Let me start off by saying that this was my first half marathon. I had a fabulous time and wouldn’t change the experience for anything even though I definitely had a tough last few miles. I will go over the good, the bad, and the ugly of my first race. If you have ever been to Portland, you know that the downtown area is pretty small, so it really only comprised about half of the half marathon while the rest of the milage was an out and back street in an industrial area…but more on that later.
The evening before, I was totally pumped and laid out all of my race gear:
Most of the items that I enjoy running in are gray or black, since for some reason I feel faster in those (and incidentally more like Cat Woman…haha). Both the pants and long sleeve shirt are C9 from Target. I have some pricier items as well, but I feel like this brand isn’t too bad for how inexpensive it is. I run in Mizuno Wave Inspire 10s, though I know that they recently have a new Inspire 11s…I haven’t tried them yet, so I hope that they haven’t changed too much. Along with my headband, fitbit, running socks, and Garmin… I was ready!
We got up super early to catch the bus downtown. I didn’t think that I would be as nervous as I was. It was definitely difficult to eat anything in the morning, but I managed to drink some caffeine, water, and a cliff bar, but it tasted like chalk going down since my mouth was so dry.
Clearly it was empty that early in the morning. I pushed for us to get to the bus stop extremely early, because I didn’t want to miss it, but then we had to wait for twenty minutes in the dark on an empty street. Good planning. Once we got on the bus full of other runners it really started to become real.
Downtown was much busier, and I was happy that we had decided to take the bus there because there was a huge traffic jam around the corral areas. We had a fast walk to the corral and then got to wait for about an hour. Once the sun was up we started. It was a pretty fast start, since we were in the second to last corral and still started only fifteen minutes after the first corral (there were 8 groups in all).
The start of the race was definitely special. We got to run downtown with lots of drumming groups and a Chinese Dragon!
We had planned to have a slow first two miles, but those ended up (beginner’s mistake) some of our fastest. The first three miles went by really quickly with all of the festivities. Between miles three and four we had the largest up-hill portion. It was definitely a little steep, but it didn’t slow us down too much. Our overall goal time was to be around 2:45, though secretly we were hoping to be faster. The first and second miles were around 11:00, which was much faster than we had planned…oops.
After the uphill between three and four, we had a wonderful long downhill back into the city. That part of the race was fabulous and I don’t know if I have ever felt stronger. Through mile eight I was feeling great, and Andy seemed like he could have been running the whole time. Then we came to the out and back part of the course. It was brutal. The part out wasn’t too bad especially since they still had cool people by the side of the road like pirates and some sort of musical machine.
Then came the “back” portion of the out and back. On our previous long runs I have always really struggled with the miles past eight. I don’t quite know why. I have played around with fueling and positive thinking, but I really struggle. On top of that I have been having a relatively sore hip from a few weeks ago, that definitely flared up during the race. The “back” portion was really tough because it was past mile eight, my hip started hurting, and the sun was really blazing down on us. The sun was basically blinding, and I was boiling in my long sleeve black top.
We finally got back into town. Andy was super patient with me, even though I knew we were getting so close that I really should have picked up the pace. We finally got close to the end point and had a slightly stronger finish. Our total time was 2:45:21. Slightly over our goal, but all things considered, I was pretty proud of completing it.
Now, if you like goodies, this race had a ton of things. We got medals of course, but we also got finishers shirts, jackets, medallions, pendants, and seedlings along with various food snacks. I love the pendant because you can actually wear it as a necklace without it looking absurd. For me, it was a great first race. Of course there will be things that I want to change in my training for the runDisney in January, but all in all it was a success.
This week we will be relaxing a bit and then will start back in on a training plan on Sunday for the WDW half. I can’t wait!!