Cinco de Mayo 1/2- Portland Oregon
Half Marathon #33
40s and chilly at start. Overcast and high 40s maybe low 50s most of race, intermittent sun.
Time: 1:42:54- New PR*
Overall Place: 54/352
Gender Place: 37/215
Age group: 6/51
*as you'll see further down in my recap, I was stopped by a train twice on the course. Luckily I had enough sense to stop my watch because the race officials DID NOT adjust anyone's time. Depending on if you were one of the people that jumped the train or not to cross, your "official time" could range anywhere from 7-16 minutes off. Mine was on the lower end since I jumped the train. With that being said,
I'm not going to let anyone 'taint' my PR by saying it doesn't count because at the end of the day, my watch records what I actually ran :)
This was our 2nd half marathon Kim and I did for our double header weekend. Idaho recap from day before is HERE . Kim's great recap for this same race is HERE. We arrived from Boise around 4ish, went back to her house to unwind, then headed out for burgers and fries for a quick dinner.
Race start had an odd start time of 7:45 so we left Kim's house at 6:30am. We got to downtown Portland relatively quickly with time to kill so we had to make a necessary stop--- At the start of our double header trip I knew I had LONG flights and layovers, so I needed something good to read. I broke down and finally bought 50 Shades of Grey. I'm sure you're all familiar with the Heathman Hotel... well it was a few blocks from the race start, so I HAD to get a photo
yup, thats me holding the 2nd book 50 Shades Darker which I had to buy Saturday night since I was almost done w/ the first.
We make our way to the main square where the bag check is and where the huge after party will be located. Luckily port o potty lines were minimal so we had a quick cycle and just kind of talked and froze ( repeat use of yesterday's throw aways)
Trying to balance the sombrero on my head
We finally brave the cold, drop off our throwaways at bag drop, and slowly make our way to the race start.
ignore the THO, proof how cold it was.
Start line festive arch
Since the race was not chip timed, I said goodbye to Kim and made my way closer to the start line to alleviate clusters of people.
- When the gun went off, everyone literally zoomed passed me. Although I wasn't sore from yesterday's race, I felt stiff which made me feel like I was moving in SLOW motion and I just couldn't keep up with everyone's paces around me. When we hit the first mile marker and my time was 7:34 I was SHOCKED because I felt like I was going a full minuter slower. People in Oregon can MOVE.
- Shortly after mile 1, let's say mile 1.2ish a train went through the course- what!?!? Not that I had any goals for this race, but I was annoyed since it wasn't chip timed. After standing around for a little bit I decided to just stop my watch and start it back up when I was able to pass through.
More and more people starting to join in on the wait
- After waiting around for a few minutes the train stops and there is an empty flat bed cart that stops in front of us-- probably 20-30 of us scramble to jump up on it to cross to the other side. I REALLY wanted to take a photo of this, but I was too busy trying to hoist myself up. I couldn't help but wonder how the shorter people are able to get up and over this.
- After that excitement, the select few of us that were able to make it over before the cops stopped everyone else (Kim was with the group who couldn't cross) continued on for about half mile and got stopped AGAIN because the train track intersected ANOTHER part of the course. Not only is this just annoying, but its hard to get into a groove when you're constantly having to stop
2nd time we're stopped. Guy in green shorts ending up winning the entire race.
- Once we got going we had maybe a mile of flat ground before the HUGE uphill began. Again I looked at the elevation profile before the race and was dreading miles 5-9, but knew the downhill would be a nice treat.
- While running around mile 3ish we started to go uphill... the entire time. I kept thinking to myself, holy crap how much worse its going to be once mile 5 hits. Basically it was a L O N G uphill battle from miles 3-7. So the elevation chart is pretty accurate in terms of what we ran, but the mileage was off. Miles 3-7 were the uphill, 7-10ish were downhill, then it was flat the last 3 miles.
- As we're climbing on the mountain, its consistently bending and turning and you think you're going to get a break when turning the corner, but nooooooooooo just more climbing. Aside from all the greenery ( I felt like I was in the movie Twilight) there wasn't much exciting to look at. To be honest I'm really surprised I didn't walk. I was TIRED. What helped was the train really narrowed the field so I was consistently by the same few people and I used them as target pacers so I wouldn't slow down significantly.
