The Rogue Run T-Shirt

  • September 21st, 2014
  • Medford, Oregon
  • The Rogue Run
  • Sharon: 2:45:19
  • Tim: 2:41:43


9 down 43 to go.

What I learned this week is (drum-roll please) don’t stay up after 11pm watching American Ninja Warrior (Europe won) if you have to get up at 5am the next morning to run a HM. Even without intellectually stimulating TV to keep me up late, I usually don’t sleep well before a race. At home our bed is a memory foam mattress over a futon, so hotel beds always feel weird to me. Also, I have this fear that Tim’s alarm won’t go off. Almost every night before a race I wake up in a panic thinking we have overslept, grope for my phone (usually waking Tim up in the process) only to find it is around 2am. It is always around 2am when this happens.

Before I launch into my race report I’m going to go off on a running topic tangent. From reading comments and talking to people, I get the feeling that most people think running a HM is harder than it is. If you can walk you can do a HM, in fact, many people walk them on purpose. So this week I’m going to give some quick running tips on how to safely run a first HM. I want to make clear that I in no way recommend running a HM every weekend as a way to get in shape. If you are fairly new to running then a HM a week would most likely lead to an injury or burnout. I needed to do something extreme to snap myself out of an escalating stasis caused by depression and boredom. I went into this project knowing that there was a healthier, safer way to get in shape. I also knew that it wasn’t going to happen. So this is a case of do as I say, not as I do. The best way I have found to teach running is the walk/run method. Most people start off trying to run too fast. When you start running you want to be running slow enough to hold a conversation. Run just a little faster then you walk. Run until you get really tired, then walk until you recover, then walk about 30 seconds longer, then run again and repeat. I recommend starting with 3 miles. It might take an hour or more. Once you can run 3 miles without stopping you can run a HM with the run/walk method, although I recommend doing a 5k then a 10k first just to get used to races. Make sure to increase your mileage slowly so you don’t get injured. Also avoid speed work until you have a solid base. When I started running I was always getting injured because I did way too much running too fast. You don’t need a lot of stuff for running, but you do need a good pair of running shoes. Go to your local running store and get fitted. If you tell them you are a new runner they should have you run on a treadmill to analyze your gait. Besides running shoes, I recommend a pair of running shorts and a tech shirt. Target has great shorts, shirts, and running bras in the active section. Do not buy your running shoes at target. Do your homework when signing up for a HM. You want a relatively flat course with frequent aid stations. Also, make sure the HM you choose is not raising money for a cause that will make you weep for shame later.

Onto my race report. At packet pickup they asked for ID and if you were over 21, on the way out you got a beer koozie and a PBR (damn hipsters). I took my koozie but, much to the apparent amazement and dismay of the koozie/ beer guy, I declined my PBR. Please koozie/beer guy, don’t take it so personally, when I was growing up every night my mom would drink PBR and one of my goals in life is not to turn into my mother. Plus PBR tastes like toilet water. OK, watered down toilet water. What I really said was, “no thanks”, but that is what I meant. Tim left his PBR in the refrigerator in the hotel.

You know what’s fattening, being married. After packet pickup we found a pizza place in downtown Medford. The pizza sizes went from 10 to 14 inch. I thought the 10 inch would be plenty but Tim said he was hungry and got the 14 inch. Somehow I managed to forget that just because Tim orders a large pizza that doesn’t mean I have to eat half of it. More brilliant insight into how a person can gain over 40 pounds in a year. My brain seems to turn off in the presence of food and I eat until my plate is empty. Well, not all food. I couldn’t finish my brussel sprouts last week. We checked out our goody bags over lunch. I like it that there are no advertising logos on the the T-Shirt. It makes it more wearable. Besides the usual chap-stick, sunscreen, bars, and ads we got sunglasses. That’s a first.

