Foot Traffic Holiday Half – Portland, OR – Dec 15, 2013

After having met while training for half marathons and having run 7 other races between the two of us, Lisa and I finally got to run a half marathon together.  After I moved out to Portland Oregon in June we looked for a race that would give me time to get settled and plenty of time to train together and the Holiday Half fit the bill nicely!

The Holiday Half would be my third half marathon this year (6 total) and also Lisa’s third total half, all three from this year.  I was excited to run my first half marathon in the state of Oregon and also the city of Portland.  The course started at the Adidas campus in Northeast Portland and headed north along the bluff and up through St Johns and under the St Johns bridge and back in a pretty straight out and back.  The route was about as flat as you could get and still be within the city itself and the weather, while not great, was about the best we could ask for.  It was quite cold, starting out in the 30s and warming up to the 40s but the weekend before had seen lows in the teens and highs in the 20s so this felt downright hot by comparison!

The race started a little after 8AM complete with a Santa and fake snow.  Despite being a small race (approx 2500) it was very crowded at the start.  We were weaving through some neighborhoods while we made our way to the big main road that would take us along the bluff and back.  Our first two miles were a little slow at 12:43 and 12:30, although this was faster than most of my training runs.  At mile 3 we really hit our stride with mile times of 12:03, 12:15 (20:15 with an 8 minute bathroom wait), 11:57 and 12:02.  Everything felt good at the time, but in hindsight this may have been a little quick.

At about mile 6 we ran under the St John’s bridge and there was a group of singers there singing carols (one of whom Lisa knew!) and the acoustics under the bridge were amazing.  It sounded great and what a uplifting moment to push us on.   The route included a cutoff section on the return trip, so the turn around point was a little beyond halfway at a little over 7 miles.   We had slowed down a little but still were cruising along with miles 7-9 at 12:20, 12:45 and 12:59.  Right at mile 9 we stopped to take our gels, taking the ones that were offered on the course.  This stop cost us a few seconds and mile 10 was 13:55.  We got some of that back, but not all, in mile 11 at 13:12 and then that’s where things starting going bad.

Towards the end of mile 11 I could feel my legs starting to twitch and convulse a little but they weren’t cramping.  I got very tired and had to stop and walk for just a few minutes to rest and catch my breath.  At the mile 12 marker we started running again but sadly that didn’t last long.  At about 12.5 miles both of my calves cramped up so bad it stopped me in my tracks and I shuffled to a walk.  After a while the pain in my calves eased but it moved up to above my knees.  At this point even walking was extremely painful.  We stopped very close to mile 13 for me to stretch a little bit and then continued on.  We turned the corner and could see the finish line and the pain in my legs had eased enough to try to run to the finish but halfway there I cramped up again and limped to the finish line.

We finished at exactly 3 hours.  Not the best time for either of us but a long shot, but not our worst either.

It wasn’t a great experience, but we finished it and gutted it out.  There were some issues that probably led to my problems so I’ll try to work on that in the future.

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Took home a nice medal for finishing!

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  • About Me

    I am a recent graduate in Food Science (NC State, 2009) and I work for a major food manufacturing company. I love food, but I can no longer eat anything that crosses my path. About 24 months ago I begin a serious struggle to get my obesity under control and reduce my chances of developing Type II diabetes. Since September of '09 I have lost 50 pounds and I still have a long ways to go. I've started eating better and exercising more, including taking up running.