personal race reports running

Garlic Festival 5k

Location: North Plains, Oregon
Distance: 5k
Chip Time: 31:32
Pace: 10:09/mi

North Plains is a cute little town situated right off US-26. Every year they have a Garlic Festival which, for some reason, also has a race attached to it. The event is hosted by the Oregon Road Runners Club (ORRC) and is a very no frills type of scene.


In general, my 5k times have been decreasing a lot over the last month. My last six parkruns have all been PRs, my time going from 34:54 to 31:17. How did this happen? I … don’t know. I’m just running a lot? I guess?

Point is, a sub-30 5k time is within sight and I have made it my mission to attempt it whenever I run a race, starting with this one. For the record, a 29:59 5k time requires a 9:39/mi pace, which I have discovered, I cannot sustain. But we’ll get into that later.

Lately I’ve been feeling really blah about running in general. My motivation is low and despite my faster times, I get out of bed in the morning usually not wanting to go out. But I do it, because that’s what you gotta do.

This morning felt a little different. Races are like that; instead of a solitary morning slowly drenching myself in sweat, I get to slowly drench myself in sweat among other sweaty people! Hooray. My races earlier this year made me anxious and prevented a good night’s sleep; this one I got up like I was on week 8 out of a 12 week run of a play. I know all the ins and outs by thie point, which is a lot nicer than fretting.

I left home with just a few essentials: towel, snot rag, regular water bottle, handheld water bottle, sunglasses. My handheld bottle was empty because I didn’t think I would need water during the race itself. I was wrong.

Funnily enough, North Plains is just a few miles from Rock Creek Trail parkrun on US-26. Farther away from Portland, but it’s a nice little drive.


ORRC was founded in 1970 and touts itself as the second oldest and largest running club in Oregon. I’m not sure what the oldest is but based on a cursory google search I presume it is Eugene’s Oregon Track Club, which has been around since 1958. Wouldn’t this mean that ORRC is the oldest road running club? Who knows.

Anyway, because it’s one of these old timey clubs, the atmosphere for this run felt very chill in an old time way. Like, some races are flashy and “exciting” and this felt like you were going on a run with a bunch of old timers. Which wasn’t true at all, there were all ages there, but it just felt less like a “look at my cute running kit!” group and more of a “the bush halfway between mile 7 and 8 is a perfect spot to take a shit” group.

Everyone was mingled together more or less; the 5k began right as the fastest half marathoners were ending. It just seemed super chill, is what I’m saying. I like a chill race!

The swag was very simple: a pair of socks and, afterward, a head of elephant garlic. It is the Garlic Festival after all!

The Race

So, like many runners, I went out way too fast in the beginning.

Or, rather, I went out at a pace I thought I would need to sustain to get below 30 minutes. But as you can see, my pace dropped pretty much the entire time, with two walking points which came about due to me trying to catch my breath after some inclines. (I won’t call them hills–it was only an 89ft total ascent but each ascent felt like 5,000ft.)

Having an average pace of 10:09/mi is great though. And my first mile was 9:28, which is a new PR for me. Being able to sustain that pace for a mile is just an indication that I could sustain it for two miles, and then three, eventually. My body is still adjusting to this runner lifestyle.

My feet went crazy numb over the run though. I’m going to have to see a doc about it at this point, to at least get some ideas of what I can do to alleviate it. I’m going to have to stop a lot during my half if my feet keep going numb.

The course was pretty plain, just running alongside a road for the majority. Wasn’t very exciting or pretty. Again, the ORRC is like “Okay it’s run time” and they measure out the distance and it’s not like near a beautiful waterfall or anything. It’s just miles, dag nabbit.

The 5k had 171 participants. I placed 59th overall. The guy who placed 55th was 78 years old; 57th was 71 years old. That’s … humbling.

I was 4 out of 10 in my age group (only 10 40-44 year old runners?) and 42 out of 88 men. So pretty average, as always, but just sliiiiiightly above average. Story of my life!

(There were 200 10k runners and 137 half marathon runners. I’m not counting the people who signed up just to walk.)


This was most certainly not after the race.

I was so fucking exhausted after the race ended, I can’t remember the majority of it. A lady gave me a medal and a head of elephant garlic, just like the prophecy said, and then I sat down in the dirt and caught my breath. There wasn’t any good place to sit in the shade except the dirt, and I’m not above sitting in the dirt. I’m a great dirt-sitter.

When I was rested, I grabbed snacks and a Sprite and a very tasty breakfast burrito. I wish I knew who made the burritos, like if it was a company or just a nice family or something (or both!). They were good. Then I sat down on a mat thing they laid out for people, ate my burrito, kind of stared into the middle distance for a bit, and then headed back to my car and left. I did change shirts, too. This is a new summertime routine, bringing an extra shirt to change out of. Born out of driving home from one parkrun and then going to my car a couple of days later, opening the door, and feeling like I stepped into a steam room. The sweat embedded in my car seat with my car just sitting out in the hot sun for days can’t be good, right? Like, that’s just mold waiting to happen.

Hence, shirt change.

And that was it! I Drove, I Ran, I Ate a Burrito. (Apparently that’s eieci, cucurri, edi, burrito in Latin, in case you were wondering.)

Tomorrow is the 4th Portland Parks & Rec 5k fun run, this one in Westmoreland Park. I plan to run it very easy, but you know how I get. There will be a blog about it, don’t you worry.

Next timed race is the Beaverton Half 5k, part of the Run with Paula set of events. I think it’s my first one of these!

Then, dun dun dunnnn … the Portland (Half) Marathon.

Until then.

By Josh

I'm the guy who owns this site, ya dummy.

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