2016 Cinco de Mayo 10K

One of the benefits of running #alltheraces in Portland is learning more and more about my new city street by street.  So far most of the races have been slightly different courses, giving me a different view each time.

Today’s race started in Pioneer Square (which sometimes trips me out because there is also a Pioneer Square in Seattle – I’m sure Portland and Seattle are not the only Pioneer Squares, but they are the only two I know).  I took the Max in (Portland’s light rail) which took me directly to Pioneer Square.  Score for no parking hassle!


Feet pic!


One thing I learned about races starting in Pioneer Square (although this is a sweeping generalization) is that they start on a slight uphill.  Boo.  (And not to give away the ending, but they also end on an uphill.  Double boo.)  But aside from those hills the remaining course was fairly flat (with a few false flats thrown in).  I’m thinking those false flats are why I felt like I was working so hard and going nowhere.

We started off on Broadway before turning down towards the waterfront.  Just past the first mile, we turned back into downtown and headed toward the Pearl District.  As I mentioned above, I really felt like I was struggling (more than normal).

Through the Pearl District and into another area, which seemed to be full of warehouses.  The sun was beating down at this point.  This was also part of the giant out and back portion and it was great to see the steady stream of people on their way back, including folks dressed up as a taco!

I feel like saying this part of the course was slightly technical due to all the turns.  It literally felt like we were turning at the end of each block.

But then the turn around appeared!  Back through the stretch of zig zag streets, the Pearl District, and finally back onto Broadway!  I didn’t want to start my finishing kick too early so I deliberately held back, well at least held back a smidge.

Across the finish I went!  Normally this would be the time I would tell you my time.  However, the official results still haven’t been posted, so we will both have to wait for the official results!


And done!

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2016 Spring Classic

What?  Another race?  Yes.  Another one.  But when you have zero motivation to run on your own, and there is a close (ish) race, why not?  I mean I should be able to run on my own without spectators, water stops, and medals, but if they are available, why not take advantage?

My Tink training (which I’ve somewhat followed up until the last few weeks) called for 12 miles.  I looked at the local race calendar, and as luck would have it, there was a half that weekend.  As I’ve done once or twice before, I decided to go for it, figuring the last mile would be a great cool down.  Considering my last two long runs have been piecemealed, the other thought behind doing the half was actually doing 12 miles continuously.

So I identified a race, what next?  Let’s dive into my race choosing process.

First step is to analyze the website for the time limit.  As I’ve mentioned probably ad nauseam at this point, I’ve been losing speed.  Whereas before I only worried a little if there was a 3:30 time limit, now I worry a lot if there is a 3:30 time limit.  There was no time limit, at least that I could find.

Second step in scoping races, depending on the length of the race and the time limit, is to look at prior year results.  Guess what?  While this was the 32nd annual Spring Classic , it was the inaugural year for the half.  Previously it was a duathlon only, but this year they expanded to include running events.  No obvious time limit, no prior year results.  What’s a time worrying girl to do?  Well, take into account that the half would start an hour and 15 minutes before the duathlon.  I can deal with an hour head start.  And then I looked at the prior year duathlon results of course!  Once I saw there were enough finishers in the 2 hour plus category, I felt safe in signing up.  Whew.  All that and I’m not even to the start line yet!

Looking at the race course, I realized this would be almost the exact opposite of the Hop Hop Half.  I knew I would be in for beautiful views and a mostly flat course.


Start Line


At the start line I glanced nervously around.  This was probably one of the smallest races I’ve ever been in.  As in there were maybe 100 people running the half.  I mentally prepared to be last or at least the last “runner”.  I kept telling myself, most likely I wouldn’t be last overall as more likely than not there would still be duathletes finishing after me.  (So “more likely than not” is a term that is used in my job a decent amount and its basically a fancy way of saying more than 51%.)

And we were off!!  By mile 1, I was pretty much in last place (or so I thought).  I hit the first turn around mile 1.5 and was happy to see at least a few people behind me.

The first 5K was on Marine Drive (following the path of the actual 5K).  The 5K and the 10K started about 15 minutes after the half so it wasn’t long before the lead runners had caught up with me.  I finished up the first 5K and looped onto the bike path along the Columbia River.  One good thing about completing the 5K as the first part of the race was that I experienced the uphill that was the finish line.  Ugh.  Really?  But at least I would be prepared for it.

There were a decent amount of 10Kers passing me at this point but as they passed me, several called out encouraging comments, which was a definite plus.

