Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Portland Rock'n'Roll Half Marathon 2013!

 I have completed the first half of my Pacific Peaks Challenge, the Portland Rock'n'Roll Half Marathon. I completed it with a time of 2:29:33. Definetly not the best time I've had, still trying to beat my very first half at the Seattle Rock'n'Roll Half :)

We drove to Portland, since its only a 2.5 to 3 hours drive from Seattle (depending on the traffic). The drive itself was pretty easy, didn't hit too much traffic at 11:00am. The hotel we stayed at was accross the river from Downtown, so my husband and son stayed at the hotel room and I went to pick up my race packed at the Portland Expo Center. The expo was really nicely put together, tons of vendors and easy to navigate through. I picked up my packed and the race shirt. I bought some GU enegry gels for the race, got some fun pictures taken at the Travellers booth and then headed back to the hotel. Just a side note, I always use the Honey Stinger Energy gummies for my choise of energy boost for the run, but since I've been doing a lot of runs lately, I've come to realize that they are just too bulky to carry around and it also takes me forever to chew them and they are so sweet that it is necessary to drink water right after. It has been hard for me to figure out when to eat them in relation to where the water stations are and I always mess it up and then end up with a super sweet taste in my mouth that's not pleasant. Honestly I didn't notice a difference with the GU VS the Honey Stinger, I went with the fruity flavors, none of them really taste great, but at least the GU doesn't linger around and you can shoot it down fast and wash it down with water quickly. This will be my new choise for running.

My husband dropped me off at the starting line around 7:00AM, the race started at 8:00AM. I always like to be early, just in case (I had a close call at the Tinkerbell Half). They had ton of Honey Buckets, which was nice, so no lines. Water, banana and bagel booths for some pre-race snack. I never eat before my races, so I always look forward to the bananas and some water, I try not to drink too much, I hate taking mid-run bathroom breaks. Then I just hung out for a while, I prefer not to check any gear, those lines can get super long after the race. I was in coral 23, which once I got there I realized was the last coral :( I don't know how that happened, but I was not happy, only because I don't walk during my runs unless it is absoultely necessary and it is so annoying trying to run around all the walkers as you try to make your way through for more of an open area.

I waited around my coral for a while, finally we heard the starting gun go off and there went the Elites and corral 1. It took just under a half an hours for them to make it to our corral, when we finally got our turn. I started off pretty easy, I was happy with my 5K split at 31:43 (you can see the breakdown of my run on my RACE page). As I got to the first bridge, which was at just under 5 miles, I stopped to take a quick picture of the river and the bridges and I got this super sharp pain in my right knee, like someone stuck a knife in it. The pain was so bad that I could not even take a step forward. Now, this was only at mile five and all I kept thinking about was how am I going to finish this race. So I started running/limping or whatever you would call that, I guess not really running, but my knee started feeling a lot better and adventually there was no pain. I'm thinking that this just must have been something weird that happened and its all gone now, man was I wrong though. I stopped at the next water station to take my GU and get some water and the same exact thing happened again. Then I realized that I was okay as long as I kept running and did not stop, super weird, but maybe common for people, I'm not sure, this was the first time its ever happened to me. Anyway, I was thinking to myself, just keep running and you'll be fine. Everything was going well, until I come to an intersection and the Portland Police stops all the runners to let the traffic go by, for about 5 minutes. What?????? I've never had that happen to my in my last 7 half marathons I've done. I'm sure this wasn't the organizers fault or anything, but first of all, I do keep track of my time and try to beat it from previous races, so that put a huge dent it that and second of all I honestly could not stop, I knew what that would do to my knee. I didn't really have a choise though, I had to stop to let the cars go by. Once we were ready to go again, I had the same pain hit my knee again and I just could not go, the pain was so excrustiating that I had tears in my eyes and a group of girls stopped to see if I was okay and if I needed help. It was so sweet of them to do that, I told them that I just need to get back to running, then I'll be fine, but its easier said than done for sure. But again, I just pushed through and kept going.

When I had looked at the elevation chart before the race, it looked like at mile 9 there was a huge 100ft climb which made me a bit nervous as I was approaching it, but it was a piece of cake, I had no problem with it at all. As I was running to mile 10 and 11, I started recognizing the area and it looked like we were coming back down towards the starting/finish line. I love that feeling of the run being almost over, I could almost see the finish line, all I needed to do is just keep going and then I saw my son and my husband!!!!!!
This was the first time they had ever come to one of my runs to cheer me on and it was a surprise, I wasn't expecting them to be there and it just made the final stretch that much more spectial. They were at mile marker 12 and I saw Chase running around from way back and I yelled his name out a couple of times before he even saw or heard me. As soon as he saw me he came running towards me, I took his hand a ran with him towards my husband, gave them both a kiss and asked Chase to run with me for a bit. He had the biggest smile on his face!!! I don't think I'll ever forget how happy it made me and how happy they were to see me. This gave me just enought boost to finish in under 2:30.

After crossing the finish line, I went straight to the medical tent and I asked if they could wrap an ice bag around my knee, which made it feel much, much better. They I got my medal and had in engraved with my name and time, the free beer line was way too long and since my hubby and baby were waiting for me, I decided to go straight to my car. They did have ton of goodies at the finish line like foil blankets, Gatorate, chocholate milk, Jamba Juice Smoothies, bagels, bananas, power bars, you name it, they had it.

I met my family just a few blocks away, thankfully I didn't have to walk too far and we drove home. I wish I could have taken a shower before leaving, but they had to check out of the hotel before they came to cheer me on. Oh well, the drive home felt much longer than when we were driving to Portland, but we made it and it felt good to take a shower and just relax on the couch and do nothing.

Overall I would recommend this run for people escpecially if you live locally. I'm not sure yet if I would do this race again or not, time will tell I guess, but I most certainly am glad I did it and I finished it and that my family was there to see me do it.

Now I need to get ready for my next race in Seattle at the end of June. I am officially 5 for 5 so far in my 13, 13.1 in 2013!!!! Only 8 more races to go ;)

Let me know below if you ran it or are interested in running Portland Rock'n'Roll and if you have had knee probablems like I had and what you did about it. My knee now feels much better, still some stiffness, but not much pain and its been three days since the race.


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