Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Oregon Coast 30k


I registered for this race back in April on my son's birthday while still on the bench with my tibial stress fracture. I was hopeful I could run a 30k in six months. A 50k seemed like a dream too intangible to hope for then so I was conservative and chose the short race. As luck would have it I was able to come back pretty quickly once allowed to run so this ended up being my third race back after the Bigfoot 40 miler and the Cutthroat Classic in July and August.
Photo Credit: Glenn Tachiyama.


We started the race on the lawn in front of the Adobe Resort in Yachats, Oregon. The first 2.5 miles or so were on the road or urban trail along the road, but overlooked the coastline with big gulps of delicious fresh sea air gazing out over the beach. I took it easy here averaging 9:20 or so a mile not wanting to go out too fast before hitting the single track. Shortly after we jumped on the Oregon Coast Trail we started to climb rolling single track hills. We were bunched up in a pack and most of the group began walking which I was not ready to do yet. This was new to me - wanting to pass on an uphill in a race - but there was no sense in throwing off my rhythm so I repeated "on your left when there's a good spot please" 20 some odd times. After we were on the historic and solemn Amanda Trail the climbing got steep enough to justify power hiking longer intervals so I settled into that as the crowd finally began to sparse out.

Six or so miles into the race we came upon Glenn capturing our photos at the viewpoint with the coastline dancing below. A few switchbacks later the first aid station appeared. It was run by the Wy'East Wolfpack and they were doing a stellar job. Rainshadow Running has upgraded from paper and pen clipboard check-ins to tablets that enable the volunteer to know your name and greet you by it as soon as they plug your race bib number in. Something so little adds a really nice touch. Especially when it's delivered by a tall man with curly red hair and a big grin wearing a Viking helmet. I spied a bottle of fireball tucked behind the Clorox wipes and was curious if it was for the volunteers, the racers, or both. I grabbed a gel for in between aid stations and had a tortilla trail butter and jam rollup and a pickle before leaving.

From the first aid station we headed out on a loop passing through the Cape Perpetua visitor's center which was the one tiny section clearly marked as a walk only zone. We would come under a deck which spectators were cheering from and it was a humorous feeling to be cheered for while walking. After passing through the walk zone the course alternated between fun, fast, and at times technical ,descents and rolling gentle climbs.

The loop on Cape Perpetua allowed for a single aid station to be used twice. Coming back through I noticed that the fireball had made its merry way to the front of the table next to the chips and pickles so I opted to use the community Viking horn hanging up next to it for a shot. I wrapped up with another pickle, trail butter and jam tortilla, banana slice, and a coke chaser before heading for the finish line six or so miles away. I had been pushing myself up until that point with an average mile pace goal in mind for the race. I knew the fireball might slow me down a tad and honestly I'm not sure if I took it to create an excuse to slowdown or not. Racing to push myself versus racing to have fun on some pretty trails is still very new to me. It is not my natural inclination, but I've started to develop a thirst to be faster and desire to choose discomfort over taking it easy.

Between that last aid station and the finish I leap frogged back and forth repeatedly with a small group. One of whom I came up on stopped looking out of sorts on a section of the Amanda Trail. I asked if everything was ok and she explained that she had been stung by a bee, was allergic to bees, and had her epi-pen on her, but nothing else and was unsure what to do. A friend of mine who'd run the 50k the day prior had been stung and forewarned me about the angry bees on the course so I'd brought a Benadryl with me as a just in case. I unzipped my pocket right away and gave it to her to which she asked if I was sure so I explained that I had brought it for myself or whoever might need it and to please go right ahead. I noted the mileage so I could let them know to expect her at the finish if extra help were to be needed.

There were some steep descents heading down the last sections of trail that slowed up some runners and proved to be a good place for me to gain ground. Shortly after I hit the road my bee stung friend appeared looking strong. She caught me by surprise from behind and I was just happy to see she was fine. She had more kick in her than I did for the road section and took off at a good pace after a brief chat. I had hit my lap button on the way out when the road section ended and this was handy to know the mileage on the way back in. I averaged a lackadaisical 10:30 or so pace coming in on the road, but once I rounded the corner on the grass coming in beachfront at the Adobe I spied Charlie and John waiting and Charlie started running in with me so I kicked it up a notch and we both hit the finish for a high five with James.
A happy finish and back to beach play :)


I finished 89th out of 230 finishers overall and 17th out of 49 finishers in my gender/age group (F 30-39). For me, this is great. I have historically regularly finished back of the pack so moving up into the front of the mid-pack is a good feeling of achievement from working hard under the direction of my coach, Alison of Cascade Endurance. The wood fired pizza, beer, and bluegrass were a perfect unwind at the finish line with my guys. It was really hard to hit the road all the way home after. We could have happily stayed another week playing by the sea. Do this race or its sister 50k if you have the chance. It's beautiful and the trails are really fun. There is nothing not to love about this one :)


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