Sunday, June 13, 2010

Helvetia Half Marathon Race Report

Saturday I ran the Helvetia Half Marathon as part of the most fantastic weekend ever. The race was really only just OK, but it glowed in the atmosphere created by all my amazing friends and the glorious weather.

My friend Inga flew in Friday afternoon and we spent the whole day talking and laughing and looking at old pictures and eating and drinking. She stayed over at Deana and Dana’s, which was smart because at least I had a nice night’s sleep instead of staying up all night visiting. I slept great and Zach and I picked all three girls up early Saturday morning and picked up right where we left off.

We were delayed in traffic and got to the start only a few minutes to spare. I stopped off at a gas station to use the restroom which was a genius idea because the lines were crazy. It’s a pretty big race, nearly 5,000 total runners between the half and 10k. (Most ran the half). I lined up and happened to be right next to a friend, Lori so we said hi and good luck. I was also right behind Paula, who is the race director and founder of “Run with Paula” events. She runs her own race every time! Pretty cool. I ended up seeing her a few times through the race (she beat me by quite a bit) and talked to her for a couple minutes after the race. She is super nice.

I didn’t have much in mind for this race, no real strategy or goals… I  knew it would be hard even though I have been running pretty decent  mileage. I figured I would try to run close to 8:00 miles. There are some BIG hills on this course so I didn’t know how much time that would cost me. So in summary, my strategy was 8:00 miles ish, and hang on through the hills.  

I got off to a good start. Well, more like a “too good to be true” start. I was lined up way too close to the front which I need to stop doing. I ran my first mile in 7:28 and knew that was too fast, even though it felt easy enough. I made my self slow down and the next couple miles came in still sub-8 but slower. I was getting passed by a ton of people since I started off too fast and too far up, so that sucked. Otherwise, so far so good.

Then, the hills. I know the route well because I bike out here pretty often. So I pretty much knew what was coming. We turned a corner and sure enough, big daddy hill coming up. I chugged up it. Then we went down a screaming downhill which and headed up some more small hills. I was feeling ok but I knew I couldn’t hang on for long. We hit the turnaround and I took a Hammer Gel.

I picked the pace back up for a few miles after the hilly section. It was actually really flat in the last half so in theory a person could run a strong negative split in this race. That is not my style though, clearly! I saw Zach and the girls (including Amy) at about mile 8.75 and they cheered super loud which gave me a big boost. It didn’t really last though. My last four miles were slower but consistent at least, and I did not give in to my urge to walk at any point in the race. It was super sunny but not very warm and I was actually pretty comfortable. Just tired.

Finally I saw the stadium in the distance and I ran really hard for the last quarter mile or so. I saw Amy, Deana, Dana, and Inga at the entrance to the stadium and then I saw Zach right near the finish line. I was really happy to be done! I felt pretty decent, especially compared to how I ended the Eugene Marathon last month.. I found Zach and then chatted with Paula, and then reunited with the girls and got some water and oranges. We hung out for a bit and then headed out to enjoy the beautiful sunny day.

Official results:

1:48:20 (8:16 pace)
15/310 AG


1  7:28
2  7:48
3  7:52
4  8:13
5  9:04
6  8:09
7  8:06
8  7:58
9  8:07
10  8:30
11  8:31
12  8:27
13  8:28
0.22 per garmin 1:34

I’m not particularly pleased with my finish time, but not really disappointed either. It was a tough run and I did my best. And like I said, it was such a fun weekend overall and the race was a big part of that! It was a great race and I would definitely recommend it. Probably a good idea to train on some hills!

After the race we headed back to Portland and hit up the farmer’s market, hung out down at the waterfront with all the Rose Festival craziness, and then Zach made an awesome dinner for all of us. We stayed up late drinking wine, singing, laughing, and having a great time. Today was more of the same and Inga flew out tonight. I’m incredibly lucky to have such incredible friends and such a sweet husband. :)


Lots of pictures:

At the starting line, Lori is behind me in the blue shirt and white hat:


And we’re off:


The crew waiting for the runners to come through about mile 8.75:


Here I come, feeling pretty tired but pumped by the cheering section!

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Finishing kick:


Just crossed the finish line and smiling:


Chatting with Paula, the race director. She’s super sweet!


These girls make me feel like such a super star:


Chatting with Amy, Lori, and the girls after the race:


Post-race eating and shopping at the Farmer’s Market:





Dragon Boat races down on the waterfront:


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Delicious dinner prepared for all of us by Zach. 5 courses: all local, gluten-free and paired with delicious wine. I love him!!

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Ewen said...

I'd love him too if he cooked a dinner like that! ;)

You look to be running well in that photo with green-shirt guy. I see another hill coming up! 1:48 isn't too bad really, considering the speedy start. Sounds like it was a great weekend, and the north-west put on typically perfect weather ;)

Amy - the gazelle said...

it was so much fun to see you out there, and sounds like the rest of your weekend was fantastic!

Anonymous said...

Looks like a scenic run! My friend ran it too. :)

Kelly said...

Sounds like a great weekend! And a tough race. So cool of your friends to come out and support you!

Marya said...

Great job on the race! It was definitely not an easy course, but it was really pretty out there!

Looks like you had a great weekend with your friends! Wasn't mother nature kind to us this weekend? (Finally! :)

P.S. That dinner sounds delicious!

Kim said...

jen - an awesome job out there! you look fantastic and strong in all the photos. and i love the cute pictures of you and zach. you guys are the perfect (and fast) couple!

KK said...

What a fun and beautiful weekend. Great effort in the race-that is a solid time for a hilly course. And, most importantly, you look super fit and badass in all the pictures. Great job!

Anonymous said...

Congrats on your race! Those hills sounded tough, but you look really strong in all the pics! Having friends spectate at races is the best boost of energy! :)