Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Back in the Saddle : Myrtle Creek Fun Festival 5k

I chose the Myrtle Creek Fun Festival Race for the Pool to kick off my 5k training because I've been itching to race in Douglas County ever since I discovered that there were road races in the area (via the  Roseburg Roadrunners Club). * short version below

Several months have passed since the Eugene Marathon in April. Since then I have been recovering from injury and running almost exclusively easy/recovery, with a grand total of (maybe) 4 miles of Tempo-paced running (total), over the last 3 months, no interval training, some strides.

It's been over a year since I ran a 5k.
Did I expect a PR?     No.
I set some low expectations for myself and had a great time beating them!

My goal was really just to have fun and get a baseline idea of where to place my training goals for the 5k.
The race is point-to-point with a hairpin turn just after mile one. The finish (at Oregon South Fitness) almost loops back to the start (outside of Mill Park), but is a few blocks uphill from it.

At 8:59 we lined up behind orange cones on the paved road. I didn't push to be up front this time, since I tend to go out too hard. It was the first time I have seen a race start with a rifle! That's Douglas County for you. :)

Moments later we were racing up a scenic rural road along South Myrtle Creek. After a bit my Garmin settled in on a sub six pace and I let the young guys ahead of me go. It would be fun to see who, if any, could maintain the pace. One was wearing an CC uniform. I did my best to keep them in sight and managed to for most of the race, though the fastest two were well ahead at the end.

After mile 1 we turned around and went through a covered bridge. In a few steps we began the long, steady, slightly uphill.
Photo of Neal Lane bridge from www.oregon.com
Somewhere in here I passed some younger guys who I had been following. There were a few slightly harder uphills and I drew on my experience at the Prefontaine 10k last year---I eased up.
I heard them closing in, but as they did, we hit some downhill and I had the reserve to kick it up a notch, (unlike at the Prefontaine).

Although my paces were fading, it didn't feel that way. Given the uphill, it seems a pretty even effort in retrospect. In all of this, I kept waiting for my legs to die. But they didn't. The limiting factor was oxygen, and I will enjoy working on that part. 

We turned left and I kept thinking to myself..man this is a long mile! The fastest men were way head now, but I was still trying to use them to "pull me" uphill to the next turn. When I reached the corner it was all downhill to the finish chute. People were cheering and I got to "break the tape" for the first time since I have started racing... So did a lot of other people :)

There was a good crowd at the end cheering on all of the racers, including this 4 year-old who finished in 28:40!
No stopping this guy! He invited me to a BBQ at his house after the race- but I had to drive home. :) Next year I will bring my boys! photo by Karlie Westbrooks

The race measured a little short by about 30 yards. I don't know if that has anything to do with the covered bridge, but I was running the tangents as much as possible and crossed the center line in the road a few times (But I stayed on course! I promise!!).

The awards ceremony started on time and there were some unique trophies!  There was also a prize raffle and I won a 10$ gift certificate to the town's dollar store. The local businesses were very generous and donated some great prizes. There were a lot of winners!
photo by Karlie Westbrooks
I am looking forward to doing this race again. It was very well organized for its first year. I realized again how fun it is to race! I also learned that my max heart rate is higher than I thought, so that will be factored into my training now.

Ah...I think I am going to like the 5k. :)
Short Version
  • Stats: 4/103, 1F, 20:07 official (my watch said 20:10)
  • Cost: 20$ day of race, less & with tech shirt if registered early  - Benefit to the Myrtle Creek pool
  • Pre-race: 2 protein/oatmeal breakfast cookies & coffee & also drive through mocha at Cowgirl's in Sutherlin (all before 7:45). 1 mile warm-up w/ a few strides and drills. Got lost, and followed the sheep to the start.
  • Bathrooms: in the fitness center at the finish line, porta-potties at the start and within a half mile at Mill park. I am not sure about along the course, as I was not looking for them. 
  • Water stations: at the finish line
  •  Great volunteer support! Marshals at every turn/intersection.
  • Awards/prizes: Ribbons 3 deep in each 10-year age group, "trophies" for overall winners M/F
  • Post race: bagels, bananas, bottled water 
  • Extra you might like to know if considering this race: Scenic course and in a hilly, rugged part of southern Oregon. Myrtle Creek is a friendly community and a great destination for hunting, fishing, and camping. The festival included a parade which started at the end of the race.


