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Race to Remember Memorial Day Recap

I am behind on blogs.
I know.
I have been pretty much lacking the motivation or time to work on a lot of what I know I need to work on. That being said, here I go.

I have always said the 10K distance is my achilles heel. I never seem to find my pacing for it. But I also know that for me, its something I want to work on. So when the opportunity came up to run Race to Remember’s Memorial Day Event I decided to challenge myself and see where I was at in a 10K. I talked about it earlier this year. I am not racing as much this year. But I am making the races I do mean something, and this race means a lot to me. Running with the team at Race to Remember gives me a chance to continue my goal to pay it forward as Race to Remembers goals is to honor the lives of our soldiers and our veterans.

The check-in process for this event is smooth, and you can check in the day of.  This is a no-frills race that focuses on bringing the money to veterans based charities.

The start which was at the Veterans Memorial in Vancouver which made for a perfect backdrop. The race featured a half marathon which went out an hour earlier than the 10K and 5K.

This is where this review is going to become complicated so bear with me. Due to a miscommunication the flagger at an important part of the course sent the 5 and 10K runners in the wrong direction within the first mile. This miscommunication forced the 5K into a 2 miler and the 10K into almost a 13K. Claudia, who is not only my friend but a tremendous race director apologized for the problem right away and tried to make it right with runners which shows something I already knew, she has a passion for using this platform to making a difference. I can tell how hard this she took this.

As for me, I decided at the last second to run with the flag, that is something that I love to do even though it, in reality, adds an extra layer of resitance to the run. The route we took was amazing. We went through the Fort Vancouver Historical site (this is the part we should not of done, but oh well it was amazing) and then down the Vancouver waterfront. This is one of my favorite places to run. I caught some really good speed on my intervals until I got to about a 3 miles in, then I needed to shorten it up. I took shorter intervals which still kept the speed right.

There was plenty of support on the course with water and Gatorade.

One of the bike medics caught me and turned me around before I could get too far over the 10K mark. (Some ended up at 15K).

The end of the race features a small spread of food and a beer garden. This is the first year they did age group awards (and I came in third no matter how slow I was).

I did go back out for the Honor Mile which is a mile in honor of those local military lives that have been lost. Carrying the flag

I have talked about this frequently, the Race to Remember races are small. They are put together by a race director driven to give back to the community.  There might of been an issue with this race but it was a solvable issue and something the race already plans on moving foward from.

 

Note: I was given a free race entry in trade for my recap.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Half Marathon Recap: Pacific NW Marathon. The First Pace?

Sorry for the play on words, it just rolled out there.

When the opportunity came from Beast Pacing to jump into the water for the first time as a pacer, I was nervous but I decided it would be a good new half marathon challenge for me. The Pacific NW Marathon is a brand new event for the Eugene area. It would be a smaller event that advertised itself as an all abilities friendly event. So I had figured that it would be a good one to see if pacing was something I could actually do. (I freely admit, I have had a track record of having miserable pacing instincts) I was put at the 2:55 pace, which I knew was totally doable so I did a lot of work to try and make sure doing.

Packet pick up for this event was at Valley River Center at the Sport Authority. It was well organized and I was in and out very quickly. The team at packet pickup was very friendly and very excited that I had made the trip from Portland.

Now, let me emphasize something. The Pacific NW Marathon is a no frills event,which is not a bad thing, I think it leads to the fact its more of affordable race. The packet consisted of your number, your really pretty event shirt, and a few coupons from local sponsors. The race was to raise funds for Girls on the Run of Lane County.

Race morning was Saturday morning which was a first for me in Eugene. The race started at 7, and I managed to get to the race early for the first time in a long.

They had a vacant shop opened up for day of race packet pick up. Which allowed everyone to stay warm and cozy insideWP_20150502_001 until the race started. They also allowed you to leave your warm up clothes inside.

The start of the race was well organized. Beast Pacing only had three pacers for the half, myself, someone at 2:25 and someone at 3:25 who took an early start. So we made sure to spread ourselves out with me being parked at the back.

