Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon - August 2016

by Jodi

Hi Friends!  Remember me?  I used to write all the time, but Life is happening.  It's full and beautiful and chaotic, and priorities are shifting.  My "free" time has been delegated to marathon training and cheering my kids on in their own sporting adventures.  Writing has suffered.  I apologize cause I miss writing and I miss the interactions I have with you.  Since Sole Sisters serves as my running/race journal, I need to update it on three races.  Here's the first of what should be three installments.  (Don't hold your breath for quick installments two and three).

The race started at Stoller Vineyards and we watched the sun rise.  

Incredible setting for the start of a race.

August 2016 - Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon
Finish time: 1:37:49 - 7:28 pace. Tied for 1st place Master Female and Age Group Division with my training partner Dawn.

One of my photography clients is a runner and works for a local winery.  She invited me and my training partner Dawn to join the Elizabeth Chambers Cellar race team, so we did. This race gives prize money so it draws a fast crowd, which is fun. Our original plan was to train hard and see how fast we could run it.  But Life... It happens.  It's full and beautiful and chaotic and... we found ourselves really enjoying our summer and skipping the hard track and tempo workouts to be with Our People.
With our Elizabeth Chambers Cellar teammate Sunny

Early in the summer we both got recruited to join Portland Running Company's all women Hood to Coast team. Since Hood to Coast was only two weeks after our half marathon, our Team Captain asked us to consider dialing down our race goals and running the Oregon Wine Country half marathon as a tempo run instead of a full effort race.  We evaluated our current fitness level and decided to aim for a 7:30 average pace for this race - a pace that should have been a tempo effort for both of us.

The week of the race I came down with a bad summer cold.  I felt terrible and the congestion in my lungs induced my wheezing.  The point-to-point race course rolls through wine country, including a ton of hills, especially in the first six miles and then again in the last two miles. Climbing hills at tempo effort also induces my wheezing.  I knew I was in for a rough morning.

Thankfully Dawn felt great on race day.  She set our pace and chugged along at an even, tempo effort from the start until the finish.  She could have run minutes faster, but Dawn is very methodical.  She stuck to our race plan.  I wheezed my way up and down every hill, giving a race effort but barely sustaining our tempo pace.

I told her to leave me about a hundred times, but she wouldn't.  She just kept telling me, "You've got this." She may have even told me to stop wasting my energy on talking and just run.  Dawn knows I'm too stubborn to give up, so she stayed a step or two in front of me so I would chase her.

There was one point around mile seven that I freaked out mentally.  I could hear myself wheezing and I started to panic.  " I can't breathe.  I shouldn't be doing this. I can't catch my breath. I'm scared. It's not worth it.  I should drop out.  Where is a medical tent?..."

But I COULD breathe.  It just wasn't easy.

So I mumbled under my breath, "I take these thoughts captive and I will replace them with truth" and then mentally started telling myself the truth.

"You are capable.  You have run this distance at this pace several times before.  You ARE breathing.  You sound like a cow in labor, but your lungs are getting air and you are scaring all the other runners around you.  See how they just make way for you? Just keep following Dawn.  You are fine.  You are strong.  Fast feet.  Strong mind. You run this body. The faster you run the sooner this will be over."

And then I prayed.  "Jesus help me.  Help me enjoy this scenic course.  Help me soak in this sunshine and the beautiful day.  May my feet be swift and my heart be full of gratitude that I get to do crazy stuff like this."

I felt my panic fade away and a peace wash over me.  Thank you Jesus! From that point on, I was able to really enjoy the race experience, in spite of the wheezing.

Dawn and I ran stride for stride the entire race.  She could have run much faster.  Without her, I probably would have quit when I had my little panic session.  Instead, we crossed the finish line together.

Neither of us thought to check the standings or even our finish time. We took our finish line wine glasses around to the different vendors and tasted some wine, then took ourselves out to breakfast.  We were in the middle of eating when my phone rang.

"Jodi!!!!!  They just called your name as the overall Female Masters winner.  YOU GOT FIRST PLACE!"  

For the love... are you serious? I did not see that coming.  And oh the irony that even though Dawn and I had the exact same finish time they listed me first place overall and gave Dawn the first place in our age division.  We both won big bottles of wine and giggled our way home.
We did it! 
Winner winner chicken dinner
That is one big bottle of wine!
Thanks Dawn for being the methodical, steady balance to my all over the place race day emotions.  I am grateful every day to have you as my training partner. Cheers to this adventure.  And all the ones in our future. #oregonwinecountryhalfmarathon #trainingpartners

By the splits:

Mile 1: 7:19
Mile 8: 7:13
Mile 2: 7:09
Mile 9:  7:37
Mile 3: 7:34
Mile 10: 7:27
Mile 4: 7:30
Mile 11: 7:42
Mile 5: 7:37
Mile 12: 7:38
Mile 6: 7:27
Mile 13: 7:18
Mile 7: 7:28
Mile .1: 7:01

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