Much of this course was run along Bear Creek. It was pretty. Tim ran with me for over a mile before he took off. I later found out that he had a problem with his a-fib acting up and only came in minutes before me. This is the first time since Eugene (HM#1) that Tim has had a problem with his heart while running. The course was on an asphalt bike path the entire way so it was impossible to get lost. The only downside to the course was a stretch of bike path that ran along the freeway. The view to the left was beautiful but on the right I could see trucks and cars and smell their exhaust. At least we weren’t running on the freeway like in Troutdale. It wasn’t the best looking section but I wasn’t afraid of being run over.

This was a hard race for me. I got about 4 hours of sleep Saturday night so I was tired. It didn’t help that I was still queasy from overeating pizza. Also it was humid. I’m from Tucson so to me humidity is like breathing soup and my asthma hates it. I was running so slow that I talked to a woman who was power walking for almost 3 miles. Only about 5 miles into this race I felt the sting of chafing on my right underarm, again. I got it bandaged up twice because the band-aid fell off the first time. The second time I has to run awhile before finding someone with a band-aid. Next week I will wrap it before I run. I will spare you the pictures but if you really want to see my chafing, it looks exactly like the picture in the Albany race report. If anyone has any anti-chafing advice other than – avoid loose clothing or use Bodyglide, I would love to hear it. Around mile 11 they had a Table of Temptation. I only had a shot of red wine but Tim had a shot of Fireball, a shot of beer and 3 doughnut holes! I would have puked. Just the shot of wine turned my stomach sour. Are you ready for more brilliant running advise? Don’t drink and run. I did my usual sprint to the finish line and almost passed out. I hate humidity. Because of my asthma I always look and sound worse than I am at the end of a race. A medical volunteer offered me a chair in the shade. Since I have gained weight I overheat faster than I ever have before. I used to overheat in Tucson all the time but that was because unless it was over 100°, I ran. After the race we talked to an interesting couple. She was doing a marathon in every state and this race was his first HM. We have met some fascinating people on this adventure. This race also had a free beer at the finish. It seems like breweries sponsoring races is becoming a thing. While hanging out after the race and drinking a beer I saw a woman in a T-Shirt that said, “Slow Runners Make Other Runners Look Fast – Your Welcome”. I want one!


  • Parking Chaos at the packet pickup
  • Ran out of water at the 7 mile aid station with over 100 people still on the course
  • Running next to a freeway


  • T-Shirt with no sponsor names on it
  • Asphalt bike path – no way to get lost
  • River and forest views
  • Temptation aid station
  • Chocolate Milk
  • Free large beer (I could only drink half) from Deschutes Brewery
  • Great, Friendly volunteers
  • Good after race party vibe

This was one of the smoothest, well organized HM we have ever done. The only small glitch was that an aid station ran out of water. Even then, they had Gatoraid and the next aid station had water. I think this would be a perfect beginner or first HM. The path was straightforward, plenty of aid stations with helpful volunteers, nice scenery, and a good party. This race had about 500 people, making it large enough that you will never be running alone but small enough to feel friendly in a more personal way. A lot of thought was put into this race. Now if they could only figure out how to get rid of humidity.


Finishers with beer.

Finishers with beer.

Ceci n'est pas une chapeau.

Ceci n’est pas une chapeau
(This is a T-shirt)


8 down 44 to go.

“At the first intersection take the left, then turn right, go past something onto the gravel road to the turn… blah, blah, blah…” As I stood at the start of the Newport HM a feeling of doom came over me. I get lost so often that Tim once suggested that whenever I’m not sure which turn to take, I should take my best guess and then go the opposite direction. This guy had just rattled off about 8 turns and landmarks. Even my former Boy Scout husband who never gets lost (except in Tijuana) looked uncertain. After listening to the course directions with increasing panic, I turned to Tim and asked if he would please run with me. I hated to ask because Tim is faster than me and I was asking him to run my race. He said, “I was planning on it.” Although his tone was a bit amused, I was grateful. Thanks Tim. I think he was afraid that he would have to come rescue me, again. One of my favorite (and most embarrassing) stories happened on our first trail HM, in the Tortolita mountains outside of Tucson. I have gotten lost in the Tortolita mountains an absurd amount of times. I was not a Girl Scout. It was about 4 years ago. At that HM, the first 3 miles or so is run next to a wash that intersects a trail that switchbacks up the mountain. Somehow I missed the trail marker. Meanwhile, Tim is running up the switchbacks and looks down to see me still running along the wash. He tries yelling at me to turn back but I have my headphones on and don’t hear him. I guess the people he was running with were also yelling for me to turn around. I’m guessing there were fewer then usual wildlife sightings that race. Realizing that I’m not going to hear him, Tim takes off in a straight line down the mountain towards me. I am amazed that after his high-speed bushwhack he wasn’t covered in cactus. He gets me back on track and runs up the switchbacks (again) with me, adding almost 2 miles to his run. I think he deserves the husband of the year for that one. If he hadn’t saved me I would probably have ended up lost in Mexico. So if Tim’s time looks a little slow (for him) it’s because he ran with me for the first 8 miles. He was able to get a lot of nice pictures.

