Race Recap: 2017 Hippie Chick Half Marathon—Hillsboro, OR

To celebrate Mother’s Day, Mom and I ran the Hippie Chick Half Marathon on Saturday. This is the second time I’ve ran the race. At the 2015 race, I ran it with Katie and it was way too hot for me! This year was completely the opposite!

A little damp, but full of high spirits!

I was so happy the temperatures were forecasted to remain low on Saturday. It was raining before the race and at the last minute I pulled on a long-sleeve shirt and put my short sleeve on over top, a rarity for me. I was afraid I might regret it, because it was dry once we got to the start line, but that sure didn’t last!

Not too far into the race, it started pouring! For about an hour, we got completely soaked, and mom and I were strongly reminded of the very wet 2016 Portland Marathon.

The rain was pounding us so hard, the drops were almost painful. However, it really did look beautiful against the scenery of the fields green from the spring. Mom and I were dressed for the occasion, with daisies in our hair and cute little floral skirts Mom had made.

I felt much better than at Hop Hop, but we concentrated on enjoying ourselves, enjoying the course and having fun, rather than speed. This was more about the experience and being able to do it together!

The free photobooth really captured our playful spirits on Saturday. We took the photos pre-race and when we received them post-race, the last photo sent me into a fit of uncontrollable laughter.


The race was nice and flat and the country roads with the wide open fields were lovely this time around (since I was dying for shade in 2015). There were plenty of water stops and even gel stops. Mom and I had gotten up so early and ate breakfast so early, I increased what I normally have during a race to try and make up for it. The extra gels were certainly helpful.

They even had entertainment! Around mile 9ish, there were jugglers with batons on fire at turnaround point. Mom was so distracted by them, she nearly forgot to turnaround! But we did, and ran back down one of the few hills on the course.
Before too long, we were headed to the race finish! I run a really steady, but slow pace, so the last two miles I told myself that I wasn’t allowed to tell mom to slow down.

Once we got to the stadium, we waved to Jason who cheered us on. We ran around the edge of the stadium, spotting ourselves on the Jumbotron and then crossed the line, mother and daughter, holding hands and raising them high.

Hippie Chick Half Marathon complete!


Once finished, we collected our finisher necklaces and then made a beeline to the massage tent. We put our name on the waiting list for a free 10 minute massage and then met up with our cheerleader, Jason. He was able to point out all of the food options and even snag us a table! I won free chocolate donuts from Frang bakery. Mom and I enjoyed the pancake breakfast. Best of all, the mimosas and chocolate milk! Delicious. We listened to the live band and ate our post-race food happily.

Just about the time we had finished, we went down for our free massage. It may only be 10 minutes, but I know it made a huge difference! I recovered much faster and even felt energized right that moment.

In fact, when we started heading back to the parking lot, I couldn’t help it when i spotted the play structure nearby! Those weird blue rings spin like a merry-go-round. The weather kept the kids away, so us adults decided to play!

I’m not planning on doing any long races until the fall at least, giving me a break from high mileage. I really hate the running in warm weather and its really hard to run for hours at a time in the summer. I want to concentrate on improving my 10K times instead. This was a good race to start the break!

Time: 2:48:53
Ran with: Mom
Post-Race Highlight: Although the free massage was heavenly and relaxing, I’ll admit that the awkward merry-go-round was exhilarating! It was such ridiculous, giddy post-race fun.

Race Recap: 2017 Hop Hop Half Marathon—Portland, OR

Saturday morning, the sun finally came out and the clouds finally lifted for a lovely spring day—perfect for running a half marathon!

I was excited for this half marathon, but I made a couple of mistakes that I’m sure led to my slowest non-RunDisney half marathon time this weekend at the Hop Hop Half Marathon. Don’t get me wrong— I had a ton of fun— however, after running a dozen half marathons and earning a PR in late February, I think it was time for a reminder to never take the distance for granted.

With that in mind, instead a regular race recap, I want to reflect on what I did wrong going into the race and during the race that contributed to how I felt during the race.

Physical Preparation

As I said in my pre-race post, I’ve been so busy I haven’t focused on running, but I haven’t neglected my training either. I did all my long runs and even managed a speed workout between my last race and this one.

Hydration is where my physical preparation broke down. I didn’t think about pre-race hydrating and woke up with a headache. I didn’t drink enough water that morning and started the race dehydrated. During the race, although there were water stations, I was always thirsty. I haven’t run in sunny weather in ages and I was sweating. I felt sluggish and dehydration is the likely reason.

