Race Recap: Portland’s Inaugural Hop Hop Half Marathon

Sunday marked my third (yes, third) half-marathon race.  Just typing that makes me a bit excited.  To think that I ran my first half just last October and now have three under my (race) belt is pretty satisfying to say the least.  As I mentioned in a previous post, my marathon training plan (for Newport in June), called for a half as part of the preparation and the timing of this one was just about perfect.

This was the first year for the Hop Hop Half (I’ve got to admit, I’m not a huge fan of the name – a bit cutesy for my preferences – but I do understand the desire to tie it in with the holiday) and going in to it I felt like it may have been a bit of a risky move for the race sponsors.  Coming on the heels of the Shamrock Run, which is a very popular and large event, I wasn’t sure how the turnout would be.  It turned out to a moderate-sized, but lovely race.

Starting line

I had a strange set of feelings and expectations heading in to this event.  For the first time, this was not the event I’d been training for, but was part of a bigger picture.  Because of that, I didn’t want to place too much pressure on myself, but did want to give it a good effort and see how my racing ability was progressing.

Race day started out well enough.  It was a bit chilly at the start, but dry and sunny –  perfectly good racing conditions.  The event started off with a 5k that was winding down by the time the half-marathoners got going at 8:20am.  I think it’s worth noting that the race started pretty close to the scheduled time (only a minute or so late).  An on-time start always pleases me.

The race started off well and was fairly uneventful (in a good kind of way).  The first couple of miles weren’t the most interesting to run, but after about mile 3, we made our way onto a path that travels right alongside the Columbia River.  It was beautiful!  On such a lovely Spring morning, the sky was relatively clear, providing a beautiful view ahead (to the East) of some of the gorgeous mountains in the Pacific Northwest, to the left of the Columbia, complete with seagulls stretching, soaring, and basking in the sun, and the Portland Airport to the right (which may not seem like much, but is actually kind of lovely to see from that vantage point).

Rounding the turn

I’m the one in the center of this photo – in all black!

The course was pretty darn flat, so I chugged along steadily most of the way.  I did encounter an uncomfortable situation right after the turnaround point (around mile 7, I think it was).  I wanted to share it because it was so unusual and am curious if others have encountered this.  I was coming up behind another runner ahead and was running at a slightly faster pace than he was, so I was nearing him.  I was clearly going to pass him, so I maneuvered to the left, where there was space to move around him.  He glanced over his left shoulder, saw me coming, and moved directly in front of me to block my path and cut me off from passing!  It was very apparent that it was no accident.  I had indicated my intent to pass by when he looked back at me and he made a very deliberate shift in his position on the pathway.  I was shocked.  Seriously, seriously shocked.  Neither of us are elite runners, we weren’t racing to win.  Furthermore, even if we were, that is not how runners behave in my experience.  I am so used to friendly runners.  Runners who respect each other and share a certain camaraderie, even in competition, that I was totally taken aback by what happened.  Has anyone else had this happen?

I will say that I eventually still maneuvered around him and never saw him again.  Plus, my faith in the goodness of runners was restored later in the race, with less than a mile to go.  I was right at pace with another male runner and eventually started to pull ahead.  Instead of another weird encounter, this runner nodded and encouragingly shouted “Looking strong!”  It warmed my sappy runner’s heart.

When all was said and done, I finished with a new half-marathon PR – 1:49:17 – and placed 91 out of 618 total finishers!  I’m totally happy with my performance and finish, though it didn’t take long for me to realize that in just about 10 weeks I would be doing it again – twice.

Heading under the bridge

Me in black again – heading towards the final mile!

A couple of other notes on the event and race.  First, runners were treated to complimentary mimosas after the event.  Nice.  I much prefer this to the beer that is often present after a race!  While I certainly know that taking in alcohol is not the best recovery plan, I did enjoy my free brunch-y cocktail after having a couple cups of water.  I definitely approve of this beverage choice!

Second, along the way, I noticed a very young runner participating with an adult by her side.  Curious, I looked at the age group results after they were posted and saw that an 8-year old girl finished the half-marathon in just a bit over 2 hours! I am so impressed by that.  She looked like she was having the time of her life when I saw her on the course and I am so inspired by someone of that age having the focus and dedication (not to mention the skill) to do that run.  I can only wish I had had some of that when I was so young.  Amazing.

Hats off to Foot Traffic (one of my local running stores) who organized the event.  It was a smooth race and delightful event to kick off the spring running season!  I would absolutely consider running it again next year.

