Iron Horse Half Marathon

Gigi and I ran the Iron Horse Half Marathon on Sunday!  We were both a little sick and a little worried about the run, but we were determined that victory would be ours, and it was.  

This race was a little different.  Unlike other routes we’ve run, this one was all downhill which meant we parked, hopped on a school bus, rode up the mountain, got dropped off, hiked 1/4 a mile to the start and ran back to the car.  For 13.1 miles.  Downhill.  The whole way.  The course started on the Snoqualmie Valley Trail, wove past the Rattlesnake Ridge trailhead, a myriad of bridges and so many beautiful views of valleys, rivers and old growth forest!  When we left for Disneyland, the trees were just beginning to shift colors and I was surprised at how very autumnal the entire run was; gorgeous!

Since we both felt under the weather, we decided to stick together.  She was feeling a little insecure and I was just fine with running alongside her the whole time, but then I said something awful: I’m might go slow.  Like, really slow kid.  We are the last wave and I’m slow, so we might actually sweep the race and take last place.  When we took off, she realized that this race was different from others: these runners were serious.  No one was going to start walking at the half mile- these were people who likely run 10 or more miles on the regular.  This wasn’t going to be an easy win.  Furthermore, there weren’t that many runners in our heat so we thinned out pretty quickly, and before we knew it we were in a fairly small clump of 4-5 people with no one else in sight.  I started to fall behind them as she stayed in pace with them.  She looked apologetically back and let me run on my own- and I preffered knowing that I wasn’t holding her back, honestly.  She quickly faded away from my view.  At that point, there wasn’t anyone in sight behind me.  I couldn’t see anyone in front of me, either, and I started enjoying myself like, Maria in Sound of Music, spinning around the trail with arms thrown wide.  It was that beautiful.  But then, I saw some other runners come around the bend behind me and realized I wasn’t last, nor did I want this to be my first-last place, so I buckled down and decided to keep my lead.  There were two out and backs, as well, so I realized that there were about 15 people behind me, so my big lead wasn’t anything to worry about too much.  (I actually finished over 100 people from last😉)

On the first out and back I came across my darling daughter who shared her woeful tale – she tripped, fell, landed on her phone, the heel of her hand went into the phone, breaking through the glass face, gouging her hand, plus she scraped her leg all up, but bruised and bloodied she continued on.  She didn’t know the aid station would help her with a bandaid and quick trip to the finish line, but armed with that information, she got a bandaid and finished the race like a little determined hero.  What a little stud.  

She finished before me in 2:31 with a split pace of 11:33.  I finished a bit later in 2:46 with a split pace of 12:42.  I’m proud of her, I’m proud of me.  Just proud.  I’d totally do that one again!

Tips and tricks:

  • I didn’t eat well and the gel was awful and made me sick again.  I’m confirmed that applesauce is the way to go for me with a protein boost (yogurt or cheese stick) right before the start.  So is eating something GOOD for breakfast.  I just had coffee and a granola bar and forgot the rest.  Since we had to get on the bus, there was no way to go back for my stuff and I had to tough it out.  Thankfully they had yummy, vegan hot dogs at the end!!!
  • I cut my toenails super short and had no problems this time.  None of my toenails turned blue or bruised and there’s no lifting.  Last time I lost two toenails!
  • Running gel (Glide) helps with thigh chafing but didn’t do anything for my under-bra-boob-on-belly chafing I get, which is a lovely, stinging, red line that shows where my bra sat and chaffed the whole time.  Ouch.
  • Shaved or not, how to maintain the female runner’s  bikini area is still a mystery to me.  I thought some decent growth in that zone would help things in the chaffing arena (last time I ran a half, I performed some bikini area shaving close to the long distance running date and it resulted in perfect, horrid, little circles of bare, raw, open, weeping flesh around each follicle), but it seems that the bikini zone is simply destined for difficulty.  I had significant chaffing this time, too, even though I did forgo the razor all during the swim suit season of August.  It seems I can’t win with that zone!  I’ll guess I’ll just require a recovery time and comfortable undies (aka ‘spanky pants’) the day or two after a long run!  And yes.  I tried waxing.  Some stories shouldn’t be published.  Let’s just say that bikini waxing is not my jam.  At all.  Or even in the general area of my jam.
  • I forgot to use my inhaler and did totally fine.  Phew.  I guess it really does have a whole lot to do with anxiety and weather, not just running.
  • Once again, I can make it ten miles, but beyond that gets really hard…  Except that this time it was only the last mile that was truly the worst one.  Doing it once before gave me so much confidence that it wasn’t quite as hard to finish it this time.
  • I used the toilet before I ran, but still had to pee by mile three.  I was worried the trend of peeing every mile was starting again, but I was just fine after that!  Phew!
  • I trained, practiced, and worked up to this run.  The night before I rolled out my muscles and the morning of I stretched out really well.  At the start line, I was that guy, hopping around on one foot, bending over, stretching as much as possible.  After I crossed the finish line, I stretched some more.  Guess who didn’t get any Charlie horse cramps on the way home, the next day or any other times?  This girl!  I’ve been rolling my legs every night and think I’m ready for a run, again, tomorrow!  


  1. Lesleigh

    You guys did awesome!! And my goodness what a beautiful view you had. Good job finishing even though you didn’t feel good.
    I’ve only done downhill half’s; i love downhill half’s! My one next month has only one short downhill. I’m really worried.

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