Friday, November 28, 2014

Gobble! Gobble! Dragging the family out for local Turkey Trots (Hillsboro 19th annual Turkey Trot and Hood To Coast Series Turkey Trot)

On Tuesday, Nov 25, 2014 The kiddos participated in the Hillsboro Turkey Trot.  

I ran with Squeakers for her 200 meter dash and she needed/wanted to be carried for half of it.  I think she just wasn't "in the mood' to run because she did great at a 400 meter kids dash last summer.  

Poor Bugaboo was caught in a rush of kids and was knocked down on her face.  She had a bloody nose, scraped up hands and knees with slight abrasions/track rash on her nose and forehead, but she got up and finished the race crying.  What else could she do?  I was behind her with Squeakers and she didn't know that and Dad was at the finish line... so she ran to her Dadda and I was oblivious to the whole ordeal until we got there.  Poor kiddo.  We talked a lot about getting up and trying again and next time I might have my mother hen instincts on mega alert and won't let her out of my eye sight...  

After some hugs and kisses she was over it, but I know she was still pretty sore the next day.  Her first bloody race bib...

Thursday, Thanksgiving day, we headed out to West Linn to participate in the Hood To Coast Series Turkey Trot Run/Walk.  

This is Hood To Coast's first year hosting smaller race events other than "The Mother Of All Relays".  As a first year event, it went off pretty well!  The event is capped at 500 and was free for everyone.  I don't think all 500 registered participants showed up and would gauge it more like 30 runners in the first wave of 8 minute mile or faster and about 200 or so in the second wave of runners and walkers.  

I wish they gave the runners and joggers a little bit more of a head start from those that intended to only walk, as the trail did seem a little narrow in some areas.... but people gladly moved to the right to let me pass, so what can i complain about?  Besides, which group would I have "ran" with?  I ended up walking half of it with my kiddos and running half of it by myself.  

The kids dash left me carrying Squeakers again for half of it and Bugaboo had no reservations or fear about running, despite her fall a couple days before.  Dad ran on the side lines just behind her so that he could keep an eye on her but she felt by herself. I was a little worried if she'd like to run again, because nearly one year to the date I had biffed it and wasn't excited about running again.

  When the second wave started, we all got into "herd mentality" and followed each other off the course and around the parking lot for a quick 0.5 mile loop.  There was no denying the announcer's annoyance as he announced we were all off course and need to stay on the path.  Follow the path and do not cross traffic cones.  I was annoyed because I never left the path, or crossed any cones... the path just sorta turned into a parking lot...  but on my next trip past the start line, I saw the fork in the road and knew which way to go.

 The course was supposed to be "short of 3 miles" but after the half mile mistake, I did 3.2 miles.  While starting my second and final loop through the park, I ran into my family again.  I had left them after our half mile "warm up" (mistake loop) and figured the kiddos wanted to stay at the start.... but they saw a family friend walking the event and decided to walk with them.

When I reached them, Bugaboo would not leave me... so I trotted ahead and she stayed close behind.  We stopped for a few selfies and I kept encouraging her forward.  This is the first time she hasn't been carried at all for a race this size.  Although she didn't complete the full 5K, she has a new distance PR of walking and running 1.8 miles.  So proud of my Bugaboo.

We finished the race, claimed our goodie bags and enjoyed the race atmosphere.  There were warm fires to sit by and warm up, vendors with lots of samples, hot and tasty coffee and a finisher's mug for everyone.

Goodie bags contained an entire pumpkin pie, bag of dinner rolls, jerky, chocolate milk, chips, and a coupon for $10 off a $10 purchase at Dicks Sporting Goods.  I spent mine on some yak trax socks and will give you a detailed review of them, I'm sure!  ;)  The kiddos wanted (pretty) Polar Water bottles.  With holiday sales going on, my $12 socks were buy-one-get-one-free so $24 worth of cushy socks for $2 and the kids fancy water bottles were $0.99.

Thanks Hood To Coast!!!!   

They also had too many treats left over after the event so they piled the extra goodie bags on several of us "back of the packers" hanging out after the event.