I met three ladies as we had prepped for the start who all had goals of running sub 3’s on their half. One of the ladies had been running with her son who was a first timer out to support his mom and two girls who are best of friends one running her first.

We took off at an agreed upon 4 min running, 2 min walking cadence which banked us enough time for walking the water stations.

The course was a different course then I have done in Eugene, it was closer to running Springfield. Each turn was marked with chalk, even when they did not have the volunteers to man the station (I think with this being such a small event and being the weekend before the Eugene Marathon made it harder to get volunteers) it was easy for us to figure out where we had been going though we literally had been running as a group by ourselves. The course itself was quite beautiful with some scenic views of the rivers, some of the farm land that I had never seen.

The water stations had been small and manned by one or two people. The first one was near mile 3, which is probably my only real complaint about this race. Also, I think the GPS was way off, but I had this measured at 13.3 miles. It happens a lot so its not a big thing for me, but I know for some it is.

Half Marathons are easier when you sing.  These ladies had it down!
Half Marathons are easier when you sing. These ladies had it down!
Our group was AMAZING. We spent a lot of time talking about our individual running journeys and we also may of may of not been the Proclaimers a few time on the course, which caused the marshals to start dancing with us.

Our group got separated around mile 7 as the mom had been having blister issues and the girls ran ahead a bit. I caught up to the girls, one of which was running her first half. And we ran together, I tried to do everything I could to motivate and encourage the girls because at this point we had all been feeling it.

As we came back around, I encouraged the girls to get ahead of me, because I had a few seconds to burn on my pace.

We got our finishers medals, and fluids and enjoyed a really well organized stretching area from Oakway Fitness. Again the post race was no frills, but I am okay with that if it makes for a more affordable event. The mom and son finished just a few mins behind us.

All four people told me that they might not of been able to do it without me, which was very humbling. And for the

My mom and son combo.
My mom and son combo.
fact that I was freaking out about the pace, my official time was 2:54:47, which was almost perfect.

The race director found me, and asked me what I thought about the race. The one thing that kept getting to me with this race was how inclusive it was. I have never seen a race where the elite runners actually took a couple seconds of energy to tell the BOP (back of packers) that we had been doing a nice job. And the volunteers had been so energetic and on top of their game. This race defiantly had its growing pains, but for the first year it defiantly found a way to differentiate itself from the rest.

I want to defaintly thank Vanessa at Beast Pacing for giving this first timer a shot. And the race director for taking the time to come talk to me just to see what I thought. I will be back.

@SeattleMarathon Half Marathon Recap: Baby it’s Cold Outside

This could very easily be summed up in one word.

COLD.

Actually freaking cold would be more like it.

I ran the full in Seattle in 2012, so I went into this kind of knowing what to expect. This year I had the honor of representing the Charity Athlete Team for the Seattle Humane Society in honor of George which made this event just that much more meaningful.

The expo for the Seattle Marathon has always been one of my favorite expos. It takes place at the Westin in downtown. You start by picking up your bib number in one room and then you go into the main expo hall. The expo itself is actually kind of small compared to some others. But the one thing I have enjoyed about this expo is the fact that it is smaller, it features some great local race companies and really focuses on all the things you need before, during and after the run. You also pick up your shirt which this year is a great blue long sleeve, and a jam packed goodie bag full of samples and coupons.

When I woke up Sunday morning I knew this was not going to be really fun. It was windy and cold. I was still recovering from a cold so my training was already questionable and the weather was not on my side.

Before I continue, I need to thank someone and I do not know her name. I mis-placed my money to get on the Monorail. It just slid into a part of my backpack that I could not see where it ended up. I know she was one of the staff members for the Seattle Marathon, as she had a notebook with her that had all the information in it. I was in line right behind me. She gave me the 2.50 which saved me the mile walk. She is an amazing lady.

The start line is at the Seattle Center right near the Experience Music Project and this is one of the most well ran start lines I have ever ran. They separate the walkers from the runner by giving them their own start time and the pacer signs are so clear that you know where you need to be. The runners also seem to be really on top of staying off to the side if they are talking walk breaks.

