2014 First Run 5k (Portland) recap

by Liz Dooley, community blogger

First Run 2014 Pre-Race party

Should a midnight run be your new New Year’s tradition?

Two days before this race I found out that the two people that I thought were going to run this with me couldn’t. It was too late to find a sitter for our two kids given that it was New Years Eve. I don’t mind going to races during the day by myself, but I’ll admit I was a little less excited about driving downtown on NYE at night, all alone. But I think it is important to do things outside of your comfort zone – even something like this. It might not be jumping out of an airplane – but it isn’t something I would ordinarily do. So at 10:30PM I headed downtown.

I wasn’t sure what to expect with traffic and parking and since I hadn’t gotten my bib yet I wanted to leave myself plenty of time. I found parking easily about .5 miles away from the World Trade Center and decided that distance would make for a nice cool down walk after the race. As I walked towards the WTC, I encountered several NYE revelers. The most memorable was this guy who tripped on a curb and fell down ahead of me, who then, as I was walking around him (and I had given him a wide berth) somehow managed to get up and fall down again, this time falling on my foot/leg. “OW” is what I managed to get out in my shocked state. It was only 10:45PM. Another reason why I choose not to go out to the bars on NYE. I wasn’t hurt, and I kept walking.

Liz Dooley at the 2014 First Run

Liz Dooley at the 2014 First Run.

I got to the WTC and quickly collected my bib, cotton long sleeve (I really liked their logo design this year) and checked my bag. This left me with a lot of time to kill. I went to the port a potties (of which there were ample – thank you AA Sports!) and didn’t even have to wait. Then I found myself a nice spot by a heating lamp and waited. Ended up chatting with a runner who was running his first race. This was probably the first race I have done in a long time where I didn’t see a single familiar face.

They had a DJ and a few people were dancing. It is a fun, party-like atmosphere. At 11:50 I went over the line up … I quickly noticed that many people were not lining up by race pace, so I decided to place myself closer to the front than I normally would. We counted in the new year and were off! I was happy about my placement and was able to keep my pace with minimal dodging around other runners. AA changed the race course to avoid the trains – hallelujah! We ran down to the waterfront and across the Steel Bridge, and came back across the Hawthorne. I love running the waterfront – so I especially enjoyed the course. The lights, the energy of running with all the other people who had also committed to bringing in the year running – it was definitely an enjoyable run – that was over much too quickly.

Nuun and champagne.

Nuun and Champagne make a great pair.

I was happy with my time – no PR … but I came within 35 seconds of it without any speed work in months. I’ll take that and not complain. All in all, AA put on an excellent event. There is aid on the course, plenty of water at the finish, ample port a potties, friendly volunteers, energetic Emcee, and great course. A BIG shout out to the volunteers who came out on New Years Eve to volunteer. I can’t imagine how hard it is to find volunteers to work this event. So thank you to all that generously gave of your time.

Since I hadn’t come with anyone, I finished the race, grabbed some water, and headed straight for bag check to collect my belongings and headed back to the car. I was very happy that I made myself follow through and do this run. By 1:00AM I was home, enjoying my Nuun and a glass of Champagne. I think I have a new NYE tradition …

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