Welcome to PinkFeet! 
Pink Feet's half marathon calendar runs from March to February with the final race being the full marathon at The DONNA Marathon! I am on Year 7 of a 10 year mission to complete the 50 states while also running a half marathon a month; all to help spread the word of breast cancer prevention, early detection, and living a healthy lifestyle including running and walking. My goal is to raise $100,000 for breast cancer charities. Current donations are going to The DONNA Marathon whose beneficiaries are The Mayo Clinic and Donna Foundation.  

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Bridge of the Gods Run-OREGON-AUG 13, 2017

This is the 2nd part of Pink Feet's Oregon Trip... want to read the first half? CLICK HERE

After completing the Crater Lake Rim Run, I headed north 4 hours through Eugene, Portland, then finally Columbia River Gorge to a small town called Cascade Locks where The 4th Annual Bridge of the Gods half marathon, 10k, and 5k would take place.

What makes this race unique is they allow you to camp at the finish line the night before in a location on the Columbia River that you usually cannot camp. Its called Thunder Island and its perfect! A small strip of land that takes you away from the small town, but has a plenty of space to pop a tent, hang a hammock, visit the local Thunder Island Brewery. Porta potties are provided (but the marina has flush toilets and running water). Across the street are showers provided by Cascades Elementary. This was a first come first serve service with numbered sites, but you really couldn’t pick a bad spot as its all surrounded by water. They provided wagons to haul your camping gear. An $8 donation pancake breakfast was available at the elementary.

After a quick visit to the local brewery, I decided to spend the evening resting in my hammock on the river. It was so peaceful and the perfect recovery that I needed after the Crater Lake half marathon. I then suddenly saw something that kept coming out of the water. After a talk with some locals, comes to find out I just witnessed my first sturgeon! To top off the evening, watching the ships and trains pass by, I look up at the mountain and see a heart, plain as day, right there. My heart was so happy being here in Oregon! This Oregon trip was a bit chaotic planning because of the wildfires, and then scrambling and deciding to run TWO half marathons, but it was all worth it! Oregon is such an amazing state and so vastly different in every corner of it! There is still so much more to explore. I can not wait to come back! 

This is an out and back paved hilly course with a 1,700 elevation gain that starts on the Washington side of The Bridge of the Gods. After running the steel bridge back to Oregon, the scenic course heads straight along a beautifully wooded path next to the Columbia River. If hills aren't enough of a challenge for you, don't worry, there's a three leveled set of stairs to tackle! But make sure to save your energy, because those inclines are a doozy on the way back!

There are multiple scheduled shuttles to take you over the otherwise toll bridge. To convince people to take the earlier shuttles, they gave you a ticket to put into a raffle. The earlier the bus you took, the more raffle items you could win. Great idea, however quite a fail on execution, as no one took our tickets on the bus (I had to track someone down later and hoped they did enter it) and then at the Finish the speaker system was not loud enough to hear them call the winners and they only did one winner every 5 minutes or so. And with people still running, how did you officially know if you won?

It was a cool and drizzly morning. It had rained around 3am, but didnt last long. There was a threat of rain all morning, but we got lucky as it ended on the 2nd half.  
Unorganized lines were a little long for porta potties.

Thankfully there were big trees to stand under to stay dry as we waited, and they also handed out ponchos.

Granola bars and bananas were also provided as we waited.
A gear check was available for them to take your warm up clothes to the Finish.

There was no official line up nor pacers, so it was a little chaotic getting over the steel, wet bridge. Almost everyone was walking the grates or stopping and taking pictures.

I taped my legs and covered them in Biofreeze, mostly as a precaution. I actually woke up feeling pretty good going into the race. I started off super slow to warm up in the cold rain, I didnt want my already tired legs from the day before to get a cramp. I had my GymBoss Pacer on 1x45, but it quickly died after getting wet. So I just ran by feel and that was good enough for me.  Not really paying attention to the course map before running, I was so surprised how intense the hills were on this course as well. "Oh Brother, what did I get myself into?" I thought. But I quickly learned to appreciate the course. As I just kept reminding myself this was my 'survival race' (just get it done), I was in absolute awe of the beauty of the moss covered rainforest like woods we were running through. Berries and wildflowers lined the path the entire way, opening up to water views every now and again. It wasn't until about M9 where I really started to crash when the hills were intense. I was mentally and physically drained. But I just reminded myself of what I just did yesterday at Crater Rim Run and that I was about to finish TWO of the hardest road races I have ever done back to back! And then State #31 would be officially Done x2!!