It was so much fun and I am so glad we went.  The girls adore their finisher's mugs and we used them during our Thanksgiving Dinner.

I'd say that was a fantastic deal for a free race.

Did you do a "Turkey Trot"?  (Thanksgiving is the most popular day for Road Races.)

Holiday Gift Guide! Wondering what to buy the runner in your life?

Okay, Thanksgiving is over and I am perhaps a bit behind on my holiday shopping.  Well, at least that's what it seems like.

Do you get a gift for your running partner?  For a friend, spouse, family member who likes to run?  What do you get them?!  Well, fret no more... let me tell you about the things I either absolutely love or wish someone would get for me.  (**This is a perfect hint for someone to email this post to my husband**)

1.  Noxgear

The Tracer 360 is my absolute favorite piece of running gear.  I use this when running in the twilight hours, in low visibility conditions or out at night.  I used it while out trick-or-treating with the kids and I was stopped by other families out on the candy adventures or by the residents who we went begging for candy from.  Everyone wanted it either for cycling or some other activity hat required being more visible to increase your safety.  It is light weight, easy to use and super rad.  Check out my review here and hurry over to their website (linked above) to see if the fall sale is still going on.

2.  Road ID 

You never know when something could happen that leaves you unable to explain important medical information or emergency contact info.  I haven't had to use my Road ID, but I wear my wrist ID slim at all times and have my young children wear theirs too.  They are too young to have my cell phone and my husband's cell memorized, so they know to ask someone to call mom or dad and show them the ID.  My ID states my name; husbands phone number; friend's phone number; medication allergies; year of birth and blood type.

With this handy dandy silicone strap, turn any bottle into a hand held water bottle.  Genius!  ...And, the perfect size for a stocking stuffer item.

4.  Electrolytes

There are two favorites that I enjoy.  The first is not as well known, but very tasty.  Check out Cocogo and try the Raspberry Passion Fruit!  You can use code  OUTRUNNINGTHERAIN for 10% off your order.  This product is a blend of coconut water and real fruit.  Natural ingredients.  No extra chemicals, coloring and all that unnecessary stuff.  

My second favorite electrolyte option is Nuun.  This is a fizzy tablet that you need to make sure is done dissolving before putting the cap back on your bottle.  Trust me.  :)  I enjoy the Cherry Limeade flavor but really like Watermelon... but that is a seasonal flavor.  

This belt is perfect for carrying your phone and a little fuel while also keeping track of your race bib.  I prefer this method than poking holes in my tech clothes (that are sometimes rather expensive).  This belt is also perfect for relay racing.  I can unsnap it, change my clothes and snap the belt back on without losing track of it between legs or in the shuffle of gear in the back of the team van.  

Need more ideas?  
Check out:


    • Pay for a race entry or help buy the next pair of running shoes.
    Not sure what races are on their wish list?  A little money could help your runner find a race to help keep their training momentum going.  A little money might also help invest toward the next pair of shoes to help keep your runner injury free. If I do more than 350 miles on one pair, my toenails let me know...

    What are you hoping for this gift-giving season?  Or what items *might* you be planning to gift?

    Tuesday, November 11, 2014

    Race Recap: Silver Falls Half Marathon. Emerging from the trails and waterfalls new.

    November 2nd, 2014 

    I've delayed doing a recap of this because it felt so epic and had such a profound impact on me that I didn't want to dumb down the experience with my lack of eloquence to really explain what is in my heart.

    I first heard of this race last year and how it typically sells out in minutes.  It has been voted the best trail race in Oregon and touted as the most beautiful race in the Northwest.  That had me interested, and then I saw the beautiful race photos Nine22 captures and I wanted in.  Silly reasons.  Certainly naive.  I loaded myself in the car last year (despite some anxiety to travel so far alone) and I volunteered at last year's race for a chance to run this year.  

    My anxiety was no less in check than last year for the drive to Silverton, Oregon.  I arrived two hours early (because that's how I roll with nerves on race day) with PLENTY of time to gather my packet and use the porta potties.  Even in the higher density times before race, there would have been no lines.

