I ran the Columbia Gorge half marathon yesterday. It was amazing. The course was breathtaking and we had the most beautiful weather. Everything about this race was a surprise... here's the story:
After our last race in Tacoma, Brenda asked me if I wanted to run the Gorge in October (with the same group that ran the Tacoma Narrows Half). I wanted to, but I thought it would be too cold (because I thought it was in Eastern WA) so I decided to think about it for a few days. Well, a few days later Brenda came to me and said that she accidentally overbooked herself and wouldn't be able to run and asked if I wanted to run in her place. (I said yes).
Last Saturday, during cycle class at the gym, Brenda asked if I was ready for the race next Sunday. I said yes... but wondered why she said next Sunday because I thought the race wasn't until the next, next weekend. I went home and checked the website and realized that I was a week off this whole time!
Then, as we were driving on Saturday, I kept wondering why we were driving in the opposite direction of the race (because I thought it was in Eastern WA). Finally I asked and they said it was in Hood River, Oregon! I was totally shocked. I guess the Columbia Gorge is huge and runs through multiple states. So it was a 4 hour drive instead of 2.
When we got to Hood River I fell in love with the small town. It was so cute and the fall colors were just gorgeous.
We picked up our packets and bib's at a sporting goods shop in town.
("The most scenic marathon in the country"- they weren't lying!)
(The white board with upcoming races... check out the Saturday Oct 29th 50 miler!!!)
Then we found a cute little Italian place for dinner. Carbs carbs carbs! It was a little basement restaurant with delicious food.
It was so dark and cozy down there... I can't believe this picture even turned out!
(Me and Ashley)
I had lobster ravioli... that were swimming in butter! SOOOOOO good!
They next morning the race didn't start until 9:00 for the full marathon and 9:30 for the half. We started up in the middle of the mountain. It was so beautiful.
Mike and Amber were running the full marathon so Ashley and I just waited to start our half. (Mike's fiance came to cheer us on, take pictures, and drive us home since we would be too tired).
The starting line:
(There I am... right in the middle. See that little boy behind me? He ended up finishing before me! What a stud!)
The first few miles were uphill but it was too beautiful to care. The race was hard- really hard. You were either going up a hill or down. The entire race. My goal was to finish under 2 hours.
I loved this race. It was so serene. The views and lookouts were incredible and I was dying inside because I wanted to stop and take a picture of everything (but I didn't have a camera and I was on a mission to beat my last time).
Here are some pictures that Mike took with his iphone (that I stole off of facebook).
I made my goal! I finished in 1 hour 57 minutes! I was elated. My pace was a 9 minute mile and I was the 95th out of 435 women to finish.
(waiting at the finish line)
The four of us at the finish line. Me, Amber (who ran the full marathon in 3 hours 53 minutes), Ashley (half in 2:20), and Mike (full in 4:04).
We all got handmade medals for finishing!
We went back to the hotel, showered, packed, and then headed home. I took a few pictures before we left.