I was giddy as a school girl when I came upon the first aid station and it had cups of gummie bears! I didnt realize my body was in such need of sugar! The stations also had water, gatorade, GU at about all of them, first aid (that also had vaseline as my legs were chapping pretty bad)

Again, this is a course that does not really have spectators, but someone had a really awesome friend and plastered posters probably about one every mile with the funniest motivation I have ever seen. By the end of the race, every single one of us wanted to know who Amy was (well, I wanted to know who her friend was! lol) because we were ALL motivated and entertained because of it!

They provided an awesome warm meal at the Finish with chicken, rice, pasta, salad, bread, cookies, one local Thunder Island Brewery beer, and the vendors were passing out granola bars.

Unfortunately they failed to advise the gear bag area was on the other side of the locks and if you already grabbed your beer on the way there, you could not go until your beer was done. There I was mentally and physically exhausted, cold, wet, a plate full of food in one hand and a full beer in the other, and all I wanted was my warm jacket so I could enjoy everything. Being told once that I couldn't get my gear with a beer in hand, I headed over to sit by the water, where I was told again by someone else we couldn't go over there either. They told me to leave it with someone and that is when I broke down and said "I do not know anyone!" Uncontrollable tears came as I sat myself down at the Finish line to watch the runners come in. This race was much harder than I anticipated and I was just overly emotional that this Florida gal just tackled both high elevation races and with respectful times.... and my body still felt great! Tired, but great. It all came rushing to me that in a month and half I will then need to do a third day and another 19 miles at the Trailfest in Utah. As I was crying a couple of ladies came up to me to ask me about my back bib with all the states I've visited. Of course I had to explain to her why I was crying and thankfully they watched my stuff as I ran to get my warm clothes. I then got to tell them all about The Donna, my half marathon a month mission, and the 50 states goal. They were completely amazed and motivated to travel and race themselves! After they left I finally got to enjoy my (no longer warm) food and beer and relish in what I just did and cheer on the rest of the runners.  

The gender specific shirt is great with front and back logo and no sponsor graphics.

I love this medal with the stained glass!

Only a handful of complimentary photos were taken and posted on Facebook and their website

Although I wasn't expecting to run this race and only came upon it the week before as a backup in case the Crater Lake Rim Run cancelled, I truly am glad that I participated. The course is pretty amazing despite it being much harder than I thought. Camping at the Finish Line only added to the beauty of the entire experience. Eat, sleep, run, play in the Columbia River Gorge of Oregon and you wont regret it!






State #31

Pink Feet's half marathon calendar runs from March to February with the final race being the full marathon at The DONNA Marathon! I am on Year 7 of a 10 year mission to complete the 50 states while also running a half marathon a month; all to help spread the word of breast cancer prevention, early detection, and living a healthy lifestyle including running and walking. My goal is to raise $100,000 for breast cancer charities. Current donations are going to The DONNA Marathon whose beneficiaries are The Mayo Clinic and Donna Foundation.  

Crater Lake Rim Run-Oregon-Aug 12, 2017

This was the 42nd Annual Crater Lake Rim Run consisting of 26.2, 13, or 6.7 miles (I have yet to figure out why the odd ball distances besides the marathon). The course, being one of the very few to actually run inside a National Park, is limited to only 500 runners with pretty strict cut off times. Being at elevation and reading all the reviews on how strenuous the hills were, I went into this race knowing I needed to train hard, and even still, wasn’t sure if I would be sagged since the only other similar race I've done like this was at half the elevation.

