P is for Portland Half Marathon

1:45. I’ve been chasing that time for over a year now. I ran Go Girl KC fall 2014 in 1:48 and I’ve been racing after 1:45 ever since. I thought shaving off 3 minutes would be easy but it took me five races, over 12 months and just the right course/day. Today I am here to tell the World Wide Web that I finally freaking did it! 

When the boys got their schedule last January/February, I searched the internet for races I could hit up in cool cities they had matches in. I found Portland and instantly knew it was meant to be. Portland would be half number 10 and my goal was to get that PR. Race reviews said the course was relatively flat and October weather in Portland is a perfect 50 degrees. Done.

Wednesday

I flew to Philly early Wednesday morning to watch the boys play in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup final against the Philadelphia Union. The hard-fought match lasted 120+ minutes and resulted in a 7-6 shootout victory! Words cannot express how amazing it was to see them claim their third trophy in four years.

The match never had a dull moment and I was on my feet the entire time, even though I knew it probably wasn’t the best idea for my legs. Oh well.

team pic

Thursday

After my morning 4 mile run, I flew out Thursday afternoon and met Chance for dinner in Portland. I was boring and went to bed early Wednesday night so it was really the first time we got to celebrate together after the big win. Later that night, my running buddy Abra arrived and we plotted out our weekend. We were both nervous but super excited to race.

philly us open cup final

Friday

After training, Chance and I took a short trip to Nike. (I did some damage there.) Then Abra and I headed to Ania Collection to try on some bridal gowns. Sophie was amazing! I tried on probably 20+ dresses and she was super patient with me. She did such a good job styling that it was hard to pick just one. One Lazaro dress in particular was stunning. Did I mention there is no sales tax in Portland?

The last thing on our agenda was to hit Packet Pickup. We knew Saturday would be a cluster at the Expo so we knew Friday was a must. After stocking up on GU and Gels, we ventured out to SE Portland for some Teote. 

FullSizeRender

Saturday

Saturday was for massage, food trucks, the Saturday Market and Sporting. We ended the evening laying out our race gear and chugging water – typical.

Portland game soccer

race day gear

Sunday

Ready to race we woke up super early and began hydrating and fueling our bodies. I typically have a high protein bar, two bananas, lots of water and The Right Stuff. Nervous as all heck, we put on our gear and headed to the start, which was downtown. The weather was perfect. Cool but not freezing. I wore a throwaway poncho at the start to keep me warm until go time. The race was about 25k peeps so we were organized in waves. Abra and I were wave B and it was super easy to get where we needed to be from our hotel (Courtyard Marriott downtown). It was so stress free.

start line

They didn’t have half pacers so I tried to stick with the 3:30 marathon pacer. Out the gate I felt pretty good. Mile 1 was my warm up (pace 8:04) but I knew I couldn’t go too slow because there were big hills miles 2 and 3. Anticipating that those would be my slowest miles, I kicked it up a notch when we went downhill 4-7. Things got pretty flat thereafter. Every mile I got my pace notification and knew that I was on track, I just had to stay focused. Luckily my body, the weather and the course allowed me to do that. Miles 10-13 are always tough for me so I found a quick competitor and tried to match her foot cadence. (Thank you whoever you are!)

At mile 13 I heard 1:43 and got REALLY excited. I knew I had to haul a$$. To get to the finish we had to take a few sharp turns, head up hill and run into the wind but at that point I could care less. I just wanted that 1:45 and I got it! 1:45:11 to be exact. Not going to lie, I wish I was 12 seconds faster. 1:44 sounds way cooler 😜 (I’m never satisfied haha.)

Portland race time

finish pic with abra

Post race thoughts

All in all I was actually shocked. Leading up to the big race I knew I’d finish but suspected closer to my normal race time of 1:48/49. I know some things were in my favor but I also had traveled a lot in a short amount of time (the flight from Philly to Portland was 8hrs) and I had been on my feet too much walking around, exploring Portland and cheering on my number 7. My summer training runs had also been semi-worthless because of all the cross training I was doing. (Pretty sure I have a hairline fracture on my fifth metatarsal too.) But I did it and I did it on number 10, which makes it oh so special.

finish pic with chance

Overall the course was awesome. The half course included the scenic riverfront, China Town + historic Old Town. There was live music, cheerleaders, pirates in Portlandia and so many spectators. Post race was also very cool. We got SO MUCH SWAG! It made it all feel so official.

Portland red rose

I received:

  • Finishers medal
  • A Portland red rose
  • Douglas Fir seedling (which I planted at home)
  • Collectible Event Poster
  • Collectible two sided coin
  • Mini medal pendant
  • A long sleeve finishers t-shirt
  • Disposable cover up jacket to keep you warm

P.S. OBSESSED THAT MY BIB SAID @KGRADE

douglas fir seedling

I know. Long blog post. Not cool. But lastly, I just found out this week that I got invited to run the Nike Women’s San Fransisco race on 10/18. We’re talking bucket list status!

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