill in the last half mile. Evil.

A couple of miles from the finish I noticed a lot of people passing me (WTF?) Where did all of these people come from? I figured out that the HM had merged with the 10k.

Wonderful Tim cheered me through the finish line. I hate to end this race report on a negative note but this race obviously did not put it’s money towards food. There was no food on the course and only bananas and orange slices at the end. Tim confused the hander out of orange slices by asking him for a couple extra. Maybe they wanted to encourage people to eat at the local restaurants. I think they should have at least had chocolate milk.

Mission Inn Run - Post race

The happy couple after another HM


  • Chaotic packet pickup
  • Started late
  • Angry speeding bicyclists
  • Ends on an uphill
  • Very limited food


  • No rain!
  • Frequent aid stations
  • Out and back (I love seeing the frontrunners, and how many people are behind me)
  • Port-o-pots on the course
  • Scenic
  • Nice medal
  • Good cause

This race didn’t have a lot of character but it was perfectly adequate. We would recommend this race as very beginner friendly. No chance of getting lost and you will never be running alone. There were a lot of walkers and run/walkers so you won’t feel slow. The scenery is nice but watch out for bicyclists. Be aware that there is no food on the course – bring something. Also, there is almost no food after the race, but there are plenty of places to eat downtown. I suggest Tio’s Tacos – prepare to be amazed.

Mission Inn Run

This guy’s T-Shirt

T-Shirt Logo


15 down only 37 to go.

“One can find so many pains when the rain is falling.” John Steinbeck

I think Tim would agree that we can refer to this race as my hissy fit run. As much as I hate to admit it, I am a weather wimp. I complain that I overheat when it ‘s hot, that my arthritis acts up if it’s cold, I can’t breathe right when it’s humid, I hate wind, I won’t even attempt to run in snow and even fog pisses me off, because not only is it damp but now I can’t see what’s around me. I really need to toughen up. My least favorite condition to run in is cold rain. I guess that’s not technically true. Tim and me once got caught in a hailstorm on Humphreys Peak outside of Flagstaff, AZ. Even so, I just think of hail as mean rain – bullet rain. Anyway, this is the second weekend in a row that we had to run in the rain. And there was more rain this weekend than last. Getting real tired of your shit, Oregon.

This was the most disorganized HM that we have done, yet. Some of it was bad luck but much of it just seemed like poor planning to me.

If Tim hadn’t been driving I would have had a hard time finding the start. The race was in Fort Stevens State Park. This is a fairly large park with more than 1 parking lot. Once you got to the park there wasn’t a single sign about the run. To be fair the website did have directions. We got there early to pick up our packet. They forgot safety pins so we had to wait a bit for the volunteer who ran out to get some. That wasn’t a problem because she showed up shortly. They had a nice big fire going under a covered space. That was a great touch because as I may have mentioned, it was cold and rainy. This fire was still going at the end of the run and it was the best feature of this race.

Battle to the Pacific - Fire

I’ll just wait here for you

There were no port-o-pots but the race start was near the park bathrooms. There was never a long line. I like this better than the unisex bathroom trend. Guys – It’s not your territory, it’s a public bathroom, you don’t need to mark it. So please, all users of unisex bathrooms and port-o-pots, stop peeing on the toilet seat.

It wasn’t raining at the start of the race so I made the decision not to wear or bring my long sleeve shirt. This was not wise.

Battle to the Pacific -

It won’t rain…

The screen printer had a problem with some equipment so the T-Shirts weren’t there. That is why there’s no T-Shirt in it’s normal spot. The race director said that he would mail them, so as soon as we get ours it will be posted in it’s designated spot.

The race started on the grass. This cute pup ran the whole HM. I got to see him a couple of times because a part of the race was an out and back. Watching dogs run always makes me smile. I have thought about getting a dog to run with (a boxer or husky) but Tim is against it.

Battle to the Pacific - Starting

This run was almost all on a nice bike path. It was close to the ocean. Before you saw the ocean you could hear it. If it wasn’t raining this is exactly the kind of place I love to run.

Shortly after the race started it started to rain. Tim had wisely brought his long shirt and he let me wear it. Tim doesn’t seem to mind the rain. He tries to point out rain positive things to me, “It’s cool how rain brings out these mushrooms.” or “look how pretty the leaves are.” To which I usually reply, “Oh, Shut up.” One good thing about running on a bike path in the rain – no bikers.