They actually had more course markings and directions then I had expected. There were no arrows for the first two turns but we could see where people were turning and just followed. The second half of the race was very will marked. We were talking to one of the race directors who said that some of the volunteers didn’t show up. I thought they did a great job with the amount of people they had.

A little confusion about the course was the only negative thing I would say about the race. It was our favorite so far. It was a very small race of about 20 people. I later found out that they has some trouble with their website so some people weren’t able to register. We picked up our packets an hour before the race. Our goody bag was filled with useful things for runners. Gels, Cliff bars, Shot Block. Instead of a T-shirt we got a hat. Depending on how you feel about it, this could be either a plus or minus. If you haven’t done a lot of races you might want that T-shirt but if you do a lot of races you are likely to see a hat and think – thank God, not another T-shirt. One thing that says a lot about this race is that almost everyone there had run it before and raved about it.

Two festive friends who came out to walk.

Two festive friends who came out to walk

This was by far the most beautiful run I have ever done. I take that back, for my 50th birthday me and Tim ran about 24 miles through the Grand Canyon in one day, down the North Kaibab Trail and up the Bright Angel Trail. Even though I was in better shape then, I could barely walk for 3 days. This was just as beautiful but in a different way. The race started by going through some charming residential streets but soon turned into a large, traffic free, gravel road through a forest. This road went past a couple of lakes with ducks and a lily pond. It wasn’t a mountain but there were some good hills.

Forest lake with ducks and lily pond

Forest lake with ducks and lily pond

The water stations were well placed. You went through the first water station twice. He was placed to make sure you got on the gravel road. There was a guy at the turn around point, at the end of the gravel road, with water and directions. Some people don’t like courses that have out and backs. I like them a lot. You get a chance to see the fastest runners, which I always find exciting and you get to see how many people are behind you and how close they are. Also I get to see Tim. We then went back up the road to the first water station where the volunteer made sure you got on the trail. I was feeling a little sluggish until we entered the trail. Tim was doing his best to run with me but kept pulling ahead. I hated that he had to run slow for me so I tried to keep up with him, then got mad because he was pushing me to run too fast (he wasn’t). So besides running about 2 minutes slower then his average pace, he got to argue wit me. But once we got on the trail I seemed to gather energy and we ran a couple of miles feeling great. There were a number of wooden bridges to run over. I love running over small, trail bridges as much as road bridges. I love bridges. I love the idea that I’m almost running on air. The trail area was marked really well.


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After the trail there was a transition to the beach. The dunes between the trail and the ocean was the only place I got really confused. Tim insisted that we should go straight down to the beach and turn right. I saw foot prints and some people in the distance that made me think we cut right at the dunes. I added another couple of minutes to our run by stomping off to the right (stomping because of the dunes, not because I was having a temper tantrum). Of course, Tim was right and we had to backtrack to get to the ocean water station. About 7 miles of the race is run on the beach. It was magical. The day was perfect. I was surprised at how few people were on the beach. I thought running on the sand would be hard but it wasn’t. It was hard packed and almost flat. The turn around point on the beach had a flag. Even if you missed the flag you couldn’t go any further because a rock cliff barred the way. We decided that even I couldn’t get lost and Tim took off running the last 5 miles without me. I turned on my headphones and listened to my favorite music while running alongside the ocean. Running doesn’t get any better than this.

