Movember! Happy Movember runners! Who would have ‘thunk-it’ that we would have a whole new reason to run during the month of November that isn’t just around Turkey Trots and pre-burning Thanksgiving dinner excess-calories? Hey, my motto is “run all the races, because running and racing is right.” So, in that spirit, I am thrilled that Movember racing has become such a grand presence for our November race calendars!
So what is this ‘Movember‘ you are talking about, Jessica? Did you just make a typo of November over and over again? No, no typo this time! Briefly, Movember has been around for a couple of years (at least). October is all about pink with Breast Cancer Research month, and now November shall be known as Movember. The Movember Foundation is the leading global organization committed to changing the ‘face’ of men’s health. Pretty cool, huh? Glad to know our fellow men have a month dedicated to their health, too.
Okay, back to running. I have always been really interested in just trying one of these ‘themed’ events. I consider myself a racing purest, of sorts, and not into the themed races of late. But, in the essence of my goal to run more in Portland, because I am hooked on racing and Eugene doesn’t have enough, I began pondering the thought of just giving one of these cult-classics a try. Honestly … Well, I’ll tell you how I felt about it in a minute.
So, race day arrives for the themed event I have chosen to throw my pureness of racing out the window for. Saturday, November 15 was a very, very cold and crisp morning. During my drive from Eugene to Beaverton, my Subaru continually felt the need to inform me just how cold it was outside with ‘pings’ from the thermometer informed me it was well below freezing. 23-27 degrees for most of the trip, in fact! Being a huge fan of cold weather, I didn’t mind.
I arrived at Big Al’s in Beaverton just after the 8:30 a.m. packet pick-up began for the 10 a.m. 5k race. Parking was easy at this time, but it did get pretty chaotic for many closer to the 10 a.m. start time. The energy prior to the race was excellent; Energy Events had a nice outdoor expo set-up with great vendors (and samples!), picture opportunity areas, and information on upcoming events. The DJ was mixing some great tunes and keeping the energy high. Same day race registration appeared pretty hoppin’, too – lots wanted to get in on the action of the Mustache Dache. Racers received a reusable Mustache Dache bag with their event cotton (not tech) t-shirt.
As the 10 a.m. start time drew near, the DJ let us all know it was time to get lined up. The starting line had a good amount of elbow room for everyone to get fit in and ready to race; we weren’t smashed in like sardines which is always appreciated. Right at 10 a.m., bang! Time to race! They let everyone go at the same time, which did create a bit of racing congestion for the first 1/4 mile or so, but it was manageable and I did not witness any trampling of runners.
The course was tough. Seriously tough. I have participated in some pretty brutal trail runs and even half marathons filled with hills, but this course was steep. It could have been a perception issue with it being so cold outside, and most of us pretty frozen when we started the race. But, having a 27 minute 5k personal PR, I knew almost immediately that getting a new PR on this course would be … I’ll say it … impossible.
Although beautiful, and running through quiet neighborhoods in Beaverton, the steep hills were unrelenting. Steep climbs, steep descents … over, and over and over again. The pack of runners I was holding with were all laughing and seemed to be really enjoying themselves, all knowing it was tough and not a PR route. I appreciated the cordial nature of everyone, as I was a tad disappointed, but quickly just decided to be out there to have fun and not time! Just like everyone else was!
Lots of runners were wearing their mustache, and a mustache was even included in our goodie bag at packet pick-up. Honestly, I didn’t wear mine … I’ll never become the next costumed runner, even doing something as simple as wearing a stick-on mustache. I know, I know … party pooper Jessica!
There was a very well placed aid station at the top of the hill that began our last descent to get to the finish line, which was about mile 2-ish. As I didn’t have my trusty Garmin with me for this race, I don’t have a good feel for what the total elevation gain and loss was – does anyone have a record of that? I’d be curious to see!
Upon crossing the finish line, the trusty DJ was doing a fantastic job saying everyone’s name as they finished. Very friendly volunteers were handing out the finisher medals for the race. They were really nice – very impressed! The liveliness we all experienced before the race started continued through to the finish line. I always appreciate this – it is difficult to keep the crowd entertained and energized for an extended period of time like this – but Energy Events succeeded! High five!
The expo also continued, which was awesome, as I was able to try some of the samples that were being offered by the vendors, as well as check out the super cute puppy at the Skirt Sports booth (and check out the awesome skirts, too). Post-race food was plentiful, and all participants over 21 could receive free beer in the outdoor beer garden, or go inside Big Al’s to warm up and receive a Cuervo margarita or hot cider with Cuervo in it – it was super tasty! I’m super glad I went inside to find out how awesome Big Al’s is, I had never heard anything about it before! It was so neat at Big Al’s that Run Oregon is planning on hosting our private blogger holiday party there this year!
So, although I did not PR, which was a huge disappointment for me, I loved my first themed event to pieces! It was so much fun! I know fellow bloggers Marilyn, Bonnie and Chere were there participating, as well, but we didn’t all get on the same piece of pavement together to get a picture. So sad, it would have been a great one.
Thumbs Up: High energy and the start line and finish line, outdoor expo to check out, fantastic finisher medal, good event shirt, lots of post race refreshments options, fantastic volunteers, well managed course and event.
Thumbs Down: Although the event shirt was nice, I was disappointed it wasn’t a tech shirt, but I am ‘overly picky’ about this. Also, the course was brutal, which is totally fine, but I definitely wasn’t expecting it.