    There were just over 760 participants for this event.  The 50K, Full Marathon and 7 miler were on the day before.  This was the first time an ultra race and a 7 miler were events available and the half was moved to it's own day because of it's popularity.

    Anyway, I was anxious.  Not just the drive and being a couple hours from home... but I've been running a lot lately, and my knee ached after my last relay a couple weeks ago and then I had a half marathon last weekend.

    I really contemplated my sanity, but I wasn't going to NOT do this event.  It was so hard to get into and I had already volunteered to "earn" my spot.  I wasn't going to no show.  If I had to, I would "Did Not Finish" (DNF) but I would at least start.  I would try.  But I was fighting back tears.

    I ran into a friend doing the race and we said our hellos and she lead me around introducing me to everyone.  She knows EVERYONE.  I sunk into my shell and tried to hide my negative feelings about running.  She caught on to me and asked if she could run with me.  This is charitable because she is faster than me and was willing to "take it easy" for awhile.

    She saved my attitude, because her cheerful disposition helped me through the first mile of park road where my hips and IT band were already hurting.  I was going to DNF in the first mile!  Soon after the first mile marker we hit single track trail and I was instantly feeling the softer cushion of squishy trail, wet from Oregon rain.

    I don't remember all the mile markers and my garmin lost satellite, but this is the first of many waterfalls we saw.

    Actually, I heard it before we saw it.  And hearing that loud rush of fast moving water did something to me.  I perked up.  My soul was energized.  This was amazing.

    There are two waterfalls you can "run" behind.  I say "run" in quotes because the natural erosion of the rock/wall behind the waterfall makes more for a tunnel you have to stoop through and bend over to crawl out so as to not hit your head.

    It took some parring down, but I worked hard to limit the photos for this blog post.  It was so beautiful.  Like the water washing over these cliffs, the negative feelings, self doubt and fear was washed away and I was feeling the adrenaline, energy, determination, and excitement as we continued on the course.  I stopped several times to take photos and to stop for a moment to soak in my surroundings.

     It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.  ~ Henry David Thoreau

    The course is technical in many areas and my friend was glad to have trail shoes.  I used my road shoes and I think if I do this again (and I really hope to) that I will invest in trail shoes.  There are some rocks that jut out of the trail and take some careful navigating.  There is plenty of mud and some very slick areas.  With he time of year this event takes place in, you can be garunteed it will rain or at the very least be wet out.

    I know that a participant was stung by bee(s) and returned to the start/finish area shortly after we began our race and after mile 6, a participant had fallen on the stairs and hit her knee pretty badly.  It is important to use caution on some of the areas of the trail.  I haven't figured out yet how a trail runner should avoid hibernating bees who nest in the ground.

      There are two sets of stairs on the course.  You will go down some stairs at mile 6 or so and you will have a whole heck of a lot of climbing to do around mile 9 with stairs that are never ending.


    When they do end, you will face "Nut Cracker Hill" at about mile 12.  The climb up is not so bad if it isn't too muddy, but the climb down is awful.  I'm not sure how people run it. And I'm pretty sure it is steeper than the 14% grade I trained on over the summer.  ...That could also be a tainted bias as the summer runs were on dry concrete and this was all mud.  Somehow I didn't land on my face and slide down the hill (but that might have been easier).

    Once that hill is conquered, you are in for the home stretch.


    The race gives you 4 hours to complete the half marathon, course support with three aid stations and first aid available at the start/finish as well.  Hot coffee and cocoa before the race start and hot (non vegetarian) chili is available along with bread, peanut butter, candy, apples, pretzels and beer.  Did I mention a fire? There is a warm, welcoming, amazing fire in the park rest area at the finish and everyone huddles together to get to know each other and cheerfully talk about the adventures they just faced.  The course is well marked with flour poured on the trail.  As a "back of the pack" runner, the arrows were still visible (but a little smudged) after the foot traffic and rain.  Course support remained out until the last runner (and then the course sweeper-runners) had passed.

