So there is this race, in Central Oregon, that is wicked crazy hard, and I might just do it again next year. It’s called the Smith Rock Ascent.
Smith Rock is one of the 7 wonders of Oregon, according to Travel Oregon. I have hiked along the trails with my kids but have never had the chance to run the infamous steep trails until this race. I’m thinking that wasn’t the best preparation plan.
#WhatMovesYou made a short film about the race that shows a little of the incredible scenery.
There are 3 distance options including 4 miles, 15 miles and a 50K. The course of the 15 miler and 50K intertwined a few times which was nice to run with a mix of people. But it also made you very aware of the signs when they would split apart. I was in no way prepared for a 50K and wanted to be sure I didn’t take the wrong turn. One runner even ran backwards towards me after I took the turn to follow the 15 miler simply because he wanted to double check that he took the correct turn. Luckily he did.
The climb started around 1.5 miles into the course. Before we got to Burma Trail I had already tripped over a rock and fallen (I have a good scrape on my knee to prove it) and my shoe came untied. I felt like such a rookie. I was hoping that after those too flukes that I was good for the rest of the race.
Burma Trail was a big climb that included a run/ walk routine. I knew that I was too early in the race to attempt to run that incline because I had an entire half marathon still to run. Things leveled out for a while and the single track trails made me feel at home again in my usual trail race routine. Then the mac daddy hill came and his name was Gray’s Butte. This was a Jeep Rd to the Summit with a tough terrain of large rocks. Walking was all I could do. It was tough. One step at a time kind of tough. There was no time to think about quitting. I was halfway through the race and at the farthest point away from the start line. I knew I would make it, I just didn’t know how long it would take me. I made it to the top and did something I’ve never done during a race before….take a photo. I was so excited to make it to the top that I pulled out my phone to snap a selfie. The guy behind me must have been just as happy because he offered to take the photo for me. I didn’t care that he passed me after this photo. I was smiling from ear to ear. But then I quickly realized that I had to go down this bad boy and oh that was so painful.
I made it down and got my legs turning over again on the trails. I was heading back and kept reminding myself, out loud, to pick my feet up. I did not want a downhill fall. That would have been messy. Parts of the trail felt like I was running on the edge of the cliff. It was exhilarating. Again, I was smiling inside.
Finally, I made it to the finish line in 2:43. I was happy. I had nothing else to compare it to and it was a starting point towards future trail races that are longer and tougher. I’m hooked. I want more of this pain. It makes me smile and my kids racing to give me a hug at the finish line was the icing on the cake.
On a gear note, I ran in my Topo Runventures. The extra support compared to the MT’s was definitely needed. I loved these shoes! They are still in great shape after the rough terrain and I will absolutely keep using them for training and racing.
As a Topo Athletic Ambassador I’m excited to share an exclusive deal on all the Topo Athletic Shoes! Use the coupon code COURTNEYDFLASH for 30% off and Free Ground Shipping! Hurry because the sale ends on May 22nd at midnight (EST).