Mental Preparation

I admit it, I went into this race thinking “no problem.” Yeah, I know I’m trained up, but I still have to run 13.1 miles. Since I was only running for fun, and not going for a fast time and had recently clocked a great PR time, I was feeling pretty cocky about running this race. Six miles in, I started thinking, “dang… this thing isn’t even half over….” Confidence is knowing the race is long but I will finish. Cockiness is thinking the race is no big deal and I’ll be done in no time.

Race Day

I can learn from these mistakes and even though I felt sub-par, I still had a blast at the Hop Hop Half. This was a great race and they made sure the whole experience felt festive.

We made quite the group of happy bunnies!

It finally felt like a spring day and I was so glad to be taking advantage of glorious weather by running outside in it. We’ve gotten so few sunny days this year, every one is a treasure. It was perfect for a race.

Jason was aiming for a 1:30 time (and possibly a PR), Kelly’s Dad was aiming for a sub-2 hour finish. Those of us running for fun— Kelly, Mom and I— started the race together. Right away, I was getting shoutouts for my bunny ears, which looked ridiculously tall in comparison to many others. Someone even noticed the tiny detail of my carrot earrings!

The race started out with a short loop up and down roads and back toward the finish area. We were able to cheer for Jason and Kelly’s Dad as they passed us. Jason was one of the first runners through! We then passed the finish area and headed out for the rest of the race. Around mile 3, Kelly decided to drop back to run 30/30 intervals. With her reduced level of training, the 50 second run/30 second walk interval at our running pace was too much to maintain for the whole race.

Soon we had turned onto a bike path following the Columbia River. The sun sparkled on the water and there was a breeze. Every runner was in good spirits, with some singing to their music as we all ran along.

Take a look at the beautiful view of the river!

Once we neared the turnaround we saw a man in a giant blow-up hatching chick costume. It was hilarious and we knew we’d have to stop at the station afterward. They had marshmallow peeps! I don’t usually like them, but around mile 8, they sure tasted good.

We also spotted Kelly, who wasn’t too far behind us. Mom and I continued our way back along the bike path, but this time, the sun allowed us to see our own shadows and I was really amused by the bunny ears I was running with.

Although it was beautiful, Mom and I couldn’t help noticing all the landmarks that we had seen on our way out and thinking about how much longer we had to run.

Just after we crossed the road to the final short stretch of the bike path, Kelly caught up with us. We had less than 2 miles to go! She had been racing to catch up with us for a while, working hard.

Once I saw the finish line, I started running. “Slow down,” Mom called, since my pace was rather fast for poor Kelly, who had just caught up. “You can’t stop me know,” I yelled back. The finish line was too close!

We finished one, two, three and I made a beeline for the mimosas and my commemorative champagne flute. We found out that Jason just barely missed his PR time (again), but Kelly’s Dad smashed his 2-hour goal coming in at 1:53:22.

Cheers to a great race day!

All in all, I think I could have prepared better, but it was a super fun race that I would definitely recommend. It was nice and flat, with beautiful views. Of course, it helps that it was beautiful weather too!

Time: 2:51:29
Ran With:Mom
Best Costume: One of the faster runners (Jason’s speed or faster) wore a giant cardboard carrot on his back. All the bunnies in the race were chasing him!

2017 Heart to Start 5K (Heart Breaker Half) —Hillsboro, OR

Don't we look festive?!

Don’t we look festive?!

After weeks of torrential rain and snow/sleet/ice before that, we had glorious weather the weekend of the Heart to Start 5K. Even if it was a bit cold, it made for a nice change.

We signed up for the Heart to Start 5K fairly last minute when we heard Jason’s sister was planning to make it her first 5K. We had a long training run scheduled for the weekend already, our last one before the Phoenix Half Marathon, but we decided to go for it. She wasn’t able to attend, but Jason and I still enjoyed ourselves at this a festive Valentine-themed run on Feb 12. She donated her bib to my Mom, who was then able to run with me.

This was Jason’s second time running the race. While he ran the 5K in 2015, Mom and I both did the Heart Breaker Half Marathon. I was glad to do the shorter race this year—I can only handle so many hills!

After doing some intense interval training the previous weekend, I have been fighting pain in my shins, and I also knew that post-5K celebration, I had to run about 12 more miles to get in my last training run before the Phoenix Half. All of these things were swirling in my head as we prepared for the start at Liberty High School.

The start of the race was on the track, which was fun. Out on the roads, the course was windy and hilly, with lots of turn-arounds. Even though the course overlapped in places, we never did spot Jason among the faster runners.

