Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fall Sweataway 2011 Part II: Saturday AM/The Race

After a night of less than stellar sleep (yay for noisy neighbors and us not figuring out the AC in our room), we started our race morning preparations! 

Due to the previous week's 5-mile fiasco where I pulled an Ali and spent the whole race looking for a bathroom, I figured the super awesome run cakes were probably not a good choice for breakfast.  Instead, I went with my old standby: whole wheat English muffins with peanut butter and banana, plus a glass of milk.  ("Glass" here is loosely translated from "we drank straight out of the container.")

We had no toaster, so we stuck them in the microwave for a bit.  Nothing amazing, but still pretty yum.  Jared felt we were still probably dehydrated from Friday's drive and mixed up some nuun tabs in our water.  I generally prefer plain old water, but I actually kinda liked the pink lemonade flavor this time.

Then, joy of joys, we got to say goodbye to the creepy motel - forever!  One cool thing about our stay (besides the fact that we were neither robbed nor stabbed) is that Jared met another runner while loading up the car that morning.  Apparently the dude usually races the marathon, but since he rode his motorcycle instead of taking his car, figured he'd compete in the half instead so he wouldn't be too beat to control the bike on the way home.

Good bye and good riddance!
We headed on over to the start line a good hour or more early.  We had no clue how many people might be there and whether parking (or porta potty lines) would be bad.

Turned out, we parked really easily quite close to the start.  There were only about 90 people doing the half, so it was pretty calm and chill compared to most races we've done.  We grabbed our fitness magazines and sat reading and sipping coffee/chai in the local cafe while alternating taking a bajillion bathroom breaks.

Finally, it was time to start!

Since at the 5-mile race, I'd put us almost smack in the front with speed demons and got swept along too fast, I kinda overcorrected and stuck us at the way back.  They started the race...and we realized I'd started us behind WALKERS.  Yes, walkers.  I have a ton of respect for people who want to want anywhere close to a half marathon.  However, while I'm no Kara Goucher, even on a slow day my pace is faster than a 20 minute mile.

We snuck around them before actually crossing the start, but this meant we were weaving around or just plain stuck for the first mile and a half or so.  This ended up kinda sabatoging our ultimate time goal of kicking 2 hours in the pants.

Source: Bend Marathon FB page:!/bendmarathon

Also contributing to our demise was the course itself:

Source: Bend Marathon Page:

You run out for about 6.55 miles and then come back.  Notice that you run downhill AND THEN COME BACK UP 927 FEET OF ELEVATION.

Even with all our prerace potty stops, we had to make use of the porta potties at the first aid station.  This obviously added a few minutes to our time, but by that point, the runners had spread out a bit, and we picked out the first people I wanted to catch and pass.  There was a short uphill at that point, and being from the Seattle area, hills are kinda our strong point.  So we eventually caught and past those dudes.  From then on (mile 3 or 4), we were picking it up and kept picking people off. 

The course was really gorgeous - at least in our minds.  It's always fun to run somewhere out of the norm, and we're used to rain, big buildings, and lots of evergreens.  We got clear blue sky, wide open spaces, funky brush, and horsies.  I told Jared we should swipe the horses and win the race, but he didn't go for it.  I was glad we dressed for warm weather - we were sweating a ton with the combo of the hills and the sun and the 13.1 miles. 

I'm sad to say, even with all our hill training and speedwork, we could not seem to make up for the uber-slow first mile, the bathroom stop, and me wanting to "save it" a little too much in the first half.  Coming up and up and up and up on the way back, we were going much faster than my original "goal pace" but it didn't quite give us what we wanted.

Jared was going a lot stronger than I at the end, so I told him to go ahead and run the last mile or two alone and I'd follow. 

Jared finished at 2:03:20 and I finished at 2:05:48...4th in my age group!

While I was pretty bummed about being slower than my first half, I never expected to be 14/42 in any race!!!  And we honestly had a wonderful time.  We talked some during the first half of the race, and Jared encouraged and pushed me in the second half.  We met a really sweet couple afterwards and chatted with them while drinking chocolate milk (best recovery meal ever). injuries!  Pretty amazing with all the downhill pounding and the fact that I felt I'd never run that hard in my life.  Thank you, Jesus, for a super fun run and keeping us safe!

Yay Nike Frees!

Thanks everyone for all your support and prayers and well wishes!  The training and the race were, in my book, a total success.

Part III coming soon!

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