Last weekend I headed up to Portland to visit my very best friend Alisa! She and her husband "Mr. Pi" were very gracious in hosting me for the Race for the Roses weekend. We had a wonderful time but I will start at the beginning.
This was NOT the weekend for sleeping in. Despite having to be at the airport at 7:00 am Kevin and I headed out to celebrate a friend's birthday and didn't get home until 2:00 am! You only live once though right?
I arrived in Portland a little tired and a little dehydrated but we had a busy day ahead of us. First stop was packet pick up and that literally took 5 minutes. Then we headed back to Alisa's place to pick up Mr. Pi and headed out to lunch. He had just finished a 20 mile run!
(I just realized Alisa and I took NO pictures together except at the race - how sad. I have been so bad with the camera lately.)
We ate lunch at a chic little place called 50 Plates. If there is one thing I did well in Portland it was eat - there was so many good places and it seemed like Alisa and Mr. Pi had been to almost all of them! We spent the rest of the day shopping and catching up. Dinner was delicious pizza from Lucky Labrador Brewing Company. Then it was early to bed - the alarm was set to go off at 5:15 am.
5:15 am came way too early. First chore was to decide what to wear. The reason I didn't do this the night before was it was supposed to rain overnight so I didn't know if it would still be raining in the am. After checking the weather I settled on shorts and a tank. Even if it is cold outside I know how hot I get.
Mr. Pi dropped us off at the race start at 6:30 am. The start was at the convention center so that meant we could wait inside AND have indoor bathrooms!! We did the usual pre-race stuff and started to move outside around 6:50 am.
When I had originally signed up for this race I was hoping this could be my PR race, however, I didn't anticipate not being able to run while studying for the bar and therefore had not been able to train as I had originally planned. Thus, my goal went from PR to just going out and having fun. To be honest, I was even a little worried about finishing since my prior longs had not been as great as I had hoped.
Waiting for the race to start!
And we are off!
Miles 1 - 3 were pretty uneventful. We ran over a bridge and along the beautiful waterfront and I kept a pace right under a 10 min/mile. There were some abortion protesters with some pretty graphic signs I could have done without, but overall a great start.
Mile 1: 9:51
Mile 2: 9:55
Mile 3: 9:51
(I am in the middle of the picture w/the black top)
Alisa had told me a little about the course so I was slightly prepared - however, she did NOT tell me about the uphill climb from miles 3 - 5. When I passed the mile 5 marker at the top I was sure I was going to get a PW on this course. These were slow miles:
Mile 4: 10:52
Mile 5: 10:25
However, when one goes uphill there is usually a downhill after wards and luckily for me there was! Miles 5 - 6 were all downhill - Mile 6: 9:45.
The next few miles were so fun running through the downtown area. I got to see a lot of the places were had walked by just the day before.
Mile 7: 10:03
Mile 8: 10:22
From about mile 8 to 10 we did probably my least favorite thing a race can do - an out and back where you can see the runners right on the other side. To make this one worse, it was in an industrial area so there wasn't even anything pretty to look at. At least on my double back I got to see Alisa who was right behind me and that broke it up a bit.
Mile 9: 9:51
Mile 10: 10:01
At this point I realized I was on track to possibly get my second best half ever! My PR was out of reach but I would be thrilled to get my second best time - especially after how crappy some of my longs runs had been. I focused on just maintaining a 10:00 min/mile pace. The scenery really picked up again and we were back downtown and by the water.
Mile 11: 9:44
Mile 12: 9:55
Mile 13: 10:01
Last .1: 8:57
Officially my second best 1/2 marathon time ever!
After I finished, I grabbed some water and headed back to watch Alisa finish.
Overall, this was a great race - beautiful course, wonderful weather and great company. My only complaint - NO MEDALS!!!!! Yeah, I get it - save some money and the environment but I love getting my medals and would happily have paid a little extra if it meant getting one.
Afterwards we showered and headed out to grab breakfast. We went to another awesome place called Isabel's where I had the King Cakes - three pancakes with bananas and peanut butter. Who ever decided to put peanut butter in pancakes is a genius! They were so rich though I only finished about 1/3.
The rest of the day was spent shopping (yes, MORE shopping - gotta take advantage of no sales tax in Oregon) and just hanging out. I also discovered that a wonderful store I thought was only in Portland has locations in California! It was another early evening as I had to be at the airport by 5:30 am.
Overall, I had a wonderful weekend getaway. Thank you so much Alisa and Mr. Pi for hosting me! 10th half marathon (and second fastest at that) in the books!