Sharon running on the beach

If you get lost follow the footprints

I like to listen to music when I run. It’s actually one of the only times I listen to music. I put my headphones on at the beginning of a race so I don’t have to mess with them later, but I don’t turn my music on until the last 3 miles. If I turn music on earlier, it’s nice to listen to but it doesn’t help motivate me the way it does if I wait. 2 of my favorite songs to run to are Franti’s song, The Future and a Frank Zappa/Ozzy Osborn cover of the disco hit, Stayin’ Alive, that would make even the most tired runner smile. At the finish I had a nice surprise. Not only did I have a new PR for this project but I got 2nd place in my age group. And no – this time I wasn’t the only one in my age group. There were 4 in my age group. Tim won his age group! He usually comes in more then half an hour before me but places worse in his age group than me. The men’s 40-50 age group is fast and many of them are highly competitive. I think a good amount of men in that age group are mid life crisis runners. I often see women walking a HM with friends, you don’t often see men doing that.


I commend this race for not canceling. They had some problems with the website so the turnout was less then half of what they were expecting. We got a notice cancelling the Orange Chicken run because only 37 people signed up. They were nice about it but it was still a bit of a hassle since they were the only available OR race on that date. As small as it was I would not have wanted to miss this run. It took away the bad taste of last weeks race.

This was out favorite race so far. It was without a doubt the most beautiful race, but it went beyond that. The people who put on this race were great. This was a race that people cared about. It was quite a contrast to last week. Last weeks run was put on by a company called Energy Events, who obviously had no emotional investment in the race. Take something as simple as handing out water. Last week we were handed water by sullen teenagers who wordlessly pointed if you asked for directions. This week you were handed water by smiling people who greeted you and gave descriptions of their favorite parts of the run to come. At the end the race director wanted to know how we had enjoyed our run. When we mentioned being a little confused in a couple of spots he wanted to know where so he could have better course markings next year. The few volunteers that were there wanted to help you in any way possible. And they looked happy. On the ride back to our car the driver was telling us about the aquatic park that the race was a fund raiser for. We had already read a bit about it because after the pro-life run we checked out the causes for all of our upcoming races. Being in Oregon we are lucky not to have accidentally signed up for something like the 13.1 Gun Run. She was full of enthusiasm and thanked us for coming out to run. Like everyone involved in this race she was friendly in a real way.

After the race we went back to the hotel. We stayed at the Roadway Inn and we would recommend it. We had a nice clean room with a microwave, fridge, and coffee maker. Best of all the room did not smell like smoke. More then half of our non-smoking rooms smell like smoke. They let us do a noon checkout so we had time to get a shower after running.

Need A Shower

The housekeeper takes our smelly post race picture

Our goody bag had a token for a free cup of clam chowder at Mo’s. We do not recommend Mo’s even though we had a nice window seat with a sea lion view. I don’t know how the clam chowder is because it had bacon and we don’t eat pork but the crab melt sandwich was lame. The bread was good but it had less then a table spoon of crab salad. Tim was not pleased with his thin overcooked burger. Still I’m glad we went there because we got to see a cute part of Newport that we didn’t even know about.

See if you can find the crab salad

See if you can find the crab salad


  • Course could have been better marked
  • No food at the finish line (although lots in the goddy bag) may I suggest chocolate milk?
  • No chip timing


  • Incredibly beautiful course
  • Super volunteers who cared about the race
  • Race director did a great job and wanted to know how to make it better
  • Goody bag full of useful stuff
  • Cool hat – hey I need a hat more then another T-shirt
  • Helps raise money for an aquatic park
  • Let me expand on my first pro – lakes (with ducks), trails (with bridges), and a perfect beach to run on

None of the cons in this race mattered because it was a beautiful race put on by joyful people.

