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Run Like the Wind Trail 10K - Run

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Ellensburg , Washington
United States
Running for good
40F / 4C
Total Time = 50m 56s
Overall Rank = 2/49
Age Group = Female
Age Group Rank = 1/24
Pre-race routine:

10 mile run on Saturday, using the race on Sunday as kind of a workout in terms of a full on threshold workout after some volume the day before.

I should add that we then went to a beer festival....
Event warmup:

Picked up my coworker and made the 2.5 hour trek east. It was raining in Seattle but gorgeous over the mountains.

We got to the venue and picked up our bibs then did some easy running. My coworker is a newb and this was her first 5K. Ann went inside to keep warm (the wind was gusting at a sustained 30-35 MPH no joke) I went and did some harder effort strides then made a quick wardrobe change before heading to the line.
  • 50m 56s
  • 6.21 miles
  • 08m 12s  min/mile

I did this race last year and absolutely loved it. It is so me. It's a tough race up to the top of a mountain (then back down, then back up...) it's at a renewable energy facility that has both solar and wind AND they serve beer at the end. What is not to love?

The slogan for this race is "Uphill in the wind both ways" and as you can imagine, just by the nature of it being at a wind farm, wind is to be expected. Today however, the people who worked for Puget Sound Energy even told us that it was "quite windy" and that says something! The wind was blowing hard from the northwest at about 30 MPH which just so happened to be the direction in which we would be traveling for the climbs (Imagine that!) but more on that later.

I originally was going to race in a tank and shorts since I know the climbs would warm me up quickly and the sun was out. The sustained winds however made me rethink and I ended up putting on a short sleeve shirt and some cheap gloves. My thought was to keep my neck a little less exposed (both to the wind and the sun actually) and the gloves would keep me a little warmer without too much layering. This turned out to be perfect.

I had thought I was going to play it really conservative and line up behind a bunch of people to let them block the wind but I could see no one really wanted to line up front so I moved further up than I thought I would. I took position right behind a guy who looked like a stud runner and who was conveniently a nice tall wind blocker.

TL;DR: this 1-2 positioning was how we started, ran the middle miles, and finished.

The search and rescue had a service car with a siren and they used those to start us off. The guy in front of me really took off so I let my wind blocker go and settled right into a pace.

The first part is a slight climb on asphalt. The wind was so strong that it was blowing the snot right out of my nose, I kid you not! We did the out and back portion and I got a good look at my competition. I wanted to run this whole race as all out as possible. Part because there was a prize for the "king of the hill" for the first male and first female to make it to the top of Whiskey Dick Mountain (yep, that's the name!) at 3,871'. Also, after you get to the top you have a long descent to recover and then a very long climb back up to the educational center. I figured the long descent would give me ample time to recover and make another attack on the final hill.

"THE hill": As I had mentioned the wind was at our face for the ascents in this race. It made an already very challenging climb extremely difficult. This course also has some really tough footing because of all the basalt rock. You absolutely could not break focus. Every single step was strategic. I motored up, what I do best, and made it to the top, number one female and king of the hill!

The Ridge: If I lost time anywhere this was it. Between recovering a bit from the climb, the wind that was threatening to blow me over and, ok let's be honest, the AMAZING solar array and wind turbines had me distracted. I was oogling over the foundation they used for the array to counter the extreme winds on the mountain. I made my way around the array and picked up the pace. The wind was now at my back as I started descending onto an old jeep road. The footing was getting better and better and with the wind at my back I was flying. You would think that I would just hate the fact that the climb was made even more challenging with the wind but I really appreciated being able to truly "recover" on the descent without having to battle wind so really, it worked into the favor of my race plan. Somewhere along the ridge the third place runner closed on me and was now using me to draft off of. I was fine with it and was hoping to trade places somewhere along the course and maybe work together. It was so windy though, I didn't talk to him about the plan as it would be nearly impossible.

I laid down some great splits on the nice open gravel road before we took a hard right onto the single track in the valley.

The Valley: The first place guy was in sight but a pretty long way out. In fact, beyond me chasing him down barring him bonking or something happening to him. I decided to just try and keep him in my sights and I would be happy with that. This is a really fun part of the race. Also, the valley was totally protected from the wind so we got some relief. I'm not sure if you have run in that kind of steady wind but it really grates at your soul. It's just so relentless and so loud and so bitter. I felt like my eyes were wind-burnt. Anyway, the single track was tricky. The sage brush was tall and there were big boulders that would surprise you with each turn. It took absolute focus, again. The guy was still right behind me but there was no place to let him pass so we wound our way down the valley to the lowest part of the course.

The Bottom: There was about a mile of rolling traverse at the bottom of the valley. It opened up into a double track and I slowed a bit, hoping the guy would pass me and do some of the work since we were in the wind again. He didn't take the bait and he slowed as well, staying tucked behind me. I was a little frustrated and started scheming how I was going to handle this toward the finish. What I imagine he was planning (and I don't really blame him) was to draft me as long as possible and let me set the pace and then use the finishing straight away to take me down.

