Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Race for the Roses 5k

Race for the Roses is a well-known (though, smaller than I expected, for how much I've heard of it) race in Portland, hosted by and benefiting the nonprofit Albertina Kerr. I'll admit I picked this race in large part because it looked like (and it turned out to be true that) they hand out medals for finishers of all the distances (compared to many that have medals for the half marathon but not shorter 5k or 10k events that are part of the day), and if I know I can't get a PR but am paying for a race anyway, I might as well get something tangible out of it like a finisher's medal or shirt. 

And yes, obviously I know I'm not going to be getting any PRs while pregnant. I'm definitely comfortable running (the medical advice - both generically, and from my doctors - is if you're used to running, you can keep it up), and hope to keep it up so long as it's reasonably comfortable. But not going to push quite to my limits; I can do tempo type paces and be breathing hard, but I'm not comfortable doing anything resembling real speedwork or 5k race pace where you're on the edge of having to catch your breath. (Plus, gaining weight and a changing body slows you down a bit anyway.) But it's also fun to "race", and so to keep challenging myself, I decided that for the handful of 5ks I do this year (and I might throw in a 10k, but nothing longer than that), I'll set a moving target of my PR (just under 30 minutes) plus a minute for each month pregnant. So for now, at just over 3 months pregnant, my goal was about 33 minutes. 

I was able to go to packet pick up on Saturday (cause I wasn't working!!!) at Albertina Kerr, and once I saw the t-shirts and how pretty they are decided to go ahead and buy one. (They're not included with the race registration - a good way of doing things, in my opinion - once you've been running long enough you've acquired plenty of tech t-shirts - but it does seem like a fairly expensive race considering they're not including a t-shirt.) 

The race starts and ends just outside the Oregon Convention Center on the east side of the river. Based on the hoardes of people walking over to the start-line from the direction of the convention center before each distance started, I gather that there was space for people to hang out there until shortly before your race started (I got off the MAX in sight of the start line and just headed directly there). The course overlapped with some waterfront looping that's common in downtown races, including even a good chunk of the Portland Marathon course, but starting east side instead of west side and sort of going in reverse. 

It was a little chilly waiting at the start (though it fairly quickly warmed up to be a beautiful day!) Due to some delays in getting course set up (apparently some early morning bridge raises and such), each distance was delayed in starting about 15 minutes. They did a good job keeping everyone informed, though. 

When we finally got going for the 5k, I was aiming for under 11:00 miles for as long as possible. I kept that up for the first two miles - 10:53, 10:49. My pace was rather inconsistent - if I got breathing too hard I'd back off for a bit, but it wasn't too difficult to keep this up. About halfway through it warmed up enough to take off my arm-warmers - I'd been starting to regret wearing shorts and short-sleeves, but by the end it was perfect! Part way through the third mile, I slowed down, especially going up the ramp to the Steel Bridge to cross back over to the finish line - 11:26, 10:03 pace for the last bit - official finish time of 34:36, 11:08 pace. I got a medal and rose at the finish line, then went inside the convention center for a finisher's photo - you got a free print out on the spot and a download of it later! Not that a photo right after running a 5k is necessarily a good photo (you might note I'm not choosing to include mine here :) ). I grabbed a water bottle and bagel and headed back home on the max.

This turned out to be my perfect sized race - enough people that you're never by yourself, but it was never too crowded after the initial spread out in the first couple minutes. A bit pricey, but well organized, cute shirt, and a good spread of food for after (including mimosas, which I was sad I couldn't partake in). 

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