The Witches of Sun City 2005’s Half Marathon

 

The 2005 Sun City Race lived up to its title.  The weather was sunny with a start temperature of 55 degrees no wind. Really ideal race conditions.

 

At 9 AM, the half marathoners were started by race director Lorri Smith.  With two Yakima County Sheriffs cars leading the way east and up the hill of Terrace Heights Drive, overall race winner Jose Garcia led the way.

 

At mile one on 41st Street, the second hill of the race course presented itself as you rounded the curve.  So, up this little hill and across the Roza Canal bridge we went.  Made it across Roza Hill Drive, appreciated volunteer Al Brown and the Y.C.S. being at this intersection to control traffic.  “Thank You” Camille Rimmer who volunteered to direct and cheer us on at mile 2-10.7.)

 

Background note:  The original Sun City race course was on the west side of town going Nob Hill, out Zier to Stein and back via Occidental to the start/finish in Randall Park.  That course had some very ‘nice’ hills which made it a reverse split course.

 

When we moved the race to the Terrace Heights and East Valley area due to too much traffic, we tried to incorporate similar ‘nice’ hills into it to continue it to be a reverse split course.  (reverse split means you would run the second half of the course faster than the first half.)

 

So, there she was at mile 2.6 …..that nice smiling witch hanging from the pole reminding me to take it easy for the first 9.4 miles…….and being the logical runner as most of us are and remembering our club motto of ‘start out slowly and taper off’, a pack of 7-9 of us hammered on at a 7:45 per mile pace with the ‘big’ hills ahead.

 

By the water station with Larry and Dick handing out water at mile 3, and there for the return route too, we ran.  Down the hill to get the quads hammered a little, onto Beaudry Road for mile 4 where the sweet smell of the vineyard of concord grapes almost tempted you to detour and pick a cluster, then to mile 5 marker and a left turn onto Mieras Road going east.

There it was in the distance….Mieras Hill!  It started at the mile 6 mark, that climb for only .4 of a mile that seemed like more than the 120 vertical feet.  Ah!  A left turn onto White Road and down we went to go by the water station with great volunteers and great music playing for us.  Halfway through the race distance now. 

Turn left, by the 7 mile mark and a short .15 mile climb with a right turn to pull a gradual grade for a half mile.  Just before the next turn, we reached the highest point of the race course….1,340 feet.  The lowest point was at the start of 1020 feet. 

Along this section of Bittner Road, if you looked up, a spectacular scenic view presented itself.  Here you are running along the apple and pear orchards and in the distance is Yakima, with the Sun Dome showing, and the Cascade Mountains with the white caped mountains of Rainer and Adams. 

So, all downhill from here.  Wrong!  After running level and downhill from mile 7.6 to 8.6, the last of the uphills presented itself.  The gradual uphill took us past mile 9 and ended at the left turn to head west back toward Terrace Heights Drive.  Now is when you start to find out if you paced yourself for the front half of the course.

 

Remember what the ‘witch’ said about taking it easy?  Well, it is flat and downhill to the finish from this point.  Only the finish is still 3.7 miles away.

 

As we run onto Terrace Heights Drive again, we are retracing our route from the start.  Larry and Dick are there with water for all again and words of encouragement.  We followed along the curvy section of the road and once again she loomed before us, that witch!  This time she was laughing at me for going out too fast for the first 9 miles.   I know that she actually place a spell/hex or something on me.  I just know I did not go out too fast……..Oops.  Isn’t it amazing how the mind does not listen to the body sometimes?  Now I would pay the price.  My intent was to pick up the pace for the last 3 miles with a strong finish down the hills.  Instead, my quads were yelling at me, my right calf muscle was acting like it was going to cramp up about every 200 meters and I was off the back of the pack for the rest of the race.

 

I would like to say that the last two miles through the residential area and down Terrace Heights Drive was a peaceful and enjoyable run, but not this time.  It was very tough mentally and physically.  Looks like I need a few more 15 mile long runs and some of the beautiful training runs up and down Prospect, Pecks and Scenic road hills.  Oh well, enough whining.

My finish time was 1:41:45, which is a 7:45 pace.  That is the best ½ marathon time I have had for many of years.  I really must give credit to my very good friends and training partners of Pat Miller and Camille Rimmer for pulling me along with their Sunday long runs and our Tuesday ‘short & slow’ runs.

 

What a finish this year.  Was very nice to see the club’s finish line clock hanging from the new clock stand.  Very impressive.

 

Gold’s Gym has been a great host these years and it so nice to have indoor facilities and showers available after the race.

 

The free massages by Cascade Summit School of Massage was a crowning point for the post race this year.  What a way to take some of the aches and pains away from the body. (note the empty table just waiting for me.)

 

A personal big “Thank You” to all of the volunteers at pre-race, on the race course and post race.  You really made this a great race.

 

Our sponsors with their contributions make this a race which allows us to keep our entry fees down to affordable levels for all.

Gold’s Gym

Wiley Hurst of Hurst, Brumback and Brusic

The Klosters of MSI Construction

Brad VauxVaux Shoes

 

As the last of the runners finish, the final awards are given out and the post race activities are done.

Final clean up of the parking lot area is done and it is time for some pancakes?  Nope! Not yet.

 

At 5 AM, Pat and I started out and set up the course with warning barricade signs of ‘Runners on Road’, used flour to mark the turns with arrows and cones with markers for the mile points.

 

So, for the next 2 hours, it was out onto the course to pick up all of the barricade signs and cones/mile markers.  And lastly, to sweep out the flour marks on the road edges.

 

Now for pancakes…..gosh, it is 2 PM and Papa Bairds closes at 2 PM on Sundays.  Oh well, we were too tired to go in and eat anyway.  So, off to home and my wonderful wife Jean, made home made blueberry pancakes for me.  Oh, just a note, she volunteered and helped at registration, ran the 5K and placed second in her age group, then took many of the pictures that are posted with the 2005 Sun City results.  Maybe she will write up an article about the 5K race.

 

Best running to all and look out for the witches, one on Terrace Heights Drive, another one on Commonwealth Drive (part of the 5K course) and the ‘spells/hexes’ they put on runners.

 

kz