Revel Mount Hood Race Recap

With all the travel this past month or so, I’ve really gotten behind on my race recaps.  This one is a big one though so better late than never.

I don’t think I ever recapped my Revel Mount Charleston race back in April, but even though I crashed & burned at that race, it was a turning point for me.  I hit the halfway point in a PR time of 1:51 (7ish minutes faster than my official half marathon PR) and was soooo excited.  I quickly found out that my body wasn’t really prepared for all those fast miles & my hips & calves pretty much shut down, culminating in me laying on the ground screaming at mile 22 with the worst calf cramps I’ve ever had before.

That being said, I was hungry for more.  I wanted to see what I could do!  Could I actually BQ?  I had thought that was a pipe dream, I was 40+ minutes off my BQ time & you pretty much need to go at least 5 minutes faster to actually get in, that’s a huge jump, but maybe with some training, I could do it!

I bought a book, Run Faster, Run Less or something like that fully intending to do a crash course training plan after Nanny Goat. Unfortunately, Nanny Goat set me back a bit further than I would have liked & with all the travel we had for June didn’t help either.  My mileage in June was one of my lowest mileage months for the year.

I finished up June with Black Mountain 25k & then we ran the Crown City Classic 12k on July 4 which was a pretty good & speedy race for me. Then I kind of just did maintenance runs here and there with some climbing days on our treadmill when I was home and it wasn’t a billion degrees in our house, lol.

I got off the waitlist for TRT 55k so I added that into my schedule the week before this race.  I had a good race at TRT, followed it up with a nice 7 mile hike/run with Sean on the Tunnel Creek trail & then didn’t run the rest of the week, until Friday when Sean & I did our shake-out run in Portland.

The expo for this race was held at the convention center, it was pretty low-key, like most Revel expos are.

The only thing that was really unique in this race was that for the marathon there were waves that were 15 minutes apart.  Ok, so waves aren’t that unique, but in this instance, they weren’t based off time, they were based off how early you registered.  So because we waited until June to register we had to choose wave 3 at registration.  I emailed and was able to get us moved up to wave 2, but Sean was trying to go for a better BQ & the pacers were in the first wave.  We were able to convince the timing guy to allow Sean into wave 1 fortunately.

I totally get that they were trying to reward those who registered early & they kept saying it’s only 200 people per wave so it’ll be open & not much congestion in the waves.  That’s fine, but I found it very odd to not allow the fast people to be in the front like is the case in most races.

In any case, we got our packets, chatted with Christy from Running Skirts, she told us about this amazing shave ice place, which coincidentally has a location in San Diego too! and we talked to the Altra rep for a bit too.

Since Revel buses everyone to the start & wave 1 started at 5:15am, we needed to get up really early again.  We had a super yummy dinner at Prasad in downtown Portland, followed it up with a second shave ice and then headed back to our hotel.

We got our gear out, including drop bags with a change of clothes & warm gear for the morning at the peak, set our alarms and were in bed by 8am.

The alarm clock rang really early! But we were up, dressed & ready to go by 2:30ish.  It took about 30 minutes to drive to the high school where we would catch the buses.  The wave 1 buses were leaving at 3:15am sharp and the lady who was in charge was pretty cut-throat.  No seat was left unused & I’m glad we got on without her seeing my bib because I feel like I would have been kicked off since I was wave 2. LOL.

I rested a bit during the ride up the mountain and when we got off the bus, we were told that they didn’t have a sound system, the lodge was booked, but by other people so they couldn’t have sound.  They did the pre-race announcements on the bus and then we were able to mill about until the start.

Sean & I hit up the port-a-potties (no lines because we were the 2nd bus there), saw a few other Altra Red Team members & said Hi.  We chatted for a short bit and then it was time for Sean to get ready for his wave.  Since there were only about 800 people (if that) in the race it wasn’t super crowded at the start.

I wished Sean good luck, he was going for a better BQ to ensure he got in for next year. Then hit up the bathroom again before dropping my gear bag.  It was a little chilly at the start so I was glad to have my sweatshirt, jacket & track pants.

They walked us down the mountain to the start line, it was pretty low key with no one really wanting to be by the start, I really had no idea how this was going to go, but once we started, I decided to stay with the 3:45 pacer.  At Mount Charleston, I started out way too fast and paid for it so I figured I’d try to stick with the 3:45 guy for as long as I could.

He was with another guy who seemed to be a friend, they were chatting the whole time.  As a pacer, he wasn’t great, he never asked if any of us around him were running with him, etc. I stuck with them until they dropped off at mile 5 to chat with some friends that were cheering.

At this point we were on Hwy 26, which I remembered from our last trip to Mount Hood a few years back.  We ran past Government Camp and just steadily moved towards the finish.  I started running a bit too fast, I told myself to just settle in and keep moving.  Eventually I was able to do just that.

