To read about my experience leading up to the start of the race, check out part 1 of my recap HERE
I was in the 5th group to start the race so the race officially started for me at 7:10am. Your chip time started as soon as you crossed the starting line. They did not separate the half marathon runners from the marathon runners. I crossed the start line and it began! It seemed so surreal.
This was the biggest race I had ever participated in – both in mileage and the number of people. There were so many people everywhere! I couldn’t even run my regular pace the first couple miles because there were just TONS of people. That had never happened to me. Sometimes the first mile can be slow, but after that people tend to kinda spread out… not this race.
When I registered, I don’t even remember what estimated time I put down. But because I was totally new and had NO idea how my training would go, the time I put down ended up being slower than my average pace. Being a novice I really didn’t think it would make a huge difference, but it did because there were so many people. I was itching to turn the speed on for the first 3-4 miles. After mile 4 it started to spread out a little bit more. My 5K time was slower than normal, but that wasn’t because I was running slow on purpose. Looking back on it now, it was probably better to start the race slow, but I felt good and I felt strong so I could have potentially run faster! There were moments I wanted to pass someone, but there was just no room to do it. I have no regrets about this, it is something that I learned for the next race 🙂 Thankfully this was really my only challenge the whole race!
The whole family was in Portland for the weekend. My sister ran the race with me; my parents and my husband came to watch. We didn’t plan out where to see each other along the course, I just knew they would be there watching. I saw my parents at about mile 4, they were so excited to see me and cheered so loud. I could just see from their excitement how proud they were. I almost started tearing up….let me just say tearing up and running does NOT go well together. VERY hard to breathe haha 😐
I saw my husband the most along the course. He just kept poopin’ up. I half jokingly told him before the race that he was my personal photographer & he took this job very seriously – I loved it! haha. (He took all the action pics that are shown here that aren’t watermarked) My husband was a sprinter in high school and college, so he is not a stranger to running, he just prefers shorter distances haha. It was SO cute because I would see him, and then all of a sudden I would see him again & I thought “woah that was fast” but I didn’t think much of it and just kept running.
Right before the pics that are above, I saw him SPRINTING along the marathon course. hahahahaha. I was literally laughing as I was running. Then once he got far enough ahead of me, he would stop and take another pic. Cutest thing ever! Thanks for the awesome pics babe!
So after mile 6, I knew I wouldn’t have any cheerleaders till the end of the course because of the way it was set up. It was a down and back for miles 7 thru 11 and there was not much room for spectators. They were not the most scenic miles, but it was nice because you could really focus on running. I did see my sister on the other side of the course during this time, that made me so happy – she looked like she was having the time of her life!
At mile 11, the half marathon runners split from the marathon runners. Once we split off from the marathoners, I pretty much had the road to myself! When I passed the 10 mile mark, I was running longer than I had ever run in my life. Talk about a feeling of STRENGTH! I almost cried again….not good for breathing haha. I felt like the end of the race was so so close, I could barely believe it!
When I reached mile 12, in my head I was like “OMG OMG OMG ONE MORE MILE!” I could NOT believe it. I actually had to take a running selfie! I was just so excited! I knew that I was running a pace that would allow me to finish in under 2 hours… I was in disbelief. There was no giving up now – and the crazy part was I didn’t FEEL like giving up – I felt like I had so much energy and was ready to bring this race HOME!
The last little bit of the race felt like an eternity. I knew I was almost done, but the meters seemed to be passing slowly haha. I saw my parents again right before we entered the last stretch of the race. We were running on Naito Pkwy in downtown Portland, it goes right along the river. Then there is one final turn into the last .25 before the finish line.
The final stretch on Naito Pkwy, I saw my husband and then there was my dad. He ran that last part before the turn with me… I FULL ON CRIED people. There was no stopping the tears, I was finishing, my dad was RUNNING….it was amazing. I will have to save it for another post, but my dad’s body has been thru hell the last few years. He has recovered from things that would have been huge setbacks for most people. Right now he actually has a fractured disk in his back… and here he was running a few yards with me as encouragement. Unfortunately no one got a pic, but that memory will be in my heart and my mind forever. It was beautiful.
As I was crying, I kept telling myself, “THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING, you are finishing a half marathon!” & then “run faster!” haha (cue the climatic music)
It was a little hard to tell exactly where the finish line was, so I just kept running until I saw medals because I wanted to make sure my time was accurate. haha. They said my name as I finished the race and I felt SO BAD A**! I crossed the finish line!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I was so stoked I turned to the girl next to me and was like – WE DID IT! Congrats! She didn’t seem that excited. I asked her if it was her first one, she said no. She asked if it was mine, I said yes. But here is the thing, I don’t care how many half marathons you run, crossing the finish line after 13.1 miles is ALWAYS a reason to celebrate, whether you PR’d or not.
