Portland Twilight Criterium

Friday night after I got home from the pool, Michael took one look at me and gave me a hug. I needed it. After a few minutes of hugs we headed downtown to see the Portland Twilight Criterium. What is the CriteriumCri*te*ri*um (krI’-tir-E-&m), noun [Latin]: A bicycle street race. Competitors must complete the most laps in a set period of time. Very fast. Very exciting.

And it was very fast. And very exciting! When we first got downtown to the Park Blocks the amateur cyclists were on the course first.

The cool thing about the course is that you can get really really close to the action! Plus there were food carts and a beer garden set up. We planned on heading to the beer garden but never made it there.

The amateurs were pretty fun to watch–there was even a girl participating, which I thought was fantastic. The bikers were going pretty fast but nothing compared to the professional cyclists we were about to see!

We hung out watching the amateurs for awhile, walking around the Park Blocks course to see everything.

After the amateur riders there were the Roller Derby girls that did a few laps around the course. The Roller Derby girls are pretty popular in Portland but I’ve never been to a show before.

Michael and I were hungry (I was famished after barely eating all day and then swimming) so we walked down to the food carts to find some dinner. At 7pm on a Friday most of the food carts were closed. There were two Mexican stands, a Korean BBQ and a fish cart open. I really wanted a burrito.

So Mr. Taco it was!

I got the bean, cheese and rice burrito. Michael got the bean and cheese burrito. We walked back to the Park Blocks to sit down and eat dinner while we watched the race. My burrito was freakin’ awesome! It was big and delicious.

(Man do I look awful. That’s what crying all day looks like.) The professional cyclists were about to start! After we were done eating we walked around a bit more and I ran into one of the professional riders who was stretching and getting ready for the race. I asked if I could take his picture and he agreed. We chatted for a few and then I wished him luck. This is Joe:

Good luck Joe! The professional riders were amazing to watch! They were remarkably faster than the amateurs and it was so awesome to see them up close. These are the guys that will someday make it to the big races like maybe the Tour de France!

These cyclists were so fast that most of the pictures were blurry–even using Sport Mode on the camera!

If you want to see some amazing professional photos of these races, you can see the review of the race here. There was one crash near us. It was right around a corner from where we were standing. We heard it but didn’t see it. We heard from someone else that one cyclist crashed coming out of the corner, another cyclist hit him and the bike jumped over the downed cyclist! Luckily everyone got back up and continued on the race.

I’m not sure how many laps they had to do. I didn’t see that there was a lap counter until about half way through the race I think.

Another example of how fast these guys were going–they created a tremendous amount of wind as they rode by. So much wind that sometimes it was cold and people’s hair would spin wildly.

There was a front runner of the race for most of it. I’m not sure names but we recognized the leader and the crowd would go NUTS whenever he went by. He had a decent lead on the peloton. Michael was counting the time when the pack leader went by us and when the peloton passed us. At one point it was 14 seconds, then 11 seconds, then 7 seconds. Then the peloton caught up to the leader and passed him. The next time he came around he was in the middle of the pack! 🙁

The race came to an end and they all did one last victory lap. The winner looked really stoked. It was such a fun event to go to, and it was free! We’ll definitely be going next year.

The bikes the racers had were impressive and expensive. Everyone biked their heart out and it was cool to experience. It definitely got me excited about The Portland Century! The race was over and we walked down to Voodoo Donuts (Michael wanted a donut) but the line was so long we decided to head home instead. That’s when we stopped at Krispie Kreme. 😉

QUESTION: Have you ever been to a professional race before?



Seven Miles Saturday

Last night’s date was pretty romantic. And I slept like a rock! It felt good to sleep so well. I forgot to mention in my last post that the hydration belt I planned on using for Hood to Coast didn’t work. Last weekend I ordered another one online and a few days ago I got an email saying it would arrive on August 27th! NO!!!!!! That’s too late!!! I was so upset. I decided to give it a few days and if it didn’t arrive, I’d have to go to a running store in Portland and buy one. Well last night when we got home from our date, I found this in the mail:

YEAH!!!!! I was sooo happy that it came early. I filled one water bottle with water and the other with Gatorade. I packed 2 GUs in the pack. I drank 3/4 of my Atkins shake as my pre-run breakfast.

So this morning, I excitedly put it on for my long run. It fit great and while the water bottles were a tad on the heavy side, I am happy to report that my run went great with them. They didn’t slosh around, or jump around when I ran. They weren’t too heavy to be annoying either.

I ran half a mile down to the track and saw that there was a kid’s football practice or try-outs going on. The place was packed.

They weren’t using the track though, so I figured it was okay. No one seemed to mind either.

The first 3 miles were not memorable because my legs seemed fine and I didn’t feel tired at all. I just ran and ran and felt awesome.

At about Mile 3, I had some GU and water. I didn’t feel like I needed either honestly, but I didn’t want to regret not hydrating before it was too late. I kept going.The temperature was cool and pleasant. Since they banned earphones for Hood to Coast this year, I didn’t bring my headphones with me while I ran today. I turned on Pandora and clipped my iPhone to the fuel belt. I could sometimes hear the music but when the stadium of parents cheered for their kids, I couldn’t hear my music. I don’t usually run with my ipod arm band because it doesn’t fit right and if I tighten it so it does fit–I lose circulation in my arm. But I think for Hood to Coast I have to suck it up and wear the arm band so I can hear my music!

About half way through Mile 4, my ankles started to both me a little bit. I decided to walk for a bit to see what was going on. I had no pain when walking, so that was good. I probably walked for 30-45 seconds and then started running again. Just walking for a moment, I had renewed energy and ran another mile with no problems.

Toward the end of Mile 5, my legs were starting to tighten up. I’ve never really had to deal with that before–that I remember anyway. I’m sure being excited and nervous about Hood to Coast has me overly sensitive to every little ache and pain in my body. I walked another 30-45 seconds and then continued to run. I pondered the idea that maybe I’ve been over-training lately…Still not sure about that.

Half way through Mile 6 I decided to call it a day and run home. I ran/walked the half mile home and stretched forever. I used my foam roller and my new calf stretcher! It felt pretty awesome to stretch for so long. Fat Kitty supervised the stretching:

Today’s Stats:

Time: 1:25

Calories Burned: 900

Distance: 7 Miles

What a great run though! I’m happy with today’s run (despite the walking and the ankle pains). I ate my banana after my shower and Michael and I made lunch. On the menu: black bean burritos.

After running 7 miles, I was FAMISHED. As in, Hungry Monster That Eats Everything In Sight! Nom Nom Nom…After one bean burrito, Michael made half a quesadilla for us to split. 🙂

The anticipation of Hood to Coast is killing me!

This time next week….I will be sitting in a cramped van with 5 other sweaty, smelly runners! I can’t wait! 🙂