Portland's Mustache Dache - Dragging Out the Birthday Celebration

by Jodi
Post-race celebration
My 40th birthday party spanned an entire week culminating with Portland's second annual Mustache Dache 5k race on Saturday, November 15th. The Mustache Dache is "a slightly irreverent 5k" geared toward helping "Movember, the global men's health charity, combat prostate and testicular cancer."

Last year a big group of my friends from Newberg formed the Femmestache Fatales team and participated in the inaugural running of this race.  It was so fun we decided to do it again.  We ended up with a team of about twenty ladies willing to don a fake mustache and brave this super hilly course.

some good looking dudes: Jenny, Lauren, Sarah and Sarai.
The morning of the race was cold, especially for Portland.  Temps were in the high 20's with frequent, icy wind gusts, but the sky was blue and the sun was shining.  Such a gift for the Willamette Valley where gray and rain characterize most fall days. The Femmestache Fatales picked up our packets, pasted on our mustaches, posed for pictures at the photo booth, and shivered our way to the starting line.
really bright sunshine.  really cold day.  With my Sarai - one of The Bigs.
Portland is a hilly place.  Most of us who run frequently train on hills out of necessity.  The Mustache Dache course is hard-core hilly, even for experienced runners.  The course takes runners out of Big Al's parking lot and right into the Beaverton hills.  For the next 1.5 miles (give or take) athletes gain 504 vertical feet, all of it on steep hills that roll up and down in the beginning and then just go straight up in the middle portion.  A race review from last year labeled these hills a Category 4 (out of 5) climb. Once runners reach the summit, it's straight down the other side.  The descent is as steep as the climb and can really take a toll on the quads and knees.  Throw in a few sharp corners and some icy patches and this is not a race you run to set a PR.

I was pleased with how I ran.  My breathing issues from this summer have continued into the fall so I'm using an inhaler on a trial basis before each run.  Climbing hills triggers the wheezing and I suspected this course would be a big challenge for my lungs.  I was right.

Labored breathing/wheezing was an issue the entire race.  I managed the first two climbs without walking, but had to walk twice briefly on the last two climbs because I literally couldn't breath.  I was tempted to be frustrated since my legs felt great, but I was running this race for fun.  Not breathing is not fun.  It was a No Brainer decision.

I was the third place woman when I stopped to walk the first time, and I got passed by the same woman who passed me on the climb last year.  Clearly she rocks at climbing hills.  When I walked the second time I got passed again, but was close enough to the summit that I figured I could catch her on the downhill and I did.

I LOVE bombing a hill on the run or on a bike, so the downhill portion of this race was a ton of fun for me.  I passed one woman and started gaining on the other, but she's a strong runner.  When we hit the flat, short section at the bottom before the finish I knew she was too far ahead for me to catch her.

I finished in fourth place overall for the women (23:08 - 7:27 pace) and shaved more than a minute off my time from last year.  Now that I'm forty, I'm eligible to compete in the Masters Division at races.  The Mustache Dache calls it "Mid Life Crisis" and I scored a free beer mug for finishing second in my age group. It was fun.

SIDE NOTE:  The woman who won this race was 58 years old and killed those hills with a 6:45 pace.  How inspiring is that?

I loved cheering my friends into the finish.  A lot of these girls hate running and cold weather.  Some of them were sick or sporting recent injuries, but they still came out to play. They killed a really hard course, some of them surprising themselves with their fitness level and ability to conquer big obstacles.  Sarai - one of our Bigs - was planning to walk the course, but changed her mind and ran the entire way at a great pace.  My friend Zora was supposed to run but had a work event trump her plans.  She showed up - in her work clothes - just to play with us for a while.



This is why I love running and racing.  While there obviously is a winner of each race, everyone who participates wins in some way.  The satisfied feeling of accomplishment after a race lingers long after the race is over. I'm so proud of my friends for how they tackled this tough course.
SARAI - was going to walk, but ran the whole way instead?  #superstar
The post-race party was lots of fun.  We ate yummy food, drank good beer, and scored some cool prizes.  The photo booth was my favorite though.  The booth operators printed out our group photo for each person in the group.  Mine is hanging with my mustache medal and bib on my Running Wall of Fame. They are great reminders of a really fun morning.

So blessed by these women.
Thank you Friends for braving the cold to run this event with me.  I celebrate our friendships and your mad running skills.  Are you crazy enough to do it again next year?

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