This course has always been one of my favorites. The first couple miles take you straight through the middle of downtown Seattle to the I-90 Bridge.

The I-90 Tunnel. Also probably one of the warmest parts of the course.
The I-90 Tunnel. Also probably one of the warmest parts of the course.
Yes. You get to run in an actual freeway. (For those who want to tell me to run in a freeway, Seattle makes your wish come true.

The full marathon runs the length of the bridge. The half gets to run in the tunnel which turns into an festival of echos. Everyone starts cheering and that is all you hear. There is also a well placed hydration stop in the tunnel.

Once you exit the tunnel, the half marathoners go on to the access road and head towards Lake Washington. This by far is one of my favorite parts of this course. Its through a quiet residential area and marina that overlooks the lake. I almost had an issue here because I was so zenned and zoned out I did not see a crack in the road and almost went rear over tea kettle.

The Lake Washington Sunrise
The Lake Washington Sunrise
The Lake Washington Sunrise[/caption]Because we had been running so early some of the views had been spectacular of the Lake. Several people (myself included) ended up taking their cameras out for some photos. This is the one thing I will always say about the Seattle course, is its one of the most scenic courses in the NW.

That being said, the second half of the course, I forgot how much of a challenge it really is. Once you make mile 7 you go up what is considered one of the toughest hills in the NW running scene, and then it is a constant up and down as you go through the Arboretum. But to the ice we had a quick off road section as the ice had made the first part of the uphill climb impossible. I was worn out, the cold weather was getting to me, my nose didn’t stop running.

The final part of the course is flat until you hit a nice set of downhills and flats in the last mile. This is the only really industrial area in the entire course. Then you come ac cross the finish line at the 50 yard line of the Memorial Stadium field which still had snow. You collected your medal for the military volunteers which is a special thing. (Especially because this qualified me for my Strength in Numbers medal from Jost Running, which goes to benefit military members needing mental health services.)

The recovery area is well organized and inside the core part of the arena’s expo center. They have booths of food, soups, drinks. The sponsors have booths, the charities including my loves at the Seattle Humane Society have booths. There is a place for people to change, check their times and grab any souvenirs.

For the fact this race is so challenging. It is still one of my favorite races. It is well organized, very runner friendly and its so welcoming to everyone no matter the speed or ability. Despite the cold, I still pulled off a decent 2:38 (which being I haven’t trained well, I have been sick ect).

The Zombies Take on Pier Park: $5 5K Series Finale

You have heard me talk about the $5 5K series here before. I have ran three of the five this year and have truly enjoyed my expereinces. It is a great series that is offered by Portland Parks to open running up to all budgets, ability and ages.

The series finale for 2014 was at my own home park of Pier Park. To be honest, I was not sure I was going to make this one. I had not been feeling 100 percent. But I also knew this would probably be my last 5K for the year, so I did not want to miss this unless I had to.

For this event, runners had been invited to dress up in costume but that was not a requirment. Not many people actually did other then the kids.

Like I have talked about before, the kids race is just awesome. Its free for kids and they get to do a 1K on the

The Pier Park startline
The Pier Park startline
same course the adults get to run on, and before the adults take off, it is all about them. People gaither to cheer the kids on, the kids get their own finisher medal.

I was actually pre-registered for this one so I picked up my bib number very quickly and was able to get to the start line very easily.

The start line was a little narrow because it started on the path right by the soccer field. The course was a on road and off road combindation through the woods in the park. The one thing about this course is it had some tough off road up hills. But it was still an amazing course and this one was very well supported as volunteers had been at every point that you could get turned around.

I was pleased with how this one went for me. I was not totally expecting the rolling hills. I decided to just make it part of my mission to stop stressing about race running and just get out there and enjoy it.

I truly reccomend this race series to any of the racers here in Portland. It is such a well organized fun series and is extremley budget friendly. Its also all abilities way to see some of the best Portland has to offer.