Our third day in Portland, the morning of my half marathon, started with a 4am wakeup call. I know I haven’t shared days one and two with you yet, but for reasons unknown this is the first one I started writing about, so we’ll just pick up smack dab in the middle of our trip.
We shuttled 15 minutes north of Portland to Sauvie Island, then entertained ourselves with various island attractions until the Foot Traffic Flat Half Marathon started. At 6:45am, the race began, and I was off. The course followed a two-lane country road looping around the island’s picturesque farmland, and I lost myself in the scenery. About halfway through the race, it occurred to me that I might have a shot at running a personal best. I wasn’t positive, but I knew that if it was going to happen, I’d need to kick it up a notch. I hate it when I get ideas like this in my head.
But run harder, I did. I continued along sans headphones until mile 10 (poor planning, lack of battery), and the course was secluded and laid out in such a way that there were virtually no cheerleaders along the route. Luckily, I had Jax texting me a steady stream of encouragement to carry me through. Our conversation went as follows:
Jax @ 7:18am: How are you feeling? About 3 in?
Mel @ 7:20am: Feeling all right, hoping to get into my groove soon. 26 minutes in. Not sure where. You having a dance party?
Jax @ 7:23am: Solo ravin to some Daft Punk. You’re doing great babe, love you. You’ll get that groove.
Mel @ 7:31am: 36.43, 4 miles
Jax @ 7:49am: Awesome babe. Go you!
Mel @ 7:50am: 55 min 6 miles
Jax @ 7:51am: You’re doing it! Almost half there!
Mel @ 8:08am: 5 miles to go
Jax @ 8:09am: Do it for America!
Jax @8:09am: Keep it up!
Jax @ 8:25am: Almost there baby! Doing great!
Mel @ 8:26am: Ten
Jax @ 8:38am: Finish strong babe! You got this!
We had a good laugh over the fact that my texts got shorter and more cryptic the further I got into the race. I chalk it up to numb fingers, and to the reality that I was doing everything I could to simply stay upright and keep moving forward, let alone type detailed messages on a small keypad. While I got the PR I was looking for, the increased effort made the second half of my run a lot more uncomfortable than I would have liked. I’ve decided that running with a specific time goal is my least favorite way to run; I’d much prefer to just run naturally and enjoy the event and let the numbers work themselves out. Unfortunately, now that I’ve earned a 2:00:12, I have a feeling the achiever in me is going to attempt to shave 13 seconds off my next half marathon finishing time….
Though I must say, once I got over the dizziness, finishing with a personal best felt nice, and I got my first official race picture with the boyfriend:
That, and the finisher medals were made from recycled bicycle chains in Oregon and almost as sweet as the island-fresh homemade strawberry shortcake we chowed down on as a post-race treat.
Once we shuttled back, Jax and I located a carton of chocolate milk (like the kind you drank in elementary school) to tide me over until lunch, and then we took a nice stroll through Portland’s Alphabet District. Because more time on my feet was exactly what I needed at this point. After a short power nap, we decided that we wanted to spend our Fourth of July on the west coast, and that is exactly what we did.
Stay tuned for some Cannon Beach action!