And before any of you even realized I was racing, it's over! But man, what a frustrating race that was!
I'll start off by acknowledging that I raced well. Really well. I started off at a reasonable speed, continued at a consistent pace, was the only person I saw running up the large hill mid-race (granted, there were only like twenty people in my view) and didn't get passed by a single person after the first few miles. Crucially, I didn't get a 2:04, a number I worried was basically my limit post-minimalist-shoe-transition!! In fact, I PRed. 2:02:10.
But my god, I really thought I was going to sneak in under two hours. I ran the first 12 miles in 1:50:16 and had both the energy and desire necessary to kick it up a notch for the last mile. It was going to be close but I was fairly certain I had a sub-2:00 locked down. And then...
I ran an 11:09 final mile. Why? Because the race directors decided it would be funny to place the finish line at the top of an enormous hill. It gained over 250 feet in half a mile. What the f-ck?!?! Definitely didn't see that one coming!
Of course, I would have known it was there had I bothered to look more closely at the elevation profile provided to all runners. Really all I saw was a large-ish hill and a total gain of 940 feet, which didn't sound that bad. In fact, I had it in my head that we ended on a downhill. Whoops!
Anyway, whine, whine, whine (wine, wine wine? This was a vineyard half, after all). I'll get over it. This just wasn't the race for me to go sub-2:00. That wasn't even my goal, really, but when you're running a 9:10 pace it would be kind of incredible if it didn't cross your mind.
I'm kind of tempted to sign up for this half next month as a sort of redemption race but I'm not sure it's really worth driving the 30-ish miles to nowhere, Oregon. I do love how it (well, the marathon, actually) describes itself, though: "The Dam Marathon is named the most beautiful marathon in the United States by a runner in 2014 (who has run at least one marathon in every state)!!!" I'd be curious to know which Alaskan race that runner ran because the Mayor's Marathon is definitely more scenic than freaking Oakridge.