Monday, May 21, 2012

Inaugural Portland Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon - Part 2, The Race

In case you were wondering, Part 1 hasn't been written yet...

I owe my performance at this race to two things.  First, to Road Runner Sports and their ShoeDog experience which got me in new shoes and custom insoles; and second, to my best pal Jules without whom I doubt I would've had it in me to finish this race and finish it strong. 

This was only my second time running in the new shoes and insoles; the first was The Great Clusterfuck Bloomsday two weeks ago.  For both races, I ran almost completely pain free.  I had some slight cramping in my shin for about a mile and then it worked itself out.  After that, not only did I feel great but I felt great with minimal leg fatigue -- you know, just the kind that reminds me you're running 13.1 miles -- all the way to the finish.

And I almost got a PR.  I was certain I wouldn't, so when it started looking like maybe (that's probably more like maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaybe) I could actually get in under three hours I found I couldn't even remember for sure what my half PR time was.  I finally had to go back through my blog and look it up.  Turns out, it's from the April 2010 Race for the Roses Half -- which, if you read my recap of that race, I hated.  Not as much as Bloomsday of course but that half race was a thoroughly painful experience for most of the second part of the course. 

Anyhow.  My half PR from April 2010 is 3:05:07.  Yesterday I finished in 3:06:36.  So close!  Just one less stop for traffic, or if I had tied my shoes properly before the race and hadn't had to stop to re-tie them during the race, I could've had it. 

I did like the Rock 'n Roll course, although I didn't think it would be quite so hilly, at least not after the long, gradual hill on Hawthorne.  It was nice to race on the east side of the river, for a change.  Oh, and I am eternally grateful that they carpeted the Hawthorne Bridge for this race.  I don't know if I could've managed to be on the grating for the whole time.  As it was, I sprinted across the bridge.  I haven't downloaded my Garmin yet, but I may have gotten under an eight minute mile at one point.  This is how phobic I am about heights.  Everybody that I was sprinting around and past and in between were very nice, since I was calling out that I hated heights and had to get off that bridge NOW or I might lose it, "it" being my sanity and probably my cookies. 

Funny thing, though, after about ten seconds -- it took probably at least a minute to get over the bridge -- the faster pace felt really, really good and natural.  I was telling Julie and RR, maybe I should be trying for a faster pace all the time rather than doing a lethargic shuffle, the latter of which always makes me feel fatigued.  I felt energized running faster.  Something to think about. 

Jules and I stayed together until just after mile ten when she started feeling injured.  I'm indebted to her for getting me that far and for giving me the go-ahead to forge on ahead without her to chase down a potential PR.  I gave it my best shot but after all those hills -- and there didn't feel like there was as much downhill in this course as you would have expected after all the up -- I didn't quite make it.  But I did run the last 5K in just over 42 minutes whereas I ran the first 5K in 43:50; I'm looking forward to seeing my splits tonight.   I'm particularly interested to see how much time we lost because of traffic stops, pretty sure we got stopped six times in total.

My Garmin ended up being a full two tenths of a mile over, which made for a VERY long last mile.  (I did lap my Garmin when it said I hit 13.1 since I wanted to see that time.)  At about 0.75 miles to go, I started chanting in my head "Just keep swimming!  Just keep swimming!"  And at first it was in a cheerful Dorrie voice but as the finish line got closer and closer -- yet farther and farther -- the voice in my head got more and more desperate until I realized that at some point I had started saying it out loud with every step.  Just.  Keep.  Swimming.  Just.  Keep.  Swimming.  And I couldn't stop saying it.  Down the last stretch when I had just enough left for a little kick, over the finish line, and into the finisher's area as I stumbled around trying to stay upright:  Just.  Keep.  Swimming.  I started texting my friends:  Just.  Keep.  Swimming.  I was like a crazy person.  Julie came in about five minutes behind me and I had just managed to shut myself up. 

I think it's my new race mantra.

Congrats to everyone who ran yesterday; I'm enjoying reading all the recaps. 

the CilleyGirl


  1. Just keep swimming ... I can promise you without a doubt I'll hear your voice saying that to me in Seattle next month!!

    I think you kicked major ass!! You were so freaking happy in person - and then the photos even proved it. I love that!

    And we should try embracing faster paces. I mean we both think it hurts less - so maybe we will actually beat Kara next time? Maybe?

  2. Great report. I forgot they carpeted the bridge. I really liked that too.

    I do think you've got a faster time in you. Can you imagine what you could do if you ate more veggies and trained a bit more?

  3. WAIT!!!! Forget veggies and training ... it was the GIN in the coffee cups!!! Next race let's try that again!! ;)

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  5. So proud of you! It's funny how our roles always seems to reverse themselves from our initial thoughts before the start, and how we always manage to balance each other out - one of us is kicking ass, the other has a broken ass. Or something like that.

    I guess this means that Bald Peak will be my turn to shine....? Ummmm.....yeah. About those hills!


  6. Great job! Congrats on a wonderful race.

    I love the "just keep swimming" thing. I might have to borrow it from you for Sunday's 5K.

  7. You must have been RIGHT by me throughout the whole race. Sad I didn't even know it! Glad you did well and beat your goal you had set, and to almost PR on such a difficult course, fantastic! :)

  8. You have been tagged on my blog!

    Check out the post here: