I paid attention to my pace more than I ever have before and it paid off. I knew that if I was patient I would run well and get a PR, I just didn't realize my PR would be 5 minutes!
I was pretty tired when we got into PDX Friday night. No matter how comfortable your car is, it never feels great to have to sit in one place for 5 hours. I drove most of the way and stopped in The Dalles so we could grab some dinner and get gas. I wasn't sure what I should eat since the restaurant didn't have any pasta, BUT they did serve breakfast all day. I decided on the pancakes with marionberries because I knew I would be getting in my pre- race carbs and I was actually craving pancakes. They pancakes were awesome so I think I made a good choice.
Once we got into town we stayed up and chit chatted with Cass & Scott and I got my race bag ready. I don't like to feel rushed the morning of a race so I try to make sure that everything is packed and/or layed out the night before.
Saturday morning I got up at 6 am to start getting ready. I had my pre-race oatmeal and made sure that I wasn't forgetting anything important. I decided to bring my IPOD just incase I wanted to use it at the last minute. Normally I feel really jittery the morning of a race, but I felt particularly calm. It was a good feeling. After stepping outside to survey the weather I decided that it was colder than I was anticipating. Luckily I had packed my arm sleeves so I decided that I would wear them to warm up in and then decide if I wanted to wear them for the race.
After a brief warm up and stretch I took some sports beans and was ready to go. At this point it was still chilly so I decided to wear my arm sleeves for the race. We took some group photos and made sure that we were sporting our Portland Running Co. tattoos so that we could be entered into a drawing for a free pair of running shoes (unfortunatley, we didn't win-boo).
Cam walked me over to the start line and I did some quick strides and was feeling ready to rock and roll. Once the race started I zoned in on my pace and tried to keep it as close to the 7:45 range as possible. I knew that if I kept it in that area that I would have plenty of gas in the tank to knock out some faster miles towards the end.
A lot, I mean a lot of people were passing me in the first 3-5 miles. I hate it when somebody passes me!!!! I kept my cool and just stuck to the plan knowing that I would more than likely be passing them later in the race. When I came to the first hill (which I had forgot from last year) I thought "oh crap, this is a big one"! At that point I was starting to pass people for a nice little confidence booster. I even had a conversation from a really nice gentleman for about 1/2 a mile who finally told me that he couldn't keep up with me anymore and that he was going to be the first person for me to pick off. I slowly started to pass larger packs of runners staying at my 7:45 pace going into mile 6. Mile 6-7 is an out and back with a large hill. I passed a lot of runners on the uphill portion into mile 7.5. After that is where I really started to push the pace. I could see the 7:30 pace balloon about 1/4 a mile ahead of me. I knew if I passed him I was doing good. I eventually passed him around mile 9 with a little smile on my face. At that point I felt really good I knew that as long as I held it together I would have a PR. I passed 2 more girls in the last 5K and a bunch of men, at least 10, maybe even more. I was hauling at that point. When I would come up on someone they would try and speed up, but they didn't stay with me for very long before they backed off. I heard a few curse words from men in the last mile that I passed. Haha.
When I crossed the finish line I was beyond excited- I had just ran the fastest 1/2 marathon in my life and had a 5 minute PR. The best part was that I felt great and I have the confidence to know that next time I can run just as good, if not better. This was definitely the confidence booster that I have needed since Boston.
Cam met me at the finish line and then I felt really sick to my tummy and made a beeline for the bathoom. After hanging out over the garbage can for a couple of minutes I felt better. Cam was hungry (its hard work sitting around waiting for me to run 13.1 miles) so we went up to get our Helvetia hamburgers. I hadn't had a hamburger since December and it was ah-mazing! I enhaled it, haha. After that we walked over to the beer garden so we could sit in the grandstands and watch for Cass & her friend Jen to finish.
A couple months ago, Cass had sent out an email with our times from last year- my time was quite embarrassing at 1:59:25, my slowest 1/2 marathon time. She asked what our goals should be for this year. I told her that both her and Jen should shoot for running at least 10 minutes faster than last year and that I would like to run at least 15 minutes faster than my previous time. They both ended up running Helvetia 15 minutes faster than last year and had a 4 minute 1/2 marathon PR. I am so proud of both of them- they have come along ways since they first started running together. I shattered my goal and ran 23:34 seconds than last year. Finally having that break through and getting my 5 min 1/2 PR was the greatest feeling. I am back to running and I am feeling healthier and stronger than ever.
My next race is a 10K in Portland on July 10th. I am also running this Cass and I am looking forward to having another fun weekend and perhaps even a 10K PR.....