The week or two leading up to race day, I found out there was a wildfire (or two) that started right near the park. Following the National Parks page and webcam, I started to get worried. I had just cancelled Bryce Canyon last month due to a wildfire, and then the race ended up still happening and not really being impacted. I did not want to cancel this trip and it be the same result. I quickly found a back up race, Bridge of the Gods that was set to take place the next day. Perfect. I would wait until the last minute to register. The director of Crater Lake was basically just waiting for the National Forest people to give him a yah or nah if the race could even happen because the fire had crept so close, they were closing the road, trails, and there was a possible evacuation notice. The final decision was to be made Wednesday night. Bridge of the Gods was warning they were expected to sell out and closing registration online on Tuesday. I had to make the call, and with the fire closing the road I just new Crater Lake would be cancelled, so I decided to register for Bridge of the Gods. I decided that if worse came to worse, I would run both. And with a late Thursday night announcement that the Crater Lake Rim Run was on, that was just what happened!

I arrived into Portland as the flights were the cheapest to there from Florida. It was a good 4-5 hour drive to Crater Lake, so I gave myself a few days before race day to make my way down and explore Oregon.

Did you know that Oregon has 7 Natural Wonders? Check out www.traveloregon.com/7wonders to see the best suggestions for visiting Oregon. I would have stayed much longer if I had seen this before I purchased my flights. They have complete itineraries, questions and answers, maps; everything you need to plan your trip. They will even mail you brochures and maps upon request (and free solar eclipse glasses!)

Be prepared to have a limited signal on your phone. Oregon has a ton of State Parks and National Forests and there are no towers there. This is your chance to escape the chaos of everyday life and enjoy the outdoors! 

Planned hikes that I didnt get to do because of the smoke/fog - Saddle Mountain-views from coast, Portland, and Mt Hood; The Astoria Column-vIews down the coast, and Neahkahnie-coastal views











I stayed at two State Parks the couple of days leading to race day, Cape Perpetua and Union Creek Rogue. Cape Perpetua just happened to be a good stopping point on my (long) US101 coastal trek. This small site is near some good hiking. My site was very secluded and right along a tiny creek; just big enough to hear a trickle. Unfortunately, I arrived right at dark, my tent stakes would not go into the solid rock, I was exhausted and I was planning on waking super early anyways, so I made my camp in my backseat of my car. Fortunately the Sonata was just about perfect size to do so.

Union Creek Rogue State Park about 40 minutes from Crater Lake was an awesome camp. The Rogue river runs through this campground, so there are tons of sites on the water. This very spacious campground even allowed for hammocks. The town consisted of a store, restaurant, and ice cream shop, which is the most I had seen driving all day.

Be prepared most State Parks do not have showers, nor running water, there are only vault toilets and no electricity. I ended up bathing and soaking my already tired from hiking legs in the ice cold water at my campsite.

This was an A to B high elevation, paved course with approximately 1,500 elevation gain that runs the Rim Road from West to East covering about half of the lake. It utilizes shuttles on both ends, which makes for a very long morning. All races start at the same time and run the same course. They closed one lane, the furthest away from the lake, for us to run in and kept the rest of traffic in the other lane. Unfortunately this meant those of us that wanted the best views for pictures had to keep crossing traffic to get to the rim. You have frequent views of the lake throughout the course, as well as hills, forest, and distant overlooks. Unfortunately I did not spot any wildlife, but there was an influx of butterflies which was pretty cool to see, as every time I got weak, a butterfly would show. Ive always believed that Memaw shows she is with me on this journey every time there is a butterfly so I had a constant reminder of why I was here.  

The registration fee is pretty normal, but it does not include the $15 National Park entrance fee. This fee is good for 7 days, so you may want to explore before or after the race day. 
The website is bare minimal, there is no Facebook or Social Media, there are no email blasts leading up to race, but if you send an email, you will get a response.
School buses were utilized for shuttles to Start and from Finish, which would pick up/drop off at both Mananza Camground and Rim Village parking lot. You could go to either, but I decided to do the Rim Village because I knew they had a shop up there for afterwards, and I also would be utilizing the North Exit after the race to head to Portland. There were plenty of buses and multiple rounds of pick up/drop off. The shuttle back was extremely long. After all the shuttling, running, and shuttling again, we made the complete route around the park. The website advised Mananza camp allowed for showers afterwards, but I did just fine bathing in the bathroom sink at the Village, since I did not want to backtrack. Parking was a breeze at the Rim Village since it was so early, but leaving was a mad house with tourists. 

