Hippie Chick and Reflection Run

Pink-clad hippie chicks waiting for the race to begin.
I am one of them.

I’ve been in a couple more races this spring. This is to get some official race times for my Belle Brigade team so that the event organizers can give teams race start times that will make the whole weekend flow more smoothly when we do our big 130-mile (209 km) relay race in August. Races are also fun, even if they require getting up early and partying with a bunch of strangers first thing in the morning, which is weird.

My team and I are speed walkers. Not serious like the Olympic Team, but just so you know when I say, “We walk,” you’re supposed to envision us walking as fast as we can and trying to pass people. The official race rule for walking is that there must always be one foot touching the ground. Other than that, do whatever you need to do.

The Hippie Chick race route went through some lovely rural parts of Hillsboro, Oregon.
Pretty little neighborhoods on a grey day.

In early April, on a cold, damp, cloudy day, I walked my second Hippie Chick race. It began over 20 years ago as a women-only race but is now open to anyone. The race celebrates women and is held on Mother’s Day, so it does end up being mostly women. This year they emphasized the half marathon option of the race by calling it the Hippie Half. Some people dress as hippies, with tie dye, long straight hair or big afros, bell bottom pants, and stuff with rainbows and paisley on it, like headbands and t-shirts. Since I was representing my Belle Brigade team, I wore purple camouflage and a purple tutu. I basically fit in with all the other crazies.

I chose to walk the 1/4 marathon in the Hippie Chick, which is about 6.55 miles or 10.55 kilometers, because that distance is closer to a typical leg in the relay race I am training for.

I like it when I spot the photographer along the course.

The race that several team members participated in this year was the Reflection Run. This one was free to veterans, so rather appealing for the Belle Brigade ladies, since we are all veterans. Races charge a fee to each person who races, and around here it’s typically $40 to $65 in the 5K and 10K races I’m in. The larger, longer races ask for more because they definitely need more to organize the whole thing. It’s $130 to be in the Portland to Coast relay race, which honestly is a good deal since the event lasts two days and involves 18,000 people.

Many races are fund raisers for a good cause. The overhead is much smaller for local races with fewer people – like the food bank race I joined in March. Some races are so big that the money coming in is needed for infrastructure and services, like free water and Gatorade stations along the route, porta potties along the route, first aid, police and security, technology to track each person’s race time, usually professional announcers that manage music and commentary at the START/FINISH lines, and photographers along the route. The website needs to be maintained all year long, advertisement is required, press releases, and interviews are needed. The “race packets” need to be put together and then a distribution organized, so everyone can get their T-shirt and bib with a number.

Waiting for the Reflection Run to start, in Washougal, Washington

Finally, finally, our daytime temperatures have warmed to 60 degrees (15.5 C) and we had two days in a row when the sun shone!! One of those was a spectacular Sunday and it was also race day. Our route was along the Columbia River and the setting and weather together made for some awesome photos.

The Reflection Run is always held the weekend of Memorial Day, which is a national holiday meant to honor those that died in military service. The race route is lined with photos and names of local veterans who died. It was painful to see many remembrances of those who “Died due to PTSD” as the signs said, which I assume means suicide due to being unable to cope with the trauma of their military experiences. It is a somber reminder of darker things though the event itself was joyous. Supporters of racers walked around carrying photos of lost loved ones in uniform. Many active duty military members and veterans (like us) also participate. The event organizers said that over 100 people had registered as veterans. I assume there were more veterans in total, because the only reason a person would identify as a vet would be to get in for free. The event is a fund raiser for veterans wounded in service, so I’ll bet many vets just paid their fee.

Along the race route we could spot the vets, because they would have a distinctive haircut, or a piece of military gear on them, or a ballcap with their unit proudly displayed. There was a lot of green camouflage gear scattered throughout. One tough guy ran the race with his body gear on: protective jacket and belt, first aid and accessories, and an Army backpack full and strapped to his back. That gear is HEAVY, and I admire the young man for his determination to honor the fallen in that way.

One fit woman caught our eye. She was another of those people wearing Army green, and working hard to get a good race time. Though she was walking, she blew past us with her head forward and focused, wearing a small camouflage backpack. What a surprise then, when we got to the end and our team captain introduced her as the newest member of our Belle Brigade team. Yay!! One of our original 12 women had to drop out over the winter.

There are some of the Belles! What a pretty race route, don’t you agree?
You can tell we were having a good time. This was about where we were when our new team member passed us, and we didn’t know she was our team member yet.

This particular race was crowded, which slowed us down, and we hadn’t seen each other in a couple months, so we were very chatty. Then every so often we would bump into a friend and say hi. I even ran over to hug a friend going the opposite direction right in the middle of the race, ha ha. Needless to say, our race times weren’t very good on this one. Ah well.

