13.1 miles: Pacing through Portlandia

13.1 miles: Pacing through Portlandia

Written by Muleskinner Staff

By ANDREA LOPEZ
Features Editor
(WARRENSBURG, Mo., digitalBURG) — I flew across the country to Portland, Oregon, for no reason. A $135 registration fee gone down the drain. My medal? Forget it, it’s gone. The training, time and mental toughness – useless.
Andrea LopezLuckily, it was all a dream.
Waking up at 5 a.m. on Sunday, my adrenaline was pumping, as I was ready to take on the race. Getting enough rest before the big day was rough, but the dream of me sleeping through the run was even worse.
Back in January, I made a New Year’s resolution to run a half-marathon. After this past weekend, I can finally say I accomplished that goal.
There I was Oct. 4, just another woman in a crowd of 2,000 other runners participating in the half-marathon. I kept telling myself, ‘OK, you’ve run this distance before in your training, it’s the same thing.’ It was going great until the 2-mile mark when I realized I had to tinkle. Sad thing is I wasn’t the only runner to do so. The porta potties along the course became my best friend.

PHOTO SUBMITTED BY ANDREA LOPEZ / FEATURES EDITOR Andrea Lopez holds a rose after completing her first half-marathon a few weeks ago in her hometown Portland, Oregon.
PHOTO SUBMITTED BY ANDREA LOPEZ / FEATURES EDITOR
Andrea Lopez holds a rose after completing her first half-marathon a few weeks ago in her hometown Portland, Oregon.

The first few miles were the hardest to run until I got into a solid rhythm. Running to my favorite playlist helped keep me focused on my 9-minute pace. Finishing in just under two hours, I found my boyfriend and parents waiting at the finish line cheering me on, which made the experience that much better.
The funny thing is I never considered myself a runner. Running never looked fun – especially when it involved a track field. But once I graduated high school and wasn’t involved in any sports teams, running became my new form of exercise.
I stuck to a specific schedule that increased my mileage on a weekly basis, enabling me to gain endurance. You can do it too. The most humbling aspect of the experience was seeing two individuals competing in the race on a hand bike. While they may not have had legs to run the race, they had strong arms and happy hearts that guided them through the course with these wheelchair bikes. The beautiful thing about running is that you can do it on your own time. Much like swimming, it’s a sport that is independent based. You don’t need another person with you to be able to exercise.
While I do not have my eyes set on completing a full marathon, I am in search of a new challenge. After all, God gave me a body that I should use every muscle for in glory to him. So if there are any takers on training for a triathlon, let me know.