Friday, September 5, 2014

Race Report: Oregone Wine Country Half Marathon

Well it's been over a month since I've blogged, oopsy.  I've been just a tad bit busy!  August was the month from hell and I'm convinced the universe was trying to kill me.  Between work stress (that still hasn't let up) and running crazy miles (149 for the month), I was downright exhausted all day every day.  Our weekend getaway that we have had planned since January was much needed!  Last Friday I logged a 5 mile run and then we loaded up and headed for the airport!  We arrived in Portland around 2pm and headed to The Westin to check in, drop off our bags, and then start exploring.  This was our first trip to Oregon and I must say, I fell in love.  Everything is so green!  Not to mention the temperatures were a glorious 60-70 degrees during our entire stay.  You win over a Texas girls heart with that one.  One of our first stops was to the Deschutes Brewery pub in downtown.  Being the craft beer nerds that we are, this was a must!  Texas gets several Deschutes brews around town, but luckily they had an entire menu of brews that were new to us! We ordered a flight of those #duh

Brandon insisted that a growler come home with us back to Texas.  This trip was for his birthday, so who am I to say no.

After walking all over Portland we called it a night.

Saturday was packet pick up day and more importantly we got to sleep in!  The one thing I have longed for during this entire training cycle is getting to sleep in.  It just doesn't happen anymore.  We slept in until 7:30 and let me tell you, glorious!  Packet pick up was about an hour outside of Portland so we rented a car (fun fact: it is illegal to pump your own gas in Oregon) and took an adventure to the countryside.  The drive was absolutely gorgeous (despite the rain).  Evergreen Aviation Museum hosted packet pick up and it was by far the most unique expo I've ever been to.  Such a cool place that without running, I would have never known about let alone get to visit.  

If the weather had been better, we would have made the trip out to the coast.  However, driving along the coast isn't a whole lot of fun in the rain so we ventured back to downtown Portland.  The plan for Saturday was to lay low and rest our legs a bit.  Sunday was race day and a very early one at that!    

Race day!  Our alarms went off bright and early at 4am.  The shuttle was leaving The Westin at 5:15 sharp to make the one hour journey to Stoller Vineyards, where the start line was located.  I think we were still half asleep on that bus ride:

The sun was just starting to peak when we arrived at the race site.  We talked with several runners who had also made the journey from Dallas!  Turns out, we all wanted to run in cooler weather.  Shocking I know.  This picture really doesn't do it justice but the rolling vineyards (and massive hills) would be the landscape along about 80% of the course.  Beautiful!  

We didn't have to wait around at the start line long, which was great!  The temp was about 58 degrees and felt a-mazing!  It was funny though to see a lot of the locals wearing their cold weather gear, and Brandon and I were downright giddy in our tank tops and shorts.  

Before the gun went off, I thought about what my goal was for the race.  My number one goal is to always have fun, but strategically my plan (dictated by coach) was to start off really conservative and then settle into my tempo pace for the remainder for the remainder of the race.  This race was more about controlling my pace and having a strong training run.  When the gun went off, away we went!

Miles 1-6 were packed FULL of hills.  I mean every time you finished one big climb there was another one already waiting for you.  Having reviewed the elevation chart beforehand, I expected this and knew that if I made it to mile 6 it was mostly flat and/or downhill from there.  At mile 2 I realized I was getting a little too quick so I slowed it down and ended up having to stretch a bit at mile 3.  (splits below)  
Miles 6-10 - This was where I settled into my pace and honestly it felt great.  It felt effortless.  Exactly what I had hoped for!
Miles 10-12.5 - Damn you gravel.  Damn you.  This stretch of miles was solid gravel and not just a road with a few rocks sprinkled in it, gravel.  If you've ever had knee and/or ankle issues, you can only imagine just how awful this felt.  My splits for those miles tell the whole story:

When I hit the gravel at mile 10 I tried to get through it without walking but after two miles of it my knee felt like it wanted to give out so I walked the last .5 miles of the gravel road.  I figured at this point, it was a better safe than sorry move.  Oregon wasn't my goal race, Chicago is, so that was that.  You can see at mile 12 where two minutes got tacked onto my time because of it.  I was so so upset!  Once we hit concrete again I was right back into my pace.  Eh, well.  Given the course challenges, I was happy with my time. Certainly no PR but since that wasn't the goal, no need to dwell on it.

I will gladly accept my medal and cold beer, thank you.

  Brandon tackled the course in 1:53:13 which is well off his PR time but a super speedy finish anyways!  Hope you enjoyed your birthday gift!  Seeing the world on foot is way more fun with you around.
After we cooled down a bit, it was time to do some wine tasting!  There were SO many vineyards there pouring it up and we tried a few.  So much fun!

 This was a smaller race which I am a huge fan of!  Overall the race and packet pick up was very well put together and went off without a hitch.  If I did have one piece of feedback, it would be to offer more substantial post race food.  I didn't even see a banana!?  

The setting of the course was gorgeous, and the post race party was a blast.  Looking forward to doing another race in the Destination Races series!

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