This event has been in my running plans for a couple of years. One of the coaches at the Y ran it in 2011 and raved about it. The problem is, the first weekend of October is jam packed with events. I struggled deciding between the Portland Marathon (because so many friends had signed up) and Baker Lake. I have run Portland before and the roads just pale in comparison to the trails for me.
Concrete Washington is about a two hour drive from where I live. The scenery on the way there is beautiful all on its own allowing a preview of the run to come with enough time to be fully awake, have a bowl of oatmeal, and settle into the zone.
It poured the week leading up to the event, but race day was perfect. It was like the clouds emptied out just for this run. I started out at a comfortable pace and found my rhythm. The views along the way are magnificent. I had to stop once in a while to take it all in. Even though the event sold out, the trail did not feel crowded. It was just the right mix of solo running and enjoying the company of other runners.
I had my new hydration pack and really thought I had been sipping frequently. When I reached the aid station at the half way point, I handed my pack to a volunteer to fill up. He proceeded to tell me my pack was too heavy and then loudly chastised me because I had not been drinking enough. Oops. I had some boiled potatoes in my drop bag and graham crackers with Nutella (introduced to me by my friend Sonja). I felt fueled enough and I wasn't thirsty so I hit the out house and went on. Sonja was at the aid station when I arrived so we decided to run on together. I'm always better at drinking and fueling when she is with me because she has a timer on her watch that beeps every ten minutes. We lost each other around mile 20 and just about mile 26, I started having some stomach issues. After the aid station, I relied mostly on gels. I have decided that I need a more solid form of fuel because the sugar in the gels goes right to my stomach.
The last five miles was a big push for me, but I made it and I'm so glad I chose this event.