Sunday, June 2, 2013

Rock 'n' Roll Portland race report

It's been quite a while since Rock 'n' Roll Portland, but between the office move, surgery, and reading a bunch of ESP proposals (zzzz), I just haven't gotten around to writing this report... until now!
Rock 'n' Roll Portland Half Marathon logo
After a bit of a rough night (some noisy neighbors, who luckily went out pretty early and weren't as loud when they rolled back in at 1:30), we got up at the very resonable hour of 7am, since we were close to the start line and the race didn't start until 8. Having learned my lesson at the Scenic Half Marathon a few years back, I quickly ate a small bagel with cheese so that I would have time to digest it before the start.
We weren't sure how the weather would hold, so I think we both overdressed at the start. At least today I was wearing layers...
Portland before the start of the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon
partly sunny before the start

Brooks VIP Porta Potty
Brooks VIP Porta Potty
We stopped off at the Brooks VIP Porta Potty to see the girls ... and use the facilities, of course! I still think the VIP Porta Potty is absolutely genius -- being able to use a proper, flushing toilet, wash your hands, and only wait in a very short line, well, it's awesome.
After that, we headed over to the river to have a look around. Being able to start right downtown in the park along the river is fantastic. Lots of happy folks milling about. The morning was brightening up nicely, and we felt good and relaxed.
Our only goal for the race was to finish. I was supposed to be taking things easy still, so there was no need to push it. (Which is my favorite way to run!)
We headed back across the starting area before the race started, making another quick trip to the porta potty, and then standing by the fence to watch the elites start. I had watched the elites start at Rock 'n' Roll San Antonio and it was pretty amazing. There were no paid elites at this race, so the field wasn't as fast, but it is still impressive to watch folks set off really quickly.
pace truck, Rock 'n' Roll Portland Half Marathon
I have never seen the pace truck before. And probably never will again!
We were slated to start in corral 15, which was fine with me, but after watching people pretty much just starting wherever they wanted, we decided to jump in with corral 5. And, as usual, we finished with people we started with, so I don't feel too bad about moving up. (Yes, I know, shame on me.)
Team WilSun before Rock 'n' Roll Portland
obligatory pre-race photo
The race started along the pancake--flat roads next to the river. We were running well, and decided to just keep moving rather than run intervals. The course felt a little crowded in some spots, and we seemed to be passing a lot of folks. We hit the turnaround and started making our way back into downtown before crossing the river into north Portland.
I was surprised by how hilly Portland is. I mean, our second half marathon had a pretty epic hill as an out and back... but it didn't occur to me that we would be running up and down hills quite so much. But the course took us through really nice neighborhoods. We ran up Hawthorne, through some super cute residential street, and past some large, handsome homes next to a park. I was pretty much just running along and enjoying the view.
That's one thing I really like about running races -- someone else has figured out a nice route, and for the most part, they try very hard to showcase the pretty, historical, or otherwise interesting parts of their city.
As usual I tried to stay upbeat, thanking the cops and volunteers, high-fiving kids, and smiling at spectators. Not sure where this perkiness comes from -- and sometimes I really don't have it -- but I'm going to work on it for the rest of the year.
Team WilSun at Rock 'n' Roll Portland
Wil crossing back into Portland
Finally we could see the bridge we were going to cross back across the river on -- something of a relief, as I was pretty tired at this point. With less than a mile to go we had to slow to a walk to come down the bridge ramp -- it was just too steep and I felt too clumsy.
I liked that they had set up a pretty long finish chute -- not that it was thronged with spectators, or anything, but it lends a nice feel to the end of the race. As we got within 15 yards of the finish line, I saw John and heard him say, "And here comes Sunny and Wil!", which made both of us instinctively raise our hands and wave at the bewildered crowd, who were clearly expecting to see someone they recognized. I knew he wanted us to stop, but we needed to cross the line first. I heard him saying, "Awww, don't kiss him!" when we had our usual post-race smooch, and then we turned to go back and say hello.
We had another brief -- and slightly odd -- post-race interview, where I tried to remember to say lots of nice things while also feeling a little lightheaded. I'm not even sure what we said, but Wil seems to remember talking about tax-free shopping. Yeah, it's like that at the end of the race, sometimes.
We had finished in right around 2:23 -- surprising, since we really slowed down at the end. But a finish is a finish, and it means that we had completed the first half of the Pacific Peaks series, which will earn us a bonus medal when we finish Rock 'n' Roll Seattle in a few weeks.
Team WilSun at Rock 'n' Roll Portland
and done!
It also means that I picked up half the mileage for Jenny's Peace Marathon toraise money for victimsof the Boston bombings. I knew that I wouldn't have a lot of other miles in May, so it was good to get *some*.

Rock 'n' Roll Portland Half Marathon medal
2013 Rock 'n' Roll Portland half marathon medal

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