Yesterday I ran the Cascades 1/2 Marathon outside of Salem, Oregon. Here’s how the day went down.
5:43 AM: Wake up. Say, “It’s Race Day!” out loud and then realize I still have 12 minutes left of sleep…lay impatiently in bed for the alarm.
6:15 AM: I successfully prepare the perfect pre-race breakfast and double check my gear is together.
6:45 AM: Jump in the car, find the country music station, and head to Salem. Slight kink in the plans. I cooked breakfast and threw it into a Tupperware but never actually ate it. I arrived in Salem hungry and with an unappetizing mess of cold Malt-o-Meal – I make do with half a powerbar and lament.
8:00 AM: I arrive with PLENTY of time before the race, I check-in, receive my bib number and change three times before deciding on what combination of Lycra and spandex the weather calls for.
9:30 AM: The race gun goes off! I’m off! It’s my second half-marathon. It is cold, it is foggy and I’m loving it.
Mile 1: I try to hold back and keep a steady pace – I’m surprised to pass the mile marker at 7:15- Holy Crap, that’s faster than I should be going.
Mile 2-5 : I settle into a quick but relaxed rhythm next to a real estate agent from the suburbs. We exchange a few words, but I loose him when he stops to tie his shoes. Another runner in a red shirt peels off to throw-up onto a telephone pole.
Mile 5.1: I refuel with a Vanilla Bean GU and re-asses. So far the course has been flat, boring and foggy. I’m ecstatic to be running in a herd. After many weeks of solitary runs and nights on the treadmill, being out in the cold early morning feels great.
Mile 5.2: I re-asses. Again. It is cold. Will I be able to keep pace? Maybe I’m being too ambitious. I’m still way under 8 min/mile….I feel hitting the wall will be unavoidable.
Mile 5.3: Eh, what have I got to loose? With very little breakfast in my tummy I don’t risk puking into a hedge – I keep the perky pace and remember to relax.
Mile 6: The real estate agent is back and we’re positioned between two solid packs of runners. We settle into a comfortable pace at the turn-around and head back to the starting line. We’re half way done.
Mile 7-10.5: I still feel good and so I pick up my pace a bit. It’s still cold and the fog is thick. Water droplets are forming on my eyelashes and creating a fine mesh of white on my hair. Ahead of me a pack of front runners have turned the corner and have disappeared into a bank of mist. How cool is it to be a runner, I ask myself.
Mile 11: Only 2 more miles, but I’m ready to see the finish line… My nose is running and my hands are numb.
Mile 11.2: We pass a llama farm on our right- I am happy not to be a llama farmer.
Mile 13: I sprint to the finish line! Yay. Now, where are my sweatpants?
1/2 Marathon Finish Time: 1:39
Average Pace: 7:30/mile
17th overall female finisher, 5th in my category. 99th overall out of a field of 397.