I had been DYING to do this year’s Run Like Hell half marathon. I saw the adorable medal, which fit perfectly with the “Under the Sea” theme, and was just too cute for words. I was sooooooooo excited to get an entry through Run Oregon (I may or may not have started hissing “MY PRECIOUSSSSSS…” while imagining holding said medal). But, being the procrastinator I am, I didn’t actually decide on a costume until approximately two days before the race–shrimp sushi complete with ginger and wasabi headband, and chopsticks in my bun–and I started and finished making it all the night before. Even though the forecast said RAIN and MORE RAIN, and I was signed up for the half marathon, I definitely wanted to go all-out with my costume this time around (in my mind Run Like Hell had become more of a costume contest with a running problem…).
The morning of the race, it was pretty gross out–your typical PNW dark, rainy and cool autumn morning. I hoped fervently that there wouldn’t be a downpour that would reduce my carefully constructed costume to a soggy, waterlogged mass of fabric abandoned on the side of the course. As we started the race, several runners commented on how cute my costume, to which I responded “SHAKE THAT SUSHI ROLL!” It felt fairly comfortable the shrimp tail only flopped around a little bit. The first part of the race was gradual uphill through downtown toward Terwilliger. Oh Terwilliger. Somehow, my brain had conveniently forgotten that the RLH course went up Terwilliger (must have been that shiny medal and promise of two beers that did it). It’s a brutal stretch that just seems to go ON AND ON, no matter how many times you’ve run it. I decided my strategy would be to conserve my energy, since I had run a lot the weekends prior to it (Portland Marathon, Bend Beer Chase, Girlfriends Half Marathon, Halloweenathon 5k and Ghost Run beer run 5k). Slow and steady, I told myself. But then it started to rain. A pretty good amount of rain, and I worried that even my waterproof makeup wouldn’t be able to withstand it for two hours. With the incline and the weather both working against us, it was pretty quiet and a little somber as we shuffled along. I was so relieved when we came to the end, and had a nice long downhill for a bit. Part of me considered slowing down my pace on the decline, but I just wanted to have FUN running fast down the hill, even if I paid for it later. After a bit, things flattened out as we wound through city streets, which was nice because I could cheer on faster and slower friends as we passed one another. The last few miles were tough for me, because my muscles were just TIRED. I was very relieved to see the finish line, even though it was slightly uphill getting there.
After I finished, I started to cool down right away and went to get my jacket from bag check. The line was LONG and moving SLOWLY. Fortunately I bumped into some friends who kept me company for a while. Then it was time to wait for the beer line, which wasn’t nearly as bad as bag check. There was warm soup and bread also, but I was pretty done with standing in the rain and standing in line, so we ended up getting lunch somewhere nearby after the costume contest (which sadly, neither Ardara nor I were even selected to be a part of!)
Run Like Hell is one of those great, big events that brings out tons of runners and walkers of all abilities. It’s not the fastest course, and logistics like parking and bag check can be a little more cumbersome due to the size of the event, but overall, it’s a fun signature downtown Portland race with a fabulous medal for half marathon finishers. It’s just one that local runners just SHOULD do at least once!