Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Portland Rock & Roll Half Marathon

Here I sit, on Saturday, the evening before the Portland Rock and Roll Half Marathon thinking about all of the training I've been doing in my bid to improve on my Boston Qualifying time so I will have a better chance of getting into the 2014 race but wait!.........ooh......................... sorry I got distracted by a super crappy movie that Jen has playing on Netflix. OMG, this is the worst movie ever.............OK, there is some girl who's uber hotness get's her the attention of rich, powerful men, men who have either hidden bad intentions or hearts of gold but she has no long range contingency plan in case they should meet with an early demise and then damn! Either they turn psycho or are suddenly dead. Wow, didn't see that coming a mile away, nope......... Damn it! Why do I even try to write blog posts? My apologies and I am moving away from the TV sound radius and............OK, back to the blog.
  Boston 2014 is my goal and with my measly 35 seconds under the BQ time, I need to improve and improvement is what I've worked towards for lo these last cold, wet 6 months.

Tomorrow is the Portland Rock n Roll Half. The question is how to run it? In my training plan I'm scheduled to run a 17 mile long run so after reading internet stuff in which I found a very scant amount of advice for this situation I have decided to run it at marathon heart-rate for the first 9 or so miles and then turn on the after burners to the finish followed by an additional 4 miles at recovery pace. Let's see how this goes.

Race Report:

For any of you that have read my blog before you'll be surprised to know that I did not arrive late which always leads to a desperate round of pin the number on in the start corral. Nope, I in fact arrived at about the right time to get into my corral and even chat with a couple of other people. Mostly about my lack of shoes which, though I deny it is the reason I run. BTW, If you are lonely it's a great way to start a lot of conversations. So I was talking to a guy about my age but a bit faster than me (currently :-/ ) so I of course had to stay with him for the first couple of miles thinking that I would be sure and keep it easy so as to "not leave my race on the training run." which I considered this to be. Well the sad truth is that I started out running about 20 seconds per mile faster than I had intended and it wasn't until 3 miles in that I finally slowed down but what harm was there in that I ask you? A measly 3 miles and the whole rest of the race to slow down and have fun. Well that's just  sorta what I did. I mean I did have fun and high fived everyone that looked high five-able then ran fast to the next group of high fivers. It was great and I even ran an extra four or five blocks; once to get a photo with my niece and once to alert Portland P.D. that there was a runner down just out of sight two blocks away. All in all a great time. I do think I may have over done it but not way too much. Hopefully I don 't pay the price in my A race in two weeks.

I came in at 1:40:00 which was a good bit faster than I thought I would before I started and I know I could have run this race faster....maybe five minutes, I'm not really sure but definitely faster. I did learn a few things that I previously didn't know never having run a half before;

  1) You can really run hard in a half marathon. It's gives you a much shorter window to use all of your muscle glycogen which means a lot more intensity can be utilized. If this sounds like a good thing to you then you are a jerk! Well, that may be a bit harsh, what I mean is I think you're a jerk. I have a loathing for speed work and that translates into a self loathing as I believe that I need speed work the most but just can't make myself do it so I loathe all who do it, especially those that hate it as well but make themselves do it. You people make me sick and no, I don't admire you. Call me petty but unless/until I conquer speedwork I will just not like you very much.

  2) If you are running for fun instead of a time it is still satisfying but only if you have an A race staring you in the eye so that you have an excuse not to run too hard. This is true only for me and people like me but it is something I learned. I know for a fact that if I ran this the same way and hadn't had the Newport Marathon just ahead to give me an excuse to go slower than my best I would have been bummed at the finish. I was very nearly there as it was. Perspective, perspective; got to work on that.
 2 3) The finish of the half marathons look pretty much the same as the finish of the marathons. I mean, people are coming in looking just as tired and worn out or racing to get that last couple of seconds off your time. It was really exciting to see. Oh, and I was also surprised to see how much the 1:40 finishers and the 2:30 finishers looked alike. I'm not an elitist by any means. I love the fact that you can run against yourself and feel the same accomplishment that the winner does (but without prize money) and so respect all runners who are out there. It's what makes running a great sport in my eyes but I really expected to be able to see a general physical difference between the faster and slower groups. I didn't. Keep in mind that I wasn't seeing the sub 1:30's. Maybe they all look like super humans but they were gone by the time I got there.

Equipment for this run was my trusty Garmin Forerunner 305, my Reebock shorts, (they were the first ones in the drawer), I chose to wear the Mountain Hardware short sleeve that I got in the Hagg Lake Mud Run 25k and it was awesome as usual. I love Mountain Hardware stuff. For shoes I wore nothing and at the pace I was running on the very rough Downtown Portland streets 13.1 miles was just about the farthest I would want to go. Nothing too worn but my second toes got blood blisters on the toe pads on races. This is easily stopped by using Moleskin just around the toes but I didn't today; not that big a deal.

The finish and after race activities were a cup of Stanford's Chowder witch was a very small cup but still good. All of the Muscle Milk you can grab, Gatorade or something like it and snacks. There was a live band at the end featuring some new age easy listening guy that I think they thought would appeal to the old and young but I found boring in the extreme. This is the Rock & Roll Half guys.......Rock & Roll! How's 'bout some..... you know.....Rock & Roll!!! I'm 51 and can say that the music I grew up with makes me impervious to "easily offended" and we're in Portland Fucking Oregon. (Trying not to rant here as it's off topic and really unimportant but c'mon!) There are so many deserving musicians in this city alone and I'd think if you are calling an event Rock & Roll anything, rock & roll music should be the music being featured especially for the headliner. Excuse me for a minute; I need to go play some Melvins to right the ship.

Conclusion: Melvins are a soothing balm. All in all I had a great time and will likely do this again in-spite of the exorbitant price. The after race stuff was pretty decent though not as good as the Portland Marathon and definitely not as good as the Hagg Lake Mud Run by which I now measure all other after race stuff. The course was slightly hilly but nothing too terrible and it was nice and scenic running through neighborhoods and Downtown. I did get stopped by a train for over a half of a minute and there was no time correction for that. I think that is something they should have been more aware of. I did write to ask if they accounted for that and they said no so keep that in mind if you're going for a time in this race. The crowd support was decent though again not as many as the Portland Marathon however this is only their second year in Portland. the organization was really good and I felt that everything went smooth with plenty of port-a-pots to go around. Thanks for reading!


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