Sunday, March 18, 2012


 Laurel, Amanda, and me at the finish line.

Again, this report is being written a few months after the actual race, so the details might not be as sharp had I written it shortly after the race.

Looking back on my Endomondo training log, I didn't really train super hard for this race. I was running a 5k twice a week... that was about it. I was running good times, I had recently brought my average 5k time down from the low 30s to the low 25s (it was this strange thing where I would shave 30 seconds off, match that time the next time out, then shave 30 more seconds off, match, shave 30, etc.). By this time I had kind of plateaued from that improvement and I was pretty much okay with that, I had the ability to run sub 7:30 miles and that was pretty good.

This was also my first race since my first ever race, the Corvallis Fall Festival Run. So I knew I would smash that time. I believe my goal going into the race was sub 25, but I didn't think about that too much. Unlike some, I don't focus too much on those things; yes I want to PR, but as long as I run hard and feel like I did my best, then I am fine with it. The results will come.

Another early morning, albeit not as early as Corvallis. Libbie and I drove to Lloyd Center, who roped off their parking, so we parked a few blocks away. A stream of bright green was headed toward the MAX stop. Obviously a lot of other people had our same plan. The race had over 30,000 participants, so trying to park downtown would have been a challenge. I remember the MAX being packed and people chattering about the race.

We got to the event with plenty of time to go. It was COLD, upper 30s I believe, and threatening rain. Libbie and I went potty and then just kind of bounced around, trying to stay warm. Eventually we lined up as the 5k was about to get underway (there are three races, the 5k, an 8k, and a 15k). I also vaguely remember something about start times being pushed back due to an Amtrak train. In fact, I think I specifically remember us being lined up to go and them announcing to a collective groan it would be another 5 minutes because the 8kers hadn't cleared the turnaround point or something.

This was the first race I ever did that had you line up by mile time. Good thing too, as there was a shit ton of people. I lined up with the 7-8 minute group, which was far more sparse than the 8-9 minute group. In fact, I was toward the front of the entire field, in the first 500 or so of the maybe 10k in the race. This race does draw a lot of "casual" runners, so I am glad I didn't have to weave in and out of them. I talked with a guy and we bonded over leaving our running counterparts behind in the slower mile time corrals and also how fucking cold it was.

Finally, we were off! My 'group' shot out at about the speed I wanted and we weren't too densely packed so I was in a grove right away. In fact, within a few hundred yards we had plenty of room and seemed almost spread out (we also had the whole road and there were 9,000 behind us). I fell into a nice pace that was pushing me physically but wasn't going to burn me out.

It was fun running downtown. Before I knew it we had the switchback and started back toward the finish line. The only obstacle left was a sizeable hill along Broadway that was very ominous on the MapMyRun route. I hadn't really done any hill training, the 5k route I ran at home had a gradual uphill during the final mile that you could definitely feel, so I was hoping that prepared me well.

Finally it was hill time and it was definitely steeper than the hill at home, but I ran up it with surprising ease. I was passing a decent amount of folk at this point, so either I was more trained for hills than I realized (unlikely), or I hadn't burnt myself out in the first 2.5 miles and actually kept a sustainable pace that didn't cause me to die at this point (likely). Anyways, by the top I wanted it to be over as I was definitely gasping for air, but I managed to keep a good clip up the hill.

Immediately you then start downhill. I seemed to remember that you went downhill and then turned to the left and the finish line was maybe three or four blocks from there. I was having some pain in my left knee recently that was super aggravated by downhill running, so my plan was to keep it in control down the hill (still fast, but not unleashing myself) and then sprint those final few blocks to make up for not gunning it down the hill.

So down the hill I went, no pain at all, but there were certainly people passing me who were gunning it. I was probably doing 7:30/mile here. I mentally had to check myself, it was a little discouraging seeing all these people fly past me, but I knew I had to run my own race.

Quickly the bottom of the hill came and around the corner I went. Now to bust past those people in the last little stretch... here we go! Or not. The finish line was half a block around the corner. Oops. Oh well. I also forgot to look at the clock (I was a little disoriented at this point) so I had no idea how fast I ran it. I knew I had a good time, definitely sub 25, so I didn't worry about it too much.

I ran into Laurel at the finish line, which was a total surprise. We were all wearing the green official race tee (along with 75% of people) so we thought we had no chance of actually recognizing each other other than arranging a meet up via cell phone. So that was cool. We took our picture with the finish line in the background and chatted about our respective races.

We didn't have the same luck finding Libbie, the stream of people going through the finish line was considerable, so we ended up going to find her based on the designated meeting point we had set up pre-race. Unfortunately the start and finish line were like eight blocks apart so it was quite the hoof. Eventually we found each other and then wandered toward the beer garden. There I had myself a beer and a DELICIOUS cup of Salmon Chowder. My God it was so good. Really rich, but son of a bitch. I had Libbie's cup too because of the dairy.

Eventually we split from Laurel and Co. because they wanted to go out for a normal breakfast while Libbie and I had our hearts set on Violetta burgers as a reward. So we maxed up there and indulged. Yum! Surprisingly I think we were the only Shamrock people there and were one of the first customers (they opened at 11). After that, we MAXed back to Lloyd and the car and drove back to Tigard.

Overall I was happy with the race. When I finished I wasn't really tired at all because I was pacing myself down the hill. So there was no climatic finish where I stumbled across the line gasping for air. So that did leave me feeling like I could have pressed it harder, but in reality I really couldn't have. I ran a perfect clip to the hill, made it up the hill well, and then ran down the hill at just the right speed as to not screw my knee up. So really, what else could I have done? The positioning of these events didn't leave me exhausted at the finish line, but it's easy to see why.

Final results: 23:39, 7:37 pace, 42/482 M2529, 275/9290 overall

A not so great picture of me at the finish line.