Ladies and Gents, as much as this blog is about me most of the time, the best posts are when it’s about others. Especially when it’s about Michelle, who pushed me to start this thing. Today’s post is ALL about her, and her friend Kim, as yesterday was their second running of the Portland Halfmarathon.
With all the times Michelle has had to drop my ass off and then drive up to 200 miles to pick me up again, I really like being able to pay her back. Plus, I have to admit, its much easier on me, as they always end up coming right back to the spot that I drop them off at. All I honestly have to do is carry coats, drink coffee, and cheer! Don’t tell her my job is that easy!
Bright and early yesterday morning, the pit crew (Mark and Rob) and I escorted the two ladies to their starting corral
Both were excited as they moved up from the H corral after their efforts in both last year’s run and their recent great run in Santa Rosa. They were hoping to have an equally good run this time!
Now I feel the need to step aside here for a second to discuss, in my opinion, the philosophy for these runs and my rides. In any given event, there are a small handful of people who have a chance to WIN the race. And by win, I mean cross the finish line first. Then there are others, who for one reason or another THINK they can be the first ones across.
For most though, a win is something completely different. For some, and this was me at the RAMROD, just crossing the damn finish line still breathing is the win. Others are trying to get a time that can qualify them for a bigger race, like the Boston Marathon. And finally, some are trying to beat last years time.
None of these are wrong! And for the record, anyone who participates in these and gets off the couch, is a BIG winner!
OK, back to the story!
Rob had a new plan, he purchased a drone to get arial footage. We had a quick conference and told him, “OK, go to the river, turn left, and find a good spot!” Self admittedly, Rob does not have the best navigational skills. A few minutes later, he caught up to us on the way to the corral asking “Which way is the river again?” “Go THAT way!” (He found his way home afterwards!)
We got the ladies into the corral, and Mark and I stayed with them to get pictures and cheer the start. As you can see, before the race, there was no stress
We saw them off and then hoofed to the river road.
Editors Note: Anyone who remembers my post from that year will remember I was severely hung over when the ladies started (NEVER go out with Mark and Rob the night before a race!) So after the start, I went to bed. I woke up to see the finish.
Because of this, I didn’t know how the course worked. For 10 of the 13 miles, these ladies ran back and forth on the same road! What a crappy course! Because of this, though, we could cheer them on a lot!
As we all know, one of the things they tell all athletes is to hydrate! The downside to this, though, is it can make someone have to pee something fierce! In a century ride, this is not a big deal, plenty of places along the 100 miles to stop. On a half marathon: Not so much. At the first turn around point, the need come upon one of them, and they lost 5 minutes standing in line!
After they got back on the route, we had time to kill. Mark and I got coffee and I got a breakfast sandwich, and he and I planned our strategy for the end. We found him a great place to stand for go pro footage, and I went back to the original viewing area for stills and to be “Lookout Charlie.”
All three of us guys were using different trackers to keep an eye on the ladies, but then again, so were 20000 other people. Tracking was spotty at best.
So there I was, watching the tracker, and saw Michelle was a mile away, when I suddenly saw Kim hotfooting it along along the road on her own,
Now I knew:
- Michelle was still making progress, as the tracker had her coming toward us
- She had told me that if Kim had more gas in the tank she was going to cut her loose.
- Kim would never leave Michelle if there was anything really wrong with Michelle
This meant I was not worried at all, and luckily snapped the picture as she went by. I was then able to warn Mark, who’s cell was almost dead, “KIMS COMING!!!”
About 5 minutes later, here came Michelle with her determined game face on, and earbuds cranked
She never even saw me! But no way in hell she was stopping.
Turns out about 10 and 11 miles, she was feeling it some and had to slow (annoying her to no end) lungs were burning, and the headwind had taken its toll a little. She cut Kim loose, and ran her own run. But being the competitor she is, it made her mad to have to slow. (She was happy Kim took off though, she did NOT want to hold her back!)
Michelle finished strong, and I might add, bettered her last year’s time by over a minute. She finished in 3:16:38. This makes her a double winner! Crossed the finish line alive (did NOT puke) and faster than the time before!
My main job then kicked in! I met her as she left the racer only area, and got her back to the room. We walked at her pace, stopped when need be, and took out time. Then it was hot bath time, relax in room time, go get snack time, and more relax time!
Later in the evening, we met up with the rest of the clan for dinner, and to get the post race picture of the two major winners in my book
My lovely bride rocks ass! This is her 3rd halfathon since June, and she has run/walked over 700 miles already in 2015. (and still counting!) Add to it, she does this while overcoming autoimmune/rheumatoid arthritis issues, and I will tell you I am married to the toughest (and might I add sexiest) chick I know!
Well done babe! SO proud of you!! Love you!