Getting to this past weekend’s race must have been the furthest and longest drive ever! From Vancouver, it was about 6 hours to get to Richland, Washington and so my husband and I left on Friday for the race on Saturday. Along the way, we passed different terrains which was pretty stunning. We drove through cities (Bellingham, Mt. Vernon, Everett), then passed through the Snoqualmie Pass, which was about 3000 feet up in elevation. The snow line was quite low. Checking the temperature outside, it had dropped to 4 degrees Celsius. Brrrr! We continued on, ascending and descending along the highways for about an hour and so, until all of a sudden, the terrain completely changed. The abundance of evergreen trees suddenly turned to desert landscape and rocky terrain.
Had I known how long the drive was going to be, I probably would have foregone the race. I find the older I get, I enjoy long car rides and long travel times less and less. Anyhow, after about 6 hours, we arrived at Richland. Unlike Snoqualmie Pass, the temperature here was 15 degrees Celsius. The sun was intense and burned in the desert heat.
The whole town of Richland probably had one or two restaurants which served pasta. Because I was running the half, carbo-loading was not that essential. My husband and I picked up the most basic pasta. When it comes to food options, I prefer running in big cities because of its broad selection.
The race started at 9:00 am on Saturday, which is later than other races usually. I personally like races that start early. Before the race, we had breakfast and went for a light jog, and yet it was still only 8:10 am or so. However, when we spotted runners taking off, we thought maybe we got the time of the race wrong. After double checking, we realized those were the early-starters.
At exactly 9 am the race started, with both the marathoners and the half-marathoners starting together. There was a 5K race as well, which started about 10 minutes after us. I estimated there was about 300 or so runners altogether.
Having sat in the car for that long drive the day before, my whole body felt like an old rusty car. First mile or so, my legs were not going at all. They felt stiff. It was only after 5K or so that my breathing began to fall into a groove and I felt much better.
The course was an out and back route mostly focused around the Richland Trail. It was a paved running and biking path, and the course was rather straightforward. Unfortunately there were limited water stations and nearly zero spectators. This was fine for running the half because there were enough runners around me to get me through the race, but I wouldn’t have liked running the full under these circumstances.
It was a little cool in the shade during the morning. Plus, during the first 10K, the head winds were against me – then after the turn around point, I thought I would get a tail wind but I didn’t feel anything at all. Strange! I felt the air being really thin too, which reminded me of racing in Las Vegas. It certainly took a lot more effort to maintain my usual pace.
Having run half marathons and marathons so regularly now, it surprises me that I haven’t slowed down too much. So much so, that completing this race won me a 2nd place title in my age category! The prize was a lovely beer mug, which will be added to my current collection of age group placement awards consisting of beer mugs and medals. One of these days, I will make room to display them. For now, they are just sitting somewhere on my bookshelves and/or in a big rattan basket. Here are the pics of my medal, my age group award, me before and after the race.
Can’t wait for half marathon #92!