Gorge Waterfalls Race Recap

I’ve been avoiding this recap, because it’s the last time I really was able to run. I knew going into this race I was going to have a tough time.  First off it’s a tight 8 hour cut-off and with the pain I’ve been having in my hamstring, but nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

So Sean & I went up to Portland on Thursday evening, on Friday we explored a little by our hotel in Troutdale while I had to work in the morning.

On Saturday, Sean ran the 100k and I volunteered at the 50k aid station.  It was a lot of fun, but a kind of rainy, cold day.

I saw Jim Walmsley come through in first place on his way to a new course record and a Golden Ticket to Western States. Not the best photo from my spot at the aid station but it’s him ;).

 

 

I had a great time volunteering, we were super busy and it made the day go by really fast.  While I was out there I saw Sean of course, Josh, Natalie, Gina & her fiance Richard and cheered on a ton of runners.

This was the day when I stopped my run streak as well at 138 days.  My leg wasn’t incredibly happy and I decided to be smart and rest another day before the 50k on Sunday.

Sean didn’t push it on this race, he was still recovering from some other races. He came in around 16:18 in a trash bag to protect him from the elements.  We got some of the super yummy pizza they were serving – SO GOOD! and then headed back to the hotel.

 

 

I was excited but also nervous about the 50k.  I made the decision to just go out and have a good time & do my best to make the cut-offs.

 

 

We started at the 50k turn-around.  And unlike the day before it was a beautiful, crisp, sunny morning.

Sean cheered me on as I started my race.  I started the race having to go to the bathroom, oops, so as we made our way to the trail, I hit up the port-a-potties.  I started the race towards the back, which was fine, I knew that I was probably going to be back there regardless so it was fine for me.

 

 

It was an interesting course, wet with lots of moss & pine needles with a lot of roots, kind of reminded me a little of the HURT course.  I decided to wear my Altra Running King MTs for the race.  It was a good choice as there was some snow on the course.  I also ran with my Black Diamond poles, which were a big help to me as well.

 

 

I made it to the first aid station in plenty of time, I was hiking the uphills, running the downs and some of the flats.  Everything was going relatively well.  I was taking photos and just enjoying my time out there.

The second section was a bit more of a struggle, we had a lot of climbing during this section and my hamstring just wasn’t very happy, but I took photos, and just kept smiling enjoying the day.  I was leap frogging with some other girls from Phoenix, they would pass me on the downhill and I would catch them on the uphills.

 

 

We finally saw a waterfall right about a half mile or so from the mile 19 aid station.

 

 

It was there that we had to climb up a section of the trail using a rope.  It was crazy, but there was a rock slide and the actual trail was damaged.  This was the way they could get around it. I wish I had gotten a photo but I was trying to put away my poles so I could climb up.  From there we still had about a mile down to the aid station.

I made it with 2 minutes to spare and could have continued on, however I was in so much pain, I knew it was time to call it and get my leg looked at in case there was something seriously wrong with it.

I had to wait at the aid station for someone to take me and a bunch of others back to the start/finish.  It’s quite interesting, I saw this at the 100k the day before and then again at SD 100 a few months later.  Even though races have strict cut-offs they don’t really have a plan in place to get runners back to the start finish.  There were a number of runners who came in after I did who were past the cut-off that had to turn in their bibs and then we all just waited.  We were very fortunate that there was a nice guy who let us not only sit in his warm car, but also drove us back.  I do wonder though if he wasn’t heading back to the start, how exactly would I have gotten there?

In any case, the course was absolutely beautiful and I did enjoy my time out there.  I wouldn’t mind going back one day and trying it again when I’m healed up even though the cut-offs do stress me out a bit.

When I went back to the finish, I cheered on my fellow runners and had a great time.  They do put on a great race.

Pros: Beautiful course
Well organized
The post race Pizza was AMAZING!!

Cons: No medals or finisher awards
You have to pay additional for a race shirt
Tight cut-offs

And there you have it, my first experience with Rainshadow Running and the Gorge Waterfall 100k/50k.