Pre-race: The night before the race, I ate a ton of spaghetti and bread to carb-load and drank a lot of water. I was not playing around with those two things this time. Then, I got everyone all settled in bed by 8pm and I managed to turn my own light out at 9pm. I slept really well until about 2am then woke up and when I fell back asleep I had the obligatory night-before-race nightmare where I get distracted by anything and everything and miss the race start. I HATE that dream! (I did, in fact miss the race start once-my first 10K...it is NOT a fun experience).
I was up with my chirping alarm at 4:45am getting ready. I had packed my gym bag the night before so all I had to do was brew some coffee, get dressed, do one last check and I was out the door. I departed Seaside by 5am. The drive was easy and uneventful although I did have to stop to go to the bathroom at about 6am. Somewhere in Hillsboro the rain started pouring in sheets. I started bracing myself for a long run in the rain.
Nothing like last minute, huh? I don't like that. I got my packet, and while in line for the restroom nervously fumbled to get my race bib pinned on and organize what I needed (arm-band with iPhone, headphones, ShotBlocks, ID, black gloves). After a trip to the potty I struggled to find the bag check which ended up being at the other end of the expo. It is quite the miracle that I got my stuff checked and ended up in the crowd at the start with 5 minutes to spare. Whew! I do not like cutting it that close...but I did make it so lesson learned and that's all I will say about that!
They had pacers with flags so I made my way to the 2:00 pacer. My strategy was to stick close to the 2:00 pacer, running very relaxed and comfortable...NOT starting out too fast. Then mile-by-mile I planned on slowly inching ahead of her.
The gun went off and everything went really well, according to plan. We started out by crossing the Steel Bridge then headed toward the industrial area. I have to admit, I would be pretty lost without the huge mass of people I was running with. I don't know inner-city Portland very well. But for what it's worth, Portland's industrial area has some artsy elements that you don't see elsewhere. I really enjoyed the straight stretch where we had a great view of the Montgomery Park sign.
Around 3 miles we got stopped by a train. It was weird, kind of ridiculous and frustrating. But there isn't much race coordinators can do about avoiding the trains that run all over Portland so they just do the best they can. Last year, frustrated runners were jumping the tracks in between cars to get past the train. This year to avoid that they put time pads on the ground so anyone who stepped on them could have the time they had to wait for the trains subtracted from their overall time. I didn't see anyone jumping tracks so it must have fixed the problem.
So after waiting an estimated 7 minutes we got going again. I was bummed because I had a great rhythm going on, but I managed to find it again. Miles 4-5 we ran along Tom McCall Waterfront Park and I had flashbacks of the Rock n Roll Half Marathon last year. I remembered seeing my family at the end, my son running along with me on the straight-stretch and I remember it started pouring down rain! Instantly I said a prayer and thanked God that it was not raining. In fact, it was perfect running weather this morning.
Miles 5-6 were all a gradual incline along and through through neighborhood streets. It was tough, but I just kept thinking something along the lines of "steady as she goes" and I'm not sure where that came from. I just kept going. Once at the top, the next few miles were all downhill so we got a nice little payback.
Miles 7-9 I ended up running with a "Pace Twin". She and I just ended up running next to one another with few other runners around and it was great. She pushed me, I pushed her. Those ended up being my strongest miles. She ended up getting caught up at the water stop at mile 9, but she caught back up at the end.
*Speaking of water stops, I grabbed something at every stop. I would only end up taking a quick sip then tossing the rest, but I made myself grab something at every stop. I really didn't eat many Shot Blocks...I think only 3 the whole race.
Mile 10-13.1 were the hardest. I didn't feel like I hit a wall which was good, I just started to feel worn, and really wanted it to be over. I had lost any sort of pacer and could not find any flags so I had to depend on my mental toughness. I was a little slower at the end but I kept a pretty good pace nonetheless. Right at the end we looped back toward the Steel Bridge, took a challenging on-ramp up to the bridge, ran over the bridge then back to the convention center. When the Mile 13 marker came into sight, I kicked real hard and finished strong. I think the announcer called out my name (he was calling out as many names as he could), but I am not sure.
It felt so great. I felt strong. I felt like this race did not beat me. Sucky thing is that the chip race times ended up all weird. They had set up all of these timing mats near train stops and such and they spent a significant amount of time adjusting times based on who got stopped, etc. It was way off. There has been quite a stir on their Facebook page about it. Thankfully I was tracking myself. The Nike+GPS app tracks every little deviation you make so at the end of the race it actually had me at 13.5 miles.So based on my pace completing 13.5 miles, adjusted for 13.1 miles, my time should have been 1:54:17 which is a PR (old PR was 1:57:04)! I really wish it was official, but at least I know what it was :) P-flippin-R!
After we crossed the finish line we were directed along where volunteers were handing out bottles of water and roses. That was really cool. I made my way back to the expo to get my medal!
|Instagrammin' my medal|
|Back-Sideways for some reason|
|Front-Love this shirt!|
When I felt a bit recovered, I went over and got my complementary photo taken...not my best. I didn't have time to put any makeup on, so now you know what that looks like on me! I'm only human I guess.
|I wore a red shirt and a rose-printed thermal underneath...it seemed like a good idea at the time... :)|
I really appreciated that little benefit since I was experiencing this race solo. There were also photographers along the course and they took a few of me. I always like looking back at these, they are almost always just horrible...in fact I consider it part of the experience-LOL Yep, there's some bad ones in there! I think from now on I'm going to wear a hat!
After a little bit, it was time to go. I knew I wouldn't get my race time until later so there wasn't anything else to stay for! I had spent some time walking, perusing the booths and stretching so I felt pretty ready to drive home.
RECAP: What did I think of the race? I really enjoyed this race! It was a manageable amount of people so it wasn't too crowded. The weather was awesome and the course was really nice. The hill portion was a beast but the downhill really made up for it. Stopping for trains is the worst though...I really wanted to see what my body could do without having to stop. I love the loot, the shirt, the medal and receiving a rose. That was a very nice touch. Lastly I love that this race benefits Albertina Kerr. It is a wonderful organization.
Progress: (running mileage): 13.1 today/26.86 this month/ 221.77 year-to-date
(For April I'm aiming for...80 miles)