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.


  1. Hi, Sharon and Tim!
    I am logged in again so whatever you did, Tim, worked.
    I will write later as it’s been a busy day, but glad you’re letting your feet heal.
    I have no idea what happened that I couldn’t log in so explain it to me by e mail sometime, Mr. Computer Man, Tim!
    Merry Christmas
    Love Always,

  2. I love the graphic Tim put here instead of a photo of a T-shirt. Hope the T-shirt turns out to be as nice as the graphic! I am delighted to hear you’re taking a week off to be good to yourself. You don’t want to burn out on the running, so it’s a good thing to listen to your body (does this sound like someone you know?). Sharon, I I love how your hair looks! Even wet, it’s really pretty. And I got a big kick out of the cowboy Santa, the two camera-shy ponies, and especially the photo of you and Tim in your reflective “Christmas tree lights” costumes. Take it easy for a while, keep your feet dry, sleep a lot, drink red wine, and by the time the next race comes, you’ll be raring to go! Sending you love and laughter – always!

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