Posted by: David Stewart | January 17, 2012

Cascades Half Marathon – 10K Race Report

Summary: 10K, 46:59, 7:34 pace per mile (7:27 by my Garmin), 3AG, 23rd overall

This poor guy says everything to me about this race in 2012. The crust of snow on one side of his head, snow sometimes driving into our faces as we run along.

Cascades half marathon 10K 2012 example

But the event itself was a lot of fun and very well organized.

I originally signed up because my coach wanted me to run some shorter races to assess my fitness level and how much work we need to do on reaching my goals. She suggested this race. I had never heard of it, but my friend Ron Sklar had run it before, and said it had been featured in Runner’s World.

Course: Very flat and very straight country roads. The race is outside of Turner, Oregon, which is a little country town southwest of Salem. Flat open fields on both sides of the course with almost no wind breaks or obstacles. Different race distances (2 mile, 10K, Half marathon) are just different turnaround points on the course, which were very well marked. Because of the way the course and start times are set up, a 10K runner could end up seeing everyone participating in the race at some point (except for early Half Marathon starters).

Organization: The start and finish is just outside the gym of Cascade Junior High School, so runners can stay warm and dry before and after the race. Hot showers after the race! That’s a very nice feature. Chip timing with the runner’s number on the chip. Terrific organization in the awards ceremony – they started on time, and moved very efficiently through the winners.

Food: Hot chicken noodle soup, artisan breads from Great Harvest Bread Company, cookies, coffee and water. Yum! I admit, I helped myself to two bowls of soup because it was very warming and nourishing post race.

Medal for the Cascades 10K and age group award

Bling: The 10K and Half Marathon finishers had a decent medal, age groups were every 5 years and top three finishers in each AG had an additional medal. For top finishers in each age group over 50, there was a $100 certificate from Gallagher Sports in Salem. Long sleeve technical shirts for everyone with the Willamette Valley Road Runner  logo. There were lucky draw door prizes, and I took home a free car wash – plus hot wax!

This year’s run: Yeah, it’s January in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, so generally the weather is in the 30s or 40s with rain and wind possible. This year, we had our first snowfall of the year the day before, with no accumulation on the highways. But when the 10K started, there was steady snow falling with a driving wind. The effect of this was to have all sides of your body crusted with snow at some point. This was not a big problem except for heading straight into the snow.

Cascades half marathon 10K 2012 davest

At this point, runners without glasses would get blinded by globs of snow. If you run with your mouth open, you could meet some of your hydration needs.

I did a two mile warm-up run before the race, starting with aerobic running and adding in 30 second strides, so my heart rate was already close to aerobic at the start. My mile splits clearly show that I started out a little too fast (7:08, 7:15) because the next four miles were quite a bit slower (7:39, 7:39, 7:34, 7:38). The last third of a mile was at 6:57, so I was clearly trying to haul buns at the end.

I did come in 3rd in my age group, so I got some hardware. The winner of my age group averaged under 7:00 minutes per mile, so I was blown out by him. The maddening thing was that the guy who won second in my age group finished only 9 seconds ahead of me! It wouldn’t have been much different, the ribbon on my AG medal would have been red rather than white, but it’s still incredible how close I came to the next place up.

I was fortunate though that a couple of the fast guys in my age group who I recognize didn’t run. That probably helped me the most.

Some perspective: This is just a point along the journey of training. To meet my training goals, I need to run a marathon (26.2 miles) at this same pace of 7:30. So I have a lot of work to do!

This race is terrific and I highly recommend it.


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