2016 Canby Dahlia Run

Have you noticed I like to train via races?  Whatever works right?  Some of the smaller races are just like training runs, since I’m by myself, except for the water stops, spectators and medals!

This race caught my eye as a 10K – a race through dahlia fields?  But then I read the fine print.  Only the half course wound its way through the dahlias.  I quickly decided to sign up for the half.  After all, my training called for 11 miles.

Heading into the race I was conflicted on training vs running the race.  My half marathon times lately have been slow (for me).  I’m starting to worry about Paris and finishing within the time limits.  But I am only part way through my training (my longest run up to this point was 10 miles).  Plus it was rumored to again be hot so how long did I want to be out in the heat?  My compromise was to run 11 miles on a 1:1 interval, and then transition to 1:2 or 1:3 to finish up the remaining miles.  Hopefully that would allow for me to get my training in and slow down enough to not overdo it, and give me a decent idea of where I am half-marathon wise.

Saturday morning dawned bright and early and I made the trek out to Canby.

Miles 1 – 5 took us on a combination of roads and paved trails before putting us on the road that would lead to the dahlias.  As soon as we turned down the road it was hard not to stop every 5 seconds to ooh and ahh at the beautiful flowers.

Even though the time in the flowers was short, I smiled the entire time and knew I had made the right choice to do the half.

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Back to the road we went.  I was still feeling strong and keeping up the intervals.  At mile 8 we turned back onto the paved trail.  I could see a fellow racer up ahead and decided to see if I could reel her in.  It may have taken me a mile or so, but I finally did reel her in and passed her.

Around mile 10 we were back on roads with little to no shoulder.  The roads were not closed but they weren’t super busy.  Most cars gave a wide berth as they drove past.  Mile 10 was also where I started doubting myself.  It was hot out by now and this stretch of road had no shade.  But I kept up my intervals (a change from earlier in the year where I would have taken an extra walk break).

I turned the corner and up a short but steep hill and there was the mile 11 sign!!  I switched to 1:2 intervals and kept going.  The last two water stops were amazing – the volunteers were decked out in costumes and super energetic which gave me energy.

There was a slight downhill leading to the finish and of course I had to run it in!

Time?  Going into this race I was hoping for under 3:05 (taking into account the heat, the fact I was going to slow down at the end, and just where I have been).  Guess what?  I came in under 3:05 at 2:51:13!!!  Shut the front door!  I was not expecting that at all.  A small part of me wondered if I hadn’t slowed down, could I have PR’d, but I don’t think so.

The one blip on an overall great race was that there was no water at the finish.  Sorry, technically there was water, but no cups so if you had your own cup, you were golden.  Apparently the runners in front of me (which were most of them) decimated the water bottles.  I did have water in my car but that just seemed so far away at this point.  Fortunately as I was stretching, cups arrived!  Whew!

This was such a great confidence building race.  Excepting the stretch at mile 10, I felt really strong, which hasn’t happened in a while.  Bring on Paris!

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