My calves were starting to tighten up a bit around mile 6, I wasn’t sure if that was a sign of things to come or just a normal ache.  Around mile 10ish, the inside of my ankle started to hurt, I told myself, just get to the halfway point.  I got to the half marathon in 1:45:30, which was 6 minutes faster than Mt Charleston!!  I was feeling pretty good, relatively speaking.

I was running pretty consistent splits at this point: 8:06, 8:07, 8:05, 8:19, 8:00, 8:03, 8:06, 7:58, 8:08, 7:41, 8:05, 8:08, 8:03.

I told myself to just keep moving, I settled in again and just kept the momentum.  I was passing people, wondering if they would pass me again later, but just trying to keep moving.

The weather was absolutely perfect! It felt cool for most of the race & we were in the shade as well.  I was soaked in sweat but I felt nice and cool until about mile 22/23.

This race is unique in that the marathon runs a separate race from the half until the last 3 miles.  We basically run from the base of Mount Hood down to Hwy 26, turn right and then run on the side of the road down Hwy 26 to the fish hatchery.

I had to stop to get rocks out of my shoes once around mile 20 I think, it was driving me crazy.  The 3:45 pacer passed me around mile 22, he was gone & I never saw him again, he had to have finished few minutes ahead of me (under 3:45).

Around mile 24/25 there were a few smallish hills that I ran/walked.  I didn’t really look at my watch too much during the race, but towards the end, I was really doing a lot of calculations in my head.  I was thinking, could I do it?  Could I really BQ?  I knew it would be close and even if I did, I probably wouldn’t be under enough to actually get to run in 2019.  But could I do it?

I knew I was going to PR, but I still wanted to try for the BQ.  I was finally at the turn to get to the finish.  I was .3 miles over and I was hoping I was wrong and that I’d get those .3 miles back, wishful thinking lol.  I was moving as fast as I could, where was the finish line???  My calves were starting to cramp and then I saw my friend Paul with his go-pro out.  I said Hi & he took a few photos of me as I made my way to the finish.  He got this photo of me checking my watch, so close!

I made the final turn & I could see the finish line! Working hard to get there as fast as I could!

I was over 3:45 but I did it! I ran a 40 minute PR and came sooooo close to a BQ.  And without any specific speed training!  I was in shock as they said my name.  I was so happy, but I couldn’t believe it, where in the world had that come from!

Second half splits: 8:02, 8:06, 8:21, 8:36, 8:49, 8:36, 9:32, 9:01, 8:39, 9:38, 9:17, 10:02, 9:17, 8:19 (.56)

I saw my friend Helen, asked her how her race went, she BQ’d, Yay! I told her I got a huge PR and she was a little shocked, lol.  I then tried to find Sean.  I couldn’t find him so I grabbed a bottle of water & a banana before going to the gear check.

They couldn’t find my bag, so I asked about Sean’s and they said no, so I knew he grabbed them.  I ran into one of my Altra teammates, chatted with him for a few minutes and then had to keep moving.  My calves were so tight.  I walked backed towards the finish line and finally saw Sean.  I was like 40 Freaking minute PR baby!

He was super happy for me!  We got a few photos before I had to get changed.  I was soaked & my calves were seriously cramping.  It took me about 10 minutes to change, lol.

We finished up, grabbed a piece of pizza, Papa John’s was there, we just took the cheese off and ate the crust lol, got a coke and then got in line for the buses back to the high school where we left our cars.

Again, like at the Yosemite Half, the buses were a huge problem.  We waited in line for about 30 minutes before a few buses showed up.  The lady said that they finally were in sync and had 3 buses coming at a time to get more people transported back at a time.

Overall though, I would definitely recommend this race! It was beautiful, fast, downhill, shaded, great weather, good swag (nice tech shirt & great medal) and super fun.

Now to decide on the next marathon & get that BQ!

Doughnut or Donut: Portland Edition

I was super excited to go to Portland for the Vancouver USA Marathon and one of the reasons for that is that I’ve always heard about Portland’s foodie scene.  I love food and trying new things.

We didn’t have an opportunity to try as much as I would have liked because we had so much to fit into our 3 days, but we did have time to try both Voodoo Doughnuts & Blue Star Donuts.

A lot of people have heard of Voodoo Doughnuts.  With lines that can go down the block, they are known for their outrageous, crazy flavors & sizes.

We went to the Original, Voodoo Doughnut One on 3rd Avenue in Downtown Portland.  Sean had been there before and we made it our very first stop (after a stop at Barista, which is just down the street, for some coffee).  As we were walking down the street, he was like oh, good the line isn’t too bad.  There was a line, but we only waited maybe around 15-20 minutes.  Of course we realized as we were in line that it was cash only so once we got inside, Sean headed to the ATM while I waited in line.

