Sunday, May 20, 2012

2012 Portland Rock & Roll Half Marathon

Today was the inaugural running of the Portland Rock & Roll Half Marathon.  It seemed like a good event to start off the 2012 season so I signed up for it several months ago and have been preparing for it since then.  All the signs were pointing towards a good run this weekend so I was excited about it.

We went down on Saturday to pick up the race packet and go through the expo and see if there was anything there I just had to have.  Amazingly enough, there was not.  We got Sue a couple of things, but I couldn't find anything to spend my money on: bummer!

After the expo we checked into our hotel and then walked down to the waterfront park where the race was to start and stop.  It was a bit cool, but sunny; and the crowds were out.  Lots of folks walking, running or biking along the riverfront walkway, along with others just sitting on the grass either watching the crowds or being watched by them; quite a variety of people, and unlike any I had seen recently.

Race day dawned somewhat overcast but fairly pleasant.  I was up at 5:00 and had some breakfast and then laid around for a couple of hours until time to head out.  By the 8:00 start time I was lined up with 11000+ other people who were ready to tackle a 13.1 mile jaunt through the streets of Portland.  I was in corral 5, out of 23, so got a fairly early start: about 8:06.

The course is basically a loop, although it winds around some to make it long enough, and is moderately hilly; with the biggest challenge being a couple of miles long, from about mile 4 to 6.  Shortly after we started the mist also started to fall and it steadily increased until it was a full blown rain by the end.  But there was never any noticeable wind so the rain was really not an issue.

My previous best half marathon was a 1:59, but recent training indicated I might be able to best that by as much as 7 minutes.  Alas, that was not to be.  To make that time I would need to run an 8:30 pace, and for the first 4-5 miles that seemed doable.  But the legs just couldn't continue that pace through out.  I ended up with a 1:55:49, which was still  a personal best for me, and a time that I was satisfied with.  And I ended up finishing 1971st out of 11014 overall, and 45th out of the 202 in my division.

One of the best things about running an event like this are all the other runners around you.  Early on they are a pain because it is so crowded.  But as we spread out a bit they don't get in the way as much, and I am able to enjoy the people watching more.  The wide variety of body shapes and outfits is pretty amazing.  Most of the folks pretty much blend into the crowd, but there are always a few who stand out and entertain the rest of us.

All in all it was a pretty good trip.  My feet are sore and I am still physically drained.  But I mostly enjoyed the trip and feel good about the race.  Now to prepare for the Seattle Rock & Roll next month.

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