Sunday, May 27, 2012


Tired near the finish line.

My first run in my hometown! It's like training super hard for the Olympics when they happen to be in your home country- there is a lot of pressure. Okay, just kidding, not really. While this race did start at the Tualatin "Lake," we actually hit three cities - Tigard, Tualatin, and Durham, with the bulk of the race actually being in Tigard.

The real important thing about this race was that it was my first non-5k race. Corvallis, Shamrock, and the Earth Day Run were all 5k. This was double that. I wasn't worried about the distance though; I had been training for it, upping my runs to 4, then 5, then 6 miles. I recently did over 6.5 miles through Fanno Creek all under 8 minutes a mile. Had I attempted this race previously I would have had a much harder (and slower) time with it.

I got the itch to do longer distances around the time of the Shamrock Run. I remember looking at this race before the Shamrock Run and being relieved there was a 5k too, I didn't want to have to do 10k. However, that soon changed.

For one, 5k was getting pretty easy and my runs were less than 25 minutes. Two, I started talking with other running friends and co-workers and the 5k was not really a respected distance. I had recently decided to become a "casually serious" runner and just doing 5Ks would not fly. Lastly, at some point I decided I was going to do the 2013 Portland Marathon, so I would need to train up. Oh, and Libbie also signed us up for some half marathon through rolling hills. Needless to say, the 5k distance was old news and it was onto bigger and better things!

This was a substantially bigger event than the Earth Day Run (same race production company) with about 1,000 participants compared to 300 (rough estimates). The pre-race routine was pretty normal except that the line for bathrooms was ridiculous. They actually pushed the start time back a little so more people could get through the line, but needless to say, I was glad I didn't have coffee this time around!

I lined up right near the front of the pack. I am NOT going to dodge people if I can avoid it, so I have been making this a routine. I'm not right at the very front, which is for the freaky fast people, but I like to be able to cross the line within a few seconds. That greatly reduces the amount of weaving one has to do. Got the usual pre-race jitters, basically just realizing that is 8am and I'm about to run my ass off. Soon enough we off, taking a quick left/right combo to get us running into Tualatin Community Park.

By the time we hit the park the field had thinned and there was plenty of room. There was a group of real athletes who shot off, but I was definitely still toward the front of the pack. Scaled up for field size, I was about in the same position I was at for the Earth Day Run. I could already feel my lungs burning... this pace, while sustainable, was going to challenge me.

Course map

Felt good all the way through Tualatin Community Park and then into Cook Park. Back up that hill from the Earth Day Run, not as much of a problem this time. Maybe I am really in better shape. Still wore me out a little, but I maintained pace without a hitch. We didn't go down Durham quite as far this time before cutting back into the park. This time, we were rewarded for that uphill portion, having a nice downhill break in the neighborhoods back to the park.

By this time I had really settled in a pocket, nobody was really passing me and I wasn't really passing anyone. I was slowly making up ground on a woman but she was a good 50 feet ahead of me. The route through Cook Park detoured from the Earth Day route, eventually having us run on a non-paved portion of trail. While it was nice to reduce the pounding on my legs, the trail was covered in barkdust and soft from recent rains, so it was more work to get through this part.

Eventually we headed out of Cook Park back on the path in which we came. It was in this portion I finally passed that woman in front of me (I had been breathing like a hippo in labor behind her for many minutes) and she said "good job" as I passed, which was nice. I told her good job back and looked ahead... not a person in sight. That would change soon.

The trail to Cook Park merged into the trail to Durham City Park and we joined up with the 5kers. Somewhat of a clusterfuck ensued. Unlike the Earth Day Run, when I merged with the 5 milers then at least they were running, at the Rum Run, people running my speed had to deal with the walkers of the 5k. Meaning the ENTIRE 5k field was in front as an obstacle course. Great. The 10kers were spread out by now, so as we passed we were somewhat of a curiousity to these people. They could hear you coming up from behind and would turn, looking at you funny. We were like a novelty item - "oh look, there is one of these crazy serious runners!"

By this time we were more than halfway done, so just imagine the last half having me do some weaving. Not too bad... eventually I caught up to the slow 5k joggers and then passed them and things were a little more spread out. We also had the whole road in the neighborhoods through Durham and then also all of Upper Boones Ferry. I definitely was not able to run a straight line though, at one point almost taking myself out with a bush as I tried to skip past someone.

The neighborhoods through Durham were TOUGH. They were all uphill and this hill was probably three times as long as the hill earlier. I was gassed at the top. I didn't quite maintain a brisk pace up this hill, but I was probably still doing a nine minute mile. Enough for the 5k racers to look at me like I was crazy for running that fast up it. Finally we hit Boones and it was nearly all downhill from there.

I tried to take advantage of this stretch as much as I could but I wasn't running quite as fast as I would have liked to, as I was really drained from the hill. I was still running a good clip, but I wasn't about to go into a full on sprint. Before I knew it we leveled off into the Tualatin streets and headed back toward the lake.

Slightly rested up from the downhill, I knew we would be doing almost a full lap around the lake before hitting the finish line. It was pretty uneventful, I was pushing it but it wasn't a full on sprint like in Corvallis. As I crossed the finish line I made a mental note of my time (a clock, hallelujah) which was around 47 1/2 minutes. I really didn't have a goal for this race except maybe maintaining my recent 5k results for an entire 10k (which I was able to do).

Oh, one more thing of note. That girl who I passed earlier was sprinting at the end and almost caught up to me. In the picture at the top of the post you can see her white shirt some distance behind me, but by the time we crossed the finish line (right), I had only beaten her by one second (finish line was that pad between the two cones). I picked it up at tad bit at the end because I could hear her closing in. Nice try! I like my face in this picture... oh running. You can also see I switched out of my running gait pretty damn quick!

No dry heaving after this one. I grabbed a water then circled around to cheer on Libbie. Her arrival took a bit longer than I was used to (about twice as long... weird, huh) but before long she charged across the finish line. She just missed her goal of less than an hour at 1:00:18 overall.

After the race we picked up some free food and drinks (Jamba Juice!) and then headed toward the beer garden. Everybody got a free beer and a free mojito. We stood in the beer line first and got one. Mine was delicious! We then stood in the LONG mojito line... it took probably half an hour before we got our mojito. It wasn't very strong at all and somewhat of a disappointment. We then got free shoyu chicken at the adjoining Hawaiian cafe. That was really yummy.

Once we were done eating we headed home. Upon checking the official results we saw I wasn't even close to placing this time, so there was really no point in hanging around after we got all our free stuff.

Overall, this was a very successful race for me. Can't complain at all - did really well on my first non 5k!

Official chip time: 47:31, 7:29/mi pace, 6/27 M2529, 38/548 overall.

Mile 1: 7:05
Mile 2: 7:29 (hill 1)
Mile 3: 7:22
Mile 4: 7:10
Mile 5: 7:29 (hill 2)
Mile 6: 7:23 (end of hill 2)
Finish: 3:31 (extrapolated 7:07 mile pace)

Course was a little longer than 10k. Splits above are from Endomondo on my phone but should be pretty accurate.