Half marathon number 22 …. Wow. Remember when I was diligently training for my first half marathon? (Disney’s 2011 Princess Half Marathon, for those of you keeping track.) Apparently since I feel like a seasoned half marathoner I decided training is optional? I guess, really, I only ever “trained” for that first half. From then on I did them constantly and was just always ready to race. Life happened in 2013 – I was sick a lot with Meniere’s issues, and then of course planning a wedding. Running got shoved aside – but I feel like with this race I am coming back with a vengeance! The race in question is the Portland Rock’n’Roll Half Marathon. Last year I ran this one hard, coming fresh off of a PR in Eugene. This time I knew that I was just running to prove to myself that I can still run and finish 13.1 miles with a smile on my face. No time goals, no pace band. Just me, my Adidas, some good music and my legs taking me for a nice, long run.
The weather was ideal! Warm enough at the start that I didn't feel chilled in my short sleeves and skirt, but never hot. Oh, let’s talk about my outfit! Since this was a mental run for me I chose things that reminded me that I CAN do it! I wore my Goofy 39.3 headband; my shirt is what I wore when I did the WDW Relay (my first back to back half marathons); and the socks I wore in the WDW Marathon when completing the Goofy Challenge. I was set for success! Plus seeing Frank Shorter the day before and hearing references of my idol Steve Prefontaine, well, I knew I would have a good race! So back at the race …. I arrived with plenty of time to wander around people watching before heading to my corral. After the moment of silence for Boston I got my last pep talk from MF and he sent me on my way with a kiss. Aww. The time in the corrals flew by and soon I was at the start line, focusing on relaxing, having fun and talking to Pre – as I do at every start line. And we were off!
I settled into my rhythm for the first 5K. I didn't do any intervals, I just wanted to run it as long as I could at a nice pace. I felt pretty darn good, aside from a sudden pain in my left calf, and enjoyed all that RnR races have to offer …. i.e. music on the course, spectators and frequent aid stations. I was so happy they ditched Cytomax and went with Gatorade that actually had life and flavor to it – unlike the anorexic, near vomit inducing Nuun that I tried at the expo. After the first 5K I decided to play it smart and “do the Galloway”. It was around mile 4 that I was excited to see MF again. I pulled over to say Hi (I’m not going for a PR after all) and hand him my water. That gave me some pep in my step, and off I went through downtown Portland!
Soon we were running over the Hawthorn bridge and hitting the east side of town. A side I’m not as familiar with, but a side I recall last year as being non-stop hills. Guess what, this year was just the same! I had a hard time for a while. The roads were NOT nice at all. I felt like any moment there would be another pothole, plus I couldn't find a flat spot to run, so my hips and IT band weren't the happiest. *I was trying to stick to the right since I started having Meniere’s issues and tend to drift right. I didn't want to be a burden to other runners and accidentally cut people off. The vertigo started getting so bad that I was really nauseated and on the verge of getting sick. The pang that I got in my calf at mile 1.5 came back strong. I pulled over to stretch and massage my leg a bit, but still had to continue on with a bit of a limp. I took my gel at the 10K mark and ran a bit until I hit a corner. OMG, that hill. It wasn't so terrible, except that it was over a mile long and seemed to be through all of the things that I dislike about Portland. (How many bike and coffee shops can one town have??) And so I just walked. Even walking I was passing people – thanks to my mom, I can be a very fast walker!
I had texted MF that I was struggling and really sick. He reminded me that I am awesome and can do it - Good cheer squad! At mile 7 things improved for me when this band of 9th graders(?) started playing Talking Heads’ Burning Down the House. It just amused me so much that these young people were playing something older than they are. I couldn't help but laugh and smile. Huge boost thanks to them! That helped me get back on my intervals, as best as I could. The miles started flying by and then another ray of sunshine appeared. Around mile 10 I heard someone talk to me. I looked over, and it’s Stacie and her husband! How wonderful! We stopped for a photo and walked together a while before parting ways around mile 11. That was my favorite mile!
From there the course was mainly downhill (finally!!). I got in the zone and gave it my all, what “all” I had left anyway. I didn't do my normal picking off of people. This time I just focused on myself and enjoying every step. Once I hit the 13 mile marker I did crank out the last tenth, flying by a few people. I can’t help it. I always train to have a last minute kick, it wouldn't be me to just coast through a finish line! MF was there waiting for me and it was just such a pleasant sight to see! RnR did a great job with post-race refreshments. The best thing … the TWO cups of Jamba Juice a volunteer insisted I take. It was Heaven! Better than any blah bagel or water!
|Half #22 is in the books!|
I got my finisher photos taken and then we rushed to the finish line concert. Andy Grammer was the concert. I didn't know him at all, but I really did enjoy it a lot. I’m even considering picking up his CD (i.e. downloading on iTunes). It was no Gym Class Heroes type of awesome like at Seattle last year, but I still enjoyed it a lot! I had commented that he reminded me of Adam Levine … and the next song he did actually was a Maroon 5 song. I called it!
Overall I really did enjoy this race. Considering my non-running, I feel like I did a really good job, and only 10 minutes slower than the year before when I really pushed myself and was in top shape! The negatives were all just from my complete lack of training and Meniere’s Disease – aside from bad road conditions, but that is a City of Portland issue, not RnR. I’m sure I’ll be back next year to do it again! Third times a charm, right?!?