Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Randy Ehrhard Memorial Run

I was very worried about this run long before today. Mostly, I was worried about getting up so early in the morning the day after New Years Eve. You see, my neighbors love to blow stuff up. Last night was no exception. From 6:30pm until long after midnight the neighborhood was lighting off mortar sky rockets. That is hard to sleep through even with Unisom and ear plugs.

I can't recall any time in my life when I actually ran at 8:00am. Heck, the sun didn't even rise today until 7:51!

Also, rain was expected for today. So far this year I have not had to run an event in real rain. 

However, Randy Ehrhard was a local runner who passed away Thanksgiving weekend after suffering a heart attack at the Turkey Trot. I was one of the runners that went by him, saw him, and heard him as he struggled for his life with the assistance of a doctor and others more qualified to assist. I remember hearing a woman asking us to keep moving. But I worried. I saw. I heard. We all hoped for the best as he remained hospitalized but he succumbed to the initial and a second attack that weekend. He left behind a wife and two children. His church put this run on and all proceeds went to his family.

How could I NOT get up and face the rain to assist the family of this man?  This was the one run I knew I would not miss. Even if I were ill today, I would have walked it. I was going and nothing would stop me. 

As luck would have it, the skies were mostly clear and Mt Hood was bathed in brilliant red clouds as I neared the church that was holding the run. There was no rain. I was awake. I felt fine. 

As is the norm for me, my heart rate was bouncing all over even before the start. It was around 106-110 just standing! I really need to learn to control the pre-event hyperness.

(shakey live shot en route)

The run started off beautifully. About 150-200 of us headed down a lane that went into a woody area of a suburb. I loved that part. I could have run that all day. But I grew concerned. We were going down hill. That could only mean one thing. Right? 

The course took us along the 14 hwy for some time and there was a slight incline occurring but that was nothing I couldn't handle. The road then started to veer back towards the suburbs and there it was.  THE HILL.   It looked like trouble from the start. It didn't boost my confidence seeing some very fit looking runners up there walking it. So I took the hill slowly. Timidly. And still, at about the half way mark I had to stop and walk as my heart rate monitor was yelling "TOO HIGH!". I walked/jogged lightly intermittently for 17 full minutes of THE HILL. This hill was a total incline of over 1.7 miles but the worst of it was the section from mile marker 1.4 to 2.2.  It is an average of a 3% grade in that .81 mile section. 

A very nice young man was walking/jogging this section with me. He told me that it got him before and he keeps telling himself he is going to beat it some day. At the top of the hill he took off but I always had him in my sight. I paced to him and respected his resolve.

At one point, two strong looking young women and a man came running back towards us, cheered us on and continued running back the opposite of the route we had all come from. It appeared they were going for a 10K! I couldn't help but think that going back down THE HILL would be a lot more fun than it was going up.

At 2.9 miles it didn't look like the run was ending anytime soon. Where were we? Where was the finish line? At 3.1 I then knew this was NOT a 5K run. I didn't stop running though. I had been wanting to learn to run further. No time like the present! At 3.25 miles I took the turn that lead back to the finish line and I could see everyone there in the street cheering us on.

I was smart this time. I didn't kick into overgear. I stayed the course and kept it sane. My total time was 43:09 minutes. My Garmin (GPS) sportswatch said it was a route of 3.39 miles and my iPhone MapMyWalk (GPS) app said it was 3.49 miles. I am going to go with the lesser number as the Garmin is usually more accurate. 

The young man who took the hill 'with' me came up to me and told me, 'great run' and we high fived each other. I told him I would see him next year...and we are taking that hill! 

I HAD A PR!  Even with my battles on THE HILL, I had my best average pace in an event! 12:44 min/mi


(me - post run)

Weather: 36 degrees, 5.4 mph wind, no precipitation, mostly clear 


  1. CONGRATS on the PR! Hills are evil. I have never run so many hills until I moved to Vancouver. It's amazing how much stronger they make us as runners, but MAN it stinks to run up them (or down them if you have shin splints). Great recap! I love taking pictures while I run, too. lol

  2. Heather, it does seem that Vancouver is wall to wall hills. :)