I had a total meltdown when it started to rain hard and I had to run through a tunnel of water. It went something like this, “Fuck this. I hate rain. If it’s going to rain every week I’m going to quit this stupid project. Fuck Oregon. My blisters are never going to heal if I keep running in the rain. This is stupid. I hate this, etc…” Poor Tim – I would never have a hissy fit tantrum like that in front of anyone but him. Because this was a loop we had to go through the flooded tunnel twice.

Battle to the Pacific - Tunnel

Hissy fit tunnel

As I feared, my blisters (3 at this point) didn’t like running through water and bothered me for the second half of the race. I knew what was going on with my blisters but I also had a mystery pain. Tim thinks it was a pinched nerve. I was running along and suddenly it felt like a pin had been pushed into the front pad of my toe. I stopped and quickly took off my shoe wondering if I had a bee sting or if a burr had somehow gotten in my shoe, but I couldn’t find anything. It happened 3 times. Each time the sharp pain lasted a couple of seconds followed by about a minute of tingly pain, then it went away. That’s new.

One thing that I will give this race kudos for is how well marked the course was. Even if Tim hadn’t decided to run with me I would not have gotten lost. I was afraid with all the rain that the flour would be washed away but the arrows were still there on the second loop. They even had taken the time to write out some encouragement. When I saw it I said, “Oh, shut up.” but I thought it was a nice touch.

Battle to the Pacific - encouragement

I don’t believe you

Besides having to run through a water filled tunnel (twice) we got to run over some water (twice) on these 2 gorgeous bridges.



Tim got a picture of me doing the second loop. I smiled for the picture but that was one of the only times I smiled out there. Notice how wet my hair is, we were both drenched. I think this picture shows how nice the trail is.


Battle to the Pacific - Sharon

I miss Tucson’s weather

Tim stayed with me this entire run. I told him that he could and should do his own run but he said that it seemed like a good idea to stay with me. I’m really glad he did. I hate feeling like I am slowing him down but I think I ran more than I would have if he had taken off. I only walked a couple of times. We started out last but soon passed a couple who was walk/running. We passed another woman in the last mile.

The two aid stations were set up on the loop so you passed them twice. On the second loop the second aid station was gone! I don’t know when she bailed but I talked to a woman who came in about 20 minutes before us and the 4th aid station was gone at that point. This is my biggest gripe with this race. Only 4 aid stations is pushing it, but only 3 water stations for 13.1 miles is just not enough. Luckily, I had a water bottle so it wasn’t a problem for me. I asked Tim if he needed water and he said “no” because he didn’t want to drink up my water. If he had known she was leaving early he would have gotten more water at the first aid station. A big thanks to the woman and kid who were cheerfully manning the first aid station. The first aid station was super friendly both times while the second woman was grumpy on our first time around and gone the second time. People really count on aid stations being where they say they will be.

They had a nice warm fire as well as chili and good beer at the after party. I was glad they had a covered place after the race because I had had enough rain by then. They had no medal ceremony because the computer was having problems so they didn’t have age group results. He promised to mail the medals. I talked to a guy in his 60’s who said they didn’t even mention his age group. Our times are taken off our watches because as of today (Wednesday) they haven’t posted results. Most races post results that night or the next day.

Tim thought they were having a string of bad luck but I think many of their problems could have been avoided with better planning.


  • No race signs
  • Didn’t have the T-Shirts
  • Only 3 aid stations, because the 4th bailed
  • No age group results or medals
  • No finisher medals
  • No results online
  • No bathrooms on the course
  • Race director didn’t seem concerned that his last aid station wasn’t there
  • Rain (not the fault of the race but very likely during any race this time of year)


  • Covered area with a fire
  • Beautifully scenic
  • Well marked course
  • Chili, snacks and beer at the end of the race

This is the first race me and Tim disagreed about recommending. Tim said he would love to do this race again and would recommend it if you carry your own water. It was a run in a beautiful place but there were just too many mess ups for me to be able to recommend this race. The deal breaker was the water station disappearance. I cannot recommend a race that advertises 4 aid stations (already too few) but only has 3. If you do run this race bring water. Because of the time of year it is likely you will get rained on. What I highly recommend is getting to this park and running the trails.

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Run Like Hell - T-Shirt

  • October 26th, 2014
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Run Like Hell
  • Sharon: 2:49:29
  • Tim: 2:49:27


14 down only 38 to go.

