Tuesday, April 24, 2018


Starting on the field... through the start line and up the ramp to the streets!
Sorry for the delay in getting this posted, I was waiting for the photos to be posted and they took forever to come back! Anyways, onward! In the days leading up to this race I was pretty anxious and excited. I knew it would be a good test of my abilities and whether or not I was making any real progress. The conditions during Miami weren't really fair, so I was eager to see if I could beat my Holiday Half time and prove to myself that I was making progress, even if it didn't feel like it at times.


Early on in the race.
As I noted in the preview, the race didn't start until 9:30. Thank goodness! I still had to wake up at 7 and boogie out of my house at 7:30, but honestly that's not bad at all. Once summer hits and races locally are starting at 8 at the latest, that is the case even if it is right down the street. I stopped at the grocery store real quick to get an energy drink and a donut, the race breakfast of champions! The goal was not to be a spouting fountain of urine like coffee can do, so I figured a more compact drink would be a good choice. I've had this combo before and it usually works out well.

I made good time to Corvallis and rolled in there about 8:45. On my way there, the further south I got, the harder the rain was. I was definitely driving into the storm. The forecast showed a good chance of precipitation, however, it can be hard to tell what exactly that is going to look like. Sometimes the forecast for off and on sprinkles and steady rain can look the same. 70% chance of what? Anyways, the closer I got to Corvallis, the harder the rain was and the darker the clouds were. I was mentally prepared to run in the rain though, so that wasn't going to stop me. As soon as the race started I knew I wouldn't really care about it.

After parking at Reser Stadium, where the race would start, I wandered toward packet pickup, umbrella in hand. That process was pretty smooth and then almost immediately I had the urge to "go" - which was awesome! Usually I don't have any issues during the race even though my body rarely cooperates like that, but it was still a nice mental relief to have that done and not have to worry about it. While other runners were huddling for shelter under the stands at Reser I went back to my car and chilled until 9:20, at which time I wandered to the start line.

FANTASTIC FIRST FIVE (8:16, 8:14, 8:16, 8:18, 8:30)

Sufficiently wet.
The race started on the field at Reser Stadium, which was cool. Again, I would have much rather finished there, but this worked too. The OSU Marching Band was there to play some tunes to get us pumped up, including the OSU Fight Song. Excellent. Anyways, after the national anthem, the race was about to begin. My friend Glenn found me in the chute and we exchanged wishes of good luck. I lined up halfway between the 8 minute and 9 minute sign, reflecting my desired pace.

Once the race started we had to run immediately up a small ramp out of the stadium and onto the adjoining street. Not an issue on fresh legs! After that ramp the race was given full right of way on the roads so there was plenty of room to stretch my legs. Crowding was not an issue at all. I settled into what I thought was the appropriate half marathon pace. Upon checking my watch, I would find my pace being somewhere between 8:05 and 8:10. I couldn't believe it - it felt so easy! I purposely tried to slow myself down, knowing that wouldn't be sustainable. While I still ran it too fast, it was a good sign it felt so easy. If you start a half marathon and the pace feels hard at the beginning... you are in for a world of hurt.

The first four and a half miles are pretty dang flat. A couple minor bumps but nothing major. I was able to get into a nice rhythm. I knew the pace I was running probably wasn't sustainable, I didn't have visions of averaging 8:20, but I knew it wasn't tragically fast. Again, in a half marathon you can get away with running a little too fast in the beginning. Marathon, no way, but in this race, I knew even if my pace fell to 9:00 toward the end, I would have built up enough of a cushion to still hit my goal. There was a decent, but brief, hill around mile 4.5 which is why that mile was a little slower. Rain at this point was moderate and I was definitely wet.

MIDDLING MIDDLE MILES (8:57, 7:56, 8:22, 8:31, 8:43)

This bridge is actually around mile 11.
Alright, now was the time for the real test, the big hill! Honestly, it wasn't bad at all. It was pretty gradual, even more so than the Shamrock Run, so I just kept a consistent effort and plugged my way up it. You could definitely see the road rising in the distance but it wasn't a hill that totally pooped you out. Toward the end of the hill mile (it basically ended right at the mile six marker) I looked at my watch and noticed I was right on a 9:00/mile pace. I pressed a bit to get it below 9. Now, if I could hold on the rest of the way under 9, I would have another feather in my cap, as during the Holiday Half my final few were above that mark.