Voodoo Doughnut, Portland, OR

There are over 90 different doughnuts on the menu so it was a challenge to choose.  They all look so cool, but ultimately we decided on the following:  Maple Bacon, Memphis Mafia & the Old Dirty Bastard.

Voodoo Doughnut, Maple Bacon, doughnut, Portland, OR

Maple Bacon bar doughnut
Raised yeast doughnut with maple frosting and bacon on top!

The Maple Bacon was my favorite of the 3.  Always a great combination, I was surprised at how crisp and crunchy the bacon was, just like we like our bacon, but it didn’t just fall apart.

Memphis Mafia doughnut
Fried dough with banana chunks and cinnamon covered in a glaze with chocolate frosting, peanut butter, peanuts and chocolate chips on top!

Voodoo Doughnuts, Portland, OR, Memphis Mafia

The Memphis Mafia is HUGE! Seriously, look at it, it’s almost as big as my head!! I was impressed with this fritter type doughnut.  The banana wasn’t overpowering, the dough was moist and not the toppings weren’t overly sweet.  I really thought I would be biting into a sugar bomb and that wasn’t the case at all.

Voodoo Doughnuts, Portland, OR, doughnuts, maple bacon, memphis mafia, dirty old bastard

Old Dirty Bastard doughnut
Raised yeast doughnut with chocolate frosting, Oreo’s™ and peanut butter!

This was probably my least favorite of the 3.  I again was surprised that it wasn’t overly sweet, but I thought it was kind of blah, nothing to write home about.

After posting about our Voodoo visit, we were told that Blue Star was where all the locals go and since we saw it on our way to Vancouver on Saturday we knew exactly were it was so we could try them out too.

We made our way to Blue Star on Monday morning before heading over to Mt. Hood for the day.  Blue Star is different from Voodoo in a lot of ways.  First off, there wasn’t a line, second, their display is super clean and you are in the kitchen where you can watch them preparing the donuts.  I thought I had a photo I could share but I couldn’t find it in my photo album.  Lastly, they accept credit cards, while Voodoo is cash only.

Blue Star Donuts, Portland, OR

From the Blue Star website: Our donuts are made from a classic brioche recipe that originated in the south of France. The dough takes 18 hours to make and is made from scratch every day; we start with a sustainable bread flour from Shepherds Grain, add cage free eggs, whole hormone-free milk, and then fold in a European-style butter. Our donuts, glazes, and fillings are made fresh throughout the day, and we only cook our donuts in rice oil. Selections change daily and sell out quickly.

Because I lost my photo of the display case and they don’t keep their donut list on their website, I’m hoping I got the flavors correct. I scoured their Instagram for the flavors. First off, they are a much more modern, clean and artisan style of donut where as the Voodoo doughnut is a more in your face and crazy.  It was hard to choose, but ultimately we went with the following 4 different types and flavors.

Blue Star Donuts, Portland, OR, Blueberry bourbon basil, donut

Blueberry, Bourbon, Basil – Sean asked about which donut was the best seller and we were told this one was.  I feel like this was more cake donut than brioche like the Raspberry Rosemary below but I might be wrong, since there was frosting on it, it was hard to tell.  But it was definitely tasty.

Blue Star Donuts, Portland, OR, Peanut Butter & Jelly, donut

Peanut Butter & Jelly – I had to try this one because I love PB.  This was I believe a raspberry or maybe blackberry (I can’t remember) filled with peanut butter powder and I believe a little cayenne pepper.  There was definitely a little kick in the back of my throat with this one.  Super yummy, I enjoyed this one.

Blue Star Donuts, Portland, OR, Hard Apple Cider Fritter

Hard Cider Apple Fritter – I like apple fritters so I picked this for our fourth choice.  Made with apples, cinnamon and raisins and a nice glaze it was good, but in comparison to the others, it was probably our least favorite.

Blue Star Donuts, Portland, OR, Raspberry Rosemary, Donut

Raspberry & Rosemary – Sean also asked the guy helping us what his favorite was and he pointed to this one.  We were super lucky to get to try one that was still warm.  This was by far our favorite, warm and crunchy on outside while still remaining soft inside with a super yummy raspberry glaze.

After hearing about these amazing doughnuts and donuts which do you think was my favorite?

Drum roll please…

They were both good, but I have to say Blue Star was by far my favorite and the place I would recommend to anyone.  I think you have to try Voodoo because of what it is, a destination, the maple bacon was yummy, but for an amazing & unique artisan creation, I’d pick Blue Star every time.

Have you been to Portland and gone to Voodoo &/or Blue Star?  Which is your favorite?