I arrived early to Start since I was not sure of the exact route/timing. I was on one of the first shuttles which was timed perfectly with the sunrise over Crater Lake. 

There were plenty of porta potties without delay.

Gear Trucks were provided with paper bags to put your items in to be at the Finish.

There was no official line up, pacers, or even timing mat; just a huddle up, explain a few things on a bull horn, and then we were off. 

It was a cool morning with a slight breeze and a clear blue sky with a slight haze. Temps never left the 60s. 

Water was provided about every 3 miles. I brought my own Camelpak knowing this was not going to be enough for me. Sponges were at the top of one hill which was amazing. I brought 3 GUs as I knew no fuel would be provided. 

The only spectators you will find here are the tourists that are passing by in their cars. Thankfully none of them seemed to mind the slow down (hey, they got to look at the lake longer too!) There were 2 ‘cheerleaders’ in a van that kept pacing us, getting out at different stops, and cheering us on. I looked forward to them at every hill and asked if they secretly had mimosas.

I brought my GymBoss pacer and kept it on a generous 1x45 (run a minute, walk 45sec). However, that quickly stopped when there were so many declines in the first half of the course. I made sure not to waste the declines and run every one of them. I then used the pacer to motivate me to not spend too much time walking the inclines. (although sometimes my power walks are faster than people running the incline). The first couple of declines felt like they went on for miles. They were so fun, as it felt so effortless to let gravity take over. However, it still takes effort to not let yourself get carried away wasting energy going too fast. It is a constant balance of finding that pure neutrality.
The entire first half of the race I felt surprisingly well. I kept thinking, ‘Wow, most of this elevation is going to be downhill (note, I usually do not look at or analyze race courses/maps ahead of time; Id rather be surprised). I was just so completely shocked that the smoke had cleared out enough from the fires, where I did not smell one bit of it, and the views were still pretty amazing. I just kept thinking how lucky we were to be there. My pace was a lot faster than I predicted and my breathing was good. Then all of a sudden, bam, the declines suddenly stopped and it just seemed like we were going uphill forever.

I had been pacing with a small group of people for a while. I was leap frogging two girls (not together) almost the entire time. They were nonstop running even the massive inclines. They looked so calm, light on their feet, and not a bit of energy being dispersed. I kept thinking what it must feel like to be able to run so effortlessly uphill like that. I then had a guy stop and chat with me for a bit complaining on how hard the course was, but I quickly reminded him of how beautiful it was though and to look at those girls go. I told him “They are Badass!” and he told me 'its all about the baby steps going uphill.'  I then was with a guy and girl who were going to tackle this never ending incline ‘one rock at a time.’ I laughed at them and extended my walk time. I was beat. They then told me that the last 3 miles (the rest of the course) were completely uphill. I just laughed some more. 'Of course it is!' 

I did some backwards walking up the hill to change the muscles and noticed just about everyone was walking uphill. 'This course is insane' I kept saying to myself. I watched a couple of tour groups of bikers come through, them too struggling on the incline. I asked them if running/walking or biking was harder. They all agreed running. It made me feel bad ass. It was at that moment when I decided I was going to be one of those bad ass girls and I took off. I left the guy that was complaining behind; I passed the guy and girl that were letting the rocks tell them to walk; I passed the first bad ass girl and told her she was kicking butt; I then made it to the next bad ass girl who I was with for a while and learned she was doing the FULL marathon! I told her she was bad ass, and she told me she couldn’t believe a Florida girl was running these hills! That was just enough for me to take off some more. This hill was not going to get the best of me! I was not going to take my time and just survive walking it. I was going to tackle it! I was not last (like I thought I would be) and I was actually going to finish this insane course with a respectful time. I was going to push myself to limits I had not explored and get this incline done! I shortened my stride; I kept my head held high; I controlled my breathing; and I enjoyed the scenery. When my legs felt like they would give out I would walk but only a few steps to regain composure and then I went again. My runs were short, sometimes only a few steps, but my walks were even shorter. I just kept repeating it over and over and I finally reached the top and the finish line! I had done it! And it was the most amazing accomplishment!....until I realized I had to keep going to get that '.1' to make this an official half marathon! 