I was watching this documentary about these athletes that were being groomed as competitive surfers. One of them was talking about how he just loved surfing so much that he found it hard to be truly competitive. So while he was a great surfer, sometimes he finished 2nd or 3rd in competition when he really was better than everyone. This really resonated with me. (Not that I think I am better than anyone) but just that I love running so much that it's enough for me. I don't run because of the competition or to win, I just love to do it. So, sometimes it's hard for me to put the focus on the competitive aspect.

Anyway, I thought about this and decided I was going to beat this mother-effer.

The final hill: Everyone talks about THE hill but quite frankly it's the final hill that is the toughest. It's about a mile of steady climbing up very rocky terrain with the headwind. I decided to keep the pace a little conservative in the first half then slowly ratchet down, lay the hammer down on the last part of the climb and then sprint the straightaway as all out as possible. This is exactly what I did. The guy stayed right behind me. It was time to lay the hammer down, I climbed hard, nearly red lining. I heard the steps of the guy fading and pretty soon I couldn't hear him at all. I made the final turn onto the asphalt straightaway and straight up sprinted as hard as I could. I didn't look back at all but thought the guy was going to take me down any moment. The spectators rang their cowbells and the patrol vehicle's sirens whaled as I crossed the line, taking second place and first female. I looked back and it turned out the guy wasn't even close. He finished about 20 or 30 seconds behind me. My strategy had worked and I had broken him on the hill. The first place guy had beaten me by about a solid couple minutes - not much I could have done there.

I was so pleased with myself from the effort, the strategizing and engaging in the competition. Last year the course and conditions were almost exactly the same except this year the wind was about 15 MPH stronger. I still beat my time by over a minute! That is pretty huge.

My coworker also had a blast and finished her 5K with a huge smile on her face. I was so proud of her! Since our job has to do with sustainability, renewable energy etc, she also majorly geeked out on the technology. It was fun to share that!

What would you do differently?:

I'd just taper and do it like an A race but it wasn't an A race, so not too much! I almost never say that!!!
Post race
Warm down:

Got a quick massage for free, wooohoooo then we went on a facility tour and got to go inside one of the turbines. Check out my Instagram for some photos and video. This facility can generate 237 MW, (about 65,000 households)

What limited your ability to perform faster:

No taper, WIND

Photos below: Some are mine some are from the RD.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2016-04-25 12:00 AM
00:50:56 | 06.21 miles | 08m 12s  min/mile
Age Group: 1/24
Overall: 2/49
Performance: Good
Course: Start on a gravel road for a short out and back to get you warmed up. Then up a steep rocky trail that will test your lungs and legs but will get you on top of a ridge with gorgeous views. A trail around the solar panels and then the downhill fun section begins. A short descent down a gravel road which will lead you to a smooth, downhill trail in a protected canyon and right next to the turbines. You will feel like you are flying! At the bottom you connect to a rolling gravel road section. What goes down must come back up! Up a smooth trail with a couple of rocky sections and round the corner to the finish line! You did it! About 20% on gravel road and 80% on single and double track trail.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2016-04-25 1:32 PM

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Subject: Run Like the Wind Trail 10K

2016-04-25 1:44 PM
in reply to: #5178798

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Southampton, Ontario
Subject: RE: Run Like the Wind 10K
Another stellar run, congratulations!
2016-04-25 1:49 PM
in reply to: #5178798

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Rio Rancho, NM
Subject: RE: Run Like the Wind 10K

Great RR, as usual.

It was like reading a compelling book when I was waiting for you to drop him like a bad habit!!!!! Congrats on implementing a strategy that got you top female and 2nd OA.

Winds like that are insane. I agree, they beat you down, physically and mentally.

I don't recall if it was this race or if you were just running through a wind farm but I remember you talking about it. So now when I drive past wind farms I think about how cool it would be to run through them.

2016-04-25 3:43 PM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Run Like the Wind Trail 10K

Excellent race and excellent report!  I smiled and laughed at your snot comment and also "Anyway, I thought about this and decided I was going to beat this mother-effer. "  That made me smile even bigger!  Way to find another gear and a strategy to dump that dude!

Very cool location.  Big congrats on battling the wind, the mother-effer and the challenging terrain to be #2 overall and get female king of the mountain!  It's so fun to read about your progress and successes.  Keep up the good work!

This is inspiring me to run up to our 2 local turbines.  Visiting them also requires running up a hill (probably a driving option somewhere, too, IDK) and there are tours, although there's only 2 turbines, not a big farm like you were at.  One of these days!

Edited by melbo55 2016-04-25 3:43 PM
2016-04-29 11:49 AM
in reply to: rrrunner

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Subject: RE: Run Like the Wind 10K

Originally posted by rrrunner

Great RR, as usual.

It was like reading a compelling book when I was waiting for you to drop him like a bad habit!!!!! Congrats on implementing a strategy that got you top female and 2nd OA.

Winds like that are insane. I agree, they beat you down, physically and mentally.

I don't recall if it was this race or if you were just running through a wind farm but I remember you talking about it. So now when I drive past wind farms I think about how cool it would be to run through them.

Yeah, it's amazing! Until you are right next to a turbine, it's hard to get a sense of scale!

2016-04-29 12:47 PM
in reply to: #5178798

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New user
Austin, Texas
Subject: RE: Run Like the Wind Trail 10K

Aw man what an awesome venue! I'm so enamored with wind farms and am totally jealous that you got to go inside of one. And as usual, impressive race results!

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