As a local Portland runner, I had heard of the Albertina Kerr’s Race for the Roses event, but I had never participated before. When the opportunity was given to me to attend this event for the first time, I jumped at the chance! The buzz from fellow runners was that it was a fun, as well beautiful event, so I couldn’t wait to get the chance to check it out for myself.
I was nervous that parking would be a huge issue since the race began at the Convention Center, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a spot with ease, as the event had many signs as well as flaggers to direct racers to open parking areas. So far this was a good sign as to the organization of the event, and I was already smiling and feeling at ease with the race to come!
As I went inside the main doors of the Convention Center, I joined a moving herd of fellow runners to the main auditorium, where the buzz of excited racers echoed in the room. Booths were set up, food was going out, and my anticipation was reaching a peak!
Finally, the call for the 5k participants was made! I joined the group going outside, and in unison we made our way to the start line. Pace time signs were conveniently located along the start line, so we could all place ourselves with a group probably running at a similar pace as myself. Feeling a tad on the insecure side at the influx of incredibly fast looking runners, I ended up landing myself 1 min/mile slower than I was expecting to run. See why I said “probably”? 😉
As the race began, my own adrenaline kicked in and it was at that moment that I realized I made a mistake downplaying my own pace abilities for the day. I wanted to run…like REALLY run, but my decision prior to the start set me squarely behind a large group of runners who either placed themselves at a pace FASTER than they were really able to do, or runners who just wanted to run slow to enjoy the scenery. Nothing is really wrong with either group, especially since I’m sure they did their best to place themselves in the right pace. I really had no right to complain anyway….since I made the same mistake! In a way, I’m glad I had to anxiously be held back for nearly a mile, because it gave me an opportunity to appreciate the view of the course…
Our first major course event was running right over the Steel Bridge. I actually really liked it because, as a lot of local runners, I routinely do my long runs along the Steel Bridge pedestrian crossing. This time, however, we were allowed to run directly on the street crossing, so I was able to enjoy a different view from the bridge I rarely get to enjoy.
My most fondest moments of this race, however, came as we ran through the streets of downtown Portland. Pedestrians everywhere along the course were cheering us on, as if we were about to finish the Boston Marathon. The enthusiasm, bells, and children with outstretched hands hoping for a high-five, all the while looking at me as if I was their biggest hero, only added to the thrill of participating his this Portland signature race!
Once I ran across the finish line to even MORE cheering (despite my uninteresting finish time), I went back inside to enjoy the FOOD! And there was plenty of it! Pastries, bagels, juice, and my favorite….COFFEE!! Well, that’s what I THOUGHT was my favorite, until I saw the line for, wait….what did that sign say? MIMOSAS! Yep, that was the hook, line, and sinker for me. There’s nothing quite like a refreshing mimosa and cinnamon roll to complete a beautiful 5k race!
Now that I had the chance to try this local favorite, I have every intention of recruiting a few friends, tutu’s, and empty wine glasses (with the anticipation of filling them with mimosas!) for the 2016 Race For The Roses!