Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Rhody Run 12K - Port Townsend, WA

Sunday - May 16, 2010 - Michelle! Are you still up for Rhody Run??? 

I already knew the answer.  She wasn't the only one.  We were joined by eight other ladies that also ran the Viking Fest 5 miler over the weekend that headed north to Port Townsend, WA to run in the ever popular Rhody Run.  Okay - so I didn't actually run in the 5 miler, but I did cheer all my friends to the finish line.  I took one for the team - the family team and ran with my two oldest boys in the 1 mile 'fun run' instead - wouldn't trade that for anything!

The Rhody Run is a 12k (7.46 mile) run/walk that starts and finishes at Fort Worden State Park in the quaint town of Port Townsend which is located about 40 miles north of the Hood Canal Bridge on the Olympic Peninsula.  The race is held annually on the third Sunday of May in conjunction with the local Rhododendron Festival.  Over 2,400 individuals attended the event this year.  (I hear it's because of the shirts - but I think it's because of the beer.)

2,400 people.  That is a lot of people.  People parking, people picking up race packets, people in line for the bathroom, more people in line for the bathroom, people waiting for the starting gun, people walking and people running.  I wasn't really prepared for the number of people. 

There were five of us ladies riding together and after picking up our race packets we head straight to the looonnggg line at the restrooms and actually made it to the starting line about 5 minutes prior to the gun.  We found signs for pace approximation (which were completely obsolete) and were able to find a few more of the ladies we knew would be running.  Michelle headed toward the front of the pack to get her run on as best she could. 

The start of the race was slow.  There were a lot of people (did I mention that?) and they were all at varying speeds.  The ones that were troublesome were the walking variety.  Walkers are welcomed on this course and they start mixed right in with the runners.  It was a bit of an obstacle course getting around all the folks walking 3 and 4 abreast with strollers and backpacks - but after the first mile, the field was leveled out. 

The run takes you out of the park and onto surface streets through rural Port Townsend.  There are hills and flats and everything in between.  Neighbors are supportive with entertainment, extra water stations and the occasional sprinkler to provide a little added cooling.  The biggest surprise was the champagne station at mile 6.  As far as 12k courses, I have been told, this is one of the more demanding ones.  (Why of course!  The Oly Peninsula rocks!)
My favorite part?!  Passing Audrey and Debbie Jo on the downhill of mile 5.  At least the legs are able to go fast once in a while.  (I must mention here - my lead over the two I passed only lasted for a couple minutes - as soon as we were back on flat land my lungs caught up with the tree trunks and I was humbled back to where my ability has brought me).  My finish 1:10:56 (9:31 pace) which I'll take! 

Michelle finished in the top two of her age group at some lightening speed rate around 56:26.  Way to go!

I am still stumped - can anyone answer?  This is the Rhody Run...


(Photos courtesy of Naomi Nichols.  Thanks Gnome!)
Tara, Nom & Donna looking great before the race!
Katie and I with happy man in the background.
Race start
A quiet road in the woods.

The finish!
CHEERS!  It looks like a good time was had by all.
back l-r:  Debbie Jo, Andy, Michelle, Patty, Audrey, Nom, Tara, Katie
 front l-r:  Elisa, Donna

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