We conquered a unique event this past weekend: The Oregon Trail Days 8K Run-A-Muck, an 8K run followed by an inner tube float down the river.
We headed to Oregon, just a 20-minute drive northeast, for the “race,” which starts at Castle Rock State Park and ends at Park East along the Rock River.
We were greeted by cloudy skies, drizzle that turned into light rain and temperatures in the upper 60s-low 70s and a very small field of runners, maybe two or three dozen people.
We set off at a very informal starting line, down the road out of the state park and onto the rural state highway. The course headed north on the highway, crossed onto a gravel road through cornfields and into town and jogged across the bridge over the river and into the park. It was nice and flat but very quiet, given the small field of competitors and thus the small number of volunteers and spectators.
We both felt great through the whole race, and we stopped only at the water stop halfway through the run. We enjoyed the light rain, certainly more than the 100-degree temperatures and blazing sun we experienced at the Reagan Run, as it kept us cool, but I struggled a bit with it, as it made the air humid and heavy.
We crossed in about 45 minutes. I was so tickled with our time: We ran 9-minute miles! But I then remembered a blog post about the event last year that reported the course is short. I was still happy with our time.
We downed a couple bottles of water and ate breakfast, which was part of the weekend festival and included in our registration.
We then exchanged running clothes for swimsuits, picked up inner tubes and set out for the float down the river.
It was intermittently relaxing and annoying, peaceful and painful. We alternated between floating and paddling, just to keep from coming to a relative standstill in the lazier-than-a-waterpark-lazy-river current, and between dangling our feet in the mucky water and bottoming out and walking over the rocky river bottom, just to get to deeper water.
The float was supposed to be upwards of four hours (because the drought has left the river very, very low and slow) of low-key fun in the sun. But it ended up being four-and-a-half hours of half frustration, half relaxation on the water.
We arrived back at the state park, put on our running shoes and caught a shuttle to the parking lot.
Overall, we enjoyed the event and were glad to have participated. We would have preferred a commemorative T-shirt to a visor. We would have liked grab-and-go snacks (e.g. bananas and granola bars) rather than pancakes. And we would have liked a better, faster, more fun float down the river.
Oh, by the way, we don’t have any photos from the float because it got water logged (I had it in my SpiBelt around my waist and neglected to turn the belt around upon getting in the inner tube, so the camera sat in the water for 15 minutes.) and likely permanently damaged. Oops.
Here, this ought to take the focus away from my idiocy:
Distance: 4.97 miles (sources say the course is short, more like 4.5 to 4.75 miles, although I mapped it at about 4.8)
Duration: 45:47 clock time (45:42 Nike+ time)
Average pace: 9:56 per mile (based on 4.6 miles)
We’re heading home to Wisconsin to visit our families this weekend, as well as to run the Famous Racing Sausages 5K at Miller Park on Saturday. We’re stoked for this race, which includes a trip around the warning track and a post-race hot dog and beer!