Columbia Gorge Half

It's race day recap! Get your Race Day Rundies ON!

Last weekend I ran the Columbia Gorge Half. I'd signed up for the race 12 weeks ago, followed a training plan and was excited to see what would happen. The course is notoriously hilly. Like mile long hills, hilly. One of those races that when you tell people you're running it, they say things like "Don't expect a PR". But they were wrong. I think with the right person it's the perfect course to PR. It's brutal, but beautiful, keeps your mind engaged and reminds you the entire time why you love to run.

I went up to Hood River with a great group of runners, and their husbands. We rented an amazing house with a breathtaking view of the Columbia River and, oddly, the finish line being set up in the valley below us.

Owen - the best support I could dream of. Resting up to cheer.

Taper done right, watching the finish line chute go up.

We got pumped up the night before by watching... Over the Top. Obviously. Because if this sweet workout montage doesn't do anything for you, I don't know what will.

Actually, around mile 5 I began to analyze Over the Top. I'll say it: I think I found meaning in the plot and even some strange insight into what I imagine it must be like to be Sylvester Stallone. Or as I called him in my head as I climbed up the biggest hill, Sly. He's always in athlete mode, where the oxygen is flowing to your muscles not your brain. Things are simpler up in my head during a race...or are they more complex? Kidding. They are simple. I think things like "I'm coming for you funny feet" "Pain is gain" "I want gummy bears" and if I'm really at it "_____" nothing.

Anyway I digress. I was excited for race day. The starting line was in such a beautiful area. It was calming to warm up through rolling dirt trails, stretch while watching the sunrise over the river. The race began a little late as we waited for the last shuttle to arrive. I will never understand the people that show up late to races. Never. The horn went off 20 minutes late (hello double warmup).

We were off. One gal was in front of me. She must have gone out in 6 flat. I tried not to worry about her, that was her party... reminding myself over again to run my own race. We coasted up about 4 miles of hills, plunged down a 3/4 mile hill and turned around at the bottom. I passed her right away. Hills are my favorite; I'm sick. I never saw her again. I followed one little blue jersey (a man) all the way to the finish. First lady! Third dude! And I laid down a sweet (3 minute!!!) PR. 1:21:46. I won't go into ... "without the mountain I could have run"... because I don't play that game. I love hills and the pain, so maybe it served me well. But now I'm curious for sure.

I learned to relax, have fun in my sport. I learned that when I put in the work I don't worry about things out of my control. I was anxious, but deep down I knew I did the work. I didn't obsess over weather, wind, sleep, lunch...I think I ran at least 3 miles of the race with a dumb grin on my face. Just loving the sun, the view, the leaves, the pain of running fast...

'winner wine' my prize. (this was NOT uncorked. yet.)

The group: Deana (Dina) PRed too! It was her second 1/2. Actually come to think of it so did Becky! Megan had just come off a wicked couple of work weeks including Vegas, but threw down a great race too. Luke was a late entry, and the only guy in our group to race. He did awesome. We are so in for next year!

Phew! Long post - thanks for reading! I'd love to hear about your latest race lessons -


  1. So fun, so fun. I'm so proud of you!

  2. Yeah - NYC is great, but it doesn't have scenery like that! Congrats! Sounds fun. You can check back in a week if I have race lessons...

  3. CG was my second half & an 11 minute PR. I kind of loved the hill, too. And the course - SO beautiful! :-) Congratulations - I'd wondered if you were the woman out front when I saw the oiselle singlet!

  4. Great weekend! Still high from all the major accomplishments and fun shenanigans.

  5. Woohoo! Congrats on your awesome win! What a gorgeous area! And sounds like a fun weekend all around.


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