Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Cinco de Mayo 1/2 (Race Recap)

Cinco de Mayo 1/2- Portland Oregon
Half Marathon #33
State #28

40s and chilly at start. Overcast and high 40s maybe low 50s most of race, intermittent sun.

Official Stats:
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 :)

Pre Race:
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. 

Actual Race:
  • 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.
stupid train
 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


  1. Ok girl when you decide to be fast you rock it!!!! Way to get an awesome time with what seemed like a lot of obstacles!!!

  2. So that's what the race looks like from the front of the pack:) Nice job, way to own that PR on a tough, tough course. Miss you already.

  3. A train? That is so crazy. Great job on the double header!

  4. Awesome job, that is crazy about the trains, but I think I have read that about other OR races.

  5. Wow that is some crazy climbing! Having to stop for the trains would be so frustrating! I got stopped for a train when I ran the Portland Marathon but I didn't mind it then cause I wasn't gunning for any records. I did get stopped in a 10k race once by a volunteer to let cars pass... that pissed me off! It was my first 10k so I got an automatic PR but still.

    Great job on an awesome PR!

  6. The Portland Marathon makes adjustments if you get stopped by a train. I don't know why this race couldn't do the same thing. And I'm nowhere near as fast as you, but I seriously hate it when events with different distances make everyone share the final miles. Weaving around, say, 5k walkers, sucks. I think it's great they're out doing something good for themselves, and it's not their fault they're in my way, but I still get mad.

  7. wow! you were speedy esp for running up for 4 miles! our race was like that with tons of different races going on over the weekend as well...it got nuts at times! still...you did incredible!

  8. I am PRETTY SURE that this will be the only race report where I've read that someone jumped over a train bed to race. That's the coolest thing ever but WTF race directors? Didn't they plan for this??

  9. Lisa - I just finished reading BOTH race recaps and it looks like you had an AMAZING weekend of racing! I'm so glad you are healthy and strong, and HOLY COW, YOU FINISHED 2ND IN A RACE!!!! You = my running hero.

  10. Holy crap, you rocked that hill girl! Nice work and congrats on your PR!

  11. great job on the race!!! i'm willing to be would have done even more awesome without the trains affecting your mindset! portland looks cute in your photos, definitely on my list of places i want to visit asap!!

  12. I keep staring at the voodoo doughnut pics and drooling lol.

    you were crazy fast in this race.. way to go!

    and yeah, Oregon peeps love their running, and they like to go FAST. I need to get my butt moving faster before my husband and I move out there in a couple years! lol

    Congrats on an awesome race and PR!! :D

  13. I recognized the Heathman immediately haha! Reading 50 Shades of Gray now. Ummm...wow!

    Congrats on the PR and with a train stop too!

  14. Trains, really! Wow you are more patient than I am...great job on your race! I live in Oregon and fast is true, although I'm not one of the faster runners...love my State with all my heart! Blessings!

  15. fabulous race, again!! congrats!! i have been DYING to try those donuts. one day, one day. two things i totally agree on: annoying runners that draft and won’t pass and play games. and, when courses collide with other distances. grrr.

  16. Wow- congrats on a new pr on that crazy course, and after running the day before! You are amazing! I can't believe they planned the course over train tracks... how frustrating for everyone.