    I think I went into this race expecting the worst and at least not expecting very much out of myself... and I came out of it a different person and with some perspective on attitude and how it can affect a race.  Not just attitude, but believing in yourself, your ability and how much of an impact positive people around you can have on your mood.

    It is definitely not a good idea to run with an injury (or multiple injuries) but most of my issue was my pessimism.  Once I was in the race and surrounded by others on their journey to complete this adventure, I started to see the beauty around me, my own strength and how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful area ONLY a few hours from me... no longer seeing it as a chore that I had a distance to drive to but that it is a trip worth taking and that I should do more often.

    I hope this makes sense and that my review can do some justice to this amazing race.  I hope you will check it out if you are given the opportunity. Their website is HERE.

    I also earned my first wooden finishers medal.
    I love it.

    Do you run trail races?  (Any advice or pieces of trail gear you can't live without?)  

    Wednesday, October 29, 2014

    Race Recap: Run Like Hell 2014 Half Marathon

    Terrapin Events Run Like Hell!  was held on October 26, 2014.

    I have a soft spot in my heart for Run Like Hell! since it was my first race ever.  In 2011, I signed up for the 5K with a zombie theme.  And despite the debacle with last year's experience with the train and delay, I wanted to give the race another go.  After all, the course was rerouted just to avoid that pesky Amtrak.  Trimet and general traffic however, could still cause possible delays, but I didn't have any issues with that.
    This year's theme was "Under The Sea".  My friend Dayna wore a lifeguard uniform with a shark attacking her arm.  

    I did not finish the race in time to participate in the costume contest, but I did run into a couple of runners who were the actual Titanic boat!  Catching up to them before they left the party was the complete highlight of the event and made up for my lack of competing in the costume contest...  I was dressed as a ghost of a Titanic passenger.  

    I ran the race hollering now and then "Where are the life boats?  There are supposed to be life boats?!"  And at the aid stations I would request champagne because "I'm in first class."  Unfortunately I think my joke got lost in translation and I came across as an asshole instead.   I hope not.  When I did finally cross the finish line, my friend Dayna hollered "The life boats are here at last!"  (or something like that.  I was delirious.)  

    This year, the half marathon went down Terwilliger instead of climbing up it and then looping back down it.  

    Most of the climbing was done at the beginning and then a nice run down.  Terwilleger is slanted and causes my IT band to scream and my hips to ache.  This time around had me really contemplating my strength training routine.  

    The Amtrak train rumbled by us and came to a stop on the track, but our paths did not cross.  Runners did have a Trimet MAX track to cross, but when I arrived, the MAX was moving on.  I had no issues with being stopped by traffic whatsoever.

    At around mile 6 1/2 the half marathon joined with the crowds in the 5K and 10K run.  That was a lot of fun to see so many costumes, the fresh energy for just starting their race and the renewed spirit I had to see the crowds half way through my race.  Around mile 7 1/2 I came upon the "musical mile" that is 12 blocks of 12 unique Portland bands.  I was a little surprised by how few were playing when I ran by.  One banjo player was playing on her phone.  Oh well.  There were some really reat bands out there as well and loved the musicians who were playing.  Thank you!  

    Race Theme:  "Under The Sea".  There were quite a few mermaids, but a lot more jelly fish and "kraken" creatures than mermaids.  Some of my favorites were the vintage divers with the huge helmets and the sea creatures they had running with them.  I saw someone wearing a fishing net with all sorts of shells and seaweed caught in her net and someone dressed as a crab and scuttled most of his 5K.  I think he deserves a medal for that.

    Course Support:  There were five aid stations offering water or an electrolyte drink.  I didn't see any gels or goo or the like, but I always bring my own anyway.   There were plenty of porta potties and lots of friendly volunteers.

    Race Beneficiary:  Molly's Fund

    Race Perks:  The half marathoners recieved a finisher's medal that was also a bottle opener.  The design features a Kraken (or is it just a giant octopus?) descending on a cemetary.  The medals were also for sale before and at the event ("for the bottle opener aspect") to anyone for $12.  Terrapin reported on their facebook page that there was a miscommunication and a box of medals did not make it to the finish line... creating a shortage of medals for finishers.  If this is the case for you, please send them an email.  