Mom and I tried to stick to our intervals, but the warm up period was rough. We made sure to run downhill, and walked many of the uphills. I admit I wasn’t in the greatest headspace for a race— I was mostly thinking of the rest of my long run. A 5K feels so long! It takes me about 2 miles to feel warm up and get into a groove for a long race. Now that I mostly run longer distances, 5Ks are really painful. They are only 3.1 miles, so I already feel like I’m closer to the finish. I’m focused on that finish rather than running my race.

The course was well-supported and there was a lot of great spirit, with fun outfits and an abundance of red. The course ended with a half-lap around the track. Once finished, we grabbed our water and a Jamba Juice cowbell (free smoothie!) and went inside where it was warm.

Easily the stand-out feature of this race is the post-race experience. They used the large high school cafeteria, with lots of tables and seating and decorating. There was live music. There was a delicious oatmeal bar that included every topping you could think of (I melted chocolate chips into mine) and other food, including bagels, peanut butter, oranges, snack mix and more.

I also found out that Jason had a great 5K, placing second overall!

Jason placed second overall in this 5K!

Jason placed second overall in this 5K!

After we finished our post-race snacks, we hopped in the car to head into Portland. I was tired of my regular long-run routes, so we had planned a 12 mile run in Portland. We started by running across Tilikum Crossing, running down the Springwater Corridor for a while, then doubling back and heading down the Eastbank Esplanade, crossing the river and finishing up the loop by running through Waterfront park.

It was a nice day for a run, but I really think that adding a 5K to the beginning with such a long break in between runs really threw me off. I hit the wall way sooner, my legs were tired sooner and I really had trouble figuring out how to fuel for the run. I think in the future, I’ll strive to do my long run mileage all at once.

However, unlike the 5K, the long training run was flat!

Time: 36:31
Ran With: Mom
Best Memory: Mom saying we couldn’t blame our finish times on the course because it “wasn’t that hilly,” and then Jason turning around to say incredulously, “What race did you run?”

Race Recap: 2016 Turkeython—Tualatin, OR

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A small group of us joined together Thanksgiving morning to kick off the holiday season by running the Turkeython!
Having just come back from Thailand, it was my first run in nearly a month! It was also quite cold compared to the temperatures I had experienced in Thailand.

Before the start, Jason and I were so cold!

Before the start, Jason and I were so cold!

I ran with Taylor, whose training had also taken a hit, although for him, the culprit was grad school. My goal was to enjoy myself and have fun, rather than go for any particular time. Mom, on the other hand, had been training hard to try for a new 5K PR.

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Having fun is what doing races is all about!

The weather was due to be very wet, but at the start, it was merely windy. It started raining halfway through the race, but nothing like the downpour that came later that same day!

We turned on some very easy intervals (50 run, 35 walk, the intervals we plan to use for our upcoming half marathon) and chatted, just catching up with each other. It was a very relaxed run and quite enjoyable. Taylor and I are both looking forward to running the Rebel Challenge in January (Star Wars Half Marathon and 10K).

Of course, our times did reflect our relaxed attitude, but we still sprinted toward the finish line! Taylor has a much faster sprint than me, but he played cat-and-mouse with me, just letting me catch up, before subtly speeding up.

A slow race, but a fast finish!

A slow race, but a fast finish!

The best part, however, was finding out that Mom had smashed her 5K PR with a time of 30:54! Thats exactly a minute faster than my fastest 5K time!

As soon as all racers came in, we headed home…. on our way to TWO thanksgiving meals!

Time: 37:42
Ran With: Taylor
Number in Group: 6
Pieces of Pie consumed that Day: 1 mince, 2 pumpkin.. much more calories than I burned, for sure!

Race Recap: 2014 Foot Traffic Holiday Half—Portland OR

I finished the Foot Traffic Holiday Half yesterday!

Signing up for a race in December, in Portland, you never know what you are going to get, but the weather was perfect.

It was such festive fun!

It was such festive fun!

I signed up for the Holiday Half on kind of a whim, thinking of it as a fun training run leading up to the Star Wars Half Marathon weekend.

Pre-Race

Sadly, in the 7 days leading up to the race, I was sick for about 6 of them. I had no appetite, a touch of nausea and splitting headaches. I wasn’t able to do any training runs or even eat complete meals. Luckily, by Saturday I felt fine and was even able to do my 5K training walk (prep for the Rebel Challenge) on Saturday.

Sewing a sparkly red skirt the night before, using the same method as my blue sparkly skirt.

Sewing a sparkly red skirt the night before, using the same method as my blue sparkly skirt.

I also decided last minute (the night before the race) to sew myself a sparkling red holiday skirt so I could embrace the holiday spirit for the run. Glad I did!

