Saturday, June 7, 2014

Helvetia Half Marathon Race Report

(TODAY) I ran the Helvetia (pronounced hel-vee-shuh) Half Marathon which winds through wineries and strawberry farms and through heavily treed country lanes, over hills and just very scenic the entire 13.1 miles of the course.  This race starts and finishes in the Hillsboro Stadium, in the baseball park side.

Because I knew going into this race that it was very hilly, I just wanted to get within 10 minutes of my PR, so 2:38 or faster.  When we got to the starting area, there were some pace group signs…but apparently there were only 3 pace groups, all of which were more than a minute faster per mile than I wanted to go and, at my current fitness level, way faster than I can sustain for more than 6 miles.  So, I just set my Garmin so I could watch my pace and off we went.

The first 4 miles were all 11:27 or faster.  Very nice.  Perfectly on pace with what I wanted to do.  The hills hadn’t started yet, though.  In mile 5…HELLO HILLS!  Most of mile 5, at least half of it, was uphill.  Then, I finally gave in to the urge to use the restroom I’d had since about mile 1 due to no lines at the port-a-potties…so an added about 2 minutes right there, all that adding up to a 13:26 fifth mile split time.  That’s okay, though.  I’d rather add some minutes than have an accident.  Then, back on pace until mile 11 where I started getting tired and slowing down a little and dropped to slower than an 11:30 pace.  Still okay with that because my slowest mile (not taking mile 5 into account here) was 11:46 and that is totally fine with me.  Mile 8 just flew by, even though it wasn’t my fastest mile.  It was over before I knew it.  I think the gel I took in right at mile 6 had kicked in and that was the “groove” I was feeling in mile 8.  I had hoped to replicate that “groove” for the finish by taking in another gel at mile 10 but it didn’t work.  I paced the final bit with a lady that was near me.  She looked over at me and said “we can do this!”  I said “yes we can!” and then did my best to keep up with her until the finish line, hence the 10:03 pace for the final .12 of the run.

The run was gorgeous.  If I was an Oregon dweller, I would have immediately signed up for next year’s Helvetia Half, because they had a booth to sign up for the 2015 race.  But, I’m not an Oregon dweller and next year I want to run the Rock’n’Roll Portland when I come up to visit friends and family in May.  So, if you’re in the Willamette Valley area in early June next year, I HIGHLY recommend this race.  It’s gorgeous, everyone is nice, the water stops are well stocked and well-spaced.  Right around the time I would start thinking “I need a water stop, I want to walk for a minute” viola! one would appear.

I think I might have to find a different shoe to wear for anything longer than 10 miles, though.  My Mizuno Paradoxes didn’t feel very well padded after that point in the pad of the foot area.  Or, I can get some foot pad inserts that will help cushion that area on longer runs.  Other than that, my shoes performed great!

Here’s the results they had printed out:
Age division 129/157
Overall 986/1170
Female overall 537/668
Gun Time 2:31:26
Gun pace 11:33

It said it took me 1:28 minutes to reach the start timing pad after the gun went off, which should make my official time the exact same as my Garmin time 2:29:58 (yep, exactly the same, even down the number of seconds).  If I remember correctly, this is only about a minute and a half slower than my current half marathon PR…how crazy is that?  This was a super hilly course and if I hadn’t needed to use the restroom, I most likely would have PR’ed!!!

Post race I definitely got my free massage.  Very impressed.  Usually, most races, you get like 5 minutes.  This one?  Nope.  Pretty sure I got around 15 minutes. 

I also got a free beer (went with the gluten-free lager…I just wanted the lager, don’t really care about the gluten-free part) and a free burger (it was smashed and the bun was stuck to the patty but it was good…nothing to write home about).


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