Friday, January 22, 2010

Cascade Half Marathon - Race Report

I was telling the story to Dave, Aubree and Christina on the way to Turner, Oregon for the 10th annual Cascade Half Marathon last Sunday - about the wind storm at this same race in 2000. The winds were SO incredible that the lights in the gym went out and garbage cans were rolling across the road in front of us as we ran. There was no chance of talking to another runner as the wind was so strong you really couldn't hear. I had to concentrate on each and every step. This was the year I was going for a PR in the 10K and after the turnaround at mile 3.1 the wind was the strongest wind I have ever ran in and it hit me like a load of bricks. It felt like I was running with a parachute attached to my back. Luckily there was another runner that came up to me and yelled "two telephone poles", I realized that he wanted to share in the work and work together drafting off one another down the last one mile stretch of the road to the finish. The telephone poles marked the place in time when we would switch off. When I was running behind this guy it felt like I was being sucked into a wind tunnel. When I was in the lead I had to pull like I had never pulled before. I can't remember my result that day and the website link is broken (10 years later) but I will never forget that wind on that January day in Turner, Oregon. Of course the legend has grown and now the winds were upwards of 90mph :)

This year as the field was challenged by a head wind I heard many folks discussing how tough it was to run in the wind. As I made my way out to the turn around of the half marathon I found mile 4-5 the hardest. I never seem to feel the relief of the tail wind on the return miles but nonetheless as I came in 1st in may age group this year with my friend Lynn RIGHT behind me, I knew that the wind of today was nothing like the wind of 2000. Shari, Christina and Shawn, three of my running friends ran awesome together which was really fun to see. My husband Dave came in 2nd overall, missed first place by less than 1 second! He is amazing!


Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Streak Continues

The Streak Continues...

January 1, 2009:

I opened a brand new running log and wrote down my mileage for the day. I had been contemplating my New Year’s Resolution and the idea of running everyday kept flashing in my mind until I finally gave in and agreed with myself to give it a shot. It took me a minute before I could actually say it out loud. Finally I did day it out loud. There it was, just hanging out there in the world for me to feel out and try on. Funny, it was a perfect fit! So, that day my dedication to running everyday for the year had begun.

I wondered how this running Streak was going to change me and how I would feel looking back on the year of streaking. Would it be hard? Would it get easier as the year progressed? Would I accidentally miss a day? Would my friends and family support me or think I was crazy? These questions would be answered as the 365 days of 2009 came and went with at least one mile written down each day in my running log. As a matter of fact, the year brought me the joy of running 2,274.65 miles. This is an average of 43.75 miles per week. This includes 7 days of running just one mile. I tried to not run just 1 mile after I got the hang of the streak and only had one-1 mile day in the last 7 months of the year, the day after the California International Marathon.

January, February, March 2009

Treadmill, Group Track Night, Midweek long runs with friends. It was a slow start back. I was running slow most of the time. We Decided on a girlfriends marathon weekend in Sedona, Arizona. The Mother ship almost took us away when I made my friend Amanda run with me the day after. Sedona was gorgeous and the red rock trail was tough. 4:44, Joy, Jill, Tina, Jennifer, Amanda and me, we all crossed the finish line together. Fantastic dinner together after the marathon, yum! Logged two-1mile days. One at 3:45am before we traveled to the airport, and one the day we came home.

The reason I started my goal of running everyday was a very personal one. I had injured my achilles tendon in 2008 and had a really hard time feeling motivated to run with the pain or accepting the fact that I couldn’t run fast or long. As a co-owner of Portland Running Company and a marathon coach, I needed a new goal. It wasn’t about speed or distance but about my dedication to my sport, a sport that had been by my side throughout a large portion of my life. Running and me, we were two peas in a pod. We have been together through two pregnancies, life changes, job changes, family illness, stress, happiness and sadness-all the while building many lifelong friendships. Running had been with me through the long process of truly finding my best self. I couldn’t let running fizzle away when running had been my true companion (other than my husband!). Therefore, my dedication to at least one mile per day began.

