Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Portland Rock 'n' Roll/Upcoming Races

Let's take a little trip down memory lane.

This spring, Jared and I ran the inaugural Portland Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon.  (If you are not interested in a 5-month late post, scroll to the bottom to see what's on the horizon.)

I trained by loosely following the CrossFit Endurance blog.  (I say loosely because I did WODs at my box instead of their prescribed WODs.  And because I was busy and missed some of their outlined training.) 

It was spring in the Northwest when we started training.  At the time I was also volunteering with my musical theatre class, going to hot yoga several times a week, and CrossFitting regularly.  (Oh, and that full time job thing.)  But we had signed up for the run a year in advance because we love Portland, and the entrance fees were on sale!

Needless to say it may not have been the best time to train for a half, which is why the CrossFit Endurance approach seemed fitting.  Most of the runs are short but brutal, and the idea (in my perception) is that you are packing the intensity of "normal" training into less time.  This meant my longest runs were on the weekend and fairly comparable to other long runs, but my mid-week runs were usually some sort of programmed speedwork (example:
"Run (TUE): 4-8 x 400m, rest 1:30, hold within 3-5 seconds" - so in this case you're only covering 1-2 miles total).  This saved me planning long routes and allowed me to get a lot of running done on the treadmill at my office...which was great since doing track work at that time of year reminded me of the story of Noah's Ark...ya know, where God floods the earth:

The water came up to my ankles at parts of the track

I felt pretty good going into the race.  My previous times for a half were 2:04 and change for the Kirkland Half and 2:05:48 for the Bend Half.  I was reasonably optimistic about breaking 2 hours since I felt like I was in better shape all around than my previous races.

However, it was not to be...we started out too fast for me to maintain, and one thing I had not expected was that my lungs had benefitted from the condensed intensity, but my FEET had not built up their usual toughness.  Partway through the race I had enormous blisters and each step became excruciating.  I told Jared to finish without me when we were about halfway.  Highlights included onlookers with boomboxes playing "Thiller" and "Footloose" (one of my all time faves).  The bands themselves I found disappointing...perhaps because much of the time I seemed to arrive just after a song or set.

Then, a few miles from the end, my knee problem from the previous December kicked in with a vengence (likely because the blisters were throwing off my gait).  I was actually crying at mile 11 because my knee hurt to run, but then if I walked my blisters would hurt for that much longer.  Luckily at that point one of my favorite coworkers caught me.  Her plan was to go slow and walk through all the remaining water breaks. 

I finished with her in one ugly piece at 2:17:29, over 10 minutes slower than my previous times. 

Jared was able to break 2 hours, clocking in at 1:56:17 - so glad I encouraged him to push on alone!

I could barely walk around in the pouring rain to get my awesome swag.  I was impressed that they had "rain ponchos" ready for all of us and great goodies in addition to our medals.

The rest of our trip to Portland was amazing:


Nike store - duh
We hit up lululemon as well as Nike, and in addition to great gear, I got a free headband since lulu was giving them out if you'd run the race!

We read about the Sunshine Tavern in a magazine of Jared's and it was absolutely incredible. 

Fresh air seating

Ginger ale shanty

Dessert as an appetizer

I beat Jared at one of the arcade games!

The enormous burger we split

We spent the first night (before the race) at the Hotel Fifty, since it was affordable and right between the start and finish lines.  The second night, we splurged on a Starlight Guestroom at the Hotel Vintage Plaza.

It was too rainy and cloudy to see the stars, but I was so sore and blistered from the race, that we pretty much spent a day reading and eating snacks in the hotel room.  It was awesome to have so many comfy places to sit and all the gorgous natural light! 

We went out for Stumptown, and I even got coffee!  I'm usually a tea drinker, but this stuff was just delightful.

We woke up early on the final morning to beat the line for Voodoo Doughnut - we planned to go on our first day, but the line looked like Disneyland! 

SO worth it.

Our swag from Nike, lululemon,
Voodoo Doughnut, and Powell's Books!

While the trip as a whole was absolutely amazing, the race for me was horrible.  Nothing like crying on the course and then limping to lunch afterwards with some friends who also ran the race.  I was miserable and felt like CrossFit Endurance had kinda let me down.  I was sure that I would not be running. Ever. Again.

Well, after about 5 months of focusing on other things like paring down my schedule to something reasonable, I have not one, but THREE races on the horizon.

October: Pumpkin Push

 I ran this with friends in 2010 and volunteered with a friend in 2011.  This year, I'm doing both!  (Seriously, they let you run for free and give you a tee shirt!  All you have to do is be there at 5am...oh wait.)  Here's the inspiration for my costume:

I'm stoked! 

November: Winter Pinapple Classic

I ran this with Jared in 2008, 2009, and then missed running it in 2011 because I got the days wrong.

Still dating in 2008...with our pineapple baby!

This time, we will be running as part of a big team with our Mercer Island CrossFit family!  This Hawaiian-themed event is all for a good cause as 100% of the proceeds benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). Please support us by going to and clicking donate. Type in my name or Mercer Island CrossFit and then donate to the cause. Thanks for your support in the fight against blood cancers!

December: 12ks of Christmas

This has been a holiday tradition for Team Matson ever since we got married. Jared is not huge on Christmas, but he loves running with me and so this was a great thing to start doing in 2009.  2010 we ran again just the two of us, and in 2011, we roped our family in as well!

I'm hoping to have one of my best friends join us this year - this is the only race of the three that I'll really have to train for - eek!

You tell me: Any races coming up for you?  Have you ever cried during a race?  Do you have a favorite VoodDoo Doughnut?


  1. I am doing a Zombie Survival Dash 5k at the end of the month - Stoaked about that! I'd like to run a 10k, but haven't found one yet. In the spring I'm running the local St Louis Half marathon and I think I'm going to use mostly CFE to train for it. Hoping for a HUGE PR there.

  2. Aw, Zombie Survival sounds so fun!!! You'll have to let me know how CFE goes for you. I bet you'll kill your time goal!


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