    I also received a rusty orange tech shirt with the same logo as the medal on it.  I am a fan of Halloween and love it.  

    After the race, runners received hot (vegetarian) chili (THANK YOU!) and 2 free beers or soda if you prefer.  Live music was entertaining at the finish party and lots of vendors with free samples of various products.

    You'll see me at this event again, but I hate to get there and the party is winding down.  I missed the costume contest and that was a bummer for me.  So, unless my strength training vastly improves for my hips to handle the crazy slant in the roads and my speed improves for a faster finish time, I think I'll stick to the 5K.  It was my first 5K ever, anyway.  
    2011 "Umbrella Corporation" zombie

    Do you wear costumes at any theme races?  What distances?  

    Monday, October 13, 2014

    Race Recap: Bend Beer Chase relay and 6Keg

    On Oct. 10th, 2014 I embarked onto a new part of Oregon that I have never been to.... Bend Oregon.  Race day was Saturday, Oct. 11th. 

    I have been told that Bend has the most craft breweries per capita.  Some states may have more breweries, but with the number available per the population, Bend wins.  If you do a google search for "Beer City, USA"... guess which city you will find?  Bend!  They are that serious about their craft beer.   So, if running is a lot more fun as a social event and drinking is a lot more fun in a social environmentBend Beer Chase is your race.  

    When I started this race, I admit that I didn't know a whole lot about the beverage in which our race was focused around, but that soon changed.  

    My team mate Gregg had been a brewer and I soon learned about the color of beer, how the malt can change the flavor (caramel malts, roasted malts dark malts...) and the IBU of beer (international bitterness units scale).   It was soon determined that "blondes don't turn me on" and I enjoyed the beers with a higher IBU.  After doing some "homework" and learning about some of the award winning beers Bend had to offer, my teammates and I parted ways to get some rest before the race in the morning.  I guess you could say we had an early start...  We were a spirited team.  

    Packet pickup on Friday night included Beer Pong.  Photo by my team mate, Michael.

    **Full disclosure:  Drinking 16 beers the night before a race isn't really a good idea.  Our start time was at 6:30am but I was up at 2am with....consequences.**  

    As we made our way through the race, we were able to enjoy samples of many of the breweries who not only sponsored the event but have award winning beer.  My disappointment is that as I ran past Smith Rock Brewing in Redmond, they had not yet set up their samples... so I missed out (as well as my team mates who did not know that the sample would be on the actual course, instead of at the exchange point).  This was my first leg, leg 4.  

    I had only done one relay before this and never a one day relay, so I wasn't sure what to expect!  We had stopped by packet pick up that evening and soon learned that participants could choose between a cotton race shirt, a trucker-type hat or a warmer beanie type hat as their race swag.  (So if you have enough race shirts spilling out of your closet and drawers, a hat would be a great option for you!  The weather is a bit cooler in October, so a that is also a good choice.  I went with the shirt. Ha!)

     The race itself started at 6:30am with waves thereafter for approximately 64 teams (give or take).  Each team could have as many as 6 members or as few as 2 for the 70 mile event.  We ran with 5 members and Michael and Gregg took on the extra two legs of the 12 total to be ran.   

    The race offered some scenic views, and as someone who had never actually been to Bend, this was a real treat to see a new part of Oregon.  If beer is not enough for a trip to Bend, the beautiful outdoors surely will be.   We ran in the high desert of Central Oregon, past sweeping views of the Cascades and as we had a whole gamut of weather conditions and saw a few tumbleweeds cross our path due to wind and the Ponderosa Pine helped shade us from the warm sun.

