Spectating at the 2017 Portland Marathon

I admit it, although I ran the Portland Marathon in 2015 and 2016, I was pretty happy to be a spectator this year, cheering on my Mom as she completed her 3rd full marathon (and first solo) on October 8, 2017.

I did do a little running… alongside her as I cheered her on.

Just running alongside Mom to cheer her on… This was the only part of the marathon I did this year!

They changed the course significantly this year, which turned it into an out-and-back course, but it still went over the St. John’s Bridge. Mom blew her previous marathon PR out of the water, improving her time by a half hour.

Tired, but happy.

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2016 Portland Marathon Medals Revealed!

The 45th Portland Marathon is coming up quickly and in my inbox yesterday was a preview and description of the medals!

2016 Portland Marathon & Half Medals

2016 Portland Marathon & Half Medals

While I was very excited for the preview, I was somewhat disappointed to find that the front of the double-sided medal is practically unchanged from last year. Don’t get me wrong, I adore the medal, pendant and coin I earned last year, but previously, the Portland Marathon has had all-new medal designs each year. I would have especially expected something unique for an anniversary year and was looking forward to seeing what they would come up with.

Mom and I show off our medals at the finish of the 2015 Portland Marathon.

Mom and I show off our medals at the finish of the 2015 Portland Marathon.

Even the ribbon is the same design, with just a different coloring.

However, Portland Marathon medals are unique in that they are double-sided, and it does sound like the reverse side of the medal is completely new.

The reverse is an adaptation of the famous St Gauden’s gold $20 coin. The changes are as follows: Liberty is Portlandia; Portlandia carries a trident rather than a torch; she holds a fir tree rather than a laurel spray; there is an outline of the City of Portland under Mt. Hood rather than the Washington DC Capitol Building; there are roses and rose leaves rather than acorns and oak leaves; and, there are 45 stars for our 45th Anniversary rather than 48 stars for the 48 states.

Excerpt from “2016 Medals, Pendants & Coins” by Yakihiko Yamaoki

I’ll look forward to seeing this side when I earn it after running 26.2 miles!

2016 Disneyland Half Corrals and Course Maps

Yay! The Disneyland Half Marathon is almost here!

Corral Assignments

After improving his 10K time, Taylor was hoping to move up from D corral (Tinker Bell Half) to C corral. I was hoping to have one last chance to use my PR 10K time to stay in B corral.

But Disney fooled us all and switched from having Corrals up to F to having Corrals up to J! Having taken a peek at the course map, this must be to try to avoid congestion, but it’s a little sad.
The corrals are a lot smaller. Jason remains in A corral. I was placed in E corral, Mom in F and Taylor in H, but us three slowpokes will run together in the same corral.

You look up your bib number listed on the waiver to find which corral you are in.

You look up your bib number listed on the waiver to find which corral you are in.

Course Map

They’ve also posted course maps. Judging by how quickly we enter the park, I can see why they needed to increase the number of corrals. Enter the park that fast is a recipe for terrible congestion. I’m really hoping we’ll be able to run before mile 4, but I won’t hold my breath.

Can't wait to run through Angel Stadium!

Can’t wait to run through Angel Stadium!

I also found a really cool hand-drawn map (pdf) with a little more detail on the USTAF website that was used to certify the course after it was measured. It definitely shows how quickly we enter the park.

The exciting thing is this course is very different from both Tinker Bell and Star Wars, so it will feel very new!

All that’s left now is the event guide, which will only be available in a digital format. Soon enough we’ll be flying down to Anaheim and I can’t wait!

Medal Revealed for the 2016 Disneyland Half Marathon

2016 Disneyland Half Marathon Medal

2016 Disneyland Half Marathon Medal

It took them until July 18th, but runDisney finally released an image of the 2016 Disneyland Half Marathon Medal.

Since last year was the special 10th anniversary medal, I was really curious what the new medal design would be. Sadly, I have to say I prefer last year’s diamond medal and the previous medal design series.

