18 March 2009
Luck of the Irish! (by Meechellee)
I woke up in the morning with a hope that the rain has stopped. It didn’t. It’s not only the sound of the raindrops I heard, but also the sound of the wind gushing. I told myself, “Great, this is going to be a wet and windy race.” Hubby and I were slow getting ourselves out the door so, it was 8:05 a.m. by the time we approached the intersection of Naito Parkway. We made a mistake when we took the City Center exit, rather than taking the 12th Avenue exit from I-405 to avoid the traffic. We just realized that mistake when we saw cars piling up. I told hubby that I’ll just get off the car, and just meet me and a couple of our friends outside my office building. My hubby’s office building is just two blocks from mine. It was 8:20 a.m. by the time I met our friends and at the same time got a call from hubby saying that we should just go ahead because he was caught in a big traffic snafu. The race will start at 8:40 a.m. and listening to the tone of my hubby’s voice, I don’t think he’ll make it in time to the start line. I called hubby again and told him that I’ll wait for him and we’ll start with the 8K runners. Hubby insisted that I should just go, so I did.
It was raining, windy, and in the low 40’s. I was wearing a cap, red ear warmers, running gloves, two long sleeves, and a pink raincoat. This is my first time to run the 15K. The route is primarily along Naito Parkway, Terwilliger Blvd., and Barbur Blvd. I know the hills that Terwilliger Blvd. offers because this is one of Portland Fit’s 13-mile routes.
As I crossed the start line, I navigated my way passing other runners. There was an older guy who was doing a power-walk, and he was cooking! I have been passed by a power walker during a marathon but not this time. So, I graciously passed the power-walker. As I continued on, I saw the first mile marker. My watch showed 9:58. Just a couple of blocks from the first mile marker we turned right on Broadway, and that’s when the hill began. I never liked running hills but as long as I concentrate on my posture and breathing, I’ll conquer this hill.
Every race, I try to pick someone from the crowd who will be my pace person, and just a few steps ahead of me was an older guy who was running a very comfortable pace---I found my pace person! As I continue to ascend to Terwilliger Blvd., I passed mile marker 3. My watch showed 33:00. A few moments later, my cell rang and it was my hubby. He just wanted to tell me that he finally crossed the start line. I explained to him to stay on Broadway, and continue on to Terwilliger then I hung up. I was happy to know that he was on his way. As I continued on, I passed mile marker 4. My watch showed 43:15. It was still raining, windy, and cold. Not far ahead, I heard an Irish music playing in front of the Chart restaurant. I got so excited because I knew that it’s pretty much downhill from there. As my excitement pushed me through the remainder of the hill, I lost my pace person because he started to walk. I wished him good luck, and navigated my way through other runners. As I continued on, there was this younger gal that I started playing leap frogs. She passed me, I passed, she passed me again, and then I took off and lost her for a little while. I continued on and passed the intersection of the Pacific Hillsdale Hwy, and continued on down Barbur Blvd. I was amazed how windy it was because even though I was going downhill, the wind was very resisting that I had lean forward so that my weight will help me fight the resisting wind. As I continued to navigate my way through runners, the gal I played leap frogs a while ago came zooming and passed me. I told myself, “Oh well…” As I continued on, I passed mile marker 6. My watch showed 1:03:30. I told myself, “I only have 3.3 miles left, and that’s just another 30 minutes.” Barbur Blvd. was flat plus the wind behind me; I felt I was making up time from all the hill work. I passed mile marker 7… mile marker 8… and guess who I saw? It was the gal I played leap frogs! And this time, I zoom passed her. I hesitated looking at my watch instead I just concentrated on my running posture and breathing. When I saw the finish line banner about less than half-mile, I started to run almost sprinting, but I can feel my heart working so hard, so I slowed down a little bit. As I continued on, I unzipped my raincoat so that the photographer will get photos of me. And then… YES!!! I crossed the finish line! My very reliable watch showed: 1:33:30. The official time was 1:33:29. It’s a new PR for me! I ran the last 3.3 miles in 30 minutes! After I crossed the finish line, I ran along Naito Parkway, watched runners go to the finishers chute, I saw my hubby. He saw me and gestured we’ll meet at the finish line. Well, I ran again to the finishers chute, and I’m pretty sure I have multiple finishers’ photos.
After the race, my in-laws treated us for brunch. I had a hefty brunch: 2 cups of coffee, 3 strips of bacon, an omelet, a pancake swimming in syrup, a slice of sourdough with strawberry jam. Well, my eating is a different blog.
By the way, my hubby crossed the start line 24 minutes after I did. He ran with the 8K runners so he was the only one running up Broadway, while all the runners were turning left. He finally caught up with the last runner on the course at mile marker 3.