  1. Thanks for the great review of a South County event.

  2. Congrats on the race win (and the raffle win!) Too bad you couldn't make it to the BBQ.

  3. Awesome job Raina on a hilly course with no speed! That takes guts! So excited to see you smash your 5K PR over and over and over, all while having FUN!!!

  4. I wish my comebacks could be like yours! Congratulations on winning, the crazy prizes and having so much fun.

  5. Great 5K Raina! It looks like you have recovered from Eugene speedy chica!

  6. You've got so much in you girl! Hilly, not 5k trained...good grief. Well done! You will indeed smash your old 5k time VERY soon. :) Congrats.

  7. you are fast!!! congrats!!! that little guy is also very fast! so sweet that he invited you over!!!

  8. Wow, you are like crazy fast!!! Hey, that little 4 year old is amazing!

  9. You killed it out there! WAY TO GO!!!!! I'm excited to hear about the rest of your training. :) Keep up the good work, oh and I love the pics!

  10. Congratulations on a great race and breaking the tape, awesome! I haven't done a 5k race yet and maybe I should do just one.

  11. Way to go on a great race. Your paces were speedy lady, especially on a course that was not flat... hard to believe you haven't done speed work the past couple months. I'd love to see you chicking those those young boys! ;)

    Forced breaks are no fun, but end up leaving your refreshed and ready to kill it!!

  12. Rifle start - wicked!

    Fast again - you are. Congrats!!!! With that kind of time/pace; you will have more time to paint. haha

    The picture of the 4 yr old is sweet. Both feet off the ground.

    Very nice job on the review. Your RRs are top notch.

  13. Zoom, baby!! Great job!
    That pic of the little guy running put the biggest smile on my face - his expression is adorable!!

  14. They usually start with a rifle? That is too funny! Yay, awesome run! Your summer sounds a bit like mine... I've been backing off all speed work to ensure my shin is happy before I ramp up again. This gave me the itch to get back at it!

  15. Liking a 5K? OHHHHH NOOOOO! :-)

  16. I did not realize this was your first 5K in over a year!! You did AMAZING!! You need to race this distance more. You could definitely break 19 with some consistent speed training and racing! Great job Raina!

    Also- love that pic of your little boy running!

  17. Ahhh, this was a really fun post to read tonight, and you did a great job. I can't wait to see how you end your 5k training - it's going to be amazing!!

    I love how the 4 year old asked you to his BBQ :). What a fantastic time for a wee-one, too!!!

  18. GREAT JOB RAINa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! love you!

  19. Hey great race! 5K's are such a shock to the body that I always think you need to run a few in close succession to get to your best time (or at least I do). I bet if you ran another in a couple weeks you'd PR! Great job!

  20. Congratulations! What a fantastic race, and that's as a comeback. Imagine what you'll be able to do when you've been healthy and actually trained for a 5K! Fantastic!

    And that little boy, oh my goodness...so adorable!

  21. Pre-race, you got lost and followed the sheep to the start?! Funny! I want to run a race with a covered bridge and sheep. Most of my races do have Marshal's along the route, though, but I mean the clothes store! Congrats again - fun to read about your speedy races!

  22. Great job!! You are so crazy fast. I can't even imagine how fast you will be with some speedwork. Go Raina go!!!!

    And how cute is that 4 year old?? Love him!!!

    Keep up the great work. I can't wait to see what you accomplish. Hugs!

  23. YOU are fast! I'm in awe. Congratulations!

    My Running Shortz

  24. What a fun time! That's so cool that you could draw on your experience at Pre (seriously, HARD course, right?? I'm already registered for this year!) and use that to help you get 1st place female. So awesome!! Congrats!


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