Jamie and I have been friends for years. When I first got chickens at my place, he asked me to name one after him. I picked the blackest one and named her Jamie, ha ha. If you recall my stories about my Hussies, you’ll recall the current matriarch is one fat and sassy black and white hen name Jamie. ❤
Those of us who raced, (minus Erin, who had to leave with her son) with our new teammate in the middle. Though it was only 9 o’clock in the morning, event organizers were handing out free sandwiches and beer to everyone who raced. So….
Team Captain on the left and crouching one more team member, who came to meet us at the finish line.

We hung around and chatted a little while. Our Captain had a quick team meeting, to go over some details for van rental and van decoration for the big race. I was the next to leave after Erin. A day like this means only one thing to me during the month of May: MUST do yard work!! Finally a non-raining day. The grass is a foot deep in some places in my yard and needed to be mowed. The grass at the edges, along the creek and at the base of trees was over two feet tall and needed to be trimmed. I had a big day ahead of me.

10 thoughts on “Hippie Chick and Reflection Run

  1. I can barely get to the bottom of my road and back though I have worked up to 3 times now. Your walks and races impress me. My brother and his daughter do marathons too and many for charities. I’d just give them the money and sit it out. You look like you are having such a fun time and I so glad the rain stopped for the duration. It was 87 here today and stage two fire alerts. Maybe rain in July. I love you in the pink tutu! You keep doing them. They are good for you on so many levels.

    1. I love it that I can picture your walk now. You’re going all the way out to McNeil right? That’s a good walk, and uphill on the way back. I’m proud of you for getting back to your walks. Do you bring your oxygen with you when you do that? 87 degrees, I can hardly imagine what that must be like. Our nighttime lows are high enough that I finally put my giant houseplants back outside again. Each winter they fill the spare bedroom and it gets crowded in there.

  2. Oh my, yard work after a race! You’re a super hippie woman! 🙂 Hurrah for another completed race and a new Belle Brigade member! Walk on! I love both photos of you in your pink and purple gear so much. You are such youngling, a proper pink spring chicken. 😉 Not a Jamie, though! So much fun. I wish you many more happy days and races like this one.

    1. Awww, I feel a youngling in my heart. There was a time when I would have been too embarrassed to wear a purple tutu in a race. I’m glad I am not that self-conscious anymore. Thanks for the wishes. I think it would be so fun if I could invite you to the finish line of one of them, and we could celebrate with hugs. But hopefully the images help you be there anyway, the way you are always traveling around the world.

  3. Laughing, I think the last race I ran was as a freshman in high school, Crystal, when I was on the cross country team. Now, fast walking, I have done a bit of, sometimes in emergency situations on the treks I led. Other times just for the heck of it. Can I maintain a four mile per hour pace in the mountains with a pack on? Silly stuff. 🙂 looks like you were having fun. And anybody who serves you beer for breakfast is a winner!
    Peggy and I now in South Fork Colorado on the banks of the Rio Grande. We arrived here yesterday after crossing the Rockies on US 160 over the 10,900 foot Bear Creek Pas. Beautiful and steep. Both truck and trailer handled it with a sense of humor. We now start working our way east. We need to be in Virginia the third week in June to prepare for our European trip up the Rhine river with kids and grandkids. Looks like you are doing well, hippie chick. 🙂 –Curt

    1. Ah, Curt my friend. Thank you so much for stopping by and letting me know where all of you are (Peggy, you, and menagerie). Three weeks ought to be enough time to get to Virginia, but you two are easily distracted. Hopefully Iorek will keep tugging you forward and keep you on schedule. I would rather fast walk in a flat race in Hillsboro than with a pack on the trail, to be honest. I fast-walked like that once and it was to get away from thickening smoke coming up over a ridge. I followed bear tracks, and I think the bear had the same idea as me. Both of us aware that a wildfire is nothing to hang around and be curious about. I know you can relate to this situation. Not fun. Please give hugs to your beautiful bride from Pedro and me. And some for you too, if any are left over. ;o)

      1. We’ll make it easily. We just won’t be able to hang out in places a week at a time. 🙂 That has been fun. A whole new way of traveling for us. If we didn’t have the Europe trip to goad us on, we’d just keep on at our leisurely pace. Grin.

        When I was in peak condition, I used to challenge myself on occasion to see what kind of distance I could backpack in a day. No more. At least not much. 🙂 As for walking on pavement, I find that harder on my body than walking in the woods. Thanks for your good words Crystal, and hugs back to you and Pedro. –Curt

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