My favorite mug growing up was a small hand made one with ‘Sun Flower Iron 1st Place’ painted on it. The Sun Flower Relay and Iron event is a running race from Mazama to Twisp through the front country during the peak of the arrowleaf balsamroot or ‘sunflowers’. This is one of the first races I ever entered. The race used to have two classifications iron and team. Traditional teams were required to have at least one runner under 14 and one runner over 50. This means you are a pretty hot commodity if you are either younger or older and are fast.
Catching up with friends before the race start Photo: Stephen Mitchelle
Planning out my ski training and travel for this summer I realized that logisitically everything would work out to do the Sunflower Relay this year. The event has grown to a full marathon distance and to include open teams of any age and makeup. My friends Sam and Alison were kind enough to add me on to their team. Thank you to the new outdoor store in Mazama, The Goats Beard for sponsoring us.
Photo: Stephen Mitchelle
Saturday’s race is the first time I have alllowed myself to go hard since the end of ski season and it felt great.
Going fast feels so much better than going slow and I have been doing a lot of easy training to build up my base.
Photo: Stephen Mitchelle
Alison flew out on the course and we did way better than I anticipated. Unfortunatly Sam had some back issues and decbe smartt and sit out the race so as not to hinder our ski training. Alison (his Fiance) picked up the slack and ran well over half of the race.
Photo: Chad Gregg
We set a new course record (albeit only the second year on the longer course)
More importantly I got a mug to match my dad’s. Although one of these years I will have to race the event as an iron competitor.
Early season running races can make you pretty sore. Not to mention multiple leg relay races. Getting right iin the car after racing had me pretty worried but amazingly I felt great. I had no cramping and felt that my final leg was better than my first. When I got in the car I hooked up my Contour machine. This is an electronic stimulation machine that has been proven to help increase blood flow and recovery. I have been using it the second half of the winter between races and am a real fan. QBP is the wholesaler for them, ask your local shop if they carry them. I know Gear West has a few.
Thank you to Stephen Mitchelle for the fantastic photos. Capturing how beautiful of a day it was on Saturday is no small feat.