Portland's Inaugural Running of the Mustache Dache 5k

by Jodi

I've been in a running funk.  My legs feel heavy, my pace slow, and my lungs burn.  Just ask Carissa.  The one run we've done together in weeks was ten miles in Forest Park.  She waited and waited and waited on me as I labored up those hills.

in Forest Park
 I posted this picture of myself on Instagram after my fifth bad run in a row.  I needed a boost of confidence before I started threatening to hang up my running shoes for good.

I got that boost on November 16th when I raced the Mustache Dache 5k with my friends.

In September some of my Newberg friends celebrated a 40th birthday with a big group outing.  It was so much fun we vowed to do it again for the November birthdays.

Kristen spotted the inaugural Portland Mustache Dace 5k online.  She sent us all the link posing the question, "Who else wants this mustache medal?"  Krysty organized our team - the Femmstache Fatales.  Kristina designed a sweet logo. Within weeks we had a team of twelve with matching shirts ready to dress up and run what promised to be a fun 5k.

I've never raced a 5k for time before.  Twice I tried timing myself on a simulated 5k race course around my house.  Both times were an epic fail.  My trial times were clocking in slower than several of my previous half marathon race paces.  It did not look promising for me to have a good outing on race day.  I spent a day or two feeling frustrated about my current running pace, but realized it was silly to be upset about something I can't change overnight.

I joined the YMCA last month and have been taking group classes with my friends.  It's been well over a year since I've done any sort of consistent strength training and my muscles are sore all the time.  And I just launched a photography business.  The majority of my time and energy has been focused in this area.  Expecting to run fast when I haven't been training to run fast is a recipe for disappointment.

Race morning was cool and drizzly.  Dark skies threatened a downpour but the rain held off all morning.  Team Femmstache Fatales caravanned in three cars to the race then donned our team shirts and fake mustaches and posed for pictures in the parking lot.  We were some good looking dudes.

two of the three cars of teammates before the race
We all knew it wouldn't be a flat 5k course, but none of knew just how bad it actually would be.  Run Oregon did a great job describing the course, so I won't reinvent the wheel.

"The 3.1 mile, single-loop course began with a surprisingly organized four-wave start and took beards and baby-faced youths up 400 feet of elevation gain (a Category 4 climb) in the first 1.55 miles of narrow, suburban streets.   To put this in perspective, a notably hilly half marathon like the 2013 Fueled by Fine Wine course has about 2,900 feet in elevation gain over 13.1 miles. That's 332 feet of elevation gain every 1.5 miles. Add an additional 68 feet in elevation, and you've got the first half of the comically hilly 2013 Mustache Dache 5k."

The lead pack for this race was small and much to my surprise, I was in it.  For part of the race I was actually leading, although I didn't know it at the time.  Two women passed me on the final steep hill of the ascent.  We all were huffing and puffing and grumbling out loud about how ridiculous it was to try to race this hard course.  It took all my mental strength to keeping running and not walk.

The winner raced out of sight as she summited the hill and I knew I didn't have a chance at catching her.  The second place woman was still within reach just ahead of me.  I made up a lot of ground on the downhill - my favorite part of running hills - and passed her, moving myself into the second place position.

I haven't replaced my Garmin yet, and Runkeeper (my alternative until we buy a new running watch) got messed up out of the starting gate.  I had no way to gauge my time or the distance remaining in the race after I passed her.

We hit the flats before the finish and I could hear her gaining on me.  As she passed me I had a mental conversation with myself.  Should I try for second or be content with third place?  In the end I didn't have the drive to chase her down.  We finished twenty seconds apart and I got third place overall - a first for me and something that most likely won't happen again any time soon.

My finish time was 24:06 with a 7:46 average pace.  For a 5k!  The slow pace is an accurate reflection of how tough the course made it to run fast.

my friend Diana snuck this picture of me.  I always carry this huge water bottle around with me, but this picture makes it look even bigger than it is!
It was fun to cheer team Femmstache Fatales into the finish.  As the team trickled in, we grabbed a table close to the finish line and enjoyed the After Party.  I wasn't sure how I would feel about a beer at 9:30 in the morning, but it actually tasted good.  The snacks (dark chocolate mustaches and gingerbread) were so yummy!

Zora and I showing off our medals
Julie was one of the friends who talked me into joining the Y.  It's been fun working out together.
It was fun to race again, especially to do it with my friends.  And I have my running mojo back again.  I'm one step closer mentally to committing to training for another marathon.  I guess I won't hang up my running shoes any time soon after all.

After party with Zora, Diana, and Kristen (the other friend who talked me into joining the Y).
What about you Sole Sisters?  Have you raced with your friends before?  Been in a running funk that you snapped out of at a race?  If so will you share your story with us?

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