Hello from Portland, Oregon! We arrived Friday and are leaving tomorrow. We’ll make an overnight stop in Idaho before continuing to our next destination, Glacier National Park in Montana.
Here’s how last week went down.
Week at a Glance
- Training mode: Training for small, local, rails-to-trails Indiana Veteran’s Marathon near Pittsburgh on November 6 using a version of the Hanson’s Marathon Method beginner plan customized by a Hanson’s coach
- Days running: 6
- Miles this week: 35.99
- Time running this week: 7:31
- Miles this training cycle: 189.14
- Miles this month: 122.15
- Miles this year: 907.18
- Strength training sessions: 1
Easy run: 4 miles (65 degrees)
It was a blissfully cool morning–the first cool morning in months–but I couldn’t enjoy it because my legs were SO tired. This was the first run where my legs felt tired and screamed on the slightest hint of a hill. It wasn’t until the last mile that I finally felt normal. When I reported this to my coach she said “Don’t worry–this is your welcome to marathon training!” Oof!
Strength training, foam rolling, and stretching: 20 minutes
This was the first week in the second 6-week strength training plan that goes with the 18-week marathon plan. I was busy with a bunch of things at night and had time for only 1 set instead of 2. This was my only strength session of the week because I just didn’t have time the rest of the week in the frenzy of getting ready for vacation.
Speedwork: 6.75 miles (61 degrees)
This was the run that had caused me angst for the prior week: 6 x 800-meter repeats at 5K pace with 400-meter recovery plus warm-up and cool-down. Last week’s 600s at 5K pace had felt so tough to me that I worried I wouldn’t be able to hit my pace. As it usually happens though, I had nothing to worry about. I had no trouble at all keeping to 5K pace or less, not even in the last repeat that’s always the hardest. As a bonus, this workout flew by. And…61 degrees. 61 amazing, wonderful, beautiful, gorgeous degrees. After all the heat and humidity, it felt so good!!! This run was a nice confidence booster for me and a reminder of just how much extreme heat and humidity affect my performance.
Recovery run: 4 miles
Wednesdays are usually rest days, but I was taking Friday as a rest day to travel. I felt remarkably good on this run for it being my 7th day of running in a row.
Strength training, foam rolling, and stretching: 38 minutes
Fartleks: 5 miles (70 degrees)
This was an easy run with a mile of fartleks (time intervals at 10K pace) in the middle.
Rest day for travel. We arrived in Portland in the early afternoon, picked up our rental car, and drove to our rental condo downtown. It was in this brand new building–Dave’s friends said they had the ribbon cutting two weeks ago.
The condo was new, modern, and swanky. Loved it! And, like most rentals, it cost less than hotels in the area.
After we got settled we walked a short distance away to a pizza place that served both regular and vegan pizza. My husband Dave lived in Portland for co-op summer jobs when he was in college, and it turned out that the place was the same one he used to get pizza from when he was in school. The name had changed so he didn’t know it at first. Dave still has friends in Portland, which I was grateful for because he got to go out and have fun with them that night while I went to bed at 7:30. I was beat!
Canby Dahlia Half Marathon: 13.24 miles (59 degrees)
I thought 100 times about taking a DNS for this race. I don’t like races in general, but to drive to somewhere I don’t know in a state I don’t know by myself while on vacation seemed very daunting. But I did it, and I’m so glad I did!
Canby is about 45 minutes from Portland, and with a 7 a.m. start I had to leave really early. But because of the time difference, it wasn’t any problem. It had been unseasonably warm in Portland that week (getting up to 100 degrees!) so I was worried about the weather. But, it was a very cool 59 degrees at the start and remained cool and breezy, so I had no problems, even though it was sunny. This half marathon course goes through the small town of Canby Oregon, including some dahlia farms (hence the name), shady, paved trails, and neighborhoods. It’s a small race (290 finishers), so roads weren’t closed except right at the start. But there were bike lanes, so we ran on those and it really wasn’t a problem.
The race was extremely well organized. I think there were more volunteers than runners! The parking, start, and finish were at a big church complex, so it was very convenient to get in, get parked, run, then leave.
Coach Melissa wanted me to practice holding back with other runners. I was to run easy for the first 10 miles and then, if I was feeling good, pick up the pace for the last 5K. Considering I hadn’t run this distance since March and my longest recent run was 8 miles, I was focused on just finishing.
Starting slow at the beginning put me as the very last runner before the walkers. Mentally, that’s an awful feeling, especially on the out-and-back trail part where every runner in the race saw that I was the last runner. It took everything I had to hold back and keep to an easy pace. But it paid off! By mile 4 I started passing people, and I kept passing them until just before the finish line. I wish I’d have counted how many people I passed; it was an awesome feeling. In the race results there are 59 people behind me, but some of them were walkers.
I ran with music and just got into a nice groove, checking out the new scenery and enjoying the run. This may be the first race ever that I didn’t bring my own water, but there were tons of water stops. Local businesses sponsored each water stop, and the volunteers dressed in costumes. After the run, runners could vote for their favorite water station. I thought that was a great way to get volunteers even more involved in the race. I took 2 waters at each water station and walked through the stops so that I could drink all the water, but otherwise I didn’t walk. I did, however, stop a few times to take pictures of the beautiful dahlias. I also tried Clif Shot Bloks (the chews) instead of the Clif gels I normally use. Blah! I really disliked having to chew something and choked on it the first time until I kinda figured it out. But they made my stomach a little upset; the gels never do. I’m happy I experimented because maybe my idea of eating real food during the marathon won’t work for me.
Before I knew it, I was at mile 10. I was feeling good and eager to finish, so I had no problem dropping down to just below my goal marathon pace. I ran the last 5K at that pace, with the final mile my fastest mile (34 seconds faster than goal marathon pace) and the final .24 a fun little sprint at sub-5K pace. Yes!
I collected my medal, which doubled as a bottle opener, a dahlia, ate a Clif bar and drank water, then headed back to Portland.
After we ate lunch (an amazing vegan kibbah at a Syrian restaurant just around the block from our condo), we drove to the coast. We went to Cannon Beach, which was fun even though it was very windy, cool, and cloudy, and enjoyed a leisurely walk along the beach. We drove south on Highway 101 to go to another beach, and I loved the drive along 1o1, with forests filled with ferns and giant trees dripping with moss alongside the coast. I wish we’d have had time to hike there because fern-filled, mossy forests are pretty much my favorite thing ever. But it was getting late, so we drove back and had a late dinner at an Italian restaurant right near us. I made it up to 9:30 that night before crashing. 🙂
Recovery run: 3 miles (59 degrees)
This was a very easy run just to get my legs moving. I ran down to Portland’s waterfront park and on the trail. I was shocked at the number of homeless people everywhere–on sidewalks, benches, city parks, and at the waterfront. I’d heard Portland’s mayor had just allowed the homeless to sleep on all public property. I was so shocked by how many homeless people I saw that I came back and looked it up. I found an article about the homeless situation being a huge crisis, with 1,800 homeless people sleeping outside on public property.
Today is our last day in Portland before heading to Idaho, so we’re going to explore the city. Later we’re headed to a music festival downtown, where we’ll see Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Ween (my husband and his friends like them–not me!) and the headliner Tame Impala. I’d listened to Tame Impala while running Saturday’s half marathon so can’t wait to see them live. The festival goes until 10 p.m. I hope I can stay awake (though I may take a nap during Ween)!