As you would expect we highly recommend this race. If you are looking for a HM this one will make you happy. I want to do this race again next year. I just thought of a project for next year. We could rerun our top 10 favorite races. You should run this race with a friend or partner because it’s so pretty you will want to share it with someone. Everyone who has ever wanted to do a HM should meet us here next year. Lets get that aquatic park built!

We have a list of our upcoming HM on the races link. Leave a comment if you are doing any of them – maybe we could meetup.

Postscript: Thanks for the comments on last weeks race. I’m not giving my shirt to Goodwill as I am saving everything from this project but, as Nancy suggested, Tim’s will get used for hair dying. Yes, Tim dyes my hair (are you jealous) and does a great job.

Gateway to the Gorge - T-Shirt

7 down 45 to go.

Don’t drink and sign up for races!

One night about 4 years ago, me and Tim were drinking and talking about running. After running a race in Dove Mt. we realized that our biggest weakness was uphill running. To motivate us to work on our uphill running skills we decided to signup for the Mt. Lemmon Marathon. On our first practice run we made it about a mile before having to walk. Tim said something like, “No problem, now that we know we can run a mile we just have to do it 25 more times.” Luckily, we knew the race director, Ott and after laughing at us, he let us switch to the half marathon. We did become stronger uphill runners.

I don’t think the wine was as much of a factor in our  Gateway to the Gorge mistake. We were tired and we had had a couple of glasses of wine while signing up for races but it was after midnight. We had already signed up for 6 races. One more and we were going to bed. This race was cheaper and flatter then the others that weekend. They said scenic waterfalls. We signed up without reading the small print. The race turned out to be a fundraiser for a pro life group raising money for an ultrasound bus. We figured this out about a week before the race when we were looking at the race details. Tim and I are both vehemently pro choice. I’m sorry if this offends anyone but if you don’t think abortion is ethical then don’t have one. Write or talk about why you think it is wrong but don’t try to pass laws that force your beliefs on other people. I can think of few things more obscene than forcing a woman (or girl) to bring an unwanted baby into  an already overpopulated world. And if you are pro life stop voting against welfare and social programs that help needy children. Pro life groups are about controlling women not helping them. If you are pro life why don’t you find a cause to help the living? And why are so many pro lifers gung ho about war and guns? Be consistent. End of rant.

Gateway to the Gorge - T-Shirt back side

Goodwill here I come

On to the race. My favorite part about this race was shopping at Road Runner Sports during out packet pickup. I think running stores sponsoring races is brilliant. If you can get a runner into your store to pick up their packet they will most likely buy something. We were only going to buy Bodyglide but the store was really smart and gave us a 10% off the store coupon. Hey, I’m only 25 miles away from needing new running shoes. It turns out that they had the brand I have been wanting to try (Adidas Boost) and in a color that matches my butterfly costume. I am wearing my butterfly costume for the Enchanted Wine Run, 2 weeks from now, and for the pumpkin race. So we got glide, I got new shoes and Tim got a foam roller. Ironically on the drive up we were talking about ways to save money. We were going to eat out less, start a budget, watch what we spend, etc. Look honey we just saved 10% on shoes and stuff. I hope we don’t save out way into debt.

Adidas Boost

Could you find a better color shoe for a steampunk monarch butterfly

The goody bag was pretty bare bones. They did have a tech shirt. It also had a package of corn cakes (like rice cakes but corn), coupons and a book called Heaven. How the hell (sorry) could someone write a book about what heaven will be like? A couple of sample chapter titles for you, “Won’t heaven be boring?” and “Will we have our own home in Heaven?” I think this is a good point to reiterate how important it is to read the fine print when signing up for a race. When we realized what we had actually signed up for, we considered not running at all but decided that would just be giving a donation to a cause we were against. We joked about wearing pro choice buttons but decided against that because it was our own fault we had not paid closer attention to the race details. In the end we decided to just go run.


Oh the Hubris

I thought the race was pretty awful in many ways. And I’m not just saying that because of my love for the cause. This was one of the most unorganized, cheaply executed races I have ever run.