April, May, June, July 2009

A lot of base building, speed work began to kick in. Started riding my bike as the weather changed. Lots of trail running for lower impact on body. Began coaching Portland Fit for the eleventh year. I Ran the Boston Marathon in 3:30 and was very happy with the race. Strong head wind on the course but I didn’t really care. Was very fun to go with adidas, so many nice people! Also ran the Hippie Chick Half Marathon, an all-women’s race I organize on Mother’s Day Weekend. Ran one mile on Tuesday- the day after the Boston Marathon at Tuesday Night Track Club. Was really hard, thanks Leigh! In June, I ran the Helvetia Half Marathon with my friend Jill. It was amazing to run the course I have scoured and poured my heart into for 9 years. This is my marquee event. So much fun to run my events! I also gave the Pacific Crest Endurance Du a try in late June. Rode 56 miles up and over Mt. Bachelor and then ran a half marathon through Sun River. Somehow placed first in my age group and third overall women. Crazy hard, very fun. My friends Joy, Jill and Tina swam before they did these things participating in the Half Ironman…they are so tough and always give me something to reach for! In July I ran the Go Girl Trail run in Forest Park, a tough all women’s trail run.

I loved writing in my running log. Day after day I would record my miles and before I knew it, the chore of running became a little like breathing, involuntary. I knew I was going to run each day so it was less about whether or not I was going to run, but when. As crazy as it sounds, having the goal of running everyday made running easier. My achilles tendon began to heal with the help of my Physical Therapist and stretching but mostly because my amazing husband massaged my achilles tendon most nights for about 30 minutes before I went to sleep. I know this sounds like a fairytale and at times I have to wake myself up but his care of my achilles tendon allowed me to run all of the events that I organize in 2009. (

Along with my 6 events that I organize, I also participated in an Endurance Duathlon, an Urban Adventure Race, and 3 marathons; Sedona, Boston and California International. I owe a lot to my husband and family because without their support I would not have taken on this running adventure. I found that having organized group runs with friends made running each day easier and having days to myself was always nice. One day, I was at my daughter’s volleyball tournament in Eugene for about 18 hours and was so tired when I got home at 10pm I couldn’t even imagine running. When we pulled into our garage, my kids told me to just jump on the treadmill for one mile. I did…in my jeans. They stood around me and cheered, it was very cool. That was a difficult day but one of the best days because it was hard. Hard is good. Hard is rewarding.

August, September, October 2009

Feeling a bit faster and took on The Crawfish Crawl 5K. 5K’s go by so fast! Also ran Hood to Coast with my favorite girlfriends – Team Runwithpaula. We took second in our division, which was AWESOME! So much fun to be on a team, everyone needs to experience a team as an adult. I also ran the Pints to Pasta 10K in September and my newest event The West Linn Wild in October. I ran with my friend Ernie, Kathy and Nikki Rafie. Very fun! Portland Fit ramped up the long runs and my group completed the Portland Marathon. I ran with my friend Amanda the last 9 miles of her race and she was amazing and set a PR. Fantastic! Participated in the Oyster Adventure Race taking second overall with my friends Jill and Amanda…we had a blast running and cycling all over the city.

November, December 2009

My husband/best friend Dave Harkin wrote a training schedule for me to run in the California International Marathon in December to finish out my year. It was a great race and my friend Amanda came and ran with me. (she PR’d AGAIN - 3:26). We crossed the line together, nothing like it! It was very fun going with a group of people and drinking Pliny the night before. Small but wonderful pieces of time and life spent with great friends all in the name of running. I ran my 365th day of the year with two friends Lynn and Christina who are now both streaking.

January 1, 2010 came and went and I am still running each day. I don’t really think about it as much as I used to. It is just a part of what I do each day. I am thankful to be able to run each day. I now have a group of people that have caught the streaking bug and we have formed a group on Facebook aptly named the Runwithpaula Streakers. Streaking is not for everyone and if you are a streaker, you have to listen to your body and know when to take it easy. Rules for becoming an official streaker are at

Take time to inspire those around you, running has a way of bringing our communities together, building friendships, bettering ourselves and helping us to be all we can be.

Run like the wind!

Paula Harkin

Portland Running Company –co owner with husband Dave Harkin

Runwithpaula Events, Inc. – Founder, Event Inventor