This is mostly because the icons of Disneyland park are more important to me than characters. I understand why it was designed that way—the races are themed with “Disney Duos” with Mickey and Pluto headlining the Half Marathon. But Pluto just doesn’t feel like he belongs on a Disneyland Half Marathon themed medal.

However, the medal is still quite amazing, and I love the large encircled D. Probably the only reason I’m being so picky is because this is the first time I have a chance to earn it!

I’m also hoping to get a peek at the other medals from the weekend. Dad and Aunt Sandy will be doing the 5K and I want them to get a preview as well.

I’m certainly looking forward to the Disneyland Half Marathon. It’s only a month away (and registration is still open). We’re finalizing our costumes this week!

Update: RunDisney finally posted a pic of the 5K medal and it’s no longer plastic! Looks sweet.
Update: Race weekend is one month away and RunDisney has posted pictures of all the medals now. I adored the original Dumbo Double Dare design and am not pleased by the redesign, but now I don’t regret missing out on the challenge.
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Medals revealed for the 2016 Twilight Half Marathon!

After looking up last-minute race day details for the Twilight Half Marathon, I found this!

The 2016 Twilight Half Medals look great!

The 2016 Twilight Half Medals look great!

After a couple of slow training runs and races with random pains, aches and general sluggishness, I really needed a boost before this weekend’s Twilight Half to replace my nervousness with excitement.

The weather looks like it will cooperate, with highs in the mid-60s and a chance of rain. I won’t have to worry about the summer heat like I thought.

I’m still hoping this will be a fast race for me. Perhaps I’ll even have a chance to beat my previous PR of 2:38:02 (set at Vancouver Rock ‘n’ Roll in 2014).

After our finish, Taylor and I will be celebrating our birthdays as well as finishing the race! How’s that for a post-race party?!

Related: Race Recap: Twilight Half Marathon 2016

Spectating at the 2016 Eugene Marathon — Track Town, USA

Jason ran the 2016 Eugene Marathon on Sunday and it was incredible!

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After a week of rain in the valley, the weather cleared up for the weekend. As a spectator, it was perfect, and everything looked beautiful and vibrant.

We went to the Expo on Saturday which was a little small, but decent. One cool touch was a list of everyone’s names who were running the race. There weren’t many vendors, but I did pick up a new pair of compression socks.

Playing find the name at the Eugene Marathon expo.

Playing find the name at the Eugene Marathon expo.

This was also my first time back to the University of Oregon campus in a couple of years. It was great to be on campus and see all the familiar places. I spent the better part of four years there, which makes any place have meaning. I was also surprised by the amount of changes as well, but construction always continues.

For the runners, the important landmark was historic Hayward Field, home of legendary runners. All the races that weekend would finish on the track there.

After resolving a running shoes fiasco the previous day, Jason and I got up bright and early Sunday morning. UO has very limited parking, but the race organizers were very good at handling it with lots of transportation options. From our friend’s place where we were staying, Jason walked to a designated shuttle stop and was at the start in no time.

But in the morning, shuttles were only available to runners, so I walked to the start line.

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Almost time for the first runners to take off!

This race is small enough, compared to mega races like runDisney and Rock ‘n’ Roll, but still had a fairly significant field and had drawn some very fast runners— including Carlos Trujilo, a pro runner and former UO athlete, who earned his Olympic qualifying time that day by winning the marathon in a thrilling finish. Both Marathon and Half-Marathon runners started together, and for the first time, Jason’s finishing time placed him in C corral, about middle of the pack.

After seeing the start, I walked to a spot around mile 8, which was nearby courtesy of the looping course. I got to cheer the leaders of the race, while waiting for Jason. I had fun chatting with other spectators. Right behind the 3:45 pacers, Jason ran by.

8 miles in and looking good!

8 miles in and looking good!

I thought it would be easy to spot him in his bright green Star Wars Half shirt, but green was a popular color and I ended up looking for his green KT-taped knees.
After mile 8, I finally had time to get a cup of coffee and decide where I should next try to see him. I met my friends at a coffee shop and we decided to walk back to their place, grab a car, and drive to mile 18.