Jason (1) ran the 5K, while our friends Melissa and Jason(2) joined me for the half. Jason2 has been having problems with his knee since he had to walk most of Rock n’ Roll Vancouver, so he planned to see if he could run with me.

Pre-Race support was amazing.

The Adidas Campus provided plenty of room for race staging. There was a snow machine and fire pits outside but even better, there was even a warm room that we were able to duck into, complete with a tree and DJ playing holiday tunes.

Bag check went very smooth, but we got stuck in a dreaded porta potty line and lined up in our corral minutes before start. Luckily, they were right next to each other).

Holiday Half Marathon

I was warned ahead of time about the uphill start, but honestly, it wasn’t that bad. There was a hill (unadvertised) during the middle of the race that was more difficult.

The only problem with the start was once we turned onto a residential street, cars parked on both sides created a funnel affect that led to crowding and slowing down. At this point, we told Melissa to go ahead and try to dodge her way ahead, leaving Jason2 and I to run the rest of the race together.

Crowded start, but I'm waving anyway!

Crowded start, but I’m waving anyway!

I’ve realized over time that the first 2 miles of a long run (race or training) are some of the longest miles for me. It seemed like it took forever for us to get to the first water stop and the 5K turn around point.

Once I reached the 4 mile point, I was able to settle in for the run, coming to terms with the idea that I would be running for a while that morning.

With holiday cheer, it was hard not to grin.

With holiday cheer, it was hard not to grin.

Four miles in was also the first aid station where I grabbed the electrolyte drink offered. Expecting something similar to gatorade, I let out a gargly-yelp of surprise, amusing several other nearby runners. I don’t know what it was, but it was pink and tasted like it was sparkling. Carbonated? Electrified grapefruit in liquid form?

Sun was behind us, so perhaps you can't tell, but it was gorgeous!

Sun was behind us, so perhaps you can’t tell, but it was gorgeous!

Running through the neighborhoods at the start was great but once we left them, we also got a great view of downtown Portland still shrouded in fog. We snapped a quick picture before continuing. I loved the scenery

We ran past the University of Portland Campus and got a great view of the St. Johns Bridge. Residents of the neighborhood sometimes came out to cheer and one homeowner set out speakers on the front porch that blasted holiday tunes.

It was sunny for the entire race, chilly, but not too cold. As we headed to toward the turnaround, there was a slight downhill next to a park that led straight into a fog bank. It was an eerie moment but unforgettably cool.

They had plenty of porta potties along the route (although I never needed to stop for one, yay!), and gels at every water stop, and Foot Traffic advertised that there would be aid stations “every two miles.” I checked the course map and I’m not sure if there was an aid station missing for some reason, but there was a long stretch right around halfway with no aid stations.

On an out and back course, the worse part was realizing upon reaching the aid station and not seeing a water station that it would be two miles back the way I came before reaching water. I took a gel without being about to follow up with water and I paid the price around mile 9.

At least there were carolers. On the way out, they seemed fairly enthusiastic, including the group at the turnaround (the volunteer staffing the turnaround should be commended— he was energetic and funny).

Sadly, I’m a really slow runner, and on the way back, the renditions of “Jingle Bells” seemed to have lost some pep. I”m always glad to still see spectators, volunteers and course entertainment by the time I’m at mile 9, so my thanks for their continued presence was genuine.

Mile 10 is where I started to struggle. Jason2 was still with me, having had no knee problems, and having a running partner helped. I started to focus on just getting to the next bus stop, the next street corner, the next tree. I alternated short walks and short runs. By mile 12, every time I started to run again, a sadly audible moan would escape.

By the time we got to the downhill finish, I was not wearing my cheerful face. More like

By the time we reached the downhill finish, I was not wearing my cheerful face. More like “in pain….”

I was so out of energy. I think my sickness meant that I simply didn’t have any reserves for such a long race.

Somewhere near the end of the race, Jason2 spotted a photographer. “Quick, look happy!”

“I’m so happy… happy, happy, happy!” I lied, smiling to the camera. As soon as we were past, my smiled dropped as the expression of pain returned. Which was hilarious in its own way to us.

I knew the finish would be downhill. A downhill finish was wonderful and helped me find hidden reserves of energy to speed up right before the finish. Jason and Melissa and her mom were near the finish cheering for us and I smiled upon crossing the finish line.

Post-Race

Wow. Did not realize the holiday half medal was so huge,” I thought as I stumbled toward the small child who apprehensively held the medal out to me.

