Happy Girls Half-Marathon at FivePine Lodge in Sisters
The inaugural Happy Girl’s race, an express trail half marathon and 5K on-road run for women runners of all abilities, was held at FivePine Lodge this past November. This event is designed to encourage interest in trail running among women. The run took women through mainly single-track dirt trails and rolling hills and forest areas outside Sisters. This is the “dirty” version of the extremely popular Happy Girls Run that is produced in the Spring in Bend.
There was a fun women’s expo at Fine Pine Lodge and Spa with goody bags, fabulous vendors with fun items to sample or purchase, massages, and a raffle that benefitted the Sisters Park & Recreation District. There was a pasta party at Three Creeks Brewery and the Sisters Stroll to explore the quaint and unique shops in downtown Sisters. It was a fabulous fall weekend in Sisters (for Sistas!!)
I’ve always been a runner, since high school, but only in moderation and for what I call “maintenance” fitness. I usually run anywhere from 9-15 miles a week. Having 2 dogs that need lots of exercise and a running buddy that constantly pushes me to run with her, helps to keep the motivation high and consistent. Last fall, my infamous running buddy, suggested we run the Happy Dirty Girls race. She had previously run 2 half-marathons so she knew what to expect. Me…not so much!
The training for the half-marathon was fun, intense, humbling and at times painful. Especially the once-a-week long runs. The first time I ran 8 miles I was exhausted and surprised at how I felt. Having always run relatively short distances, I was inexperienced in how long runs can cause such physiological and psychological changes. At first, it was discouraging and I wasn’t sure if I could really reach this goal of running…not ever walking…a full 13.1 miles. But as each week progressed, the long runs got a little easier…well, maybe not easier but not as discouraging. My strength and stamina increased and as long as I had my running buddy to share funny stories or encourage me to run only a few more minutes, I was able to keep on running. My last training long run was in the Badlands east of Bend on a sunny, cool day, perfect for running about 12 miles, although the footing was on occasion like running on a beach, very deep sand. I guess that helped with some strength training.
On race day, I was nervous, excited, scared and ready to get the race over. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my running buddy with me as she had sprained her ankle 2 weeks before the race during one of our runs on a trail…in the dark. Training after work had its draw backs in October when it got dark by 5:30. So the experience was solely my own, no partner to motivate, encourage, or push me. But I met some incredible women that day that were inspiring and so helpful. When I told my story, they basically said…”run with us, we’ll have great fun”…which is exactly what happened. The trails and scenery were beautiful and distracting. I found myself in awe of how easy it was to run as I’m looking at the Cascade Mountains, just appreciating the beauty of where we live.
One of the most inspiring women I saw that day was 7 months pregnant. Can you believe it?? She and her husband are huge fans of FivePine Lodge and got married here this past summer. We love our fans!!
I did it and it was hard, especially after mile 11, but I ran every step. I didn’t fall or walk or stop, just kept on running. My boyfriend, Mike, who graciously volunteered at the race, met me at the corner for the last stretch. My running buddy met me at the finish line and ran/limped the last few yards with me and it was an extremely emotional experience for us both. I looked around at nearly 250 other women runners, all laughing, crying, eating and yes, drinking Three Creeks beer! It was one of the best days ever.
Those of us that run on trails in Central Oregon are some of the luckiest runners ever. The natural beauty of our trails, whether along the Metolius River, the dusty trails of the Badlands, the single tracks of the Peterson Ridge Trail, or a fun run around Suttle Lake, there is no other scenery that can distract a runner better. We live in a beautiful area, with world-class recreation year round for most any sport enthusiast.
The best part of these activities is having them all so close to FivePine Lodge and Spa. After a long run, there is nothing better than a relaxing and recovering massage at Shibui Spa and then a wonderful, healthy meal at Three Creeks Brewery. If you’re lucky enough to stay at FivePine Lodge, you’ll enjoy a final soak in the amazing tubs in the quaint and luxurious cabins and a final rest in the cozy King bed gazing at the fireplace and the beautiful Ponderosa Pines just outside the window.
So put this date on your calendar, Saturday, November 2, 2013. The 2nd annual Happy Girl’s 5k and Half-Marathon at FivePine Lodge!! It will be epic….
Tricia Maxson – Events Director at FivePine Lodge