I apologize for the delay in a race recap, as this race is from February, but I’m on a mission to get caught up on race recaps this week so I can be prepared for the next races on the books. The Heart Breaker Half was half marathon #1 of the year for me, and the first time I’ve ran a half on a Saturday.
We had to travel to Hillsboro, Oregon for the race (about 2 hours from home) so I booked a Marriott hotel, since we are members and love a room with a fridge so we can bring our own food. I actually cashed in rewards points and was able to get the room for FREE!! Best price ever! I was also so excited to see a little note from the cleaning crew of the hotel, and took it as a sign the race would be great.
Unfortunately, my husband was injured at the start of the year and unable to run the race, but went along as my support system! Prior to the race I was working an overnight shift, which allowed me to run during the day, which meant it was a little warmer than the freezing temps early in the mornings. I quietly trained, as my husband requested me to not talk about running because it made him upset. I registered for the race, a little disappointed that the location of the race was not in Downtown Portland as it had been in 2012. I love running in Portland, but I was a little excited to be running in a completely new place. I made the huge mistake of not looking at the race course until about a week ahead of the race. At the time of the race I HATED running hills (I’m getting better currently, but more on that later). It never dawned on me that a race called the “Heart Breaker Half” would have hills. The course map looked like all hills…even one called Heartbreak Hill. Yikes! This could be a slow race. I just decided that I would walk up the hills when I needed to, and run down them.
Course Map: http://aasportsltd.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/hbmap-letter.pdf
I knew no one else running this race, but knew my husband would be at the finish line. I chatted with a nice lady at the start, but as soon as we started I never saw her again. I put my headphones in my ear and started running. According to the race website, the course is a three loops (one of the loops is ran twice) through country roads. They should have said, the race is all hills, that appear to never end. Because that’s how I felt, like I was running up for mile after mile. I will say it was beautiful through the course, some amazing houses, and lots of country scenery. And it was a nice cool morning without rain, not too common for a February morning in Oregon. I tried to pace myself, in the beginning, and tried my best to just keep running. I would run as far as I could up a hill, then walk to the top.
The first 3 miles were rolling hills, and passed pretty quickly. I remember seeing the sign for the Heart Break Hill, which had a separate race of it’s own, the fastest person up the hill won an award. At the start of the hill, about mile 3 in the race, and a mile long hill, I thought “just take it easy” but was pleasantly surprised that the hill didn’t seem too tough. I certainly wasn’t fast, but I remember it not being too bad. Mile 4 was a pretty good downhill, and I sped through it. My fueling plan was to take my first GU at mile 6, then the second one at mile 10. A plan that had worked well for me in the past. I walked at mile 6 and ate my GU, then kept running. Around mile 7 I heard a some guys talking to another guy behind me about the Holiday Half (a race I’ve ran the past 2 years). I felt like it was time for a distraction, so I talked to the guy that appeared to be on his own. We ran together for about a mile, chatting about the Holiday Half and that we had both run the Rock and Roll Vegas Half. Then I caught up to the other guys that had been talking, and I have to say I called them “the funny guys” the rest of the race. I thought they were funny, talking about why they were crazy enough to run half marathons, and one of them even had on a running shirt with cheeseburgers on it! I kept up with them until mile 11 where it dawned on me I had forgotten to take my GU at mile 10, and I was quickly fading. I told them I’d see them that the finish and stopped to take my GU. The rest of the race was pretty uneventful, and it kept me going just to try to catch up to any runner in front of me.
The race finished on a track at a local high school, we had to run about 3/4 of a lap on the track. I saw a woman about halfway to the finish ahead of me, and I did everything I could to catch her. I passed her on the last bend before the finish and sprinted with everything I had in me. My official time was 2:36:51. Certainly not my fastest race, but it felt pretty good for a hilly course. I had to pick up my medal after the finish, you had to pay an additional $10 for your medal, and ran into the “funny guys” again. According to an email I received after the race, next year all half marathon finishers will receive a medal with their entry, much better!
All in all, I thought it was a great race, and so nice to run something new!