Runner: Renee Gale
Race Date: 03/20/2021
Location: Dash Point State Park, Washington
Results: 30th of 90 females and 2nd in my age group
Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/4980418724
3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?
The trails at this park are beautiful with trees, a creek, some bridges and stairs. I love how the trail is mostly narrow and has lots of serpentine twists and loops. I like the variety and length of the rise and falls in elevation both as one climbs to the highest point and then back to the lowest point by the beach.
Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you
The steep stairs near the beginning of the race are quite the challenge and I wouldn’t be disappointed if they didn’t exist. However, as I live near this park, it’s something I can measure my progress against as I become more experienced in trail running, the goal being someday to actually run vs. walk.
Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?
Hmmm. I guess what was different, not really weird, was having to stop and report into an aid station halfway through.
Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?
Not that I did it well, but definitely seeing improvement on my pacing and climbing the uphills. Another runner whom I was following for a while was clipping along close to the same pace as I was on the downhills and on the flatter portions of the course but I steadily gained on her on the uphills which made me feel good.
Lessons you learned that will help you next time around
Focus, focus, focus. A couple of weeks ago I ran a rocky and sandy trail in Arizona. Being from Washington, it was the first time I ran a more desert-like trail and I ended up falling three times and fractured a rib. So when I was running this course, I tried to remain hypervigilant about my form and foot placement on the trail. At first I was really cautious being gun-shy from my recent falling experience. As the miles racked up, I felt more and more confident. Then, all of sudden I was on the ground – another runner was coming towards me up the trail and I think I got distracted for just a moment and down I went. Luckily, it had been raining some in the week up to the race and the ground was soft and muddy.
Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?
Like mentioned before, to me, it’s beautiful, green, serene.
Difficulty – Is it a tough course?
I am new to trail running so I can’t judge for other experienced runners. I would say the beginning of the course with several tiers of steep stairs to climb was the tough part. The rest of it seems pretty moderate.
Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
I felt like it was very well organized. The only difficulty in logistics that I had was figuring out the wave system. I wish there had been someone in the holding area to announce which wave was coming up next. The course was well-marked … I have run this trail a few times on my own and have had a hard time navigating where I want to go; it was nice not to have to concentrate on where to go next.
Competition – Is there a strong field?
I don’t know. Again I’m new to trail racing so at this point I am running these races for fun and not competitively. I think the race was listed as a good course for beginners to trail running.
Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.
When I first tried to sign up for the race maybe a couple of months ago, registration was closed and I was put on a waiting list. I really didn’t think I was going to get to run this but obviously I did!
Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?
At the aid station that we were asked to report in, I couldn’t see any water, just snacks but I didn’t ask any of the three people standing there.. I was kind of tired and not thinking straight. Just wish the water was obvious and quick to get to. Oh and because of the pandemic, this was a cupless race, maybe that’s why I couldn’t see the water source.
Weather and typical race conditions
Weather was great, not too cold, didn’t get rained on. It had rained prior to the race, so some parts of the course were muddy but it wasn’t too bad.
Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next runner?
I just wore what I typically wear on a dry, winter day, which is a long-sleeve base layer shirt with a t-shirt over it and leggings.
How’s the Swag?
The only swag was an engraved wood plaque which looks more like a coaster. It’s okay but not sure if I will keep it.
The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?
I would give this race a 4.8 out of 5 and definitely recommend for runners who have a similar running background/experience to mine.