Registration/price: I paid $45 at packet pickup for the 8k
Location: Hazel Dell, WA
Events offered: 8k and Half Marathon
Number of runners: 112 in the 8k and 123 in the Half
Beneficiary: Panda Paws Rescue
This was the first time I've ever waited until packet pickup to register for a race. Usually I register months in advance, but since I'd sprained my ankle about four weeks ago, I've been waiting anxiously to see how quickly it would heal. The answer is: not quickly. I've been hesitant to increase my mileage and have mostly been cross training. But I really, really wanted to sign up for the Hazel Dell Half Marathon & 8k for so many reasons....
Reason #1: It benefits Panda Paws Rescue, whose goal is "to end the homelessness, abuse & neglect of all animals."
Reason #2: I'm training for a marathon and my training schedule said I needed to do 9 miles today.
Reason #3: Two of my fave people were organizing it (shout out to Trevor and Tracy Bryant! You guys rock!) They're not only athletes, they've fostered and adopted tons of animals from shelters.
Reason #4: The medal and t-shirt were super cute, and there were red velvet cupcakes too!
The main reason I was hesitating was that I didn't want my first race after my injury to be anything less than awesome. I wanted to have a race that proved to myself that I was back at it and faster than before. And if I did this race, I wouldn't be. I just wasn't ready.
But what tipped me over the edge: Reason #5: Two days before the race, I got a message from Trevor on my facebook wall asking if I'd registered. So I told him I'd register at packet pickup. And the whole day up until I went, I kept wondering if this was a good idea. That night I announced on facebook that I'd signed up, and I was excited that my friend Jacob decided that he would sign up the morning of the race--and that it was going to be his FIRST RACE EVER!!! (AHHH RACING NEWBIES!!! It only happens once... and I was sooo excited to have him take part in this event!!!)
Packet pickup: Packet pickup was the day before the race (Saturday) from noon-4, at the race location. Super easy, and super quick.
Swag (t-shirts): There were super cute gender specific neon green t-shirts, and adorable medals! Each runner also got a goodie bag with a water bottle, and a bunch of fliers for other races. Even though I registered at packet pickup, after the race there were still enough t-shirts that I managed to get one in my size! (instead of waiting for a second shipment of shirts to come in). YAYYY!
Parking/bag check: There was TONS of parking, which was awesome. Because you could park so close to the start/finish, there wasn't bag check, but that was fine. I like to wait until the last minute to take off my jacket when it's cold out, and this worked out perfectly.
Course: The 8k was an out and back course that went through nearby neighborhoods. While the hills were short and small, they were frequent! It was really nice passing other runners on the out and back though. The half marathon went through the same neighborhoods, then out to the Salmon Creek Trail (which is flat and paved) and then back through the neighborhood.
The race: The half started at 8:30, as indicated on the event facebook page and on the Active.com registration page--but the 8k didn't start til 8:45, which hadn't been very clear. It was a gorgeous morning though--cold but not too cold, no wind, and no rain thank goodness!!! It was a small crowd but I saw a lot of familiar faces hanging about. Once the race started I focused on just trying to run just a little out of my comfort zone--not trying to set a certain pace, just feeling out the course and how my body felt (especially my ankle). Fortunately, I was feeling pretty good, and although I would have loved to have had a faster pace, I ended up first in my age division (out of 7), 4th female finisher, and 14th overall finisher. Mostly I was relieved that I didn't reinjure my ankle and that I did respectably compared to my previous race times! And it was SO MUCH FUN to watch my friend Jacob finish his first race!!! Doesn't he look so fast crossing the finish line?!