You know what is not fun? Running in windy, cold rain for 13.1 miles. My asthma loves damp weather and my arthritis loves cold rain. My 2 baby blisters ate some puddles and were full grown by the end of the race. OK – I get that this is Oregon and we are actually lucky that this is our first race in the rain. I’m assured that it won’t be our last. When I came up with the 52 HM plan I knew there would be some races that were colder than I like but I figured that would be a good excuse to buy some new clothes. Somehow it never even occurred to me that I might have to run in the rain. When you’re from Tucson you don’t think about rain when making outdoor plans. When planning a run in Tucson I ask, “Will it be over 100°?”, not, “Will it rain?”

Run Like Hell - Toes

I should be a foot model

After reading last weeks comments I realized that I didn’t link to the blog I quoted from. I did quote what I thought was his most annoying paragraph and although I don’t think the rest of his post is going to make him any friends, to be fair, we added a link. It’s pretty short, so if you want to read his full post (maybe leave him a comment) the link is now in last weeks post. I still can’t get over the fact that with all the fucked up stuff going on in the world this guy chooses slow runners to berate.

We did find an inexpensive hotel in downtown Portland that we recommend, the AAE Portland Downtown Value Inn. We didn’t realize that the downstairs was a hostel. We got a large room w/ a king bed for under $70. For once, the nonsmoking room didn’t smell like smoke.

Even though it was raining we decided to dress up. I’m glad we did because the costume party was the best part of the race. Most amusing was seeing our new friend dressed as a hot dog.

Run Like Hell - Ms. Kraut

Know what goes great with a hot dog – beers

I had to do some major modifying to make my costume runable. Tim, also, left off some major hardware on his costume. I have a hard enough time breathing when I run so I left off the corset. I also left off the little hat with pipe cleaner antenna. The shoes are my favorite part of my steampunk butterfly but I thought they might be a little uncomfortable to run in.

There was no designated race parking so we found a parking garage 3 blocks from the race. After the race I discovered it is easier to stay hidden and change clothes in a parking garage than in a parking lot – so that was a positive.

Even if it hadn’t been raining this would not have been one of my favorite runs. A major part of the race was run in an industrial area that smelled like piss. It was not a pretty run. There were a few places where the route doubled back. It was a lot of fun seeing people who were ahead of us in costume. I thought Tim would be carrying the heaviest costume accouterment but we saw several women with umbrellas decorated as jellyfish and most impressive – a group of guys running with giant flags. Best of all, I got high-fived by a hot dog.

They advertised music every two miles and a musical mile featuring, “12 blocks where 12 unique Portland musicians play to all three distances”, but because of the weather almost all the musicians bailed. I can’t say I blame them. One marching band put out a tarp and a few others braved the weather. A big thank you to the musicians who did come out and play. Because you were so sparse you were even more appreciated.

I felt awful for the volunteers. Most did their best to be friendly and enthusiastic but it was obvious they were cold and miserable. I saw much shivering and huddling against walls. Oddly enough I also saw a volunteer, asleep, against a wall. I don’t blame them for not being as cheerful as usual (I love and cheer them for showing up) but it is discouraging to see unhappy volunteers. Thanks for standing in the rain for hours. You guys rock.

Tim ran with me the whole way even though I could tell all my walking was making him antsy. Even though we started at the same time and he ran behind me, with his net raised though the finish line, he still managed to come in 2 seconds faster than me. How is that even possible? We got a lot of comments on our costume. My favorite was the guy who said our costume was “fresh”. I also really enjoyed the 3 different people who yelled that we were their favorite costume, because I’m greedy like that. Originally, I was afraid my costume would be too hot to run in but the long sleeve shirt and wig covering my ears helped keep me warm. I’m surprised the wind didn’t tear my wings off but they survived just fine. Sadly, they didn’t help me fly. My favorite costume was the BP oil spill.

One thing I will say for this race – the medals are awesome. I think this is the best medal yet.

Run Like Hell - Medal

It’s a bottle opener

The after race party would have been fun if it hadn’t been raining. There was a good band and 2 free beers for finishers. The race started at 7:45, which I thought was too early for that time of year. Even me and Tim were done before 11am. Tim had his beers but I just can’t drink before lunch. I have tried. The worse thing about running in the wet cold is stopping. Once I stopped running and my sweat started to evaporate I was chilled to the bone. I looked more like a plucked chicken than a butterfly.

