Last weekend I had the privilege of joining many people, from all walks of life, in the Snoqualmie Valley Half Marathon. Not knowing exactly what to expect for this race, I went in with the intentions to have the best time possible. Simply because if fun is not had, why am I even running?
To my surprise, this race is actually more of a trail race. It starts off with a lovely 1/2 mile through the Tolt MacDonald Park in Carnation, WA, but quickly changes terrain from there. We dipped under a bridge and hit a section of very large loose rocks of 1/2 a mile, until we reached the Snoqualmie Valley Trail. Little did I know that this trail was compacted dirt and gravel, not a paved trail like many that I train on (shout out to the Sammamish River Trail!).
To say I was shocked is an understatement. Nothing on the race page has said this is a lovely out and back on a unpaved trail. We were just informed it was a lovely out and back…. and trust me, I am the type of person who does more research then necessary to feel confident in what I am doing. That research lead to nothing in regards to this trail being an unpaved path.
You might not know this, but running on a paved path is completely different then a trail. Trails provide many unknown variables and use up a greater amount of energy. I set into this race knowing that my times and strength have improved greatly over the past eight months, so I expected a pretty good PR. That was quickly tossed out the window. But surprisingly enough, I did pull off a 30 second PR from my last half marathon, which was the Seattle Rock n Roll last June.
Though this race was not what I expected, I still greatly enjoyed it. Since it is on a trail, there is no need to worry about cars. The trail crossed one main road, and a very kind police office was monitoring it for us, as well as giving out cheers and high fives. Support was minimal since we were on a trail, but the views were amazing. There is something about being amongst the evergreens that just gives me chills and warms my heart, all at the same time. Its the simple things that made me fall in love with this course.
You see, my goal for next year (Yes, I am already planning for next year) is to play in the trails more. I want to do a 50k trail race. But I didn’t know that a similar experience would kick off with this race! This race showed off beautiful views of the valley, river, farmland, and crossed paths with many cyclists. Its false flat course was a slight challenge till the turn around, but it allowed for great opportunity to work on my mental game.
The out and back allowed for cheering of the lead runners, as well as everyone else. Since my goal is to have fun during races, I always make an effort to give out high fives, cheer others on, and just be a bit goofy. Like I said- if I am not having fun, why am I running? When you cheer others on or give high fives, you get to see their face change, and realize the impact you are making on them when they may be struggling in their own race.
Overall, this race was good. If anyone is up for a challenge, I would suggest running this race. Don’t forget your trail running shoes, if you have them. But be prepared to fall in love with Western Washington and trail running. Thank you Orca Running for this opportunity. You put on some amazing races and give out the best race photos. Oh, and did I mention the really cool medal and race shirt?! Yeah, all around this was pretty great, even though I did go in blind.
I am still on the hunt for a road half marathon, simply to see where I am at currently. My next big race is on September 30, running the Bellingham Bay Marathon. But, I am always up for more races, especially during this next training session. If you have a suggestion on a fun half, send it my way.
And as always, I can’t wait to see you all out on the road (or trail!).
Until next time
-Be Fearless, Go Boldly