For some reason this course is 13 miles and not 13.1, so of course once I finished the race, I kept doing laps around the Finish Area until I hit the .1.

There was watermelon, bagels, and soda to recoup. The medal, shirt and bag, which all match each other, was given at the finish and then you loaded the shuttle back.

The gender specific shirt is a nice tech shirt that's not ruined with sponsor logos all over, but I wish the lake was a better picture.

The medal is a generic medal with sticker placement. I feel like they could have stepped up the game just a little bit more on the quality

PHOTOSOnly a handful of photos were available on the website, mostly of the 6.7mile finishers

This was a very stressful race experience but completely out of the directors control. Wildfires happen. Who knew that August was actually a ‘wildfire season’ in Oregon though? Not this East Coast girl! The race director gave many thanks all day long, from the shuttle to start, to the shuttle from the finish and appreciated our patience with the last minute call to still run. I was surprised at the amount of runners that still showed up even with the very last minute decision and the offering of refund or deferment. 

This race is very laid back and not the glitz and glam you may see from other large races. It’s a small town race with big nature views! Being able to run in a National Park is a privilege. A lot of other races claim National Parks, but never step a foot inside the park itself. Being limited in size makes it that much more special and not feel overly touristy. I would highly recommend this race if you are looking for a challenging race with awesome views and are more interested in the experience than the hype. This challenging course will test your true grit. Do you have what it takes? 'Get High on Altitude!'

State 31

Want to read the 2nd Half of Pink Feets Oregon Adventure? CLICK HERE

Pink Feet's half marathon calendar runs from March to February with the final race being the full marathon at The DONNA Marathon! I am on Year 7 of a 10 year mission to complete the 50 states while also running a half marathon a month; all to help spread the word of breast cancer prevention, early detection, and living a healthy lifestyle including running and walking. My goal is to raise $100,000 for breast cancer charities. Current donations are going to The DONNA Marathon whose beneficiaries are The Mayo Clinic and Donna Foundation.  

Burn Your Half Off!-Harrison Bay State Park, TN-July 7, 2017

This was the Burn Your Half Off trail half marathon organized by a small running group called Run Chattanooga. The group created a weekend long running bonanza including a Friday and Saturday night trail run at Harrison Bay State Park, as well as a Saturday and Sunday morning Chattanooga Riverwalk run; both including a half marathon, 5k, mile run....or whatever distance tickles your fancy. That's right. That is exactly how laid back this race was! This is a no sponsor, volunteer based only, no fancy schmancy anything; just a bunch of people that want to get out there and run, have a challenge, and enjoy the camaraderie in nature!

For a $5 registration ($10 if you are late online) includes a bib, one aid station (basically at the start/finish and every 4 mile lap) with water and Gatorade, ice, cold wash cloths/sponges, a marked course, free race pictures, a card stock 'medal', a potluck style refuel station, and an option to purchase race memorabilia.

I opted for the Friday night trail at Harrison Bay State Park so then I would have all day Saturday to relax before driving back to Florida on Sunday. The course was advertised 6p-10p, but really you could start at any time as long as you are off the trail by 10p. All you had to do is check in, receive a bib, and take off. There were about 80 half marathoners and 40 others doing various distances. The course was three 4 mile loops and then a mile out and back. I was worried with this being such a small race I wouldn't see many runners. Once you entered the woods, you came to a sign that read 'chose your adventure' pointing in either direction. I think this actually helped you to see more runners, as some went one way and some went the other. Every single runner I passed, said 'Hello' or 'Good Job' with a smile! This group is definitely one of the friendliest! 

The course was in thick woods, but also right along the bay coastline, making it absolutely one of the prettiest courses I've run! We even got to run with deer and snakes! The hills were not too bad, but one direction was definitely steeper than the other! (I did Right, Left, Right, with the Right being the easier). It had been raining all week, so a large amount of the technical course was covered in mud....slippery mud, thick shoe sucking mud, having to find a whole new route type of mud. But that just added to the excitement!