When we got there, I could certainly see how the last 10 miles had changed the runners. I saw limping, exhaustion and walking from many runners. But when Jason came running by, he flashed me a grin. He was passing many of these runners!

Still smiling at mile 18!

Still smiling at mile 18!

This was so exciting because he had really struggled during the Foot Traffic Flat after hitting a wall. He had been the one being passed and now he was doing the passing!

This was the last place I saw him before the finish. There was simply no way to catch him on another part of the course without missing the finish at Hayward Field! We drove back, parked the car, and once again, started walking to Hayward field. Runner tracking told me when Jason crossed the 20 mile timing mat and showed that his pace had slowed down a little but was still staying remarkably consistent. I mentally wished him luck for the last 10K.

At Hayward field, spectators filled the stands and lined the fence next to the track. By this point, it was quite warm with the sun beating down. As they came through, runners were displayed on the large video screen and the announcer called their names. It was an amazing finishing straight.

Right around 11 o’clock, Jason came through. At 26 miles in, he wasn’t smiling as much, but looked determined. He crossed the line at 3:56:47— shy of his PR at Foot Traffic Flat, but having run a better race by staying consistently strong. Even for fast runners, intervals help!

Heading to the finish line!

Heading to the finish line!

He was tired, but happy and in much better shape this time. Although it was a little warm at the end, the Eugene Marathon course was beautiful and very well organized, even for the spectators.

Jason is a marathon finisher again!

Jason is a marathon finisher again!

I had a blast watching, and ended up walking over 8 miles in the process of being a spectator. I rarely spend time watching and cheering at a race. It certainly raised my excitement level for my own upcoming race, the Tinker Bell Half, only 6 days away!

What better way to end a race than with some much deserved pancakes?

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Corrals and Course Maps for the 2016 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

I know we’re getting closer to race day when the event guide and corrals are posted! I worked on our race costumes this weekend while following coverage of the Star Wars Half Marathon: The Dark Side at Walt Disney World.

Corral Placements

Tinker Bell Corrals
By looking up our race waivers to get our bib numbers, we were able to see our corral placements.

This may be the last time I can use my PR time from the 2014 Run for Sight for corral placement, but it was good enough to place me squarely in B corral. As I plan to run with Taylor, this doesn’t really mean anything, aside from making me smile, since last time I ran Tinker Bell, I was placed in C corral.

Taylor, after running Race for Warmth only 10 days after starting training, managed to get placed in D corral— a huge improvement over F Corral, which is where we thought we would be if we hadn’t found a 10K we could run before the time deadline. His bib number shows us that he just barely missed being placed in C corral, so I’m guessing he will be in a higher corral for the Disneyland Half Marathon in September.

Jason ran a few numbers and it looks like the corrals breakdown is as follows:

750 people in A corral
2500 each in B and D corrals
1750 in C Corral
4500 each in E and F corrals

Only 300 people in D corral had seed times faster than Taylor. Since Taylor is faster than me now and I was placed in B corral, our current plan is to start as close to the front of D corral as possible. I’m sure we’ll mix with C corral and B corral.

Course Map

I was guessing the 2016 Tinker Bell Half Marathon course would have to differ from previous years because of the construction on the new Star Wars Land in Disneyland. With the publication of the Event Guide, we finally found out the course, and I’m pretty happy with it.

The official course map from the 2016 Tinker Bell Event Guide.

The official course map from the 2016 Tinker Bell Event Guide.

I’m glad it differs so much from the Star Wars Half Marathon and it looks like we spend a good chunk of the race on Disney property. Taylor actually overlaid the course map onto another map to get a better feel for how the course goes through the parks.

Taylor's version gives a bit more detail.

Taylor’s version gives a bit more detail.

Next weekend, Taylor and I will go on our last long run (14 miles) before the race and teh following weekend I’ll be cheering Jason on as he runs the Eugene Marathon. Before you know it, Tinker Bell time!