To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
-Steve Prefontaine
Make it simple, but significant.
- Don Draper

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Portland Rock'n'Roll - The Threepeat

Rolly & Louise!!!
I LOVE Rock’n’Roll! If I could just do Ragnar and Rock’n’Roll races I would be a happy camper, so when Portland Rock’n’Roll Half Marathon was before me for the 3rd year running I was full of giddy excitement! A week before the race I ran into a fellow Ragnar Rum Runner and we discussed the awesome bonus medal for running Seattle and Portland. I tried to convince myself I didn't need it. But for that entire week I kept seeing it in my mind. Soon I found myself at the Portland RnR expo getting my bib, shirt and buying my pin. I ran into some old friends and exchanged excited feelings about all the RnRs available and who was doing what. I was then absolutely certain of my first expo stop – the Rock’n’Roll registration area, duh!! There was no hesitation as I registered for Seattle AND Vancouver, BC. The RnR people talked to us the whole time, sharing ghost stories and things to be sure to see in Canada. Not only did I save $70 on our registrations, but we also went home with a total of 9 free RnR shirts. Nine, people. NINE free awesome shirts!! Right there the expo was a success, but it stayed that way. We talked to many cool vendors and loaded up on quality free swag. Yay!

Sunday morning we were ready to run, rain or shine… and it looked like it would be rain. We wandered around people watching (hello, “Captain America” in your stars and stripes speedo!) and running into Stacie! By the time we dropped our bag off and got to the corral we were completely soaked, but I didn't even care. Our corral was full of fun people all talking and joking around with each other trying to keep morale high. Wouldn't you know it, before we had our start the skies cleared, and for the next 13.1 miles we had zero rain! So there we were, crossing the start line for the Portland Rock’n’Roll Half Marathon and energy levels were skyrocketing. Perhaps it was the full pack of Clif Shot Blocks I took while killing time. *Note: we decided we are going to stick with that for the next race!

There was no running plan per se. I just figured we’d end up doing some run/walk thing and I’d just go on feel versus getting my Galloway on and having set intervals. That didn't happen. We started running and for the first part of the race it’s an out and back. So heading out I was on a mission, and .75 in that was completed – we got to see and high-five fellow Rum Runner Rachit! I kept on the lookout and next found Stacie, but never did get to see Rolly. After the turn on our way back I looked for Cilley Girl who was never to be seen. Bummer. Back into the heart of town I was feeling awesome! The crowd was loud, the music was blaring, my legs were loving me. So I just kept on running and ignoring any notion of walk intervals. Man Friend was happy just before crossing the river when we came upon the Navy band and he got to high five some fellow Navy boys, aww, how cute!

The east side of the river has felt like my nemesis. Hills galore. And Hawthorne. Never ending Hawthorne. It just keeps going forever and you seriously cannot see the end of it when you start running. Rounding the corner I decided I was going to run as long as I could on it before I walked. You know what? I NEVER walked! I felt that no matter what happened before or after, this race was a success because I conquered that long, slow stretch. Hallelujah! Around mile 9 I took my first non-water station walk break when I started having some Meniere’s issues and my knee was giving me some attitude after what I did to it on Hawthorne. Fair enough, knee. I did essentially no training, so I figure 9 miles in I could have a short walk. Before I knew it I was at mile 11, which I considered the end and the rest was just a victory lap to the finish line!

Tew Legit
Coming up to the finish though, had a moment of concern and one of those sights I hate. Up ahead of us Man Friend saw a guy fall down. By the time we got to him he was surrounded by runners and spectators were calling 911. He was pale, his eyes weren't moving, he was stiff. I hear CPR was administered and he started breathing around the time he was taken away in an ambulance. Ugh, I hate that stuff, it’s so scary! I felt like a jerk running by, but seriously there was nothing I could do, he had tons of people helping him. The crowd ahead of us stopping left an open shoot ahead of us. Being in matching pirate gear, we were hard to ignore. As we crossed the finish line the announcers took notice and said, “Always be yourself, unless you can be a pirate… then be a pirate!” I even heard them reference One-Eyed Willie at some point. Awesome finish!!

It was in the finisher area getting our space blankets, food and drinks that it started raining again. Perfect timing! The finish line concert sucked (G Love and Special Sauce). I didn't even want to watch it. I tried to listen to him on YouTube and iTunes and couldn't get through a single song. I went to the concert to take a photo and called it a day. So I had some rain AND shine and I feel like I ran that course the best I could that day, granted I ran it 14 minutes faster my first year, but who cares? I dominated the hardest part and feel like a winner for it! See ya next year, Portland – and I’ll see you, Seattle, in a month!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

My Big Return to Training!!

I am back and it feels so good. Ooh, feel the burn!!

History time! In 2009 I noticed a couple friends posting about running. My friend Holly gave me some tips on how to start, and in September I did my first run of the Couch to 5K program. I was coming up on my “graduation” when I got H1N1. A week before my first race and I get Swine Flu. Awesome. I recovered in time to race and early on a December morning I was running in 27ยบ temperature over ice with my family and dog cheering for me. I loved it! Shortly thereafter I found myself in Walt Disney World at the 2010 Princess Half Marathon expo with a goal to run my first 5K with zero walking. I was so proud to be there, and then humiliated at “only” doing the 5K while everybody else was doing the half marathon. That day I told my mom that next year we would be back and I would do that as my first half marathon.

For the rest of 2010 I did 5Ks, 10Ks and the Great Urban Race while training and saving my first half marathon experience for Disney World in 2011. The rest of 2011 I was constantly training and running half marathons. I ended up with 12 in a year and didn’t back off in 2012. 2012 actually increased with training … I set PRs left and right, east and west, from Boston to Eugene, I was on fire! As practice for Goofy in 2013 I decided to train for and run the 2012 Portland Marathon. 20 mile runs in the dead heat of summer, ugh, so draining. My life was a calendar of scheduled runs. I kicked ass for the first 17.5 miles of Portland, until my left leg knee out on the St. John’s Bridge and my right leg followed a mile later. I still finished, tears and all, and was not going to give up on Goofy. January came and there I was doing a 5K, half marathon and marathon back to back, bringing home tons of Disney bling. Seriously, once you do Goofy it’s like you feel you can do anything! Half marathons feel so short. A 5K is nothing. A 10K is just a warm up run. Goofy is awesome!! BUT getting to that point was exhausting.

2013 was my “rest” year. I continued to race and occasionally run, but I decided to focus on other things for a while. I got married, traveled, started buying a house, dealt with the annoyance of Meniere's Disease, quit half of my job, relaxed and enjoyed life. And now here I am in 2014 and I really missed that hard work of 2012, crazy as it was! Ragnar was my first race of the year and last weekend I did my first half since December. I never go that long without a half, and I don’t want a gap like that again!! So now here I am, back in full training mode. I have a calendar with all of my training until November’s Wine & Dine Half Marathon all planned out. I am so excited. Hills, speed, fartleks (insert a giggle from the 12 year old boy in me), long runs, short runs…. So pumped!! And this year will be a good one race wise. I just did Portland Rock’n’Roll, and at that expo registered for Seattle and Vancouver, BC, CANADA!! In between those I have Eugene Half Marathon for the third year, and of course my annual standard, the Prefontaine Memorial Run. This is going to be an awesome year. Time to bring out the compression socks and sunscreen!