Farewell, Portland Racing (or, a Rock ‘n’ Roll Portland Half Marathon Race Recap)
Readers, brace yourselves: Not only am I posting twice in one week, but I’m also recapping a race experience one day after it happened (as opposed to my usual 10 days later/never). Hooray for me tapping into that elusive blogging focus!
I woke up Sunday morning thinking, “How much would I hate myself if I just skipped this race altogether?” I mean, I had a stellar day at the Nike Women’s Half three weeks earlier, smashed my PR goal, and was unlikely to muster that same speed on the more challenging Portland course. So, was it really worth running? In the rain? When I could sleep in and drink coffee instead?
Thankfully the less lazy part of my brain slapped the excuses to the side. Of course I should run the half marathon. This was my last big race in Portland before my D.C. return. These miles were a goodbye to the city that hosted countless big running moments for me — adventuring through the night with five strangers in a van, clocking a new marathon PR, falling in love with the trails, forcing Dave to stumble with me over 30 miles of said trails, and so much more. Also, you know, I already paid for it.
It’s a good thing I already had that steely resolve because I would need it at the cold, rainy starting line.
As with nearly every Portland race I’ve done, the rain stopped just before the starting gun went off. The course took a familiar route along the waterfront up Naito Parkway before a hairpin turn sent us back toward downtown. Molly and I were running together, so the miles passed quickly. From there, we headed across the Hawthorne Bridge, around the eastside warehouses and east on Hawthorne all the way to 37th. I hadn’t given much thought to Hawthorne’s gradual incline before the race, but Molly and I definitely felt that hill (which cruelly fell during miles 7-9 — already tough during any half marathon).
We split up near the 10-mile marker after I got irritated that traffic cops were trying to stop runners so cars could cross. Nothing like a little anger to fuel a faster pace. I sped through the next couple miles and tackled some smaller hills. I probably overspent my energy a bit because I had to fight to keep the pace up for the final mile. I finished in 2:05:38.
Even though that’s a full 15 minutes slower than my Nike race three weeks ago, I’m pretty pleased with the result. Savoring the miles, enjoying the scenery and running with one of my favorite running buddies rather than hauling ass with my eyes glued to my Garmin was definitely the right choice for the day.