There were photographers everywhere! Felt like the paparazzi ….
I was so happy and overwhelmed. I was pleasantly surprised because the finish area really wasn’t that crowded. They keep everyone out except for runners and volunteers, so that helped. I realized later on that since I finished before any of the marathon runners, the number of people in the finishing area was a lot fewer. That was nice because you could take your time and pull yourself together. I have in finish areas before where you get pummeled and you just want to get out fast. This was not that way – you could relish in the accomplishment that just happened.
I made my way thru and got water, some fruit, a finishers rose,
my finishers jacket,
and of course my medal. 😀 There was too much stuff to hold! haha.
I was literally still in shock at what had happened. I think I looked like a deer in headlights. I reunited with my parents and my husband and my mom was like “YOU FINISHED!!! Aren’t you excited?!” I was so excited I was just trying to process what happened. Then the next thing I said was, I want a coffee hahaha. I waited a while a rehydrated with other liquids first. LOL.
And my time -I could barely believe it! I was SUPER pumped about finishing under 2 hours. The day before the race, that was my “that would be so cool if I finished under 2 hours”, but I wanted to go into the race with no expectations as I was a total newbie. I was elated that I finished sub 2 hours!
Here is what my unofficial time is, it will be a few weeks till they are official.
So COOL that I was 26th in my age group!!!! I’ll take it! I also TOTALLY PR’d on my 10K time – WOOHOO! And I just BARELY made it under 2 hours. But again, I’ll take it. The strange thing is, my running app says differently by a whole minute…
So it will be interesting to see what the official times are. Irregardless, I went into the race with no expectations because I know over the course of 13 miles, anything can happen. This being my very first race I am so happy with the results. I never thought I would say this, but I cannot WAIT to run other one! haha
We waited for my sis to finish & cheered her on. She finished like a CHAMP and I was so happy for her. We took it all in together.
as you can see I got my coffee…
We are half marathon finishers!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s still sinking in….
Afterwords, we ate at Porque No. It was some of the best Mexican food I have had in my life! (and I’ve eaten a LOT of Mexican food)
This food was amazing. I was famished so anything would have been good, but this was exceptional. It was the perfect time to be so hungry because there was so much good food! MMMM!
If you are ever in Portland & you like Mexican food, you must try Porque No! Seriously, so so good. (added bonus star: my Mexican husband even approved!) 😛
After this my phone died (I guess all the excitement wore it out haha). The rest of the afternoon we walked around downtown Portland, did a little shopping and enjoyed the beautiful afternoon. The weather all weekend was just stellar. Prefect running weather (as long as you are out early), perfect exploring weather, perfect everything weather!
After running and then being out all afternoon, I was pooped! Everyone was pretty exhausted from being on their feet most of the day. We parted ways, and while I really just wanted to collapse on the hotel bed & play with the new stuff I bought, I knew I needed to eat dinner.
So my feet and legs were sore, what do I do…. wear heels to dinner haha. They were some of my most comfortable pumps, but after we left the hotel to head out for dinner, I was like “sarah, you are crazy why did you wear these??” We didn’t even go to a fancy place, they just matched my outfit perfectly, so I wore them. Oh well – I survived and I felt pretty, so it was a win-win in my book.
Thank you does not even begin to express my gratitude to all of my supporters that I had this last weekend. I am so so appreciative of everyone who took the time to send me a text message, comment on my Instagram or here on my blog. To those who sent good thoughts – they were felt. Thank you so so much. Even though you were not physically present, you were there with me and I so so appreciate all the encouragement and support. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I did not set out to run this for any reason other than to prove to myself that I could do it. I didn’t want attention or special recognition. I just wanted to show my old self that she wasn’t boss anymore – that I am stronger than yesterday and I can do whatever I put my mind to.
RECORDS fell — not only did I CRUSH those 13.1 miles and give myself a good PR to beat in the next race, I also ran my fastest 10K, and I showed myself that I am strong and I can do hard things. I faced fear and came out on top. I challenged myself and became a better person because of it. I saw that can conquer whatever I put my mind to. That was only possible by putting in the time during training and having discipline even when the results didn’t come right away.
I never used to understand, but I now realize why people like running. Everyone has their own unique motive or reason for doing it, but in the end, it’s a you against you sport. When you stick with it, there is a freeing and empowering effect. It is unpleasant at times, but it teaches you so much in the process & you get to watch yourself get faster and stronger. So so cool. As an added bonus, you also get to hang with this cool community of people (aka fellow runners) I have met so many awesome people thru running. So grateful for that.
Congrats to my sister for finishing her first race this weekend too! I’m so very thankful that we were able to do it together and have that memory!