Tomorrow’s the big day. It’s the day I’ve been training for for the past 2 and a half months and the race I’ve been meaning to run the past 2 and a half years. I will be running the Helvetia Half Marathon in Hillsboro, OR.
Since having kids and moving to Portland, I haven’t taken running or my fitness in general as serious as I should. This will be the third half marathon I’ve signed up for since moving to Portland and only the second one I will have run and the first one I have trained appropriately for.
Aside from being conveniently located near our house, the Helvetia Half Marathon offers a great atmosphere, starting and finishing the race in a minor league baseball stadium, features beautiful views of Washington County’s countryside, and one hell of an elevation profile.
In years past, I’ve been guilty of skipping the hill run portions of my training plans. Race day would come and I’d find myself using up all of my energy or not even being capable of running up “unexpected” hills on the course. However, that all changed this year. This year, I signed up for the Portland Fit marathon training program. The Helvetia Half was one of the goals on their marathon training plan and promised to provide me with the knowledge, camaraderie, and group setting that I needed to motivate me in my training.
The format of the Portland Fit training program is to provide you with the information, training schedule and community to help you run your first or fifteenth marathon. They provide you with a schedule of training runs to do during the week and a coordinated group run on the weekend for your long runs. The long runs alternate between longer, hillier runs and shorter, faster, flatter runs with easy runs, tempo runs, hill runs and interval training sprinkled in between.
The participants are broken up into color groups by pace and the start times are staggered so that every group finishes around the same time so they have an equal opportunity to attend the informational seminars at the end. I chose to run in the red group which is the 10-12 minute pace group. While I have typically run anywhere from 8:45-9:30 pace, I figured after a couple years of inconsistent running and exercising that it might be a bit more realistic to train around a 10 mile pace. I think making that choice has helped me to train smarter and more efficiently and be able to run the entirety of my long runs and tackle the hillier runs better as well. The group is made up of people with a variety of experience, background, goals and abilities. The one thing they do have in common is being a positive and supportive group. There’s a great emphasis on supporting each other and never a feeling of being judged for being slower. And it shows in the teams motto, “We’re red and we’re proud.”
I’m looking forward to this race more than any other aside from maybe my first half marathon. I don’t have any lofty goals or dreams of PRs, I’ll just be happy to finish it knowing I’ve done my best and dedicated as much of myself as I could to training for the race.