Monday, October 24, 2011

Columbia Gorge Half Marathon

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).

The last mile was through town. It was nice to have people cheering you on. It seemed like the finish line was going to be around any corner and I was getting really excited to finish. I told myself that Jake and Everett would be there (even though they weren't going to be) so that I would pick up my pace. I just happened to be listening to Amber's ipod and Halo by Beyonce came on and I started to get emotional. I ended up passing a dozen people during the last 1/2 mile in my race to the finish line.

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.

I had the best time on this mini trip to Oregon. The ride back home was fun. We stopped at a hometown restaurant and I had chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and gravy.... aaaaaand two brownies and a piece of cake. (but not to worry, I took all the dessert home in a to-go box!)

Plus, I'm pretty proud of myself for beating my previous time when this was a harder course.


  1. Yay! Congrats on a good time! Maybe I will jog (and probably walk half of it lol) next year. So pretty! I'm hoping to do some 5k's soon to get in shape for fun :)

  2. I'm so proud of you! The scenery is absolutely gorgeous and good for you for beating your time :) I'm doing another half on Saturday...that I haven't been training for...We'll see how it goes!

  3. Nice job beating your first time! And it really was a gorgeous course!

  4. You. Are. Awesome!!
    I still haven't ran one yet. I just need to sign up and do one. Thanks for the motivation!

  5. You are so amazing! I am seriously proud of you :) Maybe someday I will join you :)