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Dr Joan Johnson - 10/01/2023

How is it possible that I haven’t done a ½ marathon race for FOUR YEARS!!!??? Well…Covid, Covid, Sick husband, Sick husband…that’s how. Yes, I could have gone racing without him, but, what’s the fun in that? Finally, Portland, Oregon, 10/01/2023! This race was extremely well supported, except, perhaps, for the port-o-lets (there just weren’t enough of them). I booked this trip in May, so with that much advanced notice we found a nice Marriott Hotel, walking distance to the start/finish. Parking in any big city, is usually a nightmare and I’m sure, Portland would have been no exception. However, as a paying guest at the Marriott, they parked that rental car and never moved it all weekend, SCORE! I started the race feeling nervous, but I know that I had trained well and it being a road race, I also knew that my body would handle pavement with little difficulty. I started back in the pack quite a bit because I waited in that potty line for a while, but I slowly moved my way forward, careful to pace myself and not flame out early. The roads in Portland aren’t great, lots of holes and grooves so I paid close attention to my footing, maybe not every footstep, but I didn’t let my gaze wander for long. I felt great for the first 3.5 miles and I realized when my headphones chimed in that I was at 3.5 miles, so I took my first gel. I had eaten a banana 2 hours before the race and my larabar 15 minutes before the race. We runners aren’t superstitious, but we are “stitious”, if a combination of eating and drinking works it easily becomes ritual. Mine is banana 2 hours before, larabar 15 minutes before, Hammer gel every 3 miles after that. Having completed 43 races without a DNF, I stick to this plan closely. I took my second gel at 7. Somehow, I passed the 2hr 30min pacer, I don’t remember doing it. Then I passed the 2hr 20min pacer. I do remember that! His name was Mick and he said Hi to EVERYONE!!! Mick was a lot of fun! He even said Hi to the crowd, telling them that we are the 2hr 20min group! I had an existential crisis at 8 “why do I do this, why am I here, who does this at 61?” It passed. At 9, we climbed the only measurable hill, it was about a ½ mile long, not a huge climb, but enough after 9 miles in. At the top, they had beer, huh…yea, I had one, well, I spilled most of it down my front, but I had some. Here’s the thing…I hate to stop running or walk in a road race…so I drink and eat on the run. I sip from sippy cups that I carry on my belt, an open cup is a disaster when you are moving, try it, it’s hysterical! Somewhere around 5 we had crossed the river, somewhere around 11 we crossed back over, looped through a downtown neighborhood and headed back to the start/finish. I felt great! My legs weren’t sore, my breathing recovered quickly, it was perfect running weather starting in the low 60’s and topping 70 by the end. Brian was on the right side of the start/finish line. If you haven’t met Brian, he is 6’10” tall, I can always find him in a crowd, because he is at least a head taller than anyone else. How do short people find each other in a crowd? I’m happy that I am back at it, I’m happy that my return to half marathon racing was successful and I’m happy that my sweet husband is able to travel and be my partner in this adventure. We decided that he needs a title. He has chosen “Crap Caddy/Coffee Ambassador” as his official designation. I bring a whole bag of stuff and peel off layers as I get ready for a run, having Brian there to gather all that stuff is a luxury!!! The first thing I want after a race is coffee so Brian hunts down the nearest coffee while I’m running. Yes, I am spoiled. Here are my stats.



1976 of 4425 overall runners

782 of 2353 female runners

13 of 92 female runners 60 – 64


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