Recap from the inaugural running of Gateway to the Gorge Half Marathon.
First off, as a first time event, it had its usual bumps. The biggest of which were unclear routes (they sent out two different maps) and a t-shirt I will never wear…a white, cotton t-shirt plastered with sponsors front and back. Yeah, um, no!
As I mentioned when I signed up for this event, this is essentially my long running route in my neighborhood, just in reverse. There are two big hills on this route. Given where the starting/finish was located it moved one the hills to the start of the course and made the other one a downhill. My goal was to run that first mile, which included the hill, at 9:00 pace…I did it in 8:12. Felt good so just kept going.
Here I am about mile 2.5 where my wife surprised me on the course!
I was really looking forward to about mile 5. The tough part of the course would be done and I could start picking up the pace. But about this time I started getting some stomach cramping. This is definitely not something I normally experience during races. It wasn’t GI issues, felt more like I’d done way too many sit ups. Hurt so much I was having trouble getting a deep breath. So over the 3-4 mile span of the course where I was looking to make some really good time (including a mile long downhill) I had to back off my pace. I figure this cost me a good 3-5 minutes off my time. After I passed the 8 mile marker I started figuring out what was wrong with me. Let out a couple small burps and got some instant relief. Over the next mile my body rewarded me with some additional relief in a couple different forms. Amazing how much better I felt.
Good thing I was feeling better because I was coming to a part of the course that I was not familiar with. We had to run about 1-1.5 miles within a park along the river. I was thinking by looking at the map that we would just be running around the parking lot for the most part. I was sadly mistaken. Narrow, uneven, dramatically up and down path through the woods. Let me put it this way, at one point I said a very bad word that starts with “F”, very loudly, as I tried to climb one of the short hills.
When I came out of the park I actually felt pretty good. Using completely different muscles for a couple of miles can bring you some relief and help re-energize you a little. At this point I had about 3.5 miles left. Time to put the pedal down. Think I ran that last part in sub 27:00. Given how the first part of the race went I was very pleased with this.
Official time was 1:44:45. I was targeting 1:42:30. With the issues that I encountered during the race I was very pleased with this number.
We are within 4 weeks of the Portland Marathon. Major things on the calendar are my last 20 miler this Saturday on the actual course and then the Steve Prefontaine 10K Memorial Run in my home town on the 21st. Then it’s show time!