- We had a true gift somewhere on that mountain with a slight downhill for 4/10 of a mile--- I took FULL advantage and really opened up my stride to gain some ground, plus it felt GREAT on my legs to work different muscles.
- Shortly after mile 7 there was a brief turn that took you from trail to the side of the highway- thus begins the nice downhill descent. Unfortunately there were only 2 people I had my eye on at this time, a guy in front of me who I passed with ease, and this girl I had been eyeing the entire race.
- It took me well past mile 8 to finally get close to her--- plan of attack was to hold it easy for 10-15 sec behind her to conserve energy, then sprint past her (I just really don't like running side by side with people, especially on the highway... and with girls since we're super competitive )
- Happy to report I did BLOW by her but 1/2 mile later I was just minding my own business and I see her out of the corner of my eye drafting off me. She must have KICKED it into high gear to catch up to me and then was playing stupid mind games with me. I moved over several times to let her pass and nope, she didn't. I thought if I went faster she would leave me alone--- negative as well.
- We leave the highway and are running through 'city parts' before hitting mile 10 and meeting back up to get to the finish line the same way we started. Once mile 10 hit my annoying female "friend" took OFF (easily beat me by a solid 3 minutes). By this point the course is flat so I don't really get to use the downhill, but at least I have more targets to keep me going.
- Suddenly I see HUNDREDS of runners turning a corner to join up with half marathoners- it was the 10kers. Congestion wasn't bad because they were on left side of road and the 3-4 of us 1/2 marathoners were on the right, HOWEVER as we start getting closer to the finish line the 5kers come out of nowhere and join us.
- You've got to be FLIPPING kidding me!! Half marathoners have yellow bibs, 10kers are green, and 5kers are red. At this point (in the last mile) I am the only half marathoner around and am having to bob and weave b/n the runners. Not to be rude, but majority of 10kers and 5kers weren't actual runners they just did the race for the after party (which was amazing) so despite keeping an even pace, I was passing people left and right- not because I'm fast, but because they were just slow.
- I think the worst part is that because the race isn't timed as soon as you cross the finish line you were supposed to "hold your spot" so they could rip off part of your bib to determine your time. Only PROBLEM- you had to walk further down in a chute, it wasn't single file, and you were mixed in with all other race distance participants. SO annoyed at the cluster. Thank goodness for my height- some guy was specifically looking for half marathoners since we were the only ones who got medals and handed me one at the last sec.
The After Race:
- I was stoked that I got a new PR on such a difficult course on day 2 of double weekend so I HAD to call my mom and tell her.
- While waiting for Kim I watched the Mexican band, drank one of my 2 free beers (IPAs vs. crappy mich ultras that are served at Rock n Roll events) and chatted with some of the fellow runners (some of them were already drunk)
- Once we met up we grabbed our free burritos and chowed down while I finished my 2nd beer.
- Afterward we dropped our stuff off at the car and made our way to the infamous VooDoo Doughnuts to indulge in a sinfully delicious Oregon famous hot spot (totally worth the 20 min wait in line)
- Got our treats, headed back to Kim's place, and indulged in treating our sore muscles to her hot tub-- heaven on earth :)
Quick Thoughts on Race:
-Zero chip timing- apparently trains run often through race courses, wouldn't be a big deal if race directors got on the ball and just chip timed their race if they have a train that intersects the route.
-No time adjustment for lengthy train stop
-Going up a mountain for 4 solid miles
-Having the 10k and 5k meet up so EVERYONE is finishing together
-No spectator support
-Ill fitting race shirt
-Small field size
-great running weather (love 40s and 50s for me)
-After party was GREAT
-Runners in Oregon are FAST (which helps me be fast)
-Downhills after the long 4 mile uphill climb
Mile 1: 7:34
Mile 2: 7:46
Mile 3: 7:39
Mile 4: 8:30
Mile 5: 8:11
Mile 6: 8:30
Mile 7: 8:06
Mile 8: 7:28
Mile 9: 7:30
Mile 10: 7:33
Mile 11: 7:43
Mile 12: 7:55
Mile 13: 7:58
.1 : 7:25