The race did not go well for me from the start. They did not have enough pot-a-pots so we were still walking to the start as the race began. There was still a long line behind me. After fiddling with our watches while trying to run I realized that I forgot to use my inhaler. I have exercised induced asthma. I’m not sure how long (not long) it was after Tim handed me back my water bottle that I noticed my lucky hanky was no longer attached. It had the name Elsie embroidered on it. Elsie was my great grandmother’s name. She was the only person that I felt loved and cared for me, when growing up. I was always running to her house. In truth, the handkerchief was almost worn out and I would have had to get rid of it soon anyways. Still, it didn’t seem like a very auspicious way to start a run. I feel kind of silly admitting that I had an emotional attachment to a handkerchief. After a short flat section the course turned a corner and we had a long, steep hill. It seemed kind of lame to start walking in the first mile of a race but I walk uphills almost as fast as I run them, so I walked. I told myself that I was saving myself for later. Tim just told me later, he wasn’t walking before he even started running. That was the last I saw of him until the finish line. The website said the course was “scenic” but the first half of the race was boring residential streets run on bad roads with cars to dodge and speed bumps to trip over. We finally turned onto a shady  road with a river view. Unfortunately, the traffic was awful. Most of the scenic highway did have nice views to the left but I was busy trying not to get run over by a semi on my right. Running in the diesel farts of large trucks made my eyes water. This is not a place I would ever voluntarily run. Tim saw a couple of small waterfalls off to the side but I didn’t see any. We were soon out of the shade and it was hot. We did run over two nice bridges.

Nice Bridge

Nice Bridge

The worst part of the course was the parking lot that lead to the trail loop. It was confusing and no one was there to give directions or make sure runners even did the trail loop. I saw a couple runners get to the parking lot and turn around without doing the trail section. There was an attempt at chalk arrows but all the traffic had smudged them to the point that they were useless. Once the parking lot was navigated and I was on the trail the directions were even more vague. I managed to take a wrong turn (I’m not the only one) and got lost. Most of the time when I get lost (and I get lost a lot) I end up doing extra mileage. Not this time. I took a trail back to the parking lot cutting off almost half a mile. I hate it when people cut the course and I just became one of them. At lease it wasn’t on purpose. I didn’t know until I looked at my watch data. I can’t imagine why they didn’t have someone at the parking lot. The only person I talked to that wasn’t confused about the parking lot/trail section had run the race last year. By this time it was really hot. I’m glad I had my own water because the race didn’t have enough water stations for the half marathon. As far as I could tell they had the same water stations for the 8 mile race as for the half marathon. I’m also glad I brought my own Gu. I always bring a gel because I have only found one brand and flavor that works for my delicate tummy but most people expect any race over a 10K to have gels. This is the first one we have been to that didn’t. I though the after race food was pretty lame. No cold chocolate milk here. They had banana slices, melted Lara bars, and bread with peanut butter. It was adequate. Tim likes bread and peanut butter after a race. I don’t understand how anyone can eat peanut butter after running. I do like Lara bars. After eating a Lara bar and sitting in the shade I thought this stupid race was done pissing me off. I was wrong. They started the awards ceremony at the finish line. The same guy who was announcing the names of the runners as they crossed the finish line was now announcing the age group winners then overall winners. The problem was that the runners coming through the finish line were completely ignored. And there were a lot of slow, first time half marathoners, who cared about what they had accomplished. I felt awful for them. To work that hard, for that long, in the heat (I don’t blame the race for the heat) and then not even be acknowledged at the finish line is one of the most insensitive things I have ever seen at a race. Maybe they only had one microphone, maybe they only had one announcer available, whatever, fucking get it together and have your awards ceremony away from the finish line like every other race.

On a positive note – after the race I met a rep from Nathan, who make WrightSocks, my favorite running socks. If you think it’s weird to have a favorite brand of running socks you are probably not a runner. Tim got to talking to him about what we were doing. He gave Tim his contact info and offered to hook us up with a free pair of socks. Awesome. At some point I plan to do a cool running gear review. Stay tuned.

Remember I love comments! Shelby, how are those Hokas working out? See – I love comments so much I am trying to coerce some.

