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Birch Bay 15K – Race Review

April 2, 2010

If you ever find yourself headed to Washington… for a conference…. at the end of March…have a cousin who lives near Birch Bay…and is willing to put up with you and your family for a few days…I highly recommend running the Birch Bay 5K, 15K or 30K.  Of course if you live in the area just do it.  You’ll be glad you did. 

Some highlights of the day:

  I was so fast I ran right out of my panties!!

Seriously – those are my underwear.  It’s a long story, but totally worth a photo.  I left them there.  I couldn’t bring myself to be that girl – you know, the one who picks up used underpants in a parking lot? 

The race was run fairly smooth.  At the ‘expo’ (two tents – one with registration & one with race bibs & shirts) the folks were unable to locate FatherRunner’s number.  They did have his chip-timer – which consisted of a sweatband that we velcro’d to our ankle, a bit gross to me, but I was commando so what could I say??

The race started out straight down a hill which caused my flat-land brain to scream “WOO HOO – THIS IS AWESOME!!” for two seconds – then I remembered we were doing an out & back/loop course which reminded me that we would be coming back UP that hill at the finish.   No biggie. Right?

This race was run in K’s  (kilometers) – having no real clue what a ‘K’ consists of much beyond 1000m – I had no idea how to pace myself or really understand the distance.  This turned out to be a good thing.  K’s are much shorter than a mile – it only takes me about 5.5 minutes to run a K –  just when I thought ‘how far is this?’ another K marker comes up!  FatherRunner piped up at every K “Only 12 more Ks to go… only 7 more Ks to go…”  (he also does this on the 25th of every month ‘only ____ more months till Christmas’)     

Much of the race looked like this.  Coastal running is my favorite.  I actually look around and pay attention to what is in these settings. 

The roads were not closed for this race so we ran against traffic for the entire 15Ks.  There were about 700 runners for the three distances and I thought that was perfect.  Too many and the roads would have been crowded.  Too few and we may have gotten lost. 

There were a few water stops along the way – the first one at 1K – which I found humorous.  We ran way around that one and passed about 100 runners. 

We ran up and down a few of these hills. 

Don’t be fooled.  Those suckers were long and some were very steep.  To find a hill in my region we have to run up and down a highway overpass…seriously.  This was quite a test of strength. 

At the first sight of a hill we made an agreement to keep the pace going up no matter what.  (because I could see myself stopping, curling up in the fetal position & sucking my thumb)  This proved to be productive.  On the hills we passed about 100 more runners. 

There were water stations twice heading up and back down the hills and we took a cup at each. 

Our pace was a very consistent 9.10 minute mile until around 13.5K. I don’t know what happened.  I didn’t feel I was slowing, but obviously was. 

As we reached the 14K mark I realized we had to climb the hill we started on.  I didn’t realize it was twice as steep on the backside and actually closed to traffic – I had to assume it was because no car could climb it.  As we turned the corner it was dead ahead and I cussed.  S.O.B.!! at the site of that baby.  A 1/2 block of hell.  Some speedy finisher was at the bottom attempting to cheer us on “You can do it!”  “The finish is at the top!” “All you have to do is climb that mountain and then sprint 2 blocks to the finish where you will barf your guts out!”  It was stupid! 

But we did it!


MotherRunner 1:26.06  – 124th overall – 8th in age group

FatherRunner 1:26.08 – 125th overall – 10th in age group

He’s a good guy.  He encourages me, cheers me on and distracts me.  He also runs with me when his legs could obviously take him much faster.  And…he lets me win.  That says a lot since he is very competitive and a natural athlete.  

Some things to ponder from this picture:

1. We are just past the finish line – please notice the car in the background and how much lower it is than us – ugh SOB hill!!

2. KSU had not yet played that day – we packed that jacket away the remainder of the trip.

3. My sweet baby shoes had their last run.  The grape babies have already made their debut at home.

A few things we noticed:

  • Northwesterners like their gear!  I have never seen so much technical gear at a race in my life!!  It was crazy.  We had on jackets & shorts – everyone else had hats, gloves, arm warmers, tights, water belts, ear covering, sunglasses, etc.  The joke was on them.  The weather was overcast and perfect temp 50-55° no rain.  Of course they probably still had their underwear.  Score!
  • “Hot’ post race food” means a pot of hot water and packets of oatmeal & hot cocoa.
  • This is a new race – make sure your medal has the right year on it before leaving the area.
  • 15K is my new favorite distance.  Just as I’m starting to cuss and think “what the….!!!”  it’s over!
  • $40 for a technical shirt & little medal is a great price.
  • No one cares if you are the only Kansans at a race 2 miles from Canada.  They just go with the flow.  (I thought there should be a prize for farthest distance traveled)
  • Those blue portable toilets are called “Honey Buckets” in the Northwest – we thought that was nice change in perspective.
  • This race is new and has a few minor glitches, but overall very well run for a small race.

Overall I loved the day and the race.   Hope you had a great week of running.

Run on Friends!

7 Comments leave one →
  1. April 2, 2010 3:52 pm

    Great report! Nice job besting FatherRunner. Even if he let you win! He’s obviously a smart man. I have always wanted to run a 15K, but the only one I know of in the area hasn’t worked for my schedule the last few years. I am doing a 17.75K in June though … should be pretty similar!

  2. April 2, 2010 5:00 pm

    I’m kinda wanting to hear the long story about the panties. I think.

  3. April 2, 2010 5:51 pm

    Yep-i m with amy. I wanna hear this story too! U can’t throw it out there without explaination!
    Btw- I know fatherunner is the best. Woot woot. I have one in training, slowly. 😉

  4. April 2, 2010 7:29 pm

    I’m so glad you enjoyed the race! Birch Bay really is a beautiful place – in fact, we have a condo on the beach there, just a few minutes south of the monster hill. I learned something though, I didn’t know they called porta-potties, honey buckets! Anyhow, great race, wish I could have been there.

  5. April 2, 2010 9:02 pm

    Great report! My man does the same thing with counting down Christmas every month. lol! It’s so great that you had him there to race with you. 🙂

  6. April 3, 2010 1:26 pm

    Great race report and pics. I want to hear the story about the underware in the parking lot.


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