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.


  1. Sharon, I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it (sorry!) You are an amazing woman. The idea of running every Saturday as you do is so foreign to those of us who are new to exercise mania! I have just restarted my Zumba classes…nothing like running an HM, but it sure feels like it! Have only been able to finish one class the entire hour. (Working up to it!).

    The good news is – I am feeling better and feeling better about myself. Have hit the 10 1/2 pound loss and that’s a big boost. I think of you every time I put on my Zumba shoes. I pretend I’m not heading to Zumba, but heading out for some wonderful HM somewhere where it’s cool. Works almost every time.

    Keep on with everything you’re doing. The weight will come down (I don’t have a lot of patience waiting for this!!) and you will feel so much better about you and where you are and how your life is going. Be thankful you’re living in a cooler climate. It’s been very challenging this summer here in Tucson.

    Love you both so much. I’m so proud you’re my friends! xxxooo

  2. I love how you write Sharon – you sure know how to draw the reader in! I was wondering if a week is enough time for a blister to heal back when you first wrote about getting it, I guess not :O( I had a bad mayo experience at Jimmy John’s once – I watched them put a mini-ice cream scoop of it on my BLT and almost said something but decided that I could handle it this once. Wrong – it was horrible and sat like a rock in my stomach for the rest of the afternoon and evening, and I didn’t have to run 13.1 miles with it there! Looking forward to reading about this weekend’s race, wishing you both the best, and have fun :O)

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