23 comments on “Race Recap: Portland’s Inaugural Hop Hop Half Marathon

  1. I’m sad to say I understand your feelings when the not-so-friendly-and-polite runner did what he did… I think he doesn’t understand in his heart what running means…

    Running is all about proving yourself you can do more, you can go far and faster! It is about helping other to cross the finish line, to support each other…

    I’m sure he could enjoy running more if he could only understand the kindness behind all the sweat and tiredness…

    and… GREAT TIME, GREAT PACE!!!! Congratulations on your new PR!!!

  2. Aw, that stinks that an otherwise lovely run had to have an uncomfortable hiccup! Most runners are more like the second passing encounter you had – don’t let that one guy get you down. And GREAT JOB!! I do love the mimosas idea… 🙂

  3. I can’t even imagine what would motivate a runner to act like that. I think most runners are more like the 2nd runner you mentioned, usually happy to congratulate someone on their effort/results. And congrats on your PR! ❤ your pictures, the do make me miss Oregon.

  4. runmonster says:

    Isn’t it funny how running traffic can sometimes feel like real traffic? I guess there are polite runners and rude runners, just as there are drivers! Anyways, congratulations on the PR! You are doing amazingly well for a only a third half!

  5. EcoGrrl says:

    Congrats! I did the Helvetia Half almost 7 years ago (walked, not ran) and it was an incredible experience – one of the few times I felt like an athlete because of all the prep (Portland Fit). I remember at the end though, the only food left for the walkers was cold 😦

  6. I have never had the passing problem. When peope are passing me or look like like they want to I sometimes even wave them on. I don’t want some fast person behind me pushing me to run faster than I want to just because they can’t get around me.
    If someone would not let me pass I would ride them hard, break them and then pass. 😉

  7. Hey, thanks for visiting my blog. I just started running again so I will definitely start reading yours for some inspiration. I see that you knit. A friend of mine has a knitting blog (who knew there was a huge knitting subculture?!). If you are are interested you can check it out at http://www.purlyewe.com/

  8. Congrats on completing your third half marathon! I’ve never been a runner, but I’ve attempted to become one several times. I never stuck with it, however. Needless to say, running a half marathon is something I find impressive! Don’t know what the deal was with the guy trying to block you, however. It’s kind of similar to an experience I had on a walk recently. I walk my dog every morning, and I always smile and say, “Hi” to people I walk past. Usually people either say, “Hi” back or at least smile, but a woman I said, “Hi” to the other day looked right at me without saying, “Hi” back, smiling or acknowledging me in any way. I found this disconcerting. Oh well, what are you going to do?

  9. jupiler1060 says:

    Congratulations on your new PR! I too ran my third Half-Marathon on Sunday, in Warsaw, Poland, and also set a new PR (planning to do a write up tonight 🙂 ) so I can definitely share your elation.

    • Oh, how great! Way to go! At the risk of being cheesy, I love that two of us were setting new half-marathon PRs in totally different parts of the world on the same day. Running is such a cool way to share experiences with others from all parts of the world. I look forward to reading your race report!

  10. Great blog! Enjoyed your race report and hats off to your passion for running, good health and happy living! Some people just never grow up and can’t let go of their competitive egos. A couple weeks ago I was at a “practice triathlon” where we went to the location of the triathlon and simulated race day. I was not actually “racing” it. Instead I was doing a “low heart-rate training” following my coach’s training schedule. This means I am going at a very comfortable pace (I can chat with you while running). Since I had less than 2 miles left (out of 11) I ran slowly up the last hill (it was a hilly course) and planned to semi-sprint and negative-split to the finish. As I ran past 2 people walking up the hill, both out of breath and laboring, the guy says to the girl, intentionally so I would hear “don’t worry about the people who pass you, you’ll pass her later”. He did the same thing to my friend who was about 1/8 of a mile behind me. Both my friend and I thought that was a bit rude. I’m happy to report that there was no chance the rude guy or poor gal would catch up to my friend and I.

    I understand that the guy was trying to coach and motivate his friend. I often pick out the people I know I will pass at races too but I never say it out loud, jump in front of them, or try to race them. Not to mention, this was a TRAINING day!

    I almost waited at the end with the group that cheered and gave high 5’s to the runners at the end for them. They took too long and were too far behind me.

    At the end of the day, most of us happy everyday athletes, are out there for pure enjoyment and for ourselves. And, by the way, we both passed these guys.

    • Thank you for your comment! It sounds like you handle it all very well (the running stuff, that is). I totally agree that most of us are out there for pure enjoyment. I really love runners for that, actually.

      Also, you’re right again – we both passed them! 🙂

  11. Amy says:

    Awesome time! Some people are just grumpy like that first guy. He just doesn’t get it.

  12. […] course was the same as last year, which is to say, it was absolutely enjoyable and peaceful. The route took us along the Columbia […]

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