Saturday, June 2, 2012

Rainier to Ruston Half Marathon Race Report

Trail run. Mostly paved. Apparently all but .7 of a mile was paved. But, oh, boy, what a .7 of a mile it was!

We took the shuttle from the finish line in Orting, getting dropped off at the start at 8:10... for a 9:00 start?!? That was a little weird. Luckily the rain pretty much held off, they had NINE porta-potties (for 200 people -- bliss!), and we pretty much just stood around wondering why we had shuttled so early... The start was near the site of the annual Buckley Log Show -- who doesn't love a bit of timbersports? -- and featured some awesome log art:

We also took a Half Fanatics photo... a surprising number of Fanatics and Maniacs were there. Wil may have photo bombed the picture... we'll have to see how it turns out. :)

After much milling about, it was finally time to start. I was a little surprised at the number of people, but that was also pretty satisfying.  We ran through the bell tower / timing mat, and took off along the lovely paved trail, running 5:1s and moving really easily.

bell tower at the start - each of the relay interchanges had one
and, yeah, I rang the freakin' bell
Things were going swimmingly for the first couple of miles. I felt a little stiff and sluggish (too many manhattans? maybe....) but figured I could just get through the first three miles and be fine. And then we came to a place with a big sign that read, "trail open, but use at your own risk". Umm, okay.

We had arrived at the unpaved portion of the race. At first it was just a little squishy. We had to slow down because it was slippery, but otherwise just carried along. 

Wil at the start of the mud

And then, suddenly, deep mud. Deep, shoe-stealing, over-your-ankles mud. Wil lost a shoe in two different spots, I slipped, tripped on a tree root, twisted an ankle and fell. It was pretty funny, but VERY slow going.  Essentially, we just picked our way through. I guess we could have just splashed, but I suspect we would have fallen more than just the once.

I was afraid to take out my phone during the worst of the mud, but I did snap this shot when the worst was over. I promise you, that mud is deep. And there might be a shoe in there. 

Wil's muddy legs, later on

Eventually, we cleared the mud, and we were back on paved trail. We did a bit more running, but my foot was starting to bother me -- I tweaked it when I fell -- and when it started to rain, the life kinda went out of us... and we decided to just briskly walk to the end. 

We passed through a couple of checkpoints, eventually starting to get passed by relay runners. You could spot them because they were the ones with clean legs and shoes. And as we went farther along, we started seeing ultras and marathoners, too.

The trail got prettier and prettier -- we were near the Carbon River for a good portion of the last few miles. We went through a checkpoint with a lot of relay teams standing around, waiting. We knew that the last stage was only 2.7 miles, so things were looking up.

 We crossed a very handsome old railroad trestle, where the Carbon River looked very, very full.

Carbon River

Carbon River
Then, all of a sudden, we were in Orting. It was a little chaotic -- lots of half marathoners enjoying their finish, lots of teams waiting for their relay runners. We went through the bell tower (ringing the bell, of course!) but then discovered we had to go a little farther to get to the timing mats. But we held hands and crossed the finish line in under 3 hours.

Children handed us a medal, and then we set about looking for someone to pass the keys I found on the trail to. (Which took WAY longer than it should have... but still.) We picked up a souvenir towel, which turned out to the be perfect little swag item -- it came in very handy for cleaning some of the excess mud off of our shoes and legs!

and... that's #14 in the bag!

2012 Rainier to Ruston Half Marathon medal (front)

2012 Rainier to Ruston Half Marathon medal (back)

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