Monday, June 11, 2012

Rock 'n' Roll Half - PR!

It's finally here... 3 weeks after the race. Life gets ridiculously crazy at the end of the school year!!


We signed up months ago and trained hard. Finally, May rolled around and it was time for the inaugural Portland Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon!

We went Saturday to the race expo at the Portland Convention Center. And because it was early, the crowds were small and we got to explore and collect goodies :)

Loud music played as we entered, getting us in the rock-and-roll mood:
It was all very organized, leaving no question as to where to go to get our bibs, shirts, goodie bags and timing chips. There was even a video to demonstrate how to attach the chips to our shoes!

With an anticipated finishing time of 2:15, I was in the 12th corral:
Brad was assigned to the 4th corral but moved up to 3rd because he's gotten faster since registering:
We first hit up the Brooks "carnival" area, and I won a medal at skeeball.

Then Brad won this sweet foam hand:
I would have pictures from the rest of the expo, but our hands were literally too full of free stuff :)

After, we drove the course. We missed a turn near mile 2 and noticed another car making a U-turn behind us. I chuckled, commenting on how funny it would be if they were driving the course too. After a couple more turns, it became obvious that they were! It doesn't sound nearly as funny now, but we sure enjoyed our little Canadian friends following us for 10 miles around Portland!
Early to bed and early to rise. Ready at 6 a.m. to head downtown:
First glimpse at the starting line:
Eryn getting excited for her first half!!
UPS was in charge of the bag check. Absolute genius!
Crews were still painting the street when we arrived. Nothing like cutting it close!
After several potty breaks (nervous bladders!), it was time to get into our respective corrals.
Elvis is ready, too:
So is Kara Goucher, Portland's own Olympic marathoner (in front in the green tank top):
The elite runners took off right at 8 a.m., with corrals leaving every minute after.

Brad streaked by before the camera was ready (in the white hat behind blue-shirt guy):
A couple minutes later:
Mom and Dad missed Eryn's takeoff but caught her around the corner:
Mom and Dad drove around to see us all over the 13.1-mile route, snapping pictures as they went. Brad was so far in the front that they never saw him on the course, and since I was in the middle of the pack, they saw me bunches. And they caught Eryn at the finish!

They also saw childhood friend, Tina:
On the course:
This race was really tough for me. Way tougher than I expected.

It was advertised as flat, but our Garmin GPS watches said we actually did nearly 2,500 feet of elevation gain over the 13.1 miles. NOT flat. Even Kara Goucher chided the race directors for having such a hilly course.
There were lots of little hills - up and down. The ups were steep enough to wear us down and the downs were never long enough to pick up the pace and reap any benefit. Major bummer.
I struggled with a lot of negative self talk, which is truly a run killer. My next goal is to work hard on that and keep my thoughts positive.
At the finish line... here comes Eryn!
Eryn suffered tendonitis in her Achilles and didn't even think she would do the race. But she felt fairly good after the Hippie Chick quarter marathon the weekend before and decided to give it a try.

She had two goals: to finish and to be under 3 hours. She FINISHED! In 2:52:13. BOOM!
Congrats on your first half, little sis!! :)

Posing by the potties:
Oh, that's better:
I had set a goal of finishing in 2:15 and missed by just 2 minutes - 2:17:18. My Garmin says I ran 13.2 miles at a 10:24 average. My official pace (calculated at the 13.1 distance) was 10:29.

But despite my struggles, I still pulled off an 11:34 PR. (I ran this half 11 minutes and 34 seconds faster than my last one!) That's huge. I keep having to remind myself of that awesome accomplishment.

I also discovered that I'm an average runner. My stats:

Overall - 5456/11036
Division - 716/1488
Gender - 3176/7747
Brad had a good run but missed his goal as well. The unexpected hilliness got him, too. (We did drive the course ahead of time, but it didn't seem that bad)  Still, a 1:49:25 sounds pretty dang good to me!
Our support crew/chase team:
The race was very well organized and started right on time. The weather was good - cloudy and drizzly, but a bit humid for my tastes.

Brad said his finish-line experience was excellent with lots of water and snacks right away. By the time I got there, it was raining and very crowded. I thought it needed to be at least twice as big to accommodate all the finishers. Or maybe I just need to run faster ;)

Since it was Eryn's first half, she got to pick the recovery meal: Round Table Pizza lunch buffet:
Pizza, salad, bread sticks and cinnamon sticks. Hit the spot!!!
The loot:

We scored lots of free stuff, including a ton of samples that we ate right at the expo!

Brad loves his prize - so much so that it now sits on our bed post. Oh goodie :)
This was a good race, well organized and full of good stuff. There were lots of potties at the start and finish and on the course. Plenty of water stations with well-marked water vs. Gatorade. Lots of great course support and volunteers. The finish line was good but too crowded.

Local bands played every mile, which was cool, but I'm sort of ambivalent about it. It was a nice thought, but I was working too hard to enjoy it.

I worked hard in my training and thought I was prepared. But the unexpected hills kicked my butt, and my lack of mental fortitude kicked my butt even more. Blah.

I swore during and immediately after the race that I would never do another half. HA! I've already signed up for The Giant Race in September. Oops :)

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