Sharon and Tim after the Gateway to the Gorge


  • Lame goodie bag
  • Over half the course on residential streets
  • “Scenic Highway” was run in a cloud of semi exhaust
  • I didn’t see any waterfalls
  • Parking lot transition from road to trail section was a complete mess
  • Unclear trail markings (this is where I got lost)
  • Not enough water stations
  • No gels
  • Energy events who organized the race clearly hated being there
  • Slower runners were not acknowledged at the finish line due to poorly placed award ceremony


  • Great shopping at the packet pickup
  • Some nice scenery. I love running over bridges
  • The nice guy at the Nathan booth who let me sit in their shade. I don’t deal well with heat

We would not recommend this race even if we didn’t hate the cause. I understand that fundraiser races want to put as much money as possible towards their cause but toilets and water are not places to skimp. The only reason I can think of that anyone would want to do this race is that they are passionate about the cause and don’t really care about the logistics of the run. This race has some major hills and was really hot. If you choose to run this race study the course map carefully and bring your own water. But really – don’t do it.

pasta lunch

You’re supposed to carb load before and after a race, right?


I’m sorry for such a blog of negativity but we knew that all races wouldn’t go smoothly. So here is a recipe for the best watermelon salad ever. I thought feta and watermelon would be weird together but they are great.

Watermelon Salad

  • 1 small watermelon, diced (about 4cups)
  • 12 or so basil leaves, chopped
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 cup of chopped feta


  • Sesame and/or poppy seeds

Mix it all in a bowel and serve. Optionally sprinkle some poppy and and/or sesame seeds on top.


umpqua river run - t-shirt

  • August 30th, 2014
  • Roseburg, Oregon
  • Umpqua River Run
  • Sharon: 2:42:02
  • Tim: 2:07:56

6 down only 46 to go.

For most of this race I thought I was going to get my first DFL (Dead Fucking Last). I know this sounds like an acronym I would make up, but it really is a running term. Some races (mostly ultras) even have a DFL prize or metal. I know no one wants to come in last but I have a lot of respect for that person. Often that’s the person with the most guts who worked the hardest. Sometimes people drop out when they realize that they are last. I have also seen people drop out of races because things didn’t go as perfect as planned. I think this is lame. Don’t drop out of a race because you are tired. Drop out if you break a leg or get hit by a truck. If you are ever last in a race be proud you finished. And if you know who they are, find the person who came in next to last and say “your welcome.”

I have never run in a HM where everyone came in under 3 hours. This was a fast group of people. I both had the worse placing I have ever had (3rd to last) and set a PR (personal record) for this project. Tim also had his fastest race. We both set our real HM PRs in 2011 at the Tucson HM. That was only 3 years ago. It seems longer. Tim’s PR is 1:56:12. Mine is 2:01:01. From now on when I write PR I mean it in the context of this project. My goal is to run a 2 hour HM. It was my goal 3 years ago and I see no reason I can’t do it in 9 or 10 months from now. Even thinner and well trained I was never a fast runner. I love to run (most of the time) but I am not a natural at it. I recently read an interview with some guy who had won some race, who said his first run ever was 10 miles on a trail with his girlfriend. My first run (except to catch the bus) was halfway around the block.