Soon I was passing the 10K turn around point (and a water stop) and just like that, it was just me.  It really was like a training run!  I could barely make out the people in front of me.  My goal at this point was to pass mile 6 before the lead half marathoners came back through, which I did by the skin of my teeth.


All by myself, but look at that view!


I was feeling pretty good with my 1:1 intervals.  The sun was starting to come out at this point, but being next to the river meant it wasn’t getting too hot.

Mile 7 left the river and without the river it started getting hot.  But finally I was at mile 8 and the turn around!  That stretch to the turn around was through a field and the heat was really starting to get to me.


At one point I tried to do race math but failed miserably.  Going into this, I was going to be happy to finish.  And then I was thinking as long as I came in under 3:05 I would be happy.  I hit mile 11 at 2:30 ish and thought maybe, just maybe I might be able to come in under 3 hours.  Of course that would mean continuing intervals instead of treating the last mile as a cool down.

I hit the 10K turn around for the second time (and a water stop) and knew I had to be close.  1.5 ish miles close!  I kept trucking and came across a fork in the trail up to the road.  I didn’t think it was the right path, but I wasn’t sure.  I wish there had been a volunteer there.  I decided to keep going, hoping it was the right decision.

It was!  The bike trail looped up to the main road and just like that I was at mile 13.  Ready (or not) to take on the uphill to the finish.  I picked a spot in the road and started running.  Finished!!

Time check?  2:58!  It was so great to see a 2 instead of a 3.  I still have a lot of work to do, but I’ll enjoy this for a moment.


I did it!



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2016 Race for the Roses

Apparently all I do is run races and write recaps of said races.  Some day I’ll get back to other things.

I had been doing good, for a few weeks anyway, at following an actual training plan and doing speed work and cross training even!  And then work got busy again and everything but the long runs fell by the wayside.  We’ll see if I can salvage the last few weeks.

But in the meantime, I had 10 miles on tap for the weekend.  And surprise, there was a 10K going on.  Four plus six equals ten, right?  Or to be more exact, 3.8 plus 6.2 equals 10.  I got a late start to the morning and since I am super weird about time, I decided to settle for 3.8 since I would still get to 10.


Start Line


The 3.8 actually went fairly well and I was back in time to use the restroom, grab my bib and eat a Gu.  And then came the announcement the race was delayed 15 minutes.

Finally we were really off!  The race started near the convention center and went up Interstate Ave and across the Broadway Bridge.


Broadway Bridge


We wound through downtown and the Pearl district before a small out and back along Front Ave / Naito Parkway.

I’m still doing 1:1 intervals.   Remember when I used to do 2:1?  Yeah, me neither.  As I hit Front Ave I was feeling good.  The sun was coming on strong and there was no shade at this point but I kept plugging along.  I hit 4 miles and glanced down at my watch – 52 minutes!  (Remember I’m really not fast.)  I did quick math and though I should have no problem beating my time from last week.  And maybe even hit 1:20!  But I didn’t take into account the heat.  Or the giant hill at the end.  I actually thought I was doing really well on mile 5 but no, I was slowing way down.  And then came the hill up to the Steel Bridge.  I walked it.  And when I got to the top, I kept walking.

At this point I glanced at my watch and realized 1:20 was long gone.  I still had the chance to beat last week though.  Slowly I started running towards the finish line.  With a time of 1:22.30!  So not under 1:20 but I did improve on last week.



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2016 Bridge to Brews 10K

If its a weekend, there must be a race!  At least lately that has been case.  I had 8 miles on my calendar.  Fortunately there was also a 10K going on.  So of course I signed up for it!  Even better Bridge to Brews is the only race that goes across the Fremont Bridge.  And you know how I love bridges.

I showed up early so I could get a quick 2 miles in before the race started.  I found rockstar parking, literally across from the race start.  Granted, I had to pay for the rockstar parking, but it was worth it!!  I got my two miles in, returned to my car and changed shirts.

And we were off!  The first mile wound through downtown, before heading onto the bridge.  I kept stopping for pictures (even though they didn’t turn out great and didn’t do justice to the magnificent view).


Approaching the Fremont Bridge


We hit mile 2 and started the downward decent off the bridge.  The remaining miles meandered until we came across the Steel Bridge.


View from Fremont Bridge


Here’s where I admit to you, dear readers, my ineptitude.  I can figure out intervals on my watch but I can’t figure out how to get miles as well.  There has to be a way but I have not discovered it.  Given I run by intervals, I’ve given up really knowing my mile times.  In some ways its freeing, just listening for the walk or run beep.  Going into this race I really just wanted to come in under 1:30 since my last two 10Ks I wasn’t able to.  Partway through I was thinking 1:25 should be attainable but the race math was eluding me.  And I didn’t have mile times to give me an approximate idea of where I was.

