Short version: 6 miles uphill and 6 miles downhill. 2:48.
I kept looking at the race website but was anxious about registering. DH encouraged me to go for it. I was a bit nervous about it as the race site talks about "6 miles of leg numbing uphill". i was more nervous in the week before the race than I was on race day. I felt pretty good. My running buddy and his wife went with me so I had conversation as a distraction on the way there.
We get to the start and its still dark and fairly chilly, probably in the mid to high 40s. Got our packets and chips and waited in the car for it to get light out. Then it was 8:00 and we were ready to get started. I lined up in the back as I'm pretty slow. My main goals, finish, don't die and don't be last. Really, as long as I finished and hopefully finished strong, that's all that mattered.
Once we started, it was a very gradual incline out to the hills. We turned onto a paved road, crossed a cattle guard and began the climb. I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't as steep as I had anticipated. I did take a few walk breaks, but mostly, I was able to keep running. All of the volunteers at the water stations were very upbeat, fun and helpful. Great bunch of folks. Got close to the top and there was either a belly dancing group or zumba class dancing and yelling encouragement. Twizzlers awaited anyone that wanted them, but I passed.
And then began the long downhill. Again, not so steep as the thrash your quads, but a nice downhill with beautiful scenery. It wasn't totally an out and back, we detoured off the original route for a little while onto a dirt road. Part of it was pretty rocky, so you had to pay attention to where you stepped. Eventually you got back on the original route that we took on the way up. It was really nice, just cruising along. It felt like a regular weekend run. Got back into town and passed a couple of folks. Took a turn and went on a short uphill that put us next to a river. When I made the turn, the volunteer said we had a mile left. Not what I wanted to hear since we had already run 12.5 miles, but whatever.
We could hear a football game going and I mistakenly thought it was the finish. Kept going and we had to cross a bridge. The volunteers warned to be careful. When I got to the bridge, I found out why. It wasabout a tenth of a mile of metal, like a cattle guard. Nothing was covering the metal. I walked that part as I was afraid I'd hurt myself trying to run on it. Then went on a slight downhill to the finish. My garmin registered 13.64 miles in 2:48.
Strange finish line, in a residential area. They gave me my medal and handed me a bottle of water. They had a table with watermelon, yogurt and bagels off to the side. Then we had to walk back to the start, which was about 1/4 to 1/2 a mile away. But it felt good to walk.
I would definitely do this run again. I really enjoyed it, except for the bridge at the end. I did send an e-mail to the race director about the bridge. Hopefully they'll fix that part or re-route the finish line next year. It was approximately 50f at the start and 65 at the finish. Sunny, perfect weather. Great day for a fun race. Wore my Merrell Road Gloves.