I’m surprised I was able to PR for a couple reasons. It was a hilly course with the worst hill about the 12 mile mark and I woke up nauseous. I was nauseous the whole race. I have gotten nauseous during a run when it was too hot or I tried to eat something (I have a sensitive tummy) but I have never had an upset stomach before I even started to run. I’m sure it was from eating at Red Robin the night before. My advice is to never eat at Red Robin before a race (or ever). The barbecue sandwich sounded tasty and not too unhealthy. Wrong! One side of the sandwich had barbecue sauce but the other side had about a jar of mayo. Really – the chicken was the condiment. And it came with fries! If I had been thinking (and if I was a person with a normal relationship with food) I would have realized that I didn’t have to eat them. But it appears that my mind is not willing to go there when unexpected fries are placed in front of me. Tim also got queasy from his hamburger. This was the greasiest food I have eaten in months. It sat like a big lump in my stomach and I felt like I was sweating grease. I need to get my traveling diet dialed in a little better. Maybe do some research on where to eat ahead of time. Tim only ran with me for a couple of minutes so I was running last place right from the start. We usually start in the back, both because we are slow and because it is so much funner to pass people then to get passed. I didn’t realize I was last because I knew there was a woman behind me but I heard she dropped in the first mile. I caught a woman in front of me and we talked for about an hour. My arm chafing started to come back a little over an hour into the run. Luckily the next aid station had band-aids. I couldn’t reach the chafed spot so a nice volunteer did it for me. Aid station volunteers are the greatest people on earth. Thank you nice man – I’m sure you didn’t realize you would be putting band-aids on sweaty underarms when you signed up. It would have been understandable if he had said, “Sorry lady, I’m just here to hand you Gatorade.” It saved my arm from being rubbed raw. For a picture of some truly impressive chafing (if I may say so myself) see my Albany race post. I caught back up to Carol, the woman I was talking to, and we were once again tied for last place. I had to let her go on an uphill. This was the first time I really believed that I was going to come in last. Usually I pass people late in a race. I’m not fast but I’m consistent and there are usually some people who go out too fast and blow up around mile 8. Not this race. She dropped me around mile 10. I kept pretty close and managed to repass her by bombing downhill. I kept expecting her to pass me again, especially on the evil hill around mile 12. I know that’s a pretty strong word but I’m sticking to it. Putting the steepest hill of the race at the 12 mile point is just evil. She never did repass me. With less then a quarter of a mile to go, to my surprise, I saw a woman with a number walking. I managed to catch her and then pass her as I sprinted for the finish line. It almost seemed rude but I wanted to do my best.


Where is she?

Where is she?


The run itself was mostly very pretty. It started and ended on a nice bike path through a park. Much of the race had a river view. We ran over an old bridge. I love to run on bridges. There were also some not so nice residential streets with cambered roads.

In spite of the fact that I ran a bit faster then previous weekends my body felt run down. My legs felt heavy and I was nauseous the whole run. I think I was able to run faster because my mind was in a better place then last week. I was happy to be running. Even though both my chafing and my blister made an appearance I was able to just deal with it without a lot of drama. Instead of freaking out I was able to think “Oh well, this again.” OK truthfully I thought “Oh &#!7, this again” but still I didn’t give away all my energy to worrying about it the way I did in Albany. It seems trite to say, but the maxim that you run as much with your mind as with your body is true. Nevertheless, I will put band-aids under my arms before I run next week. I have decided not to run at all this week with the hope that my blister, chafing, and tired legs will make a full recovery.

This HM had the best post race party ever. They had a band and beer tent. Every race bib came with a ticket for a beer and a ticket for a berry cobbler. The cobbler was delicious but after a bite I gave it to Tim because I can’t eat after a run. While a cold beer after a long run is always good it seemed a little odd to be drinking in the morning. Someone should start a series of winter races that start in the afternoon and end around happy hour. They could be sponsored by bars or breweries. That should be a thing.

A special thanks to Tim’s mom, Janet for coming down to Roseburg to cheer for us at the finish line and hangout.

Sharon and Tim after the run.

No – I didn’t forget my shoes


  • We couldn’t hear the prerace talk (speak into the microphone)
  • The guy manning the vegan booth was both obnoxiously condescending and preachy, zealots – sigh
  • 5 days later and the race photos are still not up


  • Well organized race with great volunteers
  • Well marked course with great traffic control
  • Nice scenery
  • Instant printout of time
  • After race party with a band and beer tent
  • Cold chocolate milk at the finish line (I’m so glad this is becoming a thing)

While I had no real gripe with it this race struck me as kind of mediocre. Everything was adequate but not stellar. The after party was exceptional but I don’t really want to listen to music and drink beer at 10:30am. I think this race would appeal more to an intermediate runner then a beginning runner. It was both hilly and the runners were fast.