Back to the regularly scheduled race report – across the Steel Bridge and I took a sneak glance at my watch.  I should totally make under 1:25.  But I had to stop for that final picture!!


One last picture with the Steel Bridge!!


I started all out sprinting towards the finish line a little too soon and lost a bit of steam.  But then I was across!  Hooray!  And guess what my time was?  1:25:00 even!




One of the draws of this race is the after party which is a beer tasting festival!  I jumped in a shorter line and tasted before heading off to my next adventure.


Taste away

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Tiptoe through the 2016 Tulips

One of my favorite April activities when I lived in Seattle was to visit the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.  I haven’t been able to go the past few years (since I moved away).  It didn’t dawn on me that I would be in Seattle in April until I was driving up.  I was at once both ecstatic and disappointed.  I wasn’t sure if I would have time to visit.

Saturday morning was the 520 10K, followed by breakfast and then coffee.  My afternoon suddenly was clear.  I had a choice – do I try to visit the tulips, or see if any other Seattle friends were around and free?  The tulips won out!

And with that, I will let the tulips do the talking.







So many tulips!!


And a daffodil for fun!

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2016 520 10K

Wow, that’s a lot of numbers!  When I heard there was to be a 10K to celebrate the re-opening of the new 520 bridge, I knew I had to do it!  520 is the longest floating bridge and connects Seattle to the Eastside.  It has been under construction for oh about forever.  The new bridge has been being constructed alongside the old bridge.  I’m still a little confused about the actual opening of the bridge to traffic as it will be done in phases and eventually the old bridge will be phased out.

I checked with Nilufer to see if she would be interested and she was!  She picked up our packets during the week and we met up race morning.


At the start line


There was an option to do it timed or untimed.  I chose timed even though I was treating it as a fun run.  There was approximately 13,000 people taking part in the race.

The timed portion started first and we were off!  Down Montlake, across the Montlake Bridge, (which always scares me either on foot or in a car due to the grating), and onto 520.

Just as we got to the new bridge, we ran into an old co-worker!


Hi Maria!

We kept up pretty steady intervals, when we weren’t pausing to take pictures!  Because when else were we going to get a chance to run across 520 with no cars?


So many people!!


Feet pic on the new bridge!!


On the bridge deck!

And soon we were off the bridge and back on to Montlake and across the finish line!

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2016 Hop Hop Half

You know what helps my motivation?  Races.  I was looking at the 12 miler on my calendar for this weekend and suffering from a lack of motivation.  I had seen fliers for the Hop Hop Half, but hadn’t really given it serious consideration.  Until the lack of motivation really started dragging on me.  It probably has something to do with my last few long runs being horrendous due in part to rain, rain and more rain.  And just like that I signed up!

My plan was to treat it as a training run (as much as possible) and use the last 1.1 miles as a cool down.  The time limits were slightly confusing – but the gist was since most of the race took place on a bike path, the real time limit was 19 min per mile.  Given my time lately, this was an important detail.  Another important detail was that the course was flat!

It wasn’t a large field, and I looked around my old familiar fear of being last came bubbling to the surface.  The rational part of me says, so what if I’m last, but the irrational part of me still worries about it.

We lined up and we were off!  The first part of the course headed down NE 33rd before heading back up and onto the bike path.  There was a slight uphill to get onto the bike path.  There were a few other hills, but for the most part the course was flat as advertised.  The water stations were stocked with Cliff Shots, which was nice.

Ready to Hop Hop

Ready to Hop Hop

How’d I do?  Well, I may have mentioned I’ve changed my intervals to 1:1 which seems to be helping.  I actually felt pretty decent up until about mile 7ish.  Mile 10ish is when I started skipping a few run intervals.  The sun was coming out at this point, which may have played a part in my increasing sluggishness.   I made it to mile 12 and even though I told myself I would treat it as a cool down, I happened to look at my watch, and saw that I could possibly make it under 3 hours.  Coming in under 3 hours would have been a good confidence booster.  However, I was really fighting fatigue.  I made a deal with myself and walked two minutes and ran one.

Coming towards the finish line, I could see the clock turning to 3:00.  I knew I started fairly close to the front so I probably didn’t have any grace time.  I probably started running towards the finish a little too late, but before you knew it, I was across the finish line!  With a time of….3:01 even.   Honestly, I’m very okay with this time.  It’s not my best, but it’s not my worst.  It definitely was a confidence booster.



The after party included mimosas, cinnamon rolls and other brunch items!  Yum!





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