Tuesday, October 29, 2013

McDonald Forest Trail 15k and 5k - Results and Race Review

Yes, I hauled my injured ribs over to McDonald Forest and ran the thing.

If you just need results, here they are.

As to the results, let me just say, I don't know how anyone could run this very hilly and tough course in a 5:54 pace, so nice job, Chris Reed. Mr. Reed also won this race the last time I ran it, in 2011, so he appears to know how to run hills.

And on to the review!

I had run the McDonald Forest Trail 15k once before, so I knew what to expect. Although a big change for this year's race was that Corvallis has just been completely dry pretty much right through October. So it would be a trail run, but it wouldn't be a muddy trail run. Which was probably good because of the sore ribs and all. So what happens about five minutes before the race starts? Yep, a light rain began to fall. Just enough to wet down all the fallen leaves and make it nice and slippery!

So at a reasonable hour of 10:00am, about 250 of us took off into the rain, and while the Mac 15 starts out first thing going uphill, it's only for a few hundred yards, then the course flattens out and is either flat or downhill for pretty much the first three miles. Which is strange because it allows you to go out pretty fast. And that's nice, but you have to be wary of leaving it all right there in the first three miles. Once the hills start in mile four, you need to have something in the tank.

So I went out very slowly and deliberately to test the ribs, but they felt pretty good. After about a half mile, I tried to turn it up a notch and finished the first mile in 8:30. The second mile has some of the best downhill running of the race. Downhill, but not so steep that you've got to brake yourself. I covered the second mile in 8:01.

Then the fun ends. The third mile isn't too bad, with 141 feet of climbing and 83 feet of descent, but it slowed me down to 9:16. And the fourth mile is a teaser. It's bad - 209 feet of climbing, but it's just trying to get you ready for mile five. Mile five goes up 541 feet! Yeah. So those two miles were 10:05 and 12:45 respectively. That fifth mile just eats up your legs. It hard to get back into a decent rhythm after that.

Mile six has quite a bit of climbing - 255 feet - but also quite a bit of downhill - 287 feet. I hit that one at 11:28, proving what I mentioned about mile five taking the starch out of you.

Finally, the downhills start. Mile seven heads down quite a bit and mile eight falls off a cliff, with 492 feet of downhill. It's hard on your feet, knees and ribs! If it were just a touch flatter, you could actually run this mile faster, but you've got to put on the brakes a bit so you don't face-plant. I hit mile seven in 9:20 and mile eight in 7:35.

Finally, mile nine and you think you're there...but no. They throw in a short uphill section in the last half mile just for fun. I was pretty much done at that point and did not exactly attack the hill. Mile nine was in 10:04. And that was it. My Garmin was way off, so I don't have anything for the last three tenths of a mile. My Garmin showed 8.95 miles when I hit the finish line.

And the shirt? Well, you had a choice between bright yellow and lime green. Hmmmmm..... That's not much of a choice. I went for the lime green. Yowza.

It's actually even brighter in real life. It should be good for night visibility...from space. I think the 5k had a white shirt.

And the emblem on the back of the shirt.

This is one of my favorite trail runs in the area. Tough, but not crazy hard. Long, but not stupid long. Late enough in the year for the chance of mud, but not usually freezing cold. It's a good one. I'll be back.

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