    Me (uh hem) "hydrating" before my first leg; baton pass off on exchange 3 for leg 4; Running on a dusty leg 9 and bottom is me finishing leg 9. 
    We started at Wild Ride Brewery and I wove my way through the city streets of Remond. This is stop and go with traffic signals and crosswalks, but wasn't too terrible.  For 15 minutes, my team was number one.  In first place!  And then as I stood at a traffic signal, waiting for my turn to go, a woman screamed "I'm going!" and darted across the street.  I had been chicked.  The first (of many times) I was someone's roadkill.  You sorta get used to it after awhile. After passing (the not yet set up) Smith Rock Brewery, the course ends up on SW Highland Ave, which felt more like a freeway than an avenue.  If running on a road with fast moving traffic is nerve wracking, I suggest avoiding this leg.  The reality of it was obvious when I passed a roadside monument to someone who had died.  I stopped letting my eyes wander over the pretty scenery and focused on the oncoming cars sharing the road with me.

    Once I was done with the busy street, I turned into Cline Falls State Park for a nice downhill to my exchange.  I felt bad for Scott who had to trek back up my nice decline.  He went back onto the same busy street and said a car locked their brakes and skidded toward him.  For a moment he said he was contemplating where he needed to jump to avoid the car!   
    View at Cline Falls State Park, photo by Michael

     Because the rule book allows for legs to be chosen "out of order" and based on what each team mate would like to do based on energy endurance, experience or strategy... we went out of sequence and I then took leg 9 as my second leg.  My last leg.  

    Part of the view on my second leg.  Photo by my team mate, Michael.

    Something I had known about, but completely forgot was the elevation change and how that can mess with your oxygen levels.... and make a runner feel more fatigued.  I pushed hard through it my first leg and may have pushed a little too hard?  My knee was killing me and I hobbled through my second leg.

    This leg (leg 9) departs Sisters Rodeo Fairgrounds and through some country roads roads both paved and unpaved.  Mostly unpaved.  If you have this leg you should highly consider a handkerchief or some sort of  face cover in your gear supply.  The handbook made no mention of that and it sure didn't occur to me to pack one.

    Wind and dust on my leg.  Photo by Michael
    The wind was pretty strong and stirring up the dust and was made much worse by vans that were driving quickly to the next exchange point.  The unpleasantness of the dust was a small drop in my (beer) cup compared to the beautiful desert views and the comradery of the runners with me on this course.   When my team had assisted me with more water and cheers, I asked my teammate Michael to go back a few yards to take pictures of the landscape, which he had done for me.  It was so beautiful, I wanted to make sure to remember it.  I also had the opportunity to cheer and encourage everyone who passed me, which helps me feel better when the going gets rough for me.  Another team ("The Cracked Six Pack") came to the rescue to my diminished moral by giving me a "power arch" and crepe paper finish line with 2 more miles to go on my leg. 

    Dirt road continues for leg 10

     After that, I felt like a million bucks and lumbered on to my team mates at the windy/dusty exchange "Three Sisters View Point".  I think I missed enjoying this view point as I jumped into our car to avoid the wind and to wash the dirt out of my mouth.

    Bend, Oregon.  Photo I took while on the 6K beer crawl
    After the race, breweries that were not featured at the exchange points (or on the course) were at the finish for a 6Keg run/walk.  This part was untimed, though there was a time commitment to finish the 6K(eg) by 6:30pm.  We finished by 5:15pm and departed on the final 6K.  My team went to the first brewery on the course and we quickly decided that The Bend Brewing Company was too crowded and we moved on to Silver Moon Brewing.  After a Pumpkin Ale taste, we ventured on to 10 Barrel Brewing.  

    Hanging at 10 Barrel Brewery
    We had an hour to complete the tour of 6 breweries after our official relay finish but it became pretty obvious we weren't going to finish the 6Keg in time as the brewery broke down their sample tent and table and we were encouraged to go straight to the last brewery for our finisher's medal.  I don't have any experience at all with planning an event of this caliber, but I hope that next year the organization of breweries is done in such a way that all the breweries have an equal chance at showcasing their excellent brews to all the participants.  I certainly wish I had the opportunity to taste all the breweries.  I guess I'll just have to plan another road trip to Bend for a brewery tour.  

