Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Girlfriend's Half (Jess)

Race report: October

It was so fun to read Katie's perspective of the race yesterday. We didn't get much time to process post race because our families were waiting for their mums... here are some thoughts from me. 

Katie came over Saturday afternoon to chat, hang with our families, and also pick up our race packets. It was nice going the day before--I knew just where to go Sunday morning when I was only half awake. I ate a yummy dinner Saturday night of chicken, kale salad, and brown rice (6 miles in I realized I had not eaten enough, I was HUNGRY!) 

Before bed, Mackenzie and I sprawled out on the kitchen floor with markers, stickers, and blindingly pink poster board. I shamelessly made my own sign and Mack colored to her heart's content. I laid out the girls' outfits, pink in support of breast cancer awareness of course, and also their running shirts Katie had gifted them. I packed snacks and bottles for the girls and laid out everything for me. From race outfit, to safety pins, I knew I hadn't forgotten anything.  I headed to bed and tried to relax with my book. I got up again and wrote Justin a two page letter, complete with numbered bullets of all the race info he needed to know. I felt a little better, and drifted off to sleep with butterflies and a silly grin.

I had my usual long run breakfast (remind me to tell you later of the french toast fail) English muffin, peanut butter, banana, and coffee. I had pictured getting up and slipping out the front door before anyone in the house knew I was gone...but of course the whole brood was awake and running around when I finally stumbled out the door to go pick up Katie. 

Funny side note- Katie and I were not planning on being twins on race day! We had tried but I couldn't find a pink shirt I loved (read "cheap"), so on a whim I grabbed a clearance Nike dry fit at Fred Meyer. I snapped a photo and sent it to Katie, only to find out she had the exact same shirt! Woohoo! Matchy matchy after all!

Katie and I arrived early enough to walk through the vendors and check things out. I got all flustered and embarrassed when I realized one of the authors (Sarah) of Run Like a Mother, was there. I stammered through a hello. Katie, laughed and explained to Sarah I was a little starstruck. I SO was!
I also spotted Amanda, from Runninghood, but again was too embarrassed to say hello! Oh, silly Jessica!

Sunday morning was cool but I decided to ditch my fleece and jump around with the other 3,000 women warming up. The only complaint I would say about the entire race was that the beginning was a little unorganized. After the start (which was the crowd counting down from 10-1), 3,000 women funneled through the starting archway, all trying to find their stride, make some elbow room, and get going. It was a bit of a mess! And I was worried somebody near me was going to trip (who am I kidding, I was worried I was going to trip!)

The race was self-proclaimed "one of the Northwest's most beautiful courses", and I 100% agree. It was a crisp, slightly cloudy morning-perfect for a run. The first few miles ticked by quickly. I love that about race day, you can always count on adrenaline to carry you through those first few. I noticed that my trusty Garmin was about .2 off the posted miles. Not sure what that was about, maybe bad satellite or a short course?? 
By mile four I needed to pee. Of course. I was in a pickle...I didn't want to pee my pants (well duh!), but I also was loving running beside Katie. We had opened it up for us to go at our own pace before hand, but suddenly I was willing to forsake my bladder, and if I peed my pants, forsake my pride, in order to stick with my best friend. We pulled off at one point to use a restroom but when we saw the lines, we headed back out.

At mile six I put on my tunes. I was a little frustrated with my new armband/ipod holder. I couldn't adjust the volume and didn't want to stop to mess with it. My Bieber station wasn't as great as it's usual awesomeness, but I think I was starting to hit a wall. I was hungry and not really wanting to chug my tangerine Powerade gel. It should be renamed Powerade goo...'cuz it is goo-gross! I gulped it down and chased it with some water at one of the stations.

Mile nine I started to hurt. I was doubting my training, cursing my dinner, hating my gel. Katie nudged me at one point, reminding me to breathe. Mile ten was a blur. We were climbing up through Fort Vancouver. Mile eleven I tore out my ear buds, Katie nodded (I think she liked my company), and we dug deep to finish. We were both focused and hurting, Katie's knees and my everything. I felt like I was totally being held together by the fact Katie was at my side. Our feet hitting the pavement stride for stride, arms pumping in rhythm, my breath matching hers, so grateful to be carried mentally by my sweet friend those last few painful miles. 

A lady jogged by in the opposite direction telling us we were two blocks away. We crossed the overpass and sped up into downtown. We turned the corner. Peopled were now lining the streets cheering. Calling to us by name (it was on our race bibs). Telling us to run. Shouting that we were almost there. Yelling to us to go! go! go! I spotted Justin in his orange hunting beanie. I saw Mackenzie shouting for me waving the sign we had made. Katie and I kicked it up and rounded the corner. We crossed the finish line together, arms raised in victory.

I grabbed my finisher's medal necklace (such a lady's event) and wobbled to the honey buckets. Thank Jesus my mommy bladder held. We met up with our families and hugged and took pictures. I was so happy to be done. I was even happier to get in line for some grub. I saw Amanda from Runninghood again, and limped over to say hi. I saw her run past during the race, headed towards the finish before I had even turned the halfway point. She is so fast! It was fun meeting a bloggy person face to face. Justin left with the girls and Katie and I went to hunt down the free massages we had heard about (and the fudge too). It was an amazing feeling. My joints were achy and I felt bad for Kate, having to sit in a car for three hours post race. We made our way to my car, hugged, and headed in opposite directions. Suddenly, it was over. For the rest of the day (I even debated wearing my finisher's tee to church that night), I felt like I wanted to let everyone know I had just ran 13 miles. 

At school on Monday I showed my necklace to my fourth graders, they gave cheered and clapped and whooped. My thoughts exactly.


Final Time: 2:18:53

***I shaved over five minutes off my 2010 Eugene Half***


  1. So happy we did this together. I can't wait for our next half, maybe we can shave another 5 mins off!

  2. Great job!! I think they should be called goo-gross too!! I just can't do gels! Way to hold the bladder and make it to the end!! Congrats!

  3. Way to go, Jess! I'm impressed!