Note: All of the wonderful pictures in this post are from my fabulous personal photographer (my mom)
A few weeks ago, while in Oregon for my cousin’s wedding, I ran the Oregon Fall Half. This race was different in a lot of ways:
– Smallest race (only 300 runners)
– First race outside of VA
– First race after a day of flying
– Second half in two weeks
It was cool in the morning, I wasn’t quite expecting that since it’s been so warm in VA. I had only brought shorts and a tank top to run in, but luckily had a sweatshirt to wear before the race. The race MC was very enthusiastic and his joking was appreciated, especially so early in the morning!
I lined up with the 2:15 pace group, figuring I’d end up pulling back some, but still finishing with a 2:26ish time. When the race started, my feet felt weird; they were so cold!
My first mile felt great and it was a 10:05. So fast! I tried to force myself to slow down and ended up slowing to about a 10:30 pace.
At around mile 3-4, I decided to just stay at this faster than normal pace because it seemed like my body wanted to be running faster. The course was a lollipop as the MC described it. The first five miles were out and then there was a two mile loop that ended up at the same five mile path as before. So out and back, with an added two mile loop.
As I was going through the loop, I noticed that I was the end of my group of runners. And there was quite a long distance before the other runners. I’ve never experienced that before. Normally during bigger races, I can always see who is in front of and behind me.
I was still feeling great at the halfway point, and at mile 7, 8. Just trucking along with a 10:16-10:30 pace. I couldn’t believe I was maintaining such a great pace, but I felt great. It was around now that I realized I could get a 2:20 time. Which would be so much faster than my usual times.
I decided to continue to aim for an under 11 minute mile pace, but not push too hard. I wanted to be able to sprint the last 0.1 mile.
This whole time, I was running through country fields, trees on each side of me, mountains in the distance ahead. It was gorgeous. I saw cows and horses. It was surreal.
I started to feel tired around mile 11. Might’ve been because I forgot to bring my sports gels with me so I had no energy boost mid race. I pushed through mile 12 and finally saw the 13 mile marker. It was an uphill finish, which was annoying, but I started talking to a girl next to me, reassuring her that we could do it – the hill wasn’t really that big. I passed her and ended up sprinting to the finish line. There was no one else around me, it was like everyone crowded at the finish line was waiting for me. As I passed the clock and finish line, I knew I had blown my time goal out of the water and I was SO happy. I saw my mom (who was taking pictures) and just burst into a huge smile.
I finished in 2:16:52 with a 10:28 pace. Literally the best and fastest race of my life. And I felt great! No shin splints, no real knee pain. It was great.
We stayed at the winery and had some Qdoba food, that was pretty good. Then we did a wine tasting, which you can read more about here.
What has been your favorite race? Are there any ‘must do’ half marathons I should add to my list?