    Overall, the event was very well organized, friendly, well marked course and a whole lot of fun!  I am new to relays, but really enjoyed the experience (and lack of stress) the one day relay has to offer.

    front and back

      Race swag included your choice in race apparel between a cotton shirt, trucker hat or a warm beanie type hat at packet pickup and a chance to throw a ping pong ball into a cup of beer for a free sticker.  (Thanks Gregg for the sticker... 16 beers before packet pickup and I wasn't throwing that ball very well.)  At the finish line, a sample beer cup with the bottle opener/finisher's medal in it.  Very fun experience and made even more memorable and fun by the team mates I had.  I hope we can get together again for another relay event or race.  
    Me and Anne taking a break at Three Creeks Brewery

    Have you done a relay?
    A beer themed race?

    Tuesday, September 30, 2014

    Race Recap: The Volcano Race PDX

    On Sept. 28th, the family and I headed out to Mt. Tabor, a dormant volcano, in the city of Portland to play at the park and run a race.

    This race was so much fun!  It is a smaller event, with under 150 running the 5K and less than 100 running the 10K options.  The Volcano Race PDX also had a kids dash after the other races were well over (allowing for kids to run or be pushed in a stroller by their parents in the earlier races or ensuring that family had crossed the finish before the kids dash started).  

    When I picked up our goodies the day before at packet pickup, I was surprised by all the goodies!  The swag included lots of vegan goodies (score for me!  I'm a vegetarian...), coupons for the Children's Museum, vouchers for free entrees at Veggie Grill and jamba juice and other coupons and flyers.  The kids got a cotton race shirt and I received my tech shirt for this event.  If all that swag wasn't awesome enough... the race beneficiary is a really neat project to help inspire young people and encourage and expand their learning through the arts.  Go check out Young Audiences some time.  

    Mariah who guest blogs on this site for me at the finish with me

    Near the start and finish was a large volcano with a fog machine to mystify (see what I did there?) the kids and provide a great photo op (if the lush and picturesque park wasn't enough).  

    Before the races started, two free yoga classes were offered for participants.  I'm not well acquainted with yoga, but enjoyed the soft music and practicing being aware of my breath.  The 10K and 5K were staggered by about 20 minutes.  

    As I queued up for my 5K, I watched as Timber Joey held up the course map and directions were explained to us.  Give me a simple loopty-loop and I'm easily confused and doubting my sense of direction... but this course was very well marked and volunteers were out to help direct runners where to turn and which direction to go.  Thank you volunteers!  

    Me off on the 5K and Bugaboo and Squeakers on their Kids Dash

    The course is, of course, hilly since it is on a mountain... but the challenge is a lot of fun and very beautiful.  I enjoyed seeing the cityscape of Portland over the reservoir.  When I neared the finish with 1 mile to go, I ran past Mariah running the other direction nearing her finish line for the 10K.  The end of her race  had stairs... and while I didn't hear her complain about it, I'm sure it served as a nice challenge.  Maybe I'll be better trained for the 10K (or better rested) next year? 

    When I crossed the finish line, my family wasn't there to greet me.  This is the first time that they were at a race with me but weren't there to cheer me in.  This wasn't a surprise since there was a playground next to the start/finish gate.  I finished my cooldown run and was happy to seem them busy and engaged with the volunteers at the "Art Zone".  

    Afterwards, the kids dash was off and the kids had a blast running 1K through a flat part of the park.  At their finish, Timber Joey greeted them with cheers and a high five.  Parents had the option of purchasing a finisher's medal to commemorate the kiddos' race and proceeds going to Young Audiences, so we went ahead and purchased that for them and my husband rewarded them with their medals.  Of course they were over the moon to get one.  

    They made masks, painted their faces, played with bubbles and listened to live performances from several different musicians and singers.  I enjoyed my complimentary beers in the beer garden and we all enjoyed the plethora of snacks offered.  

    I highly recommend this event and look forward to seeing how it grows and expands over the years.  This event went off very smoothly with no issues and very well organized.  It's also nice to run a smaller event race too now and then.  I really really enjoyed the family festivities this one had to offer.