This past weekend I flew up to Portland, Oregon, to run the Portland Half Marathon. I was not sure how I would do, being that only 7 days before I had completed my first half-Ironman triathlon. I had actually signed up for Portland way before I had signed up for SuperFrog; when I registered for SuperFrog I had to carefully consider the fact that I would be doing this a week before yet another half marathon. However, I figured I would be ok, as I would rest, compress, ice, and do whatever else I would need to do to get my tired legs and body recovered from 70.3 miles and ready to do another 13.1. I signed up for Portland because I was supposed to run it with my dear friend, Krista; it was supposed to be her first-ever half marathon. However, she injured herself in training and had to back out.
As it turned out, I wasn't sore at all from SuperFrog. Thank goodness for good training, I suppose! I woke up the following day a bit stiff, but not sore whatsoever. I went to the pool for a short (10 lap) shake-out swim which got rid of the stiffness; swimming the day after a big race always makes me feel better. Aside from that short swim and a few mile-long walks with the dog, I did nothing else all week. Although I wasn't sore, or even tired, I wanted to rest my body and my mind. I went into the Portland Half with the thought of just completing it. I was eager to run in a new city, cross another state off my list (I've now run a half marathon in 3 states; only 47 more to go, ha!), and soak in the fun atmosphere. I had heard that Portland is an amazing marathon, both for the full and the half, and I was excited to experience that. I wasn't planning on racing it, only participating.
Spoiler: I ran my 4th best half marathon time. Ever. I guess all the training for SuperFrog really paid off. And not having to swim 1.2 miles and bike 56 miles first also helped.
Onto the recap!
Friday morning I flew up to Portland, where I was met by Krista. We spent the day wandering around cute areas of town, going to the pumpkin patch with her son, and catching up. Saturday I slept in (until 7:15, unbelievable!) and we went to Krista's son's soccer game. This is where I started to get concerned about weather. The weather had looked nice all week on all the weather websites I'd checked (mid 70's) but that morning, sitting watching the game, the wind really kicked up. The wind was COLD! I was shivering, even though I was in a long-sleeved shirt, a hoodie, and gloves. I had packed two potential race outfits, but neither was for cold weather. I knew that once I got moving I would warm up, but was worried about the hour or so wait I'd have pre-race. I certainly didn't want to be freezing. I decided to look into buying something warm at the expo. (Note to self: when packing for an out-of-town race, always pack at least one hot and one cold weather option. It's better to have long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, gloves and a hat and not need it than to wish you had it).
After the game, we headed downtown. First, I got to meet Lisa, a blogger who I've been following on Twitter for years and whose blog I've been reading for just as long. It was so nice to finally meet her face-to-face (please check out her inspirational blog when you get a chance). We met for coffee at my favorite bookstore, Powell's. Afterwards, Krista and I wandered around, bought some books, and had lunch at one of the cute food carts Portland boasts (we ate at the Grilled Cheese Grill). Then it was onto the expo.
|me and Lisa|
After the expo, we walked around downtown more (I wanted to go to VooDoo Doughnuts, but balked at the hour-plus line out in front) and spent time people watching at Saturday Market. After meeting Krista's family for dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory, it was home to prepare for the race and get to bed early.
I slept fitfully, waking up almost every hour as is my norm before a race. I finally got out of bed at 5, got ready, and Krista and I were on the road by 5:30. I ate a Luna Bar on the way. I was anticipating horrible traffic getting into downtown; most big races I've done have awful traffic jams as it gets closer to the race. However, there was no traffic...none at all. We easily got into downtown, found parking, and sat at a table we found. The weather wasn't too cold, as there was no wind. I ate a Honey Stinger Waffle, then handed my new beanie and gloves to Krista to hold onto as I headed to my corral, Corral D (I kept on my throw-away jacket, though). There were several corrals, but they were set up differently than I'd ever seen before. The races I'd done before had the corrals on one street, lined up one after the other in a big row. Portland had each corral on a different intersection. Each corral had it's own set of port-a-potties and gear check. I got in with my corral, and when it was finally time to walk to the start line, I shed my throw-away jacket. I was warm enough.
|too dark to really see, but this is the start line|
Soon it was my time to go. The guys from 3 Non Joggers, a podcast I often listen to, were announcing, but I couldn't see them. There was so much energy in the air, and so many spectators! We ran through Chinatown before running in some cool residential areas. Although it was crowded (the marathoners were mixed in with the half marathoners, and didn't split off until about mile 10 or so) it was never wall-to-wall, and I always had room to run. Unfortunately, I don't know Portland too well so I can't write about exactly where I ran, but for the most part it was through some really neat areas, especially through the neighborhoods, by the waterfront, and some parks. Miles 6-9 were pretty brutal---it was an out-and-back through some ugly industrial areas--but they had some course entertainment there that helped a bit.
|a band outside of Chinatown|
|the harpist was unique to see|
|pirates! you can't make this stuff up!|
|one of the more beautiful views|
|one of my signature self-portraits while racing|
|all my swag, minus the short-sleeve shirt I'd gotten at the expo|
My hands were SO full by this time, even with a bag a volunteer gave me to help me carry things! I found Krista, and, after changing by the car in the parking garage (luckily no one drove by!) we went out to breakfast at Genies Cafe, where I gorged on vegetarian biscuits and gravy and a huge, delicious bloody mary. Then it was off to the airport for the flight home. The fun part about that was seeing other runners in their long-sleeved finishers shirts. I was wearing mine too, and whenever I'd see on in the airport or on the airplane we'd wave and chat.
|delicious and well-earned|