After the uphill mile was a completely downhill mile. Basically the same thing I did just in reverse. I didn't look at my watch once during this mile and just let my body dictate the pace. I knew if I got too focused on a certain time and pushed myself I could blow out my legs. So steady as she goes, even effort. It was the perfect kind of downhill, gradual, so it gave you extra speed but didn't hit your knees too hard. I was very pleased when my watch beeped and I saw I went below 8. Excellent! The question now would be what my legs felt like after going up and down that hill. When would the race start catching up with me?

As you can see, I nearly resumed my previous pace once things flattened back out. However, I definitely could feel the miles accumulating and my legs tiring a bit. The next couple of miles included some minor uphills, and that coupled with the building fatigue led to the 8:31 and 8:43. Still pretty good though! 8:43 was still below my "A" goal pace! During this time a man was pacing right behind me, I could hear him breathing pretty well. After about a mile he says "sorry, I'm not stalking you, you are just running the perfect pace," haha. Eventually he ran past me. Rain at this point was steady and hard. Totally soaked, head to toe.


Must... finish... strong...
Okay, these alliterations are really becoming a stretch. I was definitely tired at this point. The minor, rolling ups and downs of the Bald Peak Natural Area seemed to take the final bounce out of my legs. It made sense. Thirteen miles right now is my limit. During most of my training I ran ten on the weekends, and threw in a twelve here and there. This is not like when I run a half during marathon training and thirteen is no big deal! So, despite my legs tiring, I was determined to finish strong. These final three miles were very gently downhill, I never really noticed it, so I made a goal of finishing them all under 9:00 mile.

My body was screaming at me to walk, but I ignored it. I've been through much worse and kept running. Just keep chugging Thomas. The rain at some point had LET LOOSE. It was seriously like a tropical thunderstorm, only there was no lightning and it was 45 degrees. You could see the rain hitting the ground and bouncing back into the air. The sound of the rain was almost deafening. It was crazy. Definitely the worst weather I have raced in. But you know what? It was fucking fun! I was already a drowned rat, so bring it on! Made you feel alive, running in that weather, and it was definitely memorable!

Overall, these miles were a slog but doable. My cardio felt great, that wasn't holding me back at all, it was all the conditioning in my legs. Again, thirteen miles is a stretch, but it was doable. I had to watch check a little in that last mile to make sure it was below nine, but otherwise I just kept my head down and ground it out. Unlike five years ago, where you were a couple blocks from the finish line but they routed you around to add an extra mile, this year the finish was pretty direct. You saw it and you ran toward it, right oustide Gill Coliseum next to Reser Stadium. I finished that final tenth of a mile at an 8:06 pace, so my legs weren't completely dead. A couple pumps of the fist and I was through the finish line. 1:51:30 on my watch! Holy hell! I blew it out of the water!


Steps from the finish and a PAPR!
Even though I drank at every aid station along the way, I chugged a bottle of water as soon as I finished. I was thirsty! I also wandered around and ate a couple chunks of a bagel. I was going to wait for my friend Glenn to finish, but I was so wet and it was pretty cold... I knew within a few minutes my core temperature would begin to drop drastically. No beer garden for me this year, and I'm going to bet they had a lot leftover!

I hurried toward the car and along the way I definitely started to get cold. It was still pouring. In a brilliant flash of foresight, I didn't bring a change of clothes or even a towel. So once I got to the car I just blasted the heat as high it would go. It would have to do. I texted Glenn to say I was sorry I couldn't wait for him, then headed out of town. Along the way I stopped at Dairy Queen and got a Bacon Cheeseburger. Yum!

The drive home was pretty uneventful. NPR and the heat so hot the LCD panel on my dashboard started to freak out. Good times. I was home shortly after 1:00pm and all told my legs felt pretty good. Definitely worn, but I was able to go up and down stairs without too much complaint. Took a long bath and then had a lazy Sunday before going to a birthday celebration for my aunt. More guilt-free food was consumed there. In the days after the race my legs were somewhat sore but nothing out of the usual. I am getting faster despite not focusing on speed and my legs are feeling back to normal - very encouraging! A very enjoyable and memorable race, despite the weather, and it felt good to finish cap the training cycle by smashing my goal.

Official Chip Time: 1:51:27, 8:31/mile. 206/958 overall, 147/458 male, 24/56 M30-34.


  1. Wow! So impressive. And it makes me look like such a baby for not running in the monsoon we had here. Looking at your photos, though, it doesn’t look fun in the slightest 😂😂 Congrats on such a great time! That’s faster than my PR when I was in great shape. You are basically the poster child for not letting psoriatic arthritis hold you back! Haha

    1. Thanks! Yeah, honestly it wasn't bad and was a fun memory. Definitely different than the 37 and pouring with 20 degree windchill Boston had though!