Run Like Hell - Costumed

Drowned butterfly and butterfly hunter


  • Weather (and lots of it)
  • Lines and confusion at packet pickup
  • Oddly shaped bibs were awkward
  • Guided static stretching before the race
  • No event parking
  • long line at bag check
  • Nowhere near as much music as advertised
  • Swag was a T-Shirt and a Medal only
  • Run through industrial Portland
  • Much of the run smelled bad
  • Many volunteers looked miserable (I don’t blame them)
  • I though the race started too early for the end of October (7:45am)


  • Great medal
  • 2 free beers (if you want to drink at 10:30am)
  • Good after race band
  • Music along the course
  • Port-o-pots at aid stations
  • The creative costumes

Even if it hadn’t been raining this is not a race I would recommend unless you are a medal junkie. It did have a nice after race band and a couple beers, but nothing about this race justified the $74 – $99 price tag. In fact, the best part of this race was the runners who dressed up. Maybe if the all the musicians had shown up it would have distracted from the ugly, smelly landscape. With all the amazing races to choose from I would skip this one. If you looking for a fun Halloween race in Oregon I recommend last weeks race – The Runaway Pumpkin.

Postscript: I forgot to mention the before race guided static stretching led by a local yoga teacher. What were they thinking? Studies have shown that there is no benefit to static stretching before a run, exactly the opposite. Holding a stretch relaxes and lengthens the muscle. What that means is that static stretching before running will make you slower. If you stretch before a run do some dynamic stretching – i.e. leg swings, butt kicks and save the long slow stretching for after your run, or during, if you get a cramp. As a personal trainer this makes me crazy. It’s not new information but many people don’t know it and followed along. Any personal trainer, coach, or yoga teacher for that matter, will tell you to stretch after cardio, not before. Someone should have known this.

Runaway Pumpkin - T-Shirt


13 down only 39 to go.

So, Tuesday I read a blog post that I found through Ultrarunner Podcast Daily News (yes – I read this even though I have never run more then 14 miles) that made me so mad that I’m going to start this post with a rebuttal to this jerk. Warning – rant ahead. The whole post is about how even though he is a slow runner he hates running with, “those runners” at the back of the pack. He goes on at length but I will just quote his second paragraph as it sums up the list of his complaints. “The back of the pack is filled with a different type of runner. The back of the pack crowd often sign up for a race without training. They trot along having conversations with the people around them. They don’t worry about form. Often you can hear them slapping their feet onto the ground like they are wearing wet flippers. They hold their phones in their hands so they can listen to their music without headphones. Occasionally, they will take a phone call and have a conversation during the race.” He goes on to lament that a serious runner such as himself shouldn’t have to put up with all this casual behavior.

Well, fuck you dude. Like you, I also used to be a middle of the pack runner who after a couple of running injuries and weight gain now find myself in the back of the pack during races. Unlike you, I have found the back of the pack to be a friendly place full of great people. Everyone runs for different reasons and I find your judgmental disdain for a whole group of people you know nothing about, disturbing. How do you know if people have been training? Why would you care? If there was no back of the pack distracting you from your serious run it sounds like you would come in DFL every time. If you are running a HM (that’s the distance race he wrote about) you should be able to hold a conversation for, at least, the first half of the race. If you can’t, you went out to fast. I have spent a lot of time talking to runners in the back of the pack and have been inspired by listening to their stories. The most common stories I have heard are from people who were running their first HM or trying to lose weight. I have talked to people who were coming back from injuries, a woman coming back from breast cancer, a 90 year old man and a truck driver who ran to undo sitting all day driving. I talked, for many slow miles, with a woman who was hit by a car and was just healing from hip surgery (maybe she was one of the runners with less then perfect form who annoy you) who was telling me about how wonderful it was to be able to move again.

As someone who has spent time both in the middle and the back of the pack I have never noticed that people at the back have worse form or flap their feet more. Paula Radcliff (a very elite runner) has awful form and heel strikers are in the front, middle, and back of the pack. There are more new and overweight runners in the back of the pack so maybe some of them don’t have perfect form and hit the pavement harder then you would like. Again I must ask – why do you care? If you are truly finding the sound of flipper flapping feet deafening, put on headphones. I did a music search for you and found at least 4 songs titled, “It’s all about me.”

