Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Girlfriends' Half

Well, Sunday was the Girlfriend's Half Marathon. I guess as with most things in life, it was neither all good or all bad, but a mix of both. I had really hoped for a general leaning towards more of the good stuff, but I'll take a 50/50 mix, or whatever my personal blend was for the day.
For this run, they hand out necklaces at the finish instead of medals... cool!
On the really good side: I must say, I really like the Vancouver, WA runs I've done better than most of the Portland ones. Yeah, there are a few "can't miss" events in Portland, but overall, the runs in the 'Couv seem to be much more scenic, with less industrial areas to navigate... and so far, no trains to wait for. A common occurrence for many of the downtown Portland runs. Both the Girlfriends' Half and the Vancouver USA Marathon/Half had the majority of their courses along the Columbia River where there are many parks and running trails, not to mention gorgeous views of the river. Fortunately, for me, the hills in Girlfriends' were pretty insignificant compared to the VUM, but unfortunately, the worst hill is in mile 11-12, well after most of the gas tank (at least for me in this run) had been depleted of fuel.They also both wind through officers' row in Fort Vancouver; a scenic street lined with trees, historic officers' homes and a parade grounds that is now used more for Frisbee and picnics than it is for military exercises.

The weather on Sunday was great for running. It was slightly overcast with the sun coming out for a while during the race. The temps were in the 50's and there was only a slight breeze to contend with (of course, I felt it the most again during those last couple of miles). Most of us that live around here had been watching the weather with a nervous eye since it had rained cats & dogs for most of the previous two weeks. But the running weather gods seem to like the Girlfriends' Half... fortunately for us!

In other good news, I did make a new PR. My time was 2:43:32. Not anything too amazing, but it is about five minutes faster than my time for the Vancouver Half, so I guess I shouldn't complain. Too bad... I'm complaining anyway... My training pace for the last few weeks has been SO MUCH better than this. I was really anticipating coming in well under 2:40:00. I knew that 2:30 was probably asking too much, but everything pointed to 2:40 being a realistic goal. Alas, it wasn't to be. I prepped in the morning as I usually do for my training runs (not forgetting to take my coffee like I did for Hippie Chick) and thought everything was going to be fine. Nope. About mile 9 I bonked... hard. For most of miles 9 & 10, I ended up doing a pathetic combo of running and walking... heavy on the walking. I also had to play some serious mental games with myself to not break out the balloons and throw myself a big ol' pity party. I was finally able to convince myself that the whole point of the race, for me, is to finish... and even more to the point, to raise money and awareness for breast cancer. This became my mantra.... and eventually it kicked my brain's ass into gear. Thanks to this and the gels they were handing out on the course (blech! I hate how they taste, but it's a much more concentrated shot of stuff than my Shot Bloks), I was able to pick up the run again... at least much better than I had been. Much more running and much less walking.

The people on the course were fabulous. Both the event volunteers and all the fans lining the sides of the roads with their cowbells and noise clackers. It was great to have such awesome cheering and some really cool empowering signs for everyone to feel their strength and their fierceness (to use a much overused cliche). I was a little concerned when I first learned that we'd be using mostly public restrooms in the parks and in establishments that had volunteered their potties for the race (such as the restaurants along the way), but I am happy to report that my worries were completely unfounded. There were plenty of opportunities for potty breaks for anyone who need them. I only had to stop once and the restroom I stopped at only had three women in front of me in line... much better than the bathroom Heather & I decided to skip at the Shamrock Run that had closer to 30 people in front of us! Yikes!

The only crummy encounter I had with anyone all day was with the manager directing parking lot traffic at the Fred Meyer. And while she wasn't rude to me, personally, she was definitely harried and willing to share that put-upon attitude with all of us who got stuck while she directed cars out of the lot. Of course, this was pretty much during my "bonk" phase of the run, so I wasn't pre-disposed to cut her any slack on her attitude. I'm sure she had drawn the short-straw among all the Fred Meyer managers working that morning and was just really struggling with her happy face by the time I got to that point in the race. I might not have been any better had I been in her position!

There were lots of activities and festivities for anyone who wanted to stick around after the race. I didn't stick around as I was feeling pretty wiped out after the race and sitting around in sweaty race clothes with even just the slight breeze blowing was pretty miserable for me. I told Heather that I looked like a drowned rat after the race, and looking at the photos from the professional photographer pretty much confirmed this without a doubt. I don't know how those women do it who come across the finish line looking only slightly the worse for wear. That will NEVER be me. LOL! It took me a little bit to feel up to driving home, but once I did, I hoped in the car with heat on high to keep me from going hypothermic during the drive. Once I got home and jumped in the nice, hot shower, I began to feel like an actual human again. Yea!

To celebrate my accomplishment, my DH and a friend of ours took me out to City State Diner for breakunupper. I think that's what they call it when you cram breakfast, lunch & supper all into one meal. For those of you who live locally, let me personally recommend City State to you. It's off 28th & NE Burnside. It's a little loud and a little hip (lots of piercings & tattoos, but hey this is Portlandia, isn't it???), but they have awesome food. For me it was a great reward for a job (mostly) well done.


Ultrarunner Rose said...

Great job out there. I was bummed to miss this event (migraine) but heard that it went well for everyone!

Jen said...

Great job on finishing it even with the hills at the end!