Sunday, April 1, 2012

Race for the Roses, Half Marathon Report 4/1/2012

Race for the Roses Half Marathon Report
Portland, Oregon
April 1, 2012

Time:  2:09:35 (9:48/mi)
28:41 (9:13)

With Ironman training in full swing, my training plan can prove to be arduous at times and often challenging to find motivation to get out and train day after day after day.  So, I like to throw in an event here and there to break up the monotony and help keep me motivated to get the training done. 

I had heard lots of great things about the Race for the Roses events before and thought I'd give it a try.  My training plan has me doing a big training weekend with a Swim, Bike and Run, all at about half-iron distances so this worked out well.  But, given the crappy, cold and rainy weather on Saturday (my birthday), my motivation was not where it should have been.  During what was supposed to be my 4-hr bike ride, after getting cold and wet within the first hour I decided to bag it and started heading home.  I chose to take the Salmon Creek Trail home.  But due to the week of heavy rain the trail was flooded in some spots.  No problem going through the first few puddles, but the last was a freaking doozy.  I never got into the deepest part, but when I decided to turn around, the water was almost up to my knee in the water.  I slowed too much and then couldn't get my foot out of the clip and fell over in the water!!!  Splash!  Soaked up to my neck in cold water.  Ugh.  No one around to witness such an event, I laughed out loud and thought how silly this was.  Now thoroughly miserable, I needed to hightail it home.

So Sunday morning I awoke to cold temps and some wind.  It was an early 7am start so I had to get up very early.  Ugh.  Got down to the event site with Wendy.  It was at the Convention Center which was awesome because we could go inside and warm up.  They did a group warm up session and then we went outside.   Lots of people, great energy, it was going to be a nice day.

My plan was to go very easy today and just have a good time.  Try to average about 9:30 per mile, if I was feeling great, maybe I would try to finish close to 2 hours.  As we took off things were going great until just after the 1st aid station at mile 2.  I swigged down some water and that spurred some stomach cramps.  Uh oh.  We started up a long climb up Naito Parkway (double uh-oh).  I knew there was an aid station at the top, lets just pray that there will be porta-potties there, too.

Thankfully there were.  After about 5 minutes of fussing over my run belt, hydration belt, coat, etc and getting the job done, I had lost lots of time.  But at least I felt better.  I started down the hill.  I was flying fast. 

As I crossed the 5 mile mark the time was about 55 minutes.  Well behind my projected time.  Hmmm, let's see what I can do.  As I came into downtown, I saw Wendy on the side!  Yay!  It was so great to see her.  I also saw her at about mile 2.5. 

I was passing runners left and right.  I felt like a super star.  My pace was about an 8:30 or better.  As I crossed each mile I calculated how far behind schedule I was and could see that I was making a dent in the 6 minute deficit. 

When we got down onto First Ave the wind was pretty stiff and after we turned around we were heading right into it.  Although I was making some great time picking my way through the pack, I had to draft off the runner in front of me to ease the wind.  Some runners I got pretty close to and could see them turn around as I went by.  Hey that's racing you know? 

There were pace leaders in the event and when I started down the hill back at mile 5 I saw the 11:00/mile pace leader go by.  I could now see the 10:00/mile pace leader ahead about 100 yards.  I was gaining on him and knew I could catch him, but I was getting tired.  I was having to keep the pace up and I was starting to hurt.  At mile 10 I finally caught and passed the 10:00/mile leader.  Sweet!

The last 5K of the race, I wanted to have a good showing, so I hit the lap button my GPS to compare my paces.  We were now down along the Portland waterfront and we have finally caught up to the 10K runners.  There were lots of spectators and cheering.  Great mojo.  I was trying to hustle as best as I could, but my feet felt very heavy.  It was getting harder and harder to pick them up and put them down.  Ugh.  Come on, let's get this done!

We headed up the ramp to the Broadway Bridge and oh it was hard.  I hadn't been passed by a runner since I descended the hill at mile 5 and I could see runners starting to gain on me as I went up the ramp.  Oh no you don't!  As I got to the top I was pleased that no one had passed me and my new goal was to finish without anyone passing me!  Suddenly another runner passed me on the bridge deck. She had a strong pace and I kicked it up a notch.  I looked at my GPS, we had about a quarter-mile to go.  Come on!  I can do this for 2 minutes!  We were going at a 7:30/mile pace.  Oh Lordy this hurt.  I hung with her for as long as I could, but she then kicked it even faster and I couldn't maintain.  Had to let her go!  Bummer.  I saw Wendy just before the finish and it was so great to see her once again!  came into the finish and was pleased with my time of 2:09:35.  Not bad considering I spent so much time in the porta-potty.

My pace for the final 5K was a 9:13.  Respectable after running 10 miles already! 

Next event coming up will be a half-iron distance triathlon in 2 weeks.  Another important stepping stone in the training for Ironman!  Wooo hooo!

Thanks for your support

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