Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Race Review: Rock 'n' Roll Portland Half Marathon (and inaugural 10K)

Sun. May 18th, 2014

Last year, I wandered into the Portland Rock 'n' Roll expo because it was FREE, open to the public and Kara Goucher was going to be there.  Score!

I had never done a half marathon and wasn't too sure about it.  When I left, I knew it was something I wanted to do.

This year, the expo was a little less festive, no key note speakers (unless I stand corrected) and some of the vendors seemed a bit out of place (new cookware anyone?  How about a new pillow for your bed?).

All that aside, I cut loose after my slime run 5K that morning and had a little fun at the expo/packet pickup.
This year, the Portland location was offering an inaugural 10K distance.  

I really like the colors better on the 10K medal, and sorta wish I signed up for that distance just because the medal says "inaugural" on it.  ;-)  I'm a geek.

The medals also feature the iconic "White Stag" sign, a bottle opener in the state cut-out, roses since we are known as "the city of Roses" and a food cart truck.   (The course passed lots of Food Carts and I was really starting to get hungry.  RUN FASTER!)

The course had a few slight hills, but nothing unconquerable.  The weather was starting to get rather humid.   I enjoyed that we got to cover a lot of Portland in our 13.1 miles.  Both distances start in SW portland and travel on a hairpin loop to get a bit of the course into NW Portland.  Back near the start again and we cross the Hawthorne bridge (covered in carpet so no one slips) and run throughout the charming neighborhoods of SE Portland and then off to NE Portland and over the Steel Bridge to go back towards the finish line in SW.

This is definitely a race you can leave the headphones at home for.  It is so much fun listening to the live music on the various concert stages throughout the race.

I decided not to carry water at all, and the course is very well covered with aid stations.  There are also medic stations and volunteers offering wooden spatulas of vaseline if you started to chaffe.

Crowd support was unlike any race I had ever participated in!

My hand hurt from all the high fives I was giving out.  When you see a child stick their hand out for you, you have got to stop and give them a little tap.  They were all so cute.  I wish my Bugaboo and Squeakers were out there, but they were enjoying sleeping in while their crazy mama was running the streets of Portland in costume.
My friend Jennifer talked me into dressing up with her as band members from KISS.  She dressed as "The Demon" (Gene Simmons) and I dressed as "The Starchild" (Paul Stanley).

When I flashed the "rock horns" hand gesture to anyone in the crowd, they would scream and cheer for me.  It was a little heady.  I felt like a rock star!

There were several groups of high school dance teams, cheer squads and the like on the course and on was dressed as band members from KISS.  I hollered, "Y'all are here for me, right?" and they all started screaming and cheering like crazy and broke into song "I want to rock and roll all night, and party everyday!"

Several miles later I flashed the same rock 'n' roll hand gesture to a volunteer on the course with a mega phone and she started singing the song for me into her megaphone.  I loved it.   

Local cheer teams and dance squads could compete for who had the most spirit and win money for their school.

G. Love and Special Sauce was the headliner band at the finish line and we rocked out while trying to stay dry under the trees or the vendor's tents.

  The weather stayed pretty calm during the race, but once I got through the finish gate, things started to pour. I needed to recover after running a half marathon (and another 5k) the weekend before, so we headed home.

Jennifer said she was surprised by the lack of costumes at the race overall but enjoyed the spirit and energy of the cheering squads.  

"I thought the support was great.  Southridge High School had the most spirit.  When I passed them, I took note of the name because they actually inspired me."

A friend who had finished just behind me told me she came upon a collapsed runner about a 1/4 mile from the finish.  Other runners had stopped and were giving him chest compressions.  While this was disturbing and saddened everyone, the rumor on the internet is that the runner is doing fine now.  I heard that he did indeed have a heart attack and will require surgery, but he is in good spirits (and would like to know if his ambulance crossed the finish line so that he does not get a DNF).  

(Now my Moms RUN This Town club will be looking into learning this important first aid technique.)

Rock on!  Over all the experience was great!  I think I could have the Rock 'n' Roll series bug!  Wouldn't it be fun to run on the Vegas Strip at night?  Bucket list of races just keeps getting longer and longer....

What's on your bucket list?
Do you know CPR?

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