"Let's pretend you didn't just see me walking!" The photographer was hiding in grass midway through the final (brutal) ascent and completely caught me by surprise. I continued to run for another six feet or so before returning to a hike. Also, I apologize for taking this photo but I am a sort-of struggling grad student.
So despite my reservations, the Ridgeline Ramble was actually a pretty awesome time! I should consider racing for fun more often because it's a very different experience. For one, I actually slept the night before. I was also way less stressed about getting to the start on time because if I missed the shuttle to the start I got to go back to sleep! It was really a win-win situation. Of course, there was really no risk of me missing the shuttle because it was such a small race and the start was a six-minute drive from my apartment, but it was comforting nonetheless.
It was gratifying to cover the entirety of Eugene's Ridgeline trail in one go. I had been on all but about .25 miles of the course before so there weren't many surprises but considering the lack of variety in my normal runs, it was pretty exciting.
I realized two things during this race: a) trail runners are speedy people, and b) I'm horrible at downhills.
The latter isn't all that surprising given my preferred footwear, which isn't really conducive to bombing downhill. In fact, I've found that my pace is often slower on downhills. That must deserve some kind of award, right?
The former shouldn't have been that surprising but it was. I'm by no means a "fast" runner but I often seem to fall towards the bottom of the middle of the pack. I figured I'd do better than that in a trail race since I spend a fair amount of time on trails and don't seem to encounter that many runners out there, which obviously means I'm the only person on earth who hill trains (or, more logically, it's probably a time of day/failure to notice my surroundings kinda thing).
Nope! 77/99. I will say that I passed a lot of people once the climbing really started (miles 5 - 8), but they must have been largely 10k racers. To be clear, how I place in races is of very little importance to me but it was interesting to learn.
Here are some more stats if you're interested:
All in all, it was a nice way to spend a Saturday morning. Also, I know that most people hate it when a course is short but I was pretty damn happy it ended half a mile early. I was expecting to run circles around the finish line parking lot, which sounded pretty hellish, and was pleasantly surprised to realize the finish line was actually right there! It also made my official final pace a 10:45 which is obviously bullshit but it sounds a lot better than a 11:11, right? I'll take it!