Peterson Ridge Rumble 20 Miler

We're a few weeks removed from the Rumble now, but I wanted to make sure to recap my race. Now that I've done it three times (2011, 2014 and 2017), it feels like something I might want to continue to sign up for.

Let's be clear, it was still type II fun (as most distance racing can be) -- it's not necessarily great in the moment, but you're glad you did it afterward. Okay, there were moments as I was running and glancing up at the Three Sisters that I thought about how much I love running on trails, but those thoughts were quickly squashed by the pain in my glutes and hamstrings.

Okay, so back to the race. On Saturday, Pete, Henry and I met my mom and little brother Max in Bend for packet pick up at Foot Zone. The drive was smooth sailing with only one stop at Sahalie Falls on the way over.

Love Henry's little smile here

The manfriend and I picked up our bibs and we all did some browsing around the running shop. We had lunch at Deschutes Brewery (beet & mushroom burger + a pint for me), walked around a bit and then headed back to Sisters, OR to check in to our motel.

We had reserved a suite, which was perfect for our situation. We were all able to stay in one place and hang out together while Henry napped or slept. Saturday night, we had dinner in our room. I had made my go-to vegetarian lasagna and brought it with us to save a little $ and hassle (dining with a toddler is about 50% chasing them around the restaurant).

That night, we got to bed at a normal time (10:30pm) and had a good night's rest. The next morning, we got ready and headed down to take advantage of the continental breakfast. I had some oatmeal topped with nuts & raisins, a banana and a yogurt. The glory of a 9:00 a.m. race start: you're not trying to wake up and shovel food in your face at 5:00 a.m.

Sisters, OR is at 3,000 ft elevation and high dessert, so temps were a chilly 30F at the race start. But thankfully, it was clear and even a bit sunny, so I didn't layer up too much.

I wore my Oiselle pocket jogger capris, a Craft base layer tee, a Oiselle flyte long sleeve (obsessed with these), Brooks Calderas, a thin pair of gloves and a Oiselle ear warmer. Pete and I both wore puffies while waiting for the start and then handed them off to my mom and bro.

A Note on Running Shoes
Working for a running store, I often get to try out different shoes that I wouldn't otherwise be able to. My last pair of trail shoes (Altra Lone Peaks) were worn out, so I needed a new pair. I got to pick out the Brooks Calderas recently (staff sometimes get seed shoes) and had only taken them on one long trail run before this race. It might sound silly, but after that run and having no issues, I felt comfortable that they would serve me well for 20 miles. And they did! 

Ready to Rumble
Soon enough, the horn sounded and we were off! The first few miles are fairly flat trail and then forest service road before hopping back on to the trail where the climbing begins.

In total, the trail has 2,000 ft of elevation gain, which is a lot more than I had recalled. Regardless, my glutes were decently sore by mile 7 as we continued to climb and then descend over a few different ridges. I was quickly reminded that my body would have felt more prepared if I had done some more hilly long runs, but that's the challenge of trying to train for a trail race and a road marathon at once.

The race photographer didn't post a photo of Pete or I at this spot, but this gives you an idea of the views you get along the Peterson Ridge. During the race, you pass over this spot on the ridgeline twice (mile 4 and 16). If he had, you would have seen me walking up and over it.

My brother Max snagged some great shots of both Pete and I throughout the race. I definitely didn't feel as happy as I looked in the photos he took. But again, type II fun.

It was fun to see my family out on the course and Henry even got to cheer for us. My heart burst a little the few times I saw him smiling and clapping for me as I ran by. 

Fueling & Aid Stations
While the course is pretty empty in terms of spectators, there were four aid stations, which gave you a little something to look forward to (not to mention the M&M's and Oreos). I carried two Hammer gels and a pack of Honey Stinger chews with me that I had around miles 6-7, 11-12 and 15-17.

I always like to save the Honey Stingers for last so I can use them as motivators for myself to get to the next mile. For example, I'll have a few say at mile 15 and then tell myself "Okay, when you get to 16 you can have another." It might sound silly, but sometimes you just need to play those little mental games. I do the same thing with water near the end of a race.

