“I might have to rib (course designer) Alan Culpepper the next time I see him. Portland is a hilly town, so I didn’t expect the course to be pancake flat, but I didn’t expect it to be quite so hilly,” added Goucher. “Sometimes it’s about effort and it was a good hard effort and sometimes the clock doesn’t really matter. It’s just about getting out there and challenging yourself and today was certainly a challenge.”
I could just use that quote by Kara Goucher and spare the recap, but I won't (FYI, she beat me). Initially this was my race report: Turn a corner, up a hill. Turn a corner, up a hill. Turn a corner, up a hill. And that still summarizes the Portland Rock'n'Roll Half Marathon - but I guess I'll write a REAL one, too!
When I stay with Cilley Girl I am never nervous before races, which we realize is because I trust her - she knows where she's going, we have a plan of how to get to where we are parking, I sleep great, we get there on time. It feels so great to go into a race feeling calm! Up early, I was busy getting my hair braided and my 80's turquoise eye shadow applied. Toes lubed, shoes tied, we were out the door! Parking was a breeze and once we got to the race area we had zero line for a potty. Score! I ditched my bag (bye bye warm sweatshirt) and quickly met up with Running Potato. Sure, I may have immediately chastised him for having us meet in the single most populated area of the entire race... but then that was just his warm up for the first 2 miles with me.
Into corral 12 we went and soon enough we hit the starting mats. Running without music, willingly, was strange for me - especially since he had music playing in his ears. Oh well. I found enough entertainment in singing along with a lot of the on course bands - maybe THIS is why he had his playing, to avoid my fabulous vocals?!? I guess we could say the ol' Potato is quite a trooper because we were only a mile and a half in when I told him to stop annoying me or I would seriously just punch him in the face. There are reasons I run alone! ;) So after the bitch got out of me we were good!
I did notice, however, that we lost any potential PR by the first mile. 11 minutes for mile 1 does NOT a happy R0nda make. Before I could whine too much about it another beautiful thing happened --- a little bit o' vertigo to heal the soul. Lovely. It was nice having a partner with me so when I was dizzy I knew I could grab on to someone. And just knowing someone is actually with me makes me feel less nervous when Meniere's Disease tries to make an appearance. We had to walk through that vertigo for a while - sending us to a really slow 5K time. During all of that I remembered something ... this is actually just my 4th training run to prepare for the Portland Marathon. No need to stress. Just focus on the distance and running. Bye bye goal time - I think we're on pace for my all time slowest race, aside from my Disney races obviously.
Seriously. The hills. ENOUGH. I was over them and actually getting annoyed with the course at this point. Every corner you turned you'd just see more hills. And did I mention it was raining the entire time? Glad I bathed in sunblock and had my sunglasses on ... However, with all of the hills, my IT Band that was in a lot of pain and the here and there bouts of Meniere's Disease hitting me I was actually getting stronger as the miles went on. Instead of my usual final 5K crash, I realized my pace was increasing - as well as my mental strength - perhaps my pre-race fuel experimentation was helpful! We parted again at the final potty stop and I continued moving forward, he caught up. For the last two miles I decided to just pretend I was Kara Goucher. Sure she finished hours before me, but no reason to not try to use her as inspiration.
Eugene Half Marathon. I cared more about saving my body for marathon training than a silly finish time. At mile 12 we let loose and just went for it. RP pointed out the man we WOULD beat. From there we steadily increased our pace and passed him. So for the entire last mile I just kept picking people off one at a time. It was pretty awesome in our last tenth when we both just flipped on full sprint mode all the way through the finish line. Fabulous kick -- getting me my 2nd fastest half marathon to date -- and marathon #14 was in the books!
The rain helped the salt on my face move to my eyes. Feel the burn! OUCH!! Got my official finisher photo taken, water, Gatorade, a little box of food and my space blanket. I was a happy girl - even though I was blind and hoping I didn't have turquoise eye shadow rolling down my cheeks. The gear check was soooo far away - they were in UPS trucks, why couldn't they drive the trucks to the finish area?? I was happy to be reunited with my bag - used my towel to drive off, put on my new sweatshirt, touched up my lipstick. I "had" to buy a new shirt at the merchandise tent so I could actually be dry, then I went to meet up with Cilley Girl and Jules. On our way out I enjoyed listening to the concert AFTER the headliner. No clue who the headliner was anyway, he never caught my interest when he was on stage. I got to do the Moonwalk and rock my new hot pink sweat band and sing, so I was a happy runner!
All in all I would say this race was a success. I only complained about the hills - but I'd do that in any race. Wait - the announcer counting us down at the start - someone should have taken his mic away - annoying! RnR people - take note. He sucked. Coming off of the Vegas disaster, however, this was a big improvement!
Next up - more training before the Seattle Rock'n'Roll Half Marathon in just one month!