Monday, October 22, 2007

Sisters Poker Run

Two Sisters

Well, I didn't meet any of my (tongue-in-cheek) goals. My ace high hand (ace, ten, seven, three, two) put me near the back of the pack. But in what other race could I tie with Sean Meissner! Not any that I know of! And I had the absolute best race "number" ever. Instead of an actual number, we were identified by a card from the deck. I was the queen of hearts!

Chilly at the start

It was a beautiful day for a run in central Oregon. A reporter was at the start and ran the first few miles with the group. Here's a link to her article, which I thoroughly enjoyed. There were about 35 starters. The first mile went through town and wasn't marked, so Sean led us as a group. It was a joyous occasion hanging together as a pack. During this first mile I met Jess M., another maniac. We recognized each other's name, but had never met. We ended up running together for the first 22 miles or so. She's normally faster than me. But since she had run a marathon the day before we were more evenly matched. We ran to the first aid station with the newcomers, Mark and Carly, that are mentioned in the article. They had never run longer than a half marathon, but had the ultra spirit and were up for the challenge. When we told them there would be food at the aid stations they were in awe. And when they saw the pumpkin pie, they were thrilled. Heck, I was pretty happy about that too. All the volunteers were awesome.

Enjoying the view and a refreshing cup of coke at aid #2

And did I mention the running? Aside from a single one-mile climb, the first 21+ miles were flat, so we ran and ran and ran and ran. Too much running! Finally after the third aid station at mile 21 the course start to roll a bit more and we had a chance to walk some small hills. I was ready for the opportunity to rest a bit. I never felt really terrible but I was on the verge of a small bonk. How do I know? As we left the third aid station, Jess and I discussed our poker hands and the cards we had just drawn. I mentioned that I had drawn an 11 (it was a 10). Either Jess wasn't paying attention, is a worse card player than I am, or was having her own mini bonk, because she didn't notice anything out of the ordinary about that. After a few minutes I realized there aren't any 11's in a deck of cards! Phew...glad I wasn't totally out of it!

Heading back down the crater

Pretty soon Jess was ready to pick it up again, but I was happy taking it easier. So she ran ahead and I took the opportunity to hook up my iPod. I spent the next few miles happily walking the hills and running the downs and flats. The last 8-9 miles were mostly downhill or flat, so I was able to run most of it. While I was by myself I was extra careful to watch for the ribbon markers. The course was very well marked, but there were a lot of side trails and logging roads. So I couldn't zone out too much because if you weren't paying attention you could miss a turn. At the last aid station the volunteers told me I had 7 miles ago. I'm not sure if they were wrong, or if I was just feeling my second wind, because the miles flew by. Before I knew it I was running the last mile into town, which went along a paved road. This road running section was a little torturous and I was feeling my knee starting to tweak. But I figured walking on the road wouldn't be much fun so I kept chugging along.

Coming into aid station #3

I arrived at the finish to find Marc cooking up hot dogs and the little guy playing on the playground with some town kids. They had met me at the second and third aid stations, but skipped the fourth due to its remoteness. I was glad to be done, but didn't feel like eating. It was then that it struck me that this was my longest run ever. 34 miles!! I'm pretty happy about that, although for some reason I feel like I've run longer than that. Maybe I've dreamed about running a 50 miler for so long that I feel like I've already done it!

Before long the final runners arrived and Fatboy announced the winners. The best hand was a full house Q,Q,Q, J, J. My worthless hand tied me at third from the bottom. Oh well, there's always next year! I may want to run this one every year. Funny how a quirky small race can hold so much significance. Back in 2005, someone who I don't know or remember posted a race report on a local running board about her first ever ultra - the Sister's Poker Run. I searched for more info about the race and found Glen T's pictures. I was intrigued! I don't think I really knew at that moment I would start running ultras. But those awesome pictures certainly got the ultra cogs churning in my brain. So this little race is the one that started it all for me! It didn't disappoint. And although I didn't always realize it at the time, it was a fun day!


Bob Gentile said...

WOW Awesome Re-cap...what a really cool event!!

and LOVE that bib# for is perfect... Queen of hearts!

You guys have really white sand out there--LOLOL

and yummy pumpkin pie!! YES this should be a race you should continue to attend, looks like a blast maybe one day I will join u guys and pull a Quads, NOOO Not my Quad :-(

A_KKKK's now that's a good poker hand !

Pinkcorker said...

The scenery in that race is awesome! Great job! I enjoy checking out your blog Sarah.

robtherunner said...

I love Sisters, but have not run the Poker Run. What a beautiful area. Congrats on your longest race.

PNW Runner said...

Congrats on a job well done! THat sounds like a great race. I'll be sure to add to my wishlist for next year.

wendy said...

What fun!

It looks very beautiful, and I love the whole poker thing, that makes it even more interesting. =)

Queen of Hearts suits you, very nicely done, indeed.

Joe said...

Oh my, what a cool report on a very cool run!!

Congrats on enjoying (not merely surviving) your longest run ever, Sarah!!! I'm very happy for you.

How cool is that the last seven miles could streak by!! That's conditoning...good for you!

angie's pink fuzzy said...

what fun! and the queen of hearts, how cool! and 34 miles, woo hoo!!!

Travis said...

congrats on your farthest run so far! The pictures were great! Well done!!!

Addy said...

wow...what beautiful photos!!! Congrats on the distance PR :). That sounds like such a fun idea for a run, very creative. Isn't it funny hearing about events pre ultrarunning and then ending up running them? I've done that with a few ones myself :)

Congrats again!

Bret said...

Nice job Sarah! It is always so cool when you do a new distance. When I ran Sean's Rumble in the spring the 38 miles was my new distance too. Then on the PCT 50 miler I remember hitting 40 miles and the fact it was a new distance really got me juiced up to finish at a time when I was pretty down. I really wanted to do that but didnt want to get more injured than I already am.

Can I draft behind you at Autumn Leaves??? I am for sure taking the early start at 0600 are you? Gail and Rick are running too and Mark is doing his first 50K. Should be fun. Cya there!

Backofpack said...

There couldn't be a better card for you than the Queen of Hearts - a perfect fit! I still don't get the mechanics of the race, but it looks like it was a beautiful day and of course, a beautiful course. Pumpkin pie sounds perfect for an aid station too!

rick said...

Sounds like a great run and the race continues to turn those "cogs", 50 is just around the corner. You're so not worried about it you already feel like you did it.

Darrell said...

What a fun run! Congrats on the longest run to date.