The only reason to get up at 4 a.m. on the 4th of July is to golf, fish -- or run a half marathon.
This year, I picked the half marathon.
The Foot Traffic Flat Half was a blast!
It is something I'd never believed I could do, something I took on as a challenge just three months ago. And now I’ve finished it! Nnot fast…but not dead or seriously hurt either.
I’m the sort of person who used to joke that, while runners get a great feeling during their work outs, I get the same great feeling thinking about their workouts and thanking the good Lord I’m not putting myself through that crazy pain!
But Monday morning, I found myself meeting up with my new friends from the Galloway training program at the REI in Portland’s Pearl District. We quickly broke up into car pools, and by 5 a.m. were driving toward Sauvie Island.
On the way, my running mates shared stories of horror from years past. The problem was not the running, but the traffic.
They said it gets so bad near race time, that people trapped back in line who are in car pools, jump out and run, to the start of the run. Which seems a bit extreme but you know how these running types are.
Thanks to our early time on the road, we found no such congestion and drove easily over the one bridge leading onto the island. We had an hour to kill, which was fine since it gave us time to find our other Galloway runners and stash our bags in the handy Foot Traffic van.
Runners are an interesting crowd. As you might expect, nearly everyone is fit. Most are nice and friendly although some are very serious. And a few have no idea how cold it is outside. I stood shivering in the early morning light with a wind breaker on. Next to me, Linda---our running doctor---stood with a full length down coat. It was that cold. And then a guy walked past in running shoes and socks and shorts. That’s it. No parka, no hat, no sunglasses and no shirt---which allowed me to see he had no body fat either. Are you kidding? I have plenty of body fat and I was cold!
The beginning of the race was packed---crowded and slow.
Which was perfect for me. Police shut down one lane of traffic on the island’s main road. But as we ran as a pack, a large mass of humans, we pretty much took over the traffic lane too. I felt bad for the few drivers stuck as we swarmed around them---one passenger told his driver to keep inching forward---which seemed dangerous but I was past them before I found out. As far as I know there were no injuries related to traffic.
During the race the crowds stretched out and my three Galloway running pals took off. I tagged along for five miles but then fell back. Patrick, Julee and Linda were too fast for me. Lots of runners listen to music to drown out their running. Over the next several miles, I listened to Dave Ramsey’s financial talks, and watched my heart beat rise and fall on my new Garmin watch.
The water stops were great, the country views gorgeous and the volunteers who cheered along the way quite welcome.
I've struggled with a swollen left ankle in the two weeks leading up to the race. But a physical trainer friend showed me how to wrap it for support and it worked great! Okay, I felt every step for the last three miles but I'm fine.
I’m thrilled to have run a half marathon---on a spectacular sunny morning on Sauvie Island.
Now its off to the foot doctor to see about continuing my training -- for the full Portland marathon!