Going into Paris, I knew I had Portland (Half) Marathon and Wine & Dine on the horizon, equating to 3 half marathons in 7 weeks. But the more important question was how to stay somewhat “trained” without getting completely burned out? I looked at the calendar and realized I had a week in between Paris & Portland and decided to do approx. 6 miles for my in between week. There was a bigger break between Portland and Wine & Dine which of course led to decisions. In the end I decided to keep up the pattern of a half followed by 6 ish miles. Because I’m crazy. Yes I admit it. But with the weather turning, sometimes a race is what I need to keep me motivated. Which is how I ended up switching my registration from a 10K to the half for the Run Like Hell.
You have to love a race where the description is “the course is mostly uphill until just past mile 3”. Uh, what have I gotten myself into? It was the same horrible hills as the Shamrock 15K. As promised, we literally started on an uphill. There were a few flats thrown for fun, but it was mostly uphill. And when I say uphill, I mean UP A GIANT HILL!!! I struggled to keep my intervals, and cut them to :30/:30 on the steeper portions and watched person after person pass me. Including the 13:00 minute pacers. Now, a few months ago I would have expected that as I had lost a lot of speed (for me), but coming off my surprise PR and my fastest Disney race ever, I didn’t expect them to pass me so early. My thoughts and attitude started turning super negative. I tried to shut down those thoughts and just concentrate on one foot after the other. I caught back up to the 13:00 minute pacers right around mile 3. This was where I expected the course to flatten out. When it didn’t I about cried. I had forgotten the description said it would flatten out just past mile 3! That last stretch of uphill was something else. Finally I reached the pinnacle and began my descent, catching and passing several runners, some of whom I played leap-frog with for a while before leaving them behind.
In some ways the downhills are worse than the uphills! I started doubling my running intervals, mainly to take advantage of gravity. But also because I felt like I needed to catch up on speed. The time limit for this race was 3:15 – a little too tight for my liking. I want/need more cushion. I was worried but yet I wasn’t super worried.
It started to flatten back out between mile 5 and 6 and then we were back on Naito Parkway, very familiar territory. We were now on the 10K course, sort of. Down Naito, before turning towards Chinatown and then heading towards the Pearl District. After leaving Naito, you finally could see finishers on their way back. So many costumes!!
We continued on into what I would call the more industrial area of Northwest Portland, with a lot of zig zags. I passed the 10K turnaround sign, but still had to keep going. Boo! It was a slight downhill to the half turnaround (and mile 10), which meant a gigantically huge uphill after the turnaround. (I never EVER exaggerate, ever.)
My favorite part of an out and back course is always after the turn around and seeing that I am not the last person. Definitely one of the last, but not the last. I keep trucking along. I really wanted to stop doing intervals but I knew that was asking for trouble and so kept them up, even if it was hard to differentiate between the walk and the run interval.
The race ended on an uphill. Seriously? And to add insult to injury, they were starting to take down the water / snack table after the finish line. Yes I’m slow, but I finished in plenty of time! Speaking of time, even with the hills, I finished in 2:48:16!! I really want to run another sub 2:45 to prove to myself it wasn’t a fluke. Maybe next time.