OK – I agree that someone playing music without headphones is annoying but I have rarely seen that and again, it is not only a back of the pack thing. I ran next to a woman at the Tucson HM who was playing country western music for all to hear. It did inspire me to speed up long enough to get away from her. I came in just over 2 hours so I was not in the back of the pack that day. As for people having a phone conversation while running – what a great idea. Maybe next time I’m trotting along and can’t find anyone who wants to talk, I will call one of my running girlfriends and catch up. I can pretend we are running together, again. I don’t see how that is any worse then having a conversation with another runner. Oh wait, I forgot, you are against all talking while running. I have found the back of the pack a friendlier, funner place to run. As an aid station volunteer I found that people towards the back are often nicer, they thank you more often and slow down enough to throw their cup in the garbage can provided. I suggest that at your next race you spend some time talking to your fellow back of the packers. Time will go faster and you will meet some lovely people. I’m sure you would have a better time than you would have glaring at cell phones and pretending you aren’t one of us. Well, I guess I told him.

We went to packet pickup Friday. There was no line. In Tucson there was always a line at packet pickup, in Oregon we have never stood in a long line. This bag was chock full of stuff. I think it’s the most single items we have ever gotten in a swag bag.

Runaway Pumpkin - epic swag

Holy swag bag, Batman

What a fun race. We knew it was a Halloween party race so we brought our costumes. It was humid and I was having stomach issues again so I decided not to add a costume to the mix. There were more people than I expected at this race and lots of them dressed up.

Tim didn’t wear his costume to the race but when he saw how many people dressed up, he changed. I thought he looked more like an Oktoberfest bartender then a steampunk runner but while we were running a couple people yelled, “cool steampunk” and other such things, so I guess he nailed it.

Runaway Pumpkin - Tim

I’ll have a St. Pauli Girl

This course had more course support then any other race we have ever done. And they were all so friendly. This HM was a fundraiser for the ABC House, a great place that helps abused children. The head of the ABC House was pacing walkers.

Runaway Pumpkin - Hat

Cool pumpkin hat

The aid stations were closer together than in most races, almost every 2 miles. I liked this a lot because I try not to walk except to drink a glass of water at every aid station. More aid stations, more walking breaks!

This race started out on a wide gravel trail that fed into an asphalt path along Cheadle Lake. I was amused to hear them refer to this section as “singletrack.” Both Tim and me were confused to hear them say, “Be sure to walk only 2 abreast on the singletrack so people can pass.” We were pleasantly surprised by the wideness of the “singletrack.”

Runaway Pumpkin - Singletrack


The race then weaved through some really nice residential areas and down a light traffic road. It was a mostly flat, scenic run. There was no chance to get lost as every possible turn had volunteers. They had local bikers directing traffic which added character to the race.

The started the race in waves, depending on how fast you planned on finishing. Even though they started 5 minutes after us we were passed by 2 speedwalkers They were in full costume no less. I couldn’t help but think, “WTF, we’ve been running for 5 miles, how are you passing us?” They were moving. Tim said he would stay with me for as long as I continued to run. A little after mile 6 I had to hit the port-o-pot and Tim took off. He later informed me that he passed the speedwalkers, but I never did. I did run with an adorable girl in a tutu who was running her first HM. She dropped me as well.

And right before the 13 mile mark was this guy.

Runaway Pumpkin - death

I always come across the finish line as fast as I can and then collapse in the nearest shade I can find. I am the spaciest, most incoherent person you have ever seen after a race.

A big shout out to Mrs. Kraut. Tim said it would be inappropriate to use your name, so I’m using your comment handle. I knew from reading your comments I would like you but when I saw your tattoo I knew we were kindred spirits. Sorry for being so out of it – I’m always like that after a race.

More people than I expected to expressed interest in the race medals so this weekend we (Tim) will add a link so the medal can be looked up by race. I’m adding a picture of this weeks medal because it is the coolest one yet.


  • They could have used more port-o-pots at the start
  • Some of the roads (not many) had an uncomfortable camber
  • Shoe timing chips – I find this awkward
  • It was humid (I don’t blame the race for this) just sayin’


  • No line, easy packet pickup
  • Much swag
  • Pacers
  • Well organized
  • Friendly, helpful volunteers – in costume
  • Great traffic control by bikers
  • Frequent aid stations
  • Port-o-pots at every aid station
  • Scenic
  • A good food spread
  • Chocolate milk
  • Long sleeve tech T-Shirt
  • Glow in the dark medal with movable parts

I really enjoyed this run even though it was so humid that both me and Tim got chafing and I threw up. This race would be great for beginners (they even have a walkers pacer) or anyone who wants a fun, flat, party race. We would recommend this race to everyone except the blogger who hates talking, feet slapping, unconditioned back of the packers. Actually, I hope he was at this race and got passed by a speedwalker dressed as a fairy who was talking to her speedwalking orange fairy friend.

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