This was a cup free event, with one aid station located at the end of the 4 mile loops, so I carried my CamelPak with water. It had been a rough week for me being sick, having a lack of sleep, driving 7 hours to Chattanooga, not sleeping well in a tent,  and somehow I managed to forget I would need GU for a race! The first 4 miles were rough. It was hotter than Hades! I decided within the first half mile I was taking my shirt off and running in my sports bra and I didn't care how much my belly shook in front of everyone! I've been a runner for 10 years now and I've always had a secret desire to be body confident enough to run in a sports bra. I would enviously watch elite female runners with six packs that effortlessly glide through their race without a bit of fat on them moving. But I've just become so tired of falling for this belief that only that type of body is worthy enough of living the life they want, and that only that body type is considered strong. Everyone has their own journey in life and you can't tell by just looking at someone how far they have come and how strong they have become because of it. Every body shape can be strong. Every body shape can be beautiful. And all of us should own, love, and appreciate our bodies for what they are and what they have done for us. My body has gotten me through SEVENTY FIVE half marathons now and 8 marathons! Ask me eleven years ago when I was overweight, smoking, and couldn't even run to the mailbox if I would think this is where I would be and I wouldn't believe you! But here I am, and I deserve to be able to run in my sports bra too!
Look at that smile! So HAPPY to be Free!

And I'm so glad I did. Even that little bit helped with the heat. However, I still ended up drinking entirely too much water the first lap of the race and paid the price the remainder of the course. With each four mile lap, I got slower and slower with a nauseous stomach.

This was my 4th trail half marathon and every time, I am reminded how hard they really are! As runners would breeze by me without even a drop of sweat (probably locals who run this terrain all the time), I would give props by thinking 'trail runners are badass.' When it came down to the last few miles, I kept saying to myself "yes, trail runners are badass. and YOU are a trail runner now, so you are BADASS TOO!!" It didn't matter how slow I was, I was still doing it, and I was still finishing it and finishing is winning too!

By the time I was done, there weren't many runners hanging out and things were already being packed away, but my proud boyfriend was right there at the Finish with my puppy taking pictures, flabby belly and all, and still loving me for who I am and what I do. And that is all I need.  

The group warns you its a $5 race, so there's not much of a medal, but they tried and did a paper cut out on string. I probably would have laminated it at least, as being all sweaty at the finish, mine is already tearing.  I decided I would just add it to my bib binders. 

I love the name of this race and the tank I purchased for $20. They change the design every year.

What $5 race gives you free photos? A volunteer was at each of the races taking random action shots. All pictures were then posted on the Facebook page.

A website is lacking, but they are active on Facebook and emails were packed full of information.

Harrison Bay is TN's first State Park and is truly a gem of a park! Located right on the water, three loops of campsites give you endless beautiful scenery, each with a different vantage point. Some located on cliffs, some in thick woods, some right on the water you can jump straight into. Deer walk aimlessly through the grounds during the day, and raccoons will scurry throughout the night! (they even know how to open your coolers!) Rent a boat from a local marina to spend the day on the water, or relax on the calm bay with kayaks, paddle boards, or tubes. Located right on the outskirts of Downtown Chattanooga, this park is one to escape the daily hustle and bustle without having to go too far! 

 I was supposed to run Bryce Canyon for this months half marathon, but I opted to defer because of the wildfire. This was a perfect substitute! Dare I even say, I may have had more fun here than Bryce??? If you haven't been to Harrison Bay State Park, you  need to check it out! If you are looking for a middle of the sweltering heat summer race, then check out Burn Your Half Off and it won't disappoint!

HM #75
13.1-3:14 (TRAIL)

Pink Feet's half marathon calendar runs from March to February with the final race being the full marathon at The DONNA Marathon! I am on Year 7 of a 10 year mission to complete the 50 states while also running a half marathon a month; all to help spread the word of breast cancer prevention, early detection, and living a healthy lifestyle including running and walking. My goal is to raise $100,000 for breast cancer charities. Current donations are going to The DONNA Marathon whose beneficiaries are The Mayo Clinic and Donna Foundation.