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Pacific Northwest Marathon Review (Half): 30, Paceaversary, and a reminder of why I run

Three years ago, I jumped into the world of being a race pacer with no clue of what I was doing or for that matter how much it would change me as a runner. But I will go into that more shortly. The race was the Pacific Northwest Marathon for their half marathon event. It is kind of ironic that my 30th half marathon and my pacing birthday.

I returned this year as a third year pacer. Being with them since day 1 has let me see how much this race has grown since the beginning.

If you read any of my previous reviews, you will understand this is not the typical race you will see in Oregon. This is more like a super supportive group running event that gives you a medal. It leads to this being an affordable more all abilities friendly race. Packet pick up was a small affair at Dicks Sporting Goods, allowing you to pick up your shirt where you got a choice of color and style and your packet. One thing that I will always love with this race is it is small enough the race directing team gets to know you and know what motivated you to be at this race.

My Saturday started super early. I was the pace team leader so I needed to be at the race in time for the early starters which gave people who had been slower then 12:00 miles a chance to be on the course. This is a rarity for any Oregon based race. Its a 7:00 hour course limit, which makes it one of the most inclusive races you will see.

I was pacing the 3:00 half but I was going out with the main start group. After Hot Chocolate in March I learned that the 1:1 interval was always going to be my best answer when pacing because it was the easiest intervals to adjust on the fly.

This is one of my favorite courses every year. You take to the streets and back country of Springfield. The only big challenge with this course is the race is small enough the streets are not closed and you need to be careful to watch out for traffic. That being said its a small downside.

I passed a small group I think it was at mile four and at this point I was on my own. One lady decided to tell her friends “I want to see if I can keep up.” I explained to her what I was doing for intervals and she was honest with me, she did not think she could make that pace but was going to stay with me as long as she could.

This is a well supported all volunteer effort for this race. All the water stations had been fully stocked with anything that you could of needed. And this is one of the few races I have ever seen where the elites take the time to cheer for the back of the pack as they pass (its an out and back.)

My favorite part of the course is through Armitage Park getting to run so close to the water is breathtaking. After the park you get back into the urban part of Springfield before making the half way turn.

My new friend, Kari was doing excellent. She was in pain but she wanted to keep pushing so I kept talking her through it. She explained to me she just wanted to prove to herself that she could do it.

The course started getting really wet after we made the turn but for me this was turning into the best effort I had pacing since I started this. I was running just a few seconds early all away through.

Now the one thing is going back some of the water stations had been left unmanned. Most of this was probably due to the weather. But there was enough stuff laid out at each that you had nothing to worry about.

When we got to the last mile I realized I did have a couple mins I could burn off and still be close to I told Kari to walk a little more and save her energy for the last push at the end. She was a little worried about the 5K’ers coming in so fast around us, but I told her just focus on what we are working on and she will be fine. She was almost in tears at this point. She was hurting but wanted her daughter to see her finish strong. I think we made the right call in the long run because just at the last quarter mile she felt like she was ready so I told her to go and I was screaming for dear life. She finished in 2:59.

The finish line was amazing. You get your medal and treated to a spread of community offered up food. And unlike a lot of races people will stay to support you. I stayed to collect signs and cheering for my fellow pacers.

Then the race director asked me to add a few miles on to my race.

We had some marathoners out on the course at mile 18. And this was close to 6 hours in from the early start. They drove me out and I walked with them for about three miles. It was inspiring see some of the dedication out there.

This race teaches me so much every year. This year it reminded me why I love running. It is about the people, the stories and the community that can encourage each other.

ZRP Random Musings: New Shoes, letting go, and not inspiring

Ready for another Appletini drinking session or to engage into some ZRP tickle butt?

(Yes I am engaging my wrestling loving side again.)

First things first. I have been dealing with tight hip issues lately and I found the bottom of the problem. It was shoes! I was kind of thinking it was shoes but was not certain but I took advantage of going to see my friends at Road Runner Sports and I was defiantly in the wrong shoes. The last couple runs since I got refitted have been my strongest in a long time. I really feel like it might be coming back together. I am in a pair of Brooks Adrenaline and they are my game changers. I feel like training for the marathon might be back on the right track.

