Saturday, April 21, 2012


And we're off!
Finally, a race I didn't have to get up at the butt crack of dawn for! Okay, I still had to get up early for a weekend (about normal work time) but still, it was nice to have one so close to home. This race, the Earth Day Run, would be taking place at Cook Park, just down the road from my apartment.

For some reason, which I don't remember at this point, I was set on having a donut for breakfast before the race. So I left the house fifteen minutes earlier than I needed to (I know, shocking) and headed down the hill to Safeway. To get to the donuts I had to walk by the in store Starbucks, and hey, that sounded good. So five minutes later I had a glazed old fashioned and a Venti Skinny Vanilla Latte. A delicious way to start the day!

Anyways, I drove up the hill, picked up Libbie, then headed toward Cook Park. We initially parked behind the football stadium fearing the park lot was full, but then received word from Jeramy (Libbie's ex-brother in law and employee of the race organizer) that the lower lot had room. So we parked a lot closer.

We went to get our t-shirts and bibs only to find out they ran out of safety pins (which are ironically named considering the amount of times I pricked myself with them). Anyways, they were scrambling for more but never found any. Luckily I was able to spot one strewn on a nearby table and grabbed it. So my bib was attached with one safety pin in the center. Actually worked out, but come on guys!

If you didn't see it coming already, I really had to pee. I had peed once already but as the race was gearing up to start I had to pee again. I was able to find a bathroom near the start line that wasn't crowded and relieved myself again. Maybe that coffee wasn't a good idea.

Upon exiting the bathroom I couldn't find Libbie. I started wandering toward the front of pack to the start line and apparently Libbie had the same idea because we found each other once again. Shortly after that the race started. Lib shot off like a gun along with most of the people at the front of the pack. I matched their speed because I wanted to run a hard race, I had been running at lot at this distance and really wanted to push myself. My goal was to beat my Shamrock time.

Eventually I passed Libbie and settled into near the front of the pack. There were a few people out way ahead of course, but I was with all the fast non-athletic freaks. I should mention that this event had two races, a five mile race and the 5k, so a lot of the better runners might have elected the 5 miler. So while it felt good to be near the front, the field was nothing to write home about.

After 3/4 of a mile in the flat park, the course switched to city streets and had you climbing a small hill. Nothing like the hill at Shamrock, but still, sizable. I passed a few people on this as I was really charging up it. I was going to leave everything out there.

At the top of the hill we took a left and ran along Durham on the sidewalk past Tigard High. At this point our race mixed in with the five mile race, which had started earlier. It seemed like most the 5 mile runners at this point were about 10:00 mile pacers, so I was needing to pass them and the sidewalk wasn't super wide.  Luckily, there were TWO sidewalks for a while (dunno why) so I was able to take the SLIGHTLY longer sidewalk route and bust past them. I then settled into a pretty empty pocket, although I passed a  few more people while on Durham.

After about a mile on Durham we turned left into the neighborhoods. After that first hill everything was pretty flat and this was no different. At this point I was TIRED, I was running a really fast clip for me, a pace I never ran at home, and I was starting to feel it. I was hoping the neighborhood would give me back some elevation from that hill, but no dice.

All that elevation was given back in the course of about 50 feet. There was a STEEP downhill after leaving the neighborhood streets to go back into the park. It had been rainy and was mossy, wet, and slippery. I shuffled down it slowly. If it was dry and non slippery I probably would have walked faster down it. One guy bolted past me and ALMOST bit it. Barely hung on. Another guy blasted past me and didn't almost face plant like the other. I think most took it safe like me.

Once at the bottom I resumed my quick pace, if anything I was running faster. I knew the end was soon (we were back in the park!) so I was really pushing it. I guess I misjudged how much I had left because that fucking finish line would NOT come. There were TINY hills in the park that seemed murderous. I was running on fumes at this point but keeping that same fast pace. Here finish line finish line finish line. Where are you?

I will say I passed those two guys who blew past me on the downhill. So HA to them.

Anyways, finally we rounded a bend and the finish line was in sight. I crossed it with all I had. The race lacked a clock, so I had NO idea what my time was. After finishing I put my hands behind my head and just wandered around, eventually planning to weave back to near the finish line to cheer on Libbie. I was exhausted. I had left everything out there. I dry heaved a couple of times. Within a minute or two I was okay and went to watch Libbie finish.

Afterwards we went to the beer garden and enjoyed a beer. We also had a garden burger. They were good. We were hanging around because after looking at the results it turned out I had finished 13th overall and 2nd in my age division.

The awards finally came and I was announced in FIRST place for males 25-29. I guess the overall winner was from my division, so he wasn't considered in the age awards. So, alright! I got a "gold" medal out of the deal and adoration from the crowd (yeah right). Anyway, that was cool. Again, shitty field, but still, felt good!

I didn't quite remember my Shamrock time so I was a little disappointed when I saw that I was a few seconds slower. However, there are factors to take into consideration:
  • This course was over .10 miles longer than a 5k
  • The up on the hill was never rewarded, in fact, I lost time in the "down" part
  • I had to weave through the five milers on the upper sidewalk after doing no weaving at Shamrock
I don't get fixated on raw numbers so I wasn't too disappointed. I ran harder and faster than I did at Shamrock. Just because the time was a few seconds slower doesn't discount that. I rocked this race!

Official chip time:  23:41, 7:37 pace (based on 5k mileage, I mapped the actual route with my time and it was 7:18), 2/13 M2529 (I'm not going to say I was really first), and 13/279 overall.

 My "where is the fucking clock?" finish line face.