While Smith Rock may be known for its renowned climbing and cliffs of tuff and basalt, this Saturday my two feet will stay firmly planted on the ground (hopefully) as I take on Smith Rock 15-Mile Ascent.
This challenging trail race has over 3,000 vertical gain and a route that ascends to the top of Gray Butte where I’ll be rewarded with beautiful views of the Three Sisters. Then it’s time to head down and run past the many rock faces that make Smith Rock such a popular climbing destination. Words can’t really describe the sheer beauty of the park, so I encourage you to take 2 minutes and watch this short video.
My friend, Kendra, is joining me this weekend and I’m really looking forward to her support and encouragement. While the race is a shorter distance than I typically run, I still expect pre-race nerves to set in the night before and definitely on race morning. Kendra asked what she could do or expect, so I shared my game plan with her:
- Eat a good, healthy meal (don’t try anything new)
- Get plenty of sleep—go to bed early
- Know what I’m wearing race morning and have it set out
- Have race essentials together and ready to go (hand-held water bottle, gels, watch)
- Set two alarms!
- Give myself plenty of time in the morning to get organized and to the starting line
- Eat a light breakfast (again, don’t try anything new)
- Have a mantra ready to go if/when I need it
- Have confidence in my training
- Be willing to modify my race goals and expectations
- Take a few deep breaths minutes before the start of the race
- Most of all, have fun and remember to smile for the race photo!
If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that another race is an opportunity to donate to a local organization as part of the Small Change, an initiative I started to contribute to a nonprofit in each of the cities I visit for a race or an adventure. I was pleased to learn the race organizers, Go Beyond Racing, donated a portion of my registration fee to Central Running Klub’s Youth Program, a local organization. I decided to seek out another nonprofit to double my community goodness for this race.
Given that the race takes place in beautiful Smith Rock State Park, I wanted to support an organization with a conservation focus. My former boss (and mentor) was on the board of a local land trust for many years and frequently shared with me the value and importance of land trusts. So, when I saw that my race destination has an active land trust, I didn’t hesitate to donate $25 to the Deschutes Land Trust.
DESCHUTES LAND TRUST
The Deschutes Land Trust conserves and protects land in Central Oregon and currently cares for more than 8,700 acres in the region. The Land Trust works with landowners who voluntarily want to conserve their land for today, tomorrow and for generations to come. The organization also hosts a variety of hikes and events for the community, as well as volunteer opportunities.
I’m excited for a weekend of running, friendship, and exploring the great town of Bend after the race. But more importantly, I’m extremely proud knowing that my adventure is giving back to the community through the Small Change initiative.
How do you calm your pre-race nerves? What races or adventures do you have coming up—why not join the Small Change movement?