Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl Sunday Dam Run - Race Review

20-mile racers at the start
I ran the 20-mile distance of the Super Bowl Sunday Dam Run today. Everyone met at Norm’s Extreme Fitness in Prineville, then was bussed to drop-off locations at the 5-, 10- or 20-mile marks, kicked off of the bus ;-) and made to run back to town! The 20-mile option started at Bowman Dam which backs up the waters of the Crooked River to create the Prineville Reservoir. I have been out to this area before, and knew I would be sorry if I didn’t bring my camera. Since I didn’t intend on actually racing today (nor did I want it to be a long slow distance day but somewhere between), I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to take some photos along the way.

Chimney Rock (center left) above the Crooked River
The race course mostly follows the Crooked River back into Prineville. There is no way to get lost, and no need for course markings— you run the shoulder of the Crooked River Highway (27) clear back to town and only get off of it for 1 block to return to Norm’s. Course mile markers are the highway mile markers. There was very little traffic for the first 10 miles— only the occasional car or motorcycle (this route appears to be very popular with motorcyclists, and I can see why). And lest you worry that road running is boring, let me tell you that this run is NOT, especially for the first 13 or so miles which is along the river, in the canyon, mostly downhill, and with views of spectacular cliffs and rock outcroppings above you. That’s why I took so many photos, just a few of which are included here. It was one beautiful scene after another! I was not surprised to discover that this route is a BLM National Scenic Back Country Byway.

A passing cyclist was kind enough to take this for me ~mile 12
The remaining 7 miles wind through fields with views of ranches and cow pastures. There is even a llama farm along here, but unfortunately I didn’t see any llamas in the pasture. Along this stretch I had to go to my “happy place” for a little bit, but the time passed quickly, and before you know it, I was back to the edge of town with less than 2 miles to go to the finish. This is about where “this turned out to be a little harder than I thought it would be” and “I’m almost finished” intersected with likely-low blood sugar as the Coldplay song “Fix You” started playing on my iPod. I totally lost it! I started crying uncontrollably and found it difficult to breathe. Then I told myself to pull it together, that I could cry all I wanted when I finished. I had one last gel to perk me up and picked up the pace a little. Those last 2 miles were awesome! I didn’t cry at the finish, either! One of the last songs that filled my ears was Rush’s “One Little Victory.” How is it that sometimes the iPod just seems to know what I need to hear? Tonight I don’t feel like talking about all the thoughts that were going through my mind up to this point. That I will save for another day and probably multiple posts. It’s something that I struggle with, and I think a lot of other athletes do to. We just don’t talk about it. Guess what? I’m going to talk.
Fancy ranch entrance
Quail Valley Ranch
Old ranch site?

I love cows in the field *and* on the dinner table!
Last year I heard from Rod Bien that this run was awesome, so I was not about to miss it this year. This is a great route to push the pace a bit. My Garmin reported 271 foot of elevation gain and 681 foot loss over 20 miles. The race fee is right: $20 benefits the Crook County High School and Middle School track teams and includes a quality long-sleeve cotton shirt for you. There were also several nice raffle items to be had and fresh cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate at the finish. Norm (owner of Norm’s Extreme Fitness) is very gracious. Before the races he gave the race briefing, stating that if anyone forgot her race nutrition (the race is supported with water only approximately every 2 miles), he had some protein bars in his car he could give you. The shuttle bus to the start location left on time, and the race began right on time. Norm or a member of his staff constantly drove back and forth along the highway checking on us. I think I saw him about every 2 miles. I have never felt so looked-after during a race!

More people should definitely do this race. People should come from Portland and Salem and the Gorge to do this race. It would be the perfect cap to a weekend in Central Oregon! Mark your calendar now for a spectacular 5-, 10-, or 20-mile road run in Central Oregon on Super Bowl Sunday 2012! I highly recommend the 20-miler.


  1. I've been on that road before a couple of times and it is just great! Good job!


  2. Great job! I did the 10 mile distance and had a great run! Wished I was doing the 20! We drove back along the course to see the upper 10 miles of the course and it is gorgeous! I'll be doing 20 next year! Even spotted you but didn't honk so we wouldn't scare you!
    See you on the roads and trails! Kathy L

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