This race can be summed up in one word: hills! It can also be summed up in two words: PR baby!! I finally, finally, finally broke the three hour time! Hallelujah! (It helped there wasn’t any Disney distractions!)
It can also be summed up in another word: food! There was lots of eating! Starting with dinner on Friday night. After a super long, tough week, Jessica & I drove down to Portland (I think Jessica is trying to win a spectating award). We stopped at Elmer’s for dinner where I had delicious hazelnut pancakes. (So, side note…I’m hoping soon to return to more healthy eating…between stress and vacation and stress and work and work stress and stress, I haven’t been making the best decisions…I’m trying not to rake myself over the coals for it and instead make small better decisions along the way and work up to more good decisions.)
Saturday consisted of expo madness, Burgerville (with a yummy strawberry milkshake), pre-race nails, and Italian for dinner. At the expo I was introduced to KT Tape! The line seemed short, but ended up taking forever. However, I think the wait was worth it. My ankle seemed way more stable. On the other hand, I don’t know how I will be able to apply it myself. I am envisioning lots of tape in the garbage, and none on my ankle.
Sunday morning I woke up (not super early, as the race didn’t start until 8 AM, which was nice) and made my way down to the start area. All week long I had worried about the weather, so it was nice to see the gray skies. What wasn’t so nice was the humidity. But then it started sprinkling just a little, which took the edge off the humidity. Had I prepared for rain? No, I hadn’t. Thankfully I had sunglasses which I decided to keep with me as that at least kept most of the rain out of my eyes. I was wishing I had a hat.
I made my way back to corral 19. And waited. And waited. Finally it was GO time for us WAY in the back. When I saw there were 22 corrals, I decided against moving up a corral or two. This ended up being a slight mistake on my part. I could have easily moved up at least one corral and not gotten trampled. Instead I was doing the trampling, but in a nice way and one where I really didn’t trample anyone but where I weaved where I could and slowed down when I couldn’t weave. Finally I was out of that mess and in my own little zone.
The first part of the course took us through downtown and over one of the many bridges in Portland. I was feeling good, following my 2 minutes running, 1 minute walking routine. The rain wasn’t too bad. Life was good.
Then we hit the intersection where I was stopped, along with a lot of other runners. Really? On some level, I know its part of life, but at that moment I was not happy at being stopped. We probably weren’t stopped that long (I didn’t time it) but it felt like forever. And then we were released. Let’s keep moving!
It was a little after mile 3 when the more serious hills started. And never stopped. I expected hills, but not as many as there ended up being along the course. For the most part I kept up my run/walk intervals (although on some of the hills I ran as far as I could and as long as I ran over a minute, I let myself walk).
The course was taking us through neighborhoods and I have to say a big kudos to all the people outside their houses cheering us on! It was awesome! Especially the group handing out ice cold beer! 🙂
I hit mile 7, and usually that is my “I know I can do this” moment. Even more so, as I remembered from the elevation chart that we should be done with the majority of the hills and it should be fairly downhill from there. Yeah, that wasn’t the case. There were downhills – sort of steep downhills followed by more uphills. I was actually a little more nervous about the downhills because of how slick the roads were with the rain.
The rolling hills continued and so did I. It was getting harder to keep up the running intervals. Feeling more and more wet and tired. My shoes were squishy from the water. And I kept looking at my watch. While my big goal was anything under 3 hours, my secret goal was 2 hours and 45 minutes. I was quickly coming to the conclusion that wasn’t going to happen. Which was a let down. It shouldn’t be as I was going to finally come in under 3 hours (unless something dramatic happened) but it was. I tried to psych myself up, which worked for a little while. We passed under a huge inflated rocker, back over a bridge (I might have the order mixed up), getting ever so closer to the finish line.
Let me tell you, the last straightaway before the finish line was so long. There were a lot of spectators at this point, however they were quiet, which wasn’t so helpful. I was in desparate need of an energy lift. I was trying to run, but my leg cramped up on me. I slowed down to a walk before finally convincing myself to start running again. And then finally I was across the finish line!!!
I got my medal and headed straight to the medical tent to get an ice pack for my knee. Then it was the official photo followed by chocolate milk!!! I run for the medal and for the chocolate milk! Apparently there were boxes of food, but I never saw any. I think I was too focused on trying to find the chocolate milk! I was starting to get cold so I got a space blanket (which makes me feel so official, like I might actually be a real runner). And then I was through the gauntlet and I met up with Jessica and her sister (who had come up to hang out with Jessica and ended up at the finish line in the rain).
So then it was time to hike back to gear check which was ridiculously far away. Seriously, did it need to be so far away?
After a nice, warm shower it was time to eat! And then it was time to hit up Voodoo Donuts! Yum!! I decided very early on that I didn’t want to drive back to Seattle right after the race. The day ended with pizza in the hotel room. What a wild and crazy night!
#3 in 2012 is done! Bring on #4!