Happy Girls Run: Bend, May 27th.

I have to say Happy Girls Half Marathon was a great race experience from the first click of signing up to finishing my post race 10 Barrel beer.  I was signed up for the half trail run in November but unfortunately a nagging foot injury kept me from racing. Gail from Lay Out Events was awesome and let me apply my race fee to another one of their upcoming races for 2017. Fast forward to May. I needed a break from life at The Edge of the World, I inquired about applying my race entry and double checked with Mr. W's work schedule, with a little help from Angela, Gail's assistant I was registered and ready to run!  We loaded the traveling circus and off we went through the valley and over the mountain to Central Oregon for some much needed family time, sunshine and my first running race my first all women's race and first race in Bend.

I didn't realize until after I registered that Sarah Bowen Shea, one of the authors of Run Like a Mother was going to be at the pre-race expo and emceeing at the race the following day. I am huge fan of Another Mother Runner and enjoy listening to both Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea on Another Mother Runner weekly podcasts. I use their training plans for all my running races from their book, Train Like a Mother. I was excited to meet Sarah and pick up some AMR swag. Even my  teenage daughters thought it was cool that I was going to meet one of my running mentors.

My daughters didn't have school on Friday so we left The Edge of the World Thursday after school and headed to my Mother-in-Law's. Packet pick up was at the Riverhouse in Bend Friday evening. When I registered online my t-shirt size was unavailable. I couldn't proceed with registration until I selected a t-shirt size. I just clicked 2X to continue the registration process as small, medium and large were all unvailable. At packet pick up the lovely volunteer who gave me my 2X t-shirt looked at me perplexed "why did you select 2X shirt, when you are clearly a small?" I explained why and she directed me outside to table with another volunteer who gave me a t-shirt in my correct size. I just assumed that I wouldn't get a t-shirt and was willing to give the 2X shirt back. The volunteer was super friendly and insisted that it was not an issue that there was indeed a small for me.  I was thrilled because as you can see the t-shirt has a great design and the material is super soft.  I loved meeting Sarah. We chatted about weather, my pacing the upcoming Newport Marathon and I invited her to come run with Team Ardor if she should ever make it to the Central Oregon Coast.

Let's talk about the swag bag for a moment because it needs a mention and a photo. This has to be the best swag I've received in a swag bag yet. Lay Out Events had me at free whiskey from Crater Lakes Spirits and a coupon for my favorite cider, Atlas.  Not pictured is a small bar of lavender soap from Bend Soap Company made of goat's milk which is amazing! The first Green Goo First Aid ointment is my favorite. It's not a all women's race until you get a gentle feminine cleanser~Heathly hoohoo.

We ditched the kids with grandma. Mr. W scored us a mini suite at the Hampton in the Old Mill District. It was the most PERFECT location as the start/finish line was just a short walk away. After packet pick up we headed to our hotel checked in and grabbed some dinner along the Deschutes River in the Old Mill District. Yes, it included some Atlas Cider. Dragonfruit is summer in a bottle. Did I mention that I love Bend?

I was unusually relaxed pre-race. Usually I can get pretty nervous but not this this race. The race didn't begin till 9am so I was able to sleep in, enjoy breakfast and get ready to make my way to the start line. I wasn't sure with the elevation and heat how well I was going do. My goal has been to run a half marathon under two hours this season. I looked up the weather and saw that it was going to be in the low to mid 60's during the run with full sun. I was feeling optimistic. That was until I experience that most of the run was on trail. Living at the Edge of the World 7 feet above sea level, I am used to (this winter) running in cool/wet 50 degree temperatures. Running in heat and elevation of 3,600+ makes running a half marathon more difficult. I ran without headphones thinking that this was going to be a more interactive race, being that it was all women. That was not the case. I actually felt pretty lonely out on the course. A runner would pass me and I'd wish them well or say "hello" and was met with silence. After awhile I just gave up and focused on keeping my pace up. Unlike Santa Rosa Ironman course where I knew there was going to be an aid-station every mile packed with energetic volunteers. I opted to pack my own electrolytes and cliff shot blocks. My plan to take shot blocks at mile 4, 8 & 11. I packed a few extra in case I needed more. By mile 8 at the turn around I was out of electrolytes/water. I was happy to see Gatorade. I was disappointed that it was super water down, which made me nervous as it was hot, really hot. Luckily at this point I caught up to a tall woman wearing white tank top. She was my beacon, I just kept with her. She slowed down a bit and we ran together. My new running friend Erika, like me was one of the few who were not wearing headphones. We chatted which was nice as I needed a distraction. I have to say that the run was beautiful. I really enjoy the trails and running through neighborhoods. I went into the race with a time goal. I was trying to keep my pace up but after awhile I was running alone. Mile 9 I realized that I wasn't going to make my goal. It made me disappointed then I tried to get into the space that this is great training for Ironman Arizona. When I start getting negative I alway pop a few Cliff Shot Blocks. I have to be extremely mindful of my blood sugar and try to have more calories in me than what I think I need. There was a point that I was just angry and started to tear up. Then I talked myself down...seriously... I am used to RAIN and GREY. Then there were a row of sprinklers by the amphitheater, which I purposely ran through. It felt so good. The last two miles were the most difficult. I was so done running. I came to a lady who was struggling like I was. It made me feel better when she said that she was from Bend. This was her 7th half marathon. She said was the first nice weekend. I continued on to the finish line by myself. I was so focused on crossing the finish line that I ran right past my daughter standing at the finish line. Mr. W and the girls along with my Mother-in-Law where waiting for me at the finish line. It was nice to know that there would be some familiar happy faces at the end.  My Mother-in-law captured my finish and Sarah announcing my name which was awesome. I'd say that this half marathon was more difficult than my run during my half Ironman last June in Victoria. I did it just a minute faster than that race.

The beer tasted just okay. What really tasted awesome was a spicy V8 on the way home. I needed the mega dose of sodium. I noticed that I had white sweat stains on my singlet. Having our hotel so close to the finish line was so nice because I was able to get a shower and change. We enjoyed lunch at Red Robin then headed back to my Mother-in-Law's house where I relaxed for the rest of the day wearing my new necklace~my race medal and new Badass Mother Runner tank top.

In reviewing my results the next day I am happy with my time. More importantly I felt good the next day. I am not the fastest of runners. I am thankful that I can run 13 miles comfortably...this race was a little more difficult but I still finished. I call that a huge win.  Would I do another all women's race? I think it would be fun to run this race with a group of girlfriends. Maybe next year we can gather a bunch of Team Ardor ladies. I think doing a race with a bunch of familiar faces would make the race a lot more fun, for me that is what running is all about~having fun, making new friends and crushing goals. I'll do it again, but I am not wearing a tutu. 

Next running adventure: Pacing the Newport Marathon. 


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