Guest race recap: My First Holiday Half

unnamed (1) This recap was submitted by Run Oregon reader Annie Soisson. Feel free to Submit a Guest Post in the “Contact Us” tab if you want to get involved. Today wasn't just about getting to the finish line, it was about magic, perseverance, and months of happiness and tears. A year ago I never would have envisioned myself running 13.1 miles. The adventure started months before the race. I joined a gym in North Portland, waking up at 5am every morning to attend conditioning and core classes taught by Kate Fischer. Edge Performance Fitness quickly became a home that not only included structured workouts, but weekly massages and yoga. Along with cross training, I joined a running club called Foot Traffic University. Every Saturday morning I would meet at one of three different store locations for a run starting at 3 miles and working up to 11. The best part was the various pace groups allowing me to meet new people but also run with those I could keep up with.

Before I knew it, it was race day, December 14th. My day began at 4am. Having laid out my outfit the night before, I was able to pop out of bed and waste no time. Foot Traffic held 3 different packet pick up days prior to race day so I was able to avoid the lines the day-of. The shuttle buses to and from the start of the course can work out, but with race anxiety, my dad drove me. I arrived at 7am with plenty of time to find a good parking spot in the neighborhood and walk to the start line. The race begins at the Adidas Headquarters which is an excellent location. Before the race, everyone gathers in the Adidas gym. It’s nice and warm, there is pre-race food and drink, and lots of room for people to gather and take pictures. Bag check and port potties are down by the starting line. There are lots of volunteers and the lines move quickly so it is hassle free and allows time to warm up. 10 minutes before the race started, I gathered with the other 4,000 people who were running. They offer a 5k option that starts 30 minutes after the half begins.

The race started on time and we were off. If I could change one thing about the whole event I would suggest a staggered start. It took a good mile to get everyone spread out along the course. Aid stations were placed on the course every two miles, with water, Nuun, and shot blocks. There were so many volunteers that it went smoothly and cups were not thrown all over the course. Police officers were at every major intersection to keep the runners safe and traffic moving. I never ran into any issues or got stopped. The course is an out and back along a pretty, flat, paved road, and there were lots of friendly faces singing Christmas carols along the way.

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