Ahh, some race redemption!! After the disaster known as the Shamrock 15K I was timid, yet excited for the Inaugural Hop Hop Half Marathon in Portland.
The day before the race MF and I went to Foot Traffic to pick up our bibs and shirts. It was in a cute little Portland suburb that I had never been to before, so I enjoyed it. Picking up shirts and bibs was a breeze, and we didn’t just get boring old shirts – these were cute Brooks tech shirts with special cuts for women! Yay! I saw a photo of my man Pre on the wall – back in his high school days – and told MF that this was going to be a good race. Any time you see Pre without trying, it is always a good race!
On race morning the alarms went off and it was hard to get up, but I did. Soon MF and I were out the door not exactly sure where we were going since the start line didn’t have an actual address. Interesting! Fortunately it was so early in the morning that we had no traffic to deal with and after making only one wrong turn we arrived. We were greeted by tons of volunteers helping to get everyone parked, then made a mad dash to an impressive row of potties – no lines at all!! It was so cold and I was in a thin shirt and skirt, so we went back to the car and sat for a half hour with the heater on. I just kept looking at the snowy mountains wondering what on earth I was getting into! Once we had only 10 minutes until the start we decided to get out and head to the corral. Um… freezing!!!! I made a spontaneous purchase at the Foot Traffic booth to buy a t-shirt to wear under my shirt. Instantly I felt better. After seeing familiar faces in the starting area we were off and running for 13.1 beautiful miles!
|Sporting my new Goofy headband for good luck!|
Washington is in the background.
The plan was to not stop running until MF’s sister in law passed us on the out and back. We actually ended up running much longer than planned until I was in too much pain. Sitting in a warm car, then heading out into the 30-something degree weather without any form of stretching? Not the best idea for these legs. I pulled over to stretch out my calves and then felt much better and continued on. For the rest of the race, since we’ve done zero training since Goofy, we stuck with a 4:1 run/walk ratio. Four-tenths of a mile goes by so much faster when you know you get a little reprieve soon!
|MF - with the PDX runway and airport over his shoulders.|
The majority of the race was on a path that ran right between the Columbia River (with Washington just on the other side looking nice and green!) and the Portland International Airport. Every time we saw a Southwest airplane we joked that they were heading to Vegas (we leave in less than 3 weeks on a SW plane to Vegas!!!). Around mile 3 MF needed a potty stop. I took that time to ditch* the cotton t-shirt I had purchased and then felt I was at the perfect temperature. (*MF carried it for me, I didn’t actually toss it!) After that little break we were on Fire!!! Perhaps it was the Easter theme, but I was turning everyone into my rabbit and picking them off one at a time. The only people we were passed by at this point were late starters that were flying down the path. It felt pretty awesome getting back in my zone! Once the lead runners returned and sharing the path with us heading back to the finish line I REALLY soaked up their energy and my legs took off. I was running paces I did last summer when I was training for 5Ks. Loved it!!
Sadly things took a turn. After making the turn around and heading back in for the last 5 miles I had a first. Coming up to mile 8.5 I saw a cluster of people on the ground. As we got closer I could see there was a person down. Once there I saw a woman possibly my age? It was tough to tell. They were trying to get her to respond and breathe. While I was in the area there was zero response. I saw them roll her on to her back, presumably to look for breathing signs, and it wasn’t pretty. The poor girl was stiff as a board, completely pale and clammy with no response in her eyes. Right as I passed someone got up about to start giving her chest compressions. I had to turn, look forward, and couldn’t help but start crying. Soon we were hearing sirens from all directions come rushing to her –thankfully we were by a water station where volunteers were able to rush down. I still don’t know what happened or the outcome, but it really did affect me.
From there my pace slowed and both MF and I had to admit we lost our mojo for the day. It was scary to see someone just like me down on the ground while doing something that we are out there doing for fun. I hope everything turned out okay!! The last 4 miles were still our ratio, but a bit slower. We instead spent more time looking at how beautiful of a place we were able to run in. For a while we stared at a huge bald eagle sitting out on a piling in the Columbia River. Nice, peaceful, sunny – we were all really lucky people that day!
With just over a mile to go we dropped down a small hill to a road crossing. The road was not flat at all and my leg just didn’t lift up enough. When my foot came back down it twisted a bit – and my knee felt it. That last mile was really painful. Walking happened more than running, but dammit I wasn’t going to walk through the finish line. We ran that sucker in, just the two of us with no other runners in sight, our names read loudly over the speakers. Loved it! I was given a gigantic, shiny Easter egg medal that I was proud to wear! In the finisher area we were given complimentary champagne flutes for Mimosas, although we chose to just have OJ in ours. Also we got super yummy croissants with scrambled eggs in them. That was the best post-race food ever!! People lingered about taking photos with the Easter bunny, dying eggs and just soaking up the atmosphere. We had smiles on our faces the whole entire day! This was just the event I needed to spark that running fire in me once again. Kudos to you, Foot Traffic and thanks for a great race!