As always, the aid stations were great, but I didn't stay long. The volunteers were quick to grab my water bottle when I would hand it to them and fill it up with water. And there were plenty of snacks set out for the runners (and dogs as it is a dog-friendly race), including PBJ, Goldfish, M&M's, boiled potatoes, oranges, chips, Oreos, pretzels, etc. This race also has a 40 mile option, so I imagine that if I were going that long, I'd stop at an aid station for a few minutes.

It might not look like it, but I promise there were hills. 

Positive Affirmations on the Trail
The last two times I ran this course, I consistently tripped and then fell pretty hard in 2014 resulting in a decent scar. My goal this race was NOT to fall and I did it! As my glutes and hamstrings were feeling the ups and downs by mile 7, I made up a little motto that I continued to say to myself so as not to trip and fall: "Up and over, it's a beautiful day." I realize this is super corny, but when you just need to focus on lifting your feet over lava rock, this is the kind of stuff your brain comes up with.

Tongue out = feeling tired

Miles 10-16 are sort of a blur, but my focus was just on staying present and not letting the exhaustion cause me to trip.

On the flat 3 mile road to the finish, I was simply focusing on maintaining a decent pace so I wouldn't be tempted to walk. I said things to myself like:
  • Easy, breezy, beautiful covergirl... just like the old commercial jingle
  • Fast and light 
  • The intro to Eye of the Tiger (forever and always my power song during races)
  • 2 and some change... 1 and some change... less than a mile to go!
Even if it sounds crazy, just repeating some kind of mantra seems to help me focus on something other than the pain I'm feeling. In those last 4 miles, after cresting the final hill and then have a straight, flat shot back to the finish, it was really my previous finish time that kept me running strong.

In 2011, I finished in 3:06:14 and in 2014, 3:20:58, so I really wanted to beat my 2014 time. And that I did, finishing in 3:17:27!

GPS watches are funny. Mine never hit 20 miles and Pete's had clocked 20.5.

The manfriend finished his first Peterson Ridge Rumble in 3:04:36! He was definitely tired, but I don't think he was as bad off as I was by the end.

Afterward, we hobbled around the finish area and grabbed some food. They have an awesome burrito bar as well as goodies from the local bakery, chips, water, bananas, etc. The only thing I could have used was some coffee and a massage. 

I felt pretty stiff and sore the rest of the afternoon, but surprisingly felt a lot better the next day. Often times, I'm more sore the day after. 

Pete and I both got to snooze a little while Henry napped. We decided to stay an extra night in Sisters so that we could just relax, which was really handy for the little guy's nap and not having to pack up and get out of there prior to the race.

My takeaways for this race were:
  • More trail time will = less glute soreness
  • Not news here, but I love how relaxed trail races are. 
  • Swiftwick socks rock. You get a free pair for finishing! 
  • Staying mentally focused worked for me this go 'round.

Do you have a favorite race or city you always want to come back to? 

Pete got into the McKenzie River Trail 50K this September, so we're already looking forward to some fun trail adventures this summer! That race though is one of my favorites and Peterson Ridge because we love Central Oregon.


Those mantras aren't silly at all! Running is such a mental sport so you need things like that to keep you motivated and to keep you from losing your mind/focusing on the pain! That's great that you beat your previous time! That's impressive, especially since trail running wasn't your focus since you are training for a road race. It looks like a beautiful course, albeit challenging!

I don't have any repeat races that I do, but I am going to try to do the Twin Cities 10 mile which is the same day as the marathon in October. There is a lottery to get in as it's a popular race, but Phil's company had a group that did it last year and it sounds like they will have a group again this year so I will enter with their group and groups always seem to get in!

I wish we had more trail races around us because I love the low key vibe. I tend to not really have goals when I run trail races because the 2 I've done were destination races so I have no way to train for that terrain so I just go out and have fun and soak up the experience. It's nice to have races like that because I tend to push myself really hard at road races.

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