Follow the flat course through the Woodland Bottoms just when the tulips & lilacs are in full bloom. Take in breath-taking views of the Columbia & Lewis Rivers. Relax at the post party at Horseshoe Lake!
I wanted to really love this race, and was excited to see the fields of tulips in bloom and earn my big, funky Solo Cup-style medal on a flat and scenic course, but I fell out of “love” and into “like” with this race pretty quickly. The registration charge was already on the higher end for a small race, and then I got a $20 extra charge to pick up my packet on race day, in order steer people towards early packet pickup and boost attendance for vendors at the expo they organized beforehand. The pictures of the expo posted to social media revealed that I paid extra to skip attending a kinda small expo that featured vendors I’d seen at other races. I “get” that they were trying to help sponsors, but if you’re going to “financially encourage” people to go to the expo, you’d better make that sucker the fandango of a lifetime for attendees, or at least cut out-of-towners some slack. Then, the shirt was announced to be a tank top — a garment which I pretty much hate to the depths of my soul. So I showed up to race day already sour on shelling out extra money, and sad to be handed a scandalous version of a shirt. But, I was ready to turn the experience around and see some beauty and enjoy a gorgeous run. The race itself is organized and cheerful — you can tell the directors love what they do. Parking was easy (the terrain is unlevel, so don’t bring your Lamborghini.) There were plenty of porta-potties next to the starting line. The half started on time, and promised a lovely scenic run — I wish it didn’t have to pass by the misery of a rendering plant in the first mile, but soon enough we were out of Woodland and into the countryside. The course was well-marked, with support in the right spots (no gel/blocks, just electrolyte drink.) Late in the course there was a gravel section on top of a dike that was not pleasant to run on tired legs, despite the lovely rural and waterside scenery. Along this path there was a dairy farm, and the sweet-faced cows sure looked confused as to why there were a bunch of humans running by. One of the ladies in front of me gagged at the smell, though, so if you have a sensitivity to generic farm stank, be prepared to get out the smelling salts somewhere after mile 8. You have to wait a loooong time to see the much heralded blooms, and my “like” not “love” was cemented after getting just a glimpse of tulips off in the distance. Maybe this was an off year for the tulip farms, but it seemed like a postage stamp size of a field that we weren’t any where near to. But then, you’re back out on the loop you ran to start, and the finish line is getting closer. A nice downhill sprint to the finish, and the medals don’t disappoint. They are cute, colorful and hefty, and helped to diminish some of my disappointment. There looked to be good meaty food for finishers, but vegetarian finishers got a hotdog bun with one thin slice of Tofurkey deli cuts and some baked beans on top. I’ll give them props for the effort, though. The beer selections looked tasty, and everyone was having a good time at the afterparty, which was full of happy finishers.
- You must login to post comments