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Timberline Mountain Run 2012- Race Review

August 6, 2012
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Mount Hood

The Timberline Mountain Run, organized by the Timberline Trail Running Club, holds the title of the highest run in the state of Oregon. So naturally I had to sign up. The run, starts at approx 5600 ft and climbs to 7000 at midpoint for a approximate total of 6-8 miles. The approximation is due to fact that GPS loses satellite reception. According to my Garmin, the course was only 4 miles which definitely¬† isn’taccurate either.

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The Lodge in The Shining.

It was such a gorgeous day on Mount Hood– blue sky and warm temps! The vibe with this race was super casual and was just a bunch of sun soaking happy runners out for a good time. We arrived at the race about an hour before start and signed in. The 10 am start time was nice, especially with about a 1:15 hr drive from Portland- meaning I still didn’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn. Sign in was really easy and took no time at all leaving some time to just walk around the lodge and take some photos of Mount Hood. It was so casual, that at one point I realized I didn’t even know where the race started. It wasn’t until about 5 minutes before start time did it look like a race was going to happen.

To call this race a run, may be optimistic. It should reconsider being called the Timberline Mountain Walk Up and Scramble Down. Oooh weee. I don’t really remember doing much trail running. Immediately at the start was a downhill quick run before turning around and winding up and up to 7000 ft. The trail ranged from paved roads, to bushwhacking, to dirt paths, to sandy dirt to snow. I think for the most part the trail was fairly easy to follow except for about 1/2 mile in, when a bunch of us runners lost track of where we were going in the woods and all just stopped and didn’t know which direction to head.

This was not an easy run. It was over 1,100 feet in elevation climb and the terrain was tough: mostly narrow soft sandy dirt with loose rocks. The majority of the course was higher than the tree line and therefore we were just exposed to the hot sun beating on us. Right about the end of the tree cover, approx 1.5 in, it was just a walk. And EVERYONE was walking. There was not much of advantage if you ran. I kept pace, by walking, with a girl who was “running” a head of me. She didn’t get to the top much faster than I did.

Once at the top, it was a short jog over to the aid station where they were handing out water. There wasn’t any electrolytes which I was surprised by and really wish they had. After the quick refueling it was a downhill scramble on loose sandy gravel with rocks taunting a sprained ankle. Once we made it down to start elevation, there was a really nice picturesque section of the course. The last 3/4 or so was on a rolling trail, tree covered and, for the first time felt like a trail run.

Here is what my Garmin captured of the race:

http://www.mapmytri.com/routes/view/121411817

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Post race was really nice. We hung out on the lodge porch soaking in the sun, eating hot dogs and drinking beer before they handed out prizes for top times. Somehow my time of 56:49 earned me first in my division. I am assuming there wasn’t many or anyone else in my category. I will post results when they are up tomorrow. It was really nice running a small race. I felt that the runners and accompanying support crew were all really friendly and fun. There was more socializing post race than I have experienced before with larger races.

Would I do this race again? I don’t know. I didn’t enjoy that I was hiking up most of this course then sprinting downhill. I thought it was fun that it was at high elevation (no acclimation needed!) but it would have been more fun if it was flatter and faster. Regardless, it was a great reason to get up to Mount Hood, get some exercise in and meet some new people. Don’t forget to bring your sunscreen and do not forget your socks.

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I wear this grey shirt for every thing. Except of course when I am wearing my Newton.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 6, 2012 12:27 pm

    You work for Nike, maybe it is time for a new shirt, HAHA. Sounds like a nice training walk/run.

  2. gralover1 permalink
    August 11, 2012 1:16 pm

    TOTALLY AWESOME, JULIE!!! Congratulations! Greyt pic, and love the inclusion of the Garmin data! I think the beauty of the location, and the after run time may be perks for doing it at some point again!

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