And now for the more deep stuff.

A little look at my run from today.
Someone who for sake of this conversation can and should remain nameless called me an inspiration for working on my 6th marathon. I don’t do well with the word inspiration. Maybe I have never seen myself as one because I feel like the turtle that is calm and tranquil under water but I am just paddling. But after the last conversation said person also helped in their own way help me realize that I am chasing what scares me, what pushes me outside my comfort zone. Yes I have ran marathons before, but it feels like I am starting from scratch because its been so long since I have done it, and I for one know how hard SF is. And I have thoughts about what is next but I am not sure where its all going to go.

Call it chasing my unicorns if you will. If I inspire someone because of it that is amazing. Its never going to be a picture perfect journey. For me this is the continued chapters of me following my heart. I still don’t know if I will ever get used to being called an inspiration but it goes back to something that I do not

If you have followed me the last few months you have heard me talk about the fact that I have stepped back from most of my ambassadorships this year just keeping my hands on a couple where the work load was a lot more manageable. It has been a-ma-zing for me. I am so much happier and I don’t feel like I am chasing my tail so much. I am running less this year but I am more focused on running for me and getting back to my strong side. And I am still volunteering for things but I am taking on stuff that fills my bucket. But I went to my first group running event a few weeks ago and it was amazing. I actually got to be social and hang out.

I have had a lot of people talking to me about the last couple random musings blog. I just want to add this. The journey some of us are on is not about a healthy lifestyle. Some of us do not want to be skinny, some of us just want to be happy in our own bodies.

I have more going in my head that might have to be a second musings later. But there is a cat who needs me.

Disclosure: I am proud to help Race to Remember with their social media outreach efforts. In trade they offer me free race entries for my time. All opinions shared in this piece are my own.

Memorial Day is the kick off to summer. For some it means BBQ’s, vacations and the start of the warm weather season. But for others Memorial Day is a chance to remember the sacrifice of our military heroes.

Race to Remember is seeking to give people a chance to honor these brave men and women with our miles as they present their Memorial Day Run. They will offer a community one mile event, a 5K, a 10k and a half-marathon event that will take to the waterfront of the Columbia River. Personally this is one of my favorite places to run locally. The half course takes you through some of the most scenic parts of Vancouver. The 5K and 10K take you to the Columbia River waterfront.

I have ran races by the team at Race to Remember. They work hard for a family friendly, all ages and abilities friendly race.

These races will benefit Race to Remember which works in the community for projects that remember the sacrifice that our veterans have made. I have had the pleasure of working with them on welcoming the Honor Flights home and I truly love what they do.

The races also benefit PureKraze a military non profit based in Vancouver WA. who’s mission is to build homes for homeless veterans in our community. Veterans face many challenges after serving our country and fighting for OUR FREEDOM a safe place to live should not be one of the things they have to worry about. PureKraze is paving the way for providing homes for our veterans not just in our community but our nation.
Below are some statics on Homeless Veterans.
Homeless U.S. veterans (2012)
Estimated homeless veterans: 131,000
Estimated homeless women veterans: 13,100
Estimated post-9/11 veterans: 7,400
Estimated number of women post-9/11 veterans: 740
12 percent of homeless veterans younger than 34 are women
Jobless rate for post-9/11 veterans: 11.3 percent
Sources: Department of Veterans Affairs, Bureau of Labor Statistics

From their website:
Our “Race to Remember” Memorial Day Run is a timed event, which is open to the public on Memorial Day (Monday 5.29.17).  We want to honor all military fallen heroes, which is why the start/finish is at the Memorial Wall on Phil Arnold Way on the corner of Columbia Way in Vancouver, Washington. The Half marathon, 10K and 5K Route is an out and back course on the Columbia River trail. The first Half Mile is our Honor Mile, where we will line the pathway with the American Flags and pictures of military fallen heroes. The Honor Mile is a community walk and meant for us to slow down as a community and remember the sacrifice of our military heroes.  After the run enjoy Vendors & Meet Vancouver Veterans.

You can find out more details on their Facebook page Race to Remember: Memorial Day Run And you can register Register

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