|Half Marathon State # 16
Half Marathon #29
On Sunday, October 9, 2016 I ran in the Portland Half Marathon in Portland, Oregon with my good friend Tom. This was my 16th state toward my 50 By 50 Challenge. This was also my 29th half marathon. There were 4,533 runners for the marathon and another 2,359 for the half marathon.
The weather, well let’s start there. We woke up at 4:30 AM to a downpour and around 60 degrees. We had about a 25 minute drive from Tom’s house, and the rain just continued. However, because this is somewhat normal we were prepared.
I had planned to just wear my rain jacket in the race; however, when we arrived and started gearing up, Tom gave me this little beauty. A short clear poncho that covered from the head to the knees which made it easy to run in. Also, it was clear so the bib was easily seen through it.
The race was scheduled to begin at 7 AM, and they were pretty close. However, because it was raining people were not showing up. This was 6:30 AM, just the lonely Wave sign holders alone in the rain.
About 6:45 AM people started to show and take cover from the rain.
Now before we started, the Portland Marathon organizers did one of the classiest things I have experienced in a race. They asked us to sign the National Anthem together, and that is what we did. The MC started us, and off we went. It was so moving considering the chaos that has been made over it in sports in recent months. Click on the image below for a copy of the video I found.
Just before 7 AM the wheelchairs were off and rolling, followed by Wave A a little after 7 AM. I was in Wave B and we crossed the start about 7:05 AM. It was still dark, and the rain was with us for the first few miles, then disappeared until the last couple of miles. Tom helped me start out at a good pace, which wasn’t too fast which I normally do. About mile 2-3 you have a 115′ incline to fight up, but by about mile 4 you head downhill for almost a mile that helped make up time. From mile 5 until almost mile 13 it was pretty flat.
There was great race support and entertainment. The refueling stations were about every 2 miles. The stationed featured water and Ultima Replenisher, a mineral replacement, along the course. Ultima is a drink that replaces vital minerals lost during your race. Ultima is available nationwide at Whole Foods Market and at select health food stores and running specialty stores. As always, to ensure carbo replacement, we will be offering 5 or 6 gummy bear and pretzel stations. There were no gels available at the stations. (Copied from race website).
There was a lot of entertainment on the course. However, my favorite was the Pirates of Portandia band. We had to stop for a photo op. I even got to hold the sword! It was real too!
I say almost, because there is a slight incline to the finish line that keeps you honest! Why do race directors torture you like this? That is now 2 races in a row that finish on an incline. Ouch! We finished the Portland Half Marathon in a time of 1:57:25 with an 8:58 average pace.
We found the course mile markers to be off by at least a tenth of a mile for each one we came to. However, when we crossed the finish line, my watch showed 13.09 miles. I am not sure if the course ran long at the end of the race or what, just seemed weird considering most races my Garmin is usually spot one. Well, a few days later, this was posted on the Portland Marathon Facebook Page.
All in all it was a good race considering the weather wasn’t the best. However, as you will see further down, it was worth all the swag you get!
This was one race where you did not get your race shirt until you crossed the finish line. All you got at the expo was your race bib and a bag. The expo was decent and in the Hilton Portland Executive Tower. I found parking about 4 blocks away in a garage. If you go to Portland, there are lots of garages and street parking.
Once we crossed the finish line we were inundated with post race swag. Obviously, we were given our race medal, then we were given our race shirt. I like this concept, because the race shirt actually says “Finisher”, so they make sure you actually finish the race before you get the race shirt. But that isn’t all. We were then given a light jacket to cover up after the race since it was rainy and chilly. We were also given a heavy coin and pendant of the race medal as well. Finally, we were given an evergreen seeding to plant and a rose, since they are know as the “Rose City”.
On Friday before the race, I had the chance to do some site seeing. I was told to check out the Vista House on the Columbia River Gorge, Latourell Falls, Multnomah Falls, the Portland Aerial Tram, and a few signature doughnut shops in the area. So, on top of my ritual to visit a cupcake store native to the location of my half marathon, I had to hit a few doughnut shops. Oh please twist my arm!
Vista House on Columbia River Gorge
Portland Aerial Tram
Blue Star Donuts
Finally, if you have followed my blog over my 50 By 50 Challenge, I like to find a unique cupcake store in the area and give it a try. For Portland Oregon, it was Cupcake Jones. This was a really good choice. My favorite was a PB&J cupcake. It had peanut butter frosting with a jelly filled void inside the cake portion of the cupcake. I highly recommend it if you are in the Portland area!
Well that is a wrap on Half Marathon #29 & State #16. I have about 2 weeks until my 30th half marathon. It will be local here in Charleston, SC with the Race 13.1 Charleston at Middleton Plantation. I an mainly running this one for training, trail run, and of course because it has a really cool Halloween themed medal.
My next 50 states half marathon will be in three weeks (November 6th), and my last state for 2016. It will be in West Virginia on the campus of Marshall University.