Yesterday, I ran the Portland Half Marathon. Back in July, I had registered for it as part of the Fleet Feet Bonney Lake training program with a goal of PRing my 13.1 time. Well, as fate would have it, I bested that 1:45 time at the Iron Horse Half (~1:44:xx), so when it came to setting a goal for this race, I was torn as to trying to take the time down another notch, or to run conservatively. My training since that last half had been going by the book, and I was feeling strong, and ready to see where my feet would take me!
Once again, as fate would have it (not so fortunately this time), I ended up with a cold about three days prior to race day. It was all the good stuff…congestion, bloody nose, coughing…fun! Although the trip was already planned (me, the kids, and my sister), I contemplated cancelling it, on account of how I felt on the Friday prior to the race. So, I decided to see how I felt on a shake out run, and unsurprisingly, I felt fine for those two miles I was running. Of course, after analyzing my run, I noticed a pretty significant rise in my heart rate for an easy run, so I decided that Sunday would be run all on feel.
The trip to Portland was as smooth as a road trip with a toddler and preschooler could be, and we made time to make a stop at Burgerville (yum!) and about an hour and a half at the small, but organized Expo at the Oregon Convention Center. After that, we ventured to our downtown hotel (AC Hotel Portland), then took a walk to check out the distance to the start/finish (only like a block!), then set out to have dinner (Il Solito).
Race morning came early, as you might imagine with two littles in a hotel room (lots of giggling, not a lot of ZZs!) but that was to be expected! I changed into my race outfit (+ throwaway sweatshirt), had a few sips of water, then headed down the elevator to walk over to the starting area .On the way over, I chatted with a fellow runner (he walked up to me and said, “I noticed your shoes, and you look like you know where you’re going!” haha) before saying goodbye and good luck.
I hung out in the Fleet Feet tent (which had its separate bag check area, a jug of water, and two “private” portapotties!) until we were about half an hour out, then walked to the staging area. That all went very smoothly, then before I knew it, it was time to RUN!
So, this is where I have to share a really weird observation about this race…since I was going to go by feel (but still wear my watch), I didn’t look at it that much. But when I did, I was a little surprised:
1 -7:53, 2- 7:09, 3- 7:36, 4-7:40
Now, yes, I was pleased by the splits, but I was SO confused because the mile markers didn’t seem right. For one, Mile 2 came up before we even hit Mile 1. And then the next ones were always weirdly late. But, I didn’t have the time to worry about that, hah.
The first few miles felt hard, but just in my throat/nose. Ugh! My legs felt great. But, I wanted to make sure that I could at least maintain that level of discomfort, while staying adequately hydrated, so I stopped at each aid station, walked, and drank a cup of water.
Of course, since it wasn’t hot (the weather was actually pretty perfect, beside it being a little windy), I wasn’t sweating a ton, so before long, I realized I had to pee.
5 – 8:03 (includes pee stop)
I was back on the course, and feeling…okay.
6- 7:39, 7-7:40, 8-8:26, 9-8:05, 10-8:20
In this portion of the race, we encountered a few hills. I walked up each one, and ran down. I didn’t see the point in overexerting myself, as I was able to catch up a bit on those downhills.
It was then that I realized I could maintain a pretty good average (my watch screen had current lap pace, and average displayed) if I could just bump it up a little. I still continued walking through aid stations, then picking it back up after drinking either water or the on-course hydration (around halfway through I started drinking the nuun).
11- 7:58, 12-7:44, 13-6:55 (BEST MILE ALL RACE!)
I was feeling home free around Mile 12, and thought I could PR if I hit a good last split. I was in no mental condition to actually calculate what that PR would be, but I figured it’d be pretty good! In Mile 13, the song “Bullet for your Sweetheart” by Make Out Monday came on and the lyric “She’s taken em’ down one by one” seemed to perfectly synchronize with runners I started to overtake!
I was feeling pumped! Until my watch beeped at Mile 13, and the finish was NOWHERE in sight. Sure, I was feeling good, but not to the point I could keep that pace up…for another half mile! Wow, did I overrun that or what?
But it was all worth it, because right near the finish line (which seemed impossibly far away, since the last bit of the race was a long straightaway on Naito), was seeing my kiddos!
Last .5 – 7:04
Phew! I hit end on my Garmin, and it said 1:44:45, which would be a 4 second PR from Iron Horse, but…official results posted later said 1:45:46? And technically, if I ran 13.5, my new Strava PR was recorded, at 1:42:41 (for 13.1).
So, although the times are to be debated (LOL), I can say that I was happy about my results, especially since I’m here, a day later, and still sniffling and sneezing. This race gave me the confident to realize I can push a stronger pace, and even run a speedy mile late in an endurance event!
Post-race was great, we got some great freebies, including Salt&Straw ice cream, Voodoo donuts, Franz grilled cheese, and pizza! Nevermind the fact that Abby and Ellie munched most of that (LOL) but it was great to be finished, and with a result I could be proud of.
I look forward to a few days of rest, then getting back in with a new strength routine, and mileage maintenance before my next big goal…June MARATHON!