Spoiler alert: I killed this race!
This was our third year running the Heart Breaker. In 2011, I did the 5K and Brad did the 10K. It was the inaugural event, and we loved it! Last year, I did the 10K and Brad did the half. We each had terrific races with PRs.
This year, we both decided to train all winter using the Hal Higdon method and then run the half.
For ease of logistics, the race was moved from downtown Portland to Hillsboro. It started and ended at Liberty High School and headed north out into the farmland. The course was very hilly with a huge mile-long hill at mile 3.
With 11 weeks of hard training under my belt, I was more than ready for this race. But because of the hills, I didn't plan to PR. I decided to hold it loosely and go as hard as I felt like. I would not have been disappointed with a slow time. BUT... that's not how it turned out ;)
Pre-race packet pickup was offered only from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday at the downtown Foot Traffic store. I thought that was incredibly strange. I was able to take my lunch at the end of the day and scoot to Portland to get bibs for me, Brad, Eryn and Dad.
It was a little warmer than the predicted 31 degrees, but we still opted to bundle up for the wintery weather.
The suburban start was great: easy to get to (right off Highway 26), lots of free parking, and an indoor pre- and post-race party!! It was nice to chill in the heated school while we waited. Plus - real potties!
I'd always rather get to a race early than late. And then there's more time to take self portraits :)
It was finally time to ditch the puffy jackets and head to the starting line. It was in the mid-30s with little wind and a heavy mist. Perfect temperature, but my glasses were totally covered by the time I finished!
Eryn was also running the half. Dad did the 5K, which was scheduled to start 20 minutes after.
Mom, Steve and Donna came out to cheer us on and were stationed just before mile 7. They snapped some action shots as we passed:
They almost missed me. I was running much faster than I figured, and they weren't expecting me to be there so soon.At least they got my best side ;)
Eryn's like the Energizer Bunny when she runs distance:Since it was such a small (475 halfers, I think), rural race, the only people along the course were a couple cops, some student volunteers, a few locals walking their dogs and our family. It was really fun to have them out there - thanks for braving the damp cold to support us!!
After we passed, our cheer squad moved back to the school to catch the big finish.
First came Brad at 1:49. He hadn't been feeling well and didn't plan to push for a PR. He did great :)
I mustered all the strength I had left and kicked as hard as I could around the track and across the finish line.
My finish time? 2:06:13 - a 9:37 average (according to my old friend, Garmin):
Oh, yeah :)Ridin' the runner's high (so was Mom, apparently!)
Here comes Eryn:
2:45 - also a PR for little sis!
Dad had a goal of 40 minutes for his 5K run/walk - and he did it!
After showers and all that, Brad and I put on our matching race shirts and went to Native Foods for some refueling:
I trained religiously for this race, doing speedwork and long runs for 11 weeks - through the holidays, traveling, minor illness, freezing weather and all that life threw at me. It's an amazing feeling to put in so much work and then
Mile 0-1 - 9:53 average
Mile 1-2 - 9:36
Mile 2-3 - 9:37
Mile 3-4 - 10:08 (the big hill)
Mile 4-5 - 9:06 (going down the big hill)
Mile 5-6 - 9:37
Mile 6-7 - 9:45
Mile 7-8 - 9:49
Mile 8-9 - 9:45
Mile 9-10 - 9:34
Mile 10-11 - 9:23
Mile 11-12 - 9:22
Mile 12-13 - 9:37
Mile 13-13.13 - 8:05
I walked through each aid station, grabbing a couple quick sips of water. I took my first gel at the top of the big hill and washed it down at the aid station (Mile 4.1). Needing a little more fuel, I ate about half of my second gel at the 10.8 aid station.
While some around me were keeping a steady pace up and down all the rolling hills, I decided to slow a bit on the fronts and then ride the downs, letting gravity help me out. I think this worked well for me.
I felt strong the entire time until about mile 11.5 when we rounded the corner into the home stretch and had to head uphill. I just kept telling myself to hang in - I was almost done and I could do it! It was also comforting to know that I could walk those last couple miles if I had to and still PR :)
The course... (Course map)
I enjoyed this course a lot more than I thought I would. I liked changing up my speed with the rollers, and it was such a beautiful area - foggy farmland! I've run lots of downtown-Portland races, and it was great to explore a new area.
The course was basically a figure-eight with a double loop on the bottom part of the eight. I'd never done a double loop before, and it was tough. When we reached the split, the megaphone voice said, "Finish line to the right, second loop to the left." Man, did I ever want to turn right and just end it :) But when I hit it the second time, I cherished the moment when I turned right!
Course support was a little weak. The student volunteers didn't really know what they were doing, and the aid stations were not so smooth. Several stations had just two volunteers, and they couldn't keep up with filling the cups, let alone handing them out as we ran past. I would like to see more helpers and more instruction in the future.
I think my only other complaint would be the traffic. The country roads were not closed to cars during the race, and that left runners sharing the very narrow, two-lane, shoulder-less roads with bicycles and cars traveling in both directions. It made for some dicey spots.
Overall, I thought this was another great Heart Breaker race - and I plan to do it again next year. Plus, it's great motivation to keep running through the winter!
It's all relative...
Running is all relative. My very fastest day was still 17 minutes slower than my husband's I'm-sick-and-sore-and-just-gonna-take-it-easy day.
Nothing emphasized this more than when I got lapped by the winners. I was near mile 6 - on my first time around the loop - when the two winners flew past me. I was at mile 6 when they were at mile 10.5. The winner's official pace? 5:37! WOW.
Still, that takes nothing away from my run. I was racing myself, and I won! I won BIG :) I am incredibly proud of my race. Can't wait to see what I can do in the future! (2:00, I'll be gunning for you next!)