Once I’d recovered my balance, drank some water and decided I probably wasn’t going to die, I wanted some egg nog, darnnit. Let me share my irritation for a bit:

“Finish the race and treat yourself to a craft beer seasonal brew, hearty holiday soup, hot chocolate, hot oatmeal, egg nog, and more!” —Foot Traffic Holiday Half webpage

No eggnog. No hot chocolate. No hot oatmeal. And I’m not a beer person (especially after running). But the delicious soup chili thing was awesome and the bread was satisfying, so I recovered from disappointment.

It's (fake) snowing!

It’s (fake) snowing!

Despite everything, I was exhilarated at finishing the race.

Overall, the race support was awesome with plenty of nice amenities provided (good job Foot Traffic!)

Holiday cheer was everywhere and the many costumes were great at providing entertainment throughout the course. With the course just an out and back, it was fun to see runners in both directions decked out in holiday gear.

We stayed for a while, taking pictures and once again hanging out inside near the Christmas Tree.

Turns out Jason had a great 5K despite his knee injury from his long run last weekend— another sub-20 minute 5K for him for first place in his age group and a top 10 finish. He liked the 5K course that wound through the neighborhoods.

Great last race for 2014! Now, on to 2015 and the Rebel Challenge at the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend!

Runners unite! The Christmas Tree was decorated with Holiday Half medals from previous years.

Runners unite! The Christmas tree was decorated with Holiday Half medals from previous years.

Time: 2:43:01
Ran With: Jason2
Photo Stops: 1 (and many more before and after the race)
Best Costume: An wickedly good Abominable Snowmonster I got to see 4 times on the course.
What I learned: Running with a scarf should not be a regular thing.

2014 Turkeython Recap

I totally love running on Thanksgiving day morning, especially when family and friends can join in. Although picking a Turkey Trot is difficult, I’m glad we picked the Überthons Turkeython this year.

Mom and I after the run!

The course was perfect and the race accessible to all running/walking levels.

In fact, we convinced so many people to join us that we got access to the VIP tent for being one of the largest teams.

The VIP tent was awesome and kept us out of the wind and damp pre-race.

They also provided breakfast sandwiches.. I saved mine for post race but appreciated it all the same.

I enjoyed running near Bridgeport village more than I expected. I am the avoid-all-malls kind of person when it comes to holiday shopping, so seeing all the decor and atmosphere this way was perfect.

I was a little worried when the course narrowed, but it never was a problem.I’m a very average runner so crowding can sometimes be a issue, but it really wasn’t.

I love how well-supported the Überthons races are, with plenty of volunteers and a clearly marked course.

The mile markers were not well marked. I never even saw one, although Katie spotted the 2 mile marker. Oh well. I’m not as desperate to see the next mile marker when its a 5K distance. I live for the next mile marker when running a half marathon.

I wasn’t going for a time or anything, and had a blast running with Katie. I love having a running buddy! It turns out my mom finished right behind us, so it looks like running with her at the Star Wars Half Marathon will be perfect!

Both Jason and Dad got a PR, although perhaps on opposite ends of the spectrum. Happy for both of them, and we definitely all received medals large enough to commemorate those accomplishments.

Post-race, there were muffins and hot drinks!

Ironically, this was my short run day. Sunday I went on a 12 miler. Despite the near freezing temperatures, I felt really good running it. Looking forward to the Holiday Half!

Time: 34:21
Ran With: Katie
Number in our Group: 12!
Best Costume: A lady ran in an apron. Simple, but so perfectly thanksgiving. I also enjoyed seeing the pilgrims.

Choosing a Turkey Trot

Tofurkey Trot... it makes me laugh. How Portland!

Tofurkey Trot… it makes me laugh.

Numerous Turkey Trots, Give n’ Gobble, Before the Bird Fun Run, even a Tofurkey Trot.

In the Portland area, there’s just so many Thanksgiving races out there that it’s hard to chose which run to do.

In 2012 we did the 4-mile ORRC Turkey Trot. We were so excited to find a race benefiting (and finishing in) the Oregon Zoo. How cool is that? Although hilly, it was a great deal of fun.

In 2013, we were in Anaheim, CA visiting relatives and didn’t do a race, although we did have a fun and sunny Thanksgiving day training run.

This year, when we set out to pick our 2014 turkey trot, we wanted to pick one that was accessible for many different running/walking abilities. Read—we wanted to rope as many people into joining us as possible.

The lucky race? The Turkeython!

turkeython

Uberthons puts on a bunch of races in the area throughout the year, including the Freedomthon we did on the 4th of July. The location, Bridgeport Village, is fairly close and offers a flat 5K course (as well as a 10K and 10K relay).

I’m also hoping that Bridgeport will be in full holiday swing and hopefully put those strange outside music speakers to good use.

At this point, it sounds like we’ll be a raucous group of 12.