It’s fun to “people watch” and this event definitely brings the people, with spectators and runners. One bonus of a popular race series- you have more support along the course. There are tons of volunteers passing out water and people out cheering, with lots of smiles lining the course, tons of signs and plenty of cowbell along the way. It helps you put one foot in front of the other. The atmosphere and people made Rock-n-Roll fun, but the course was a nice change, too.
This run takes you over to the eastside, which is a nice change. Lots of weaving through Portland streets, but I never questioned if I was going the wrong way. As we climbed up to the Broadway Bridge, I was hoping that was as steep as it was going to get, only to discover there was an actual hill on the other side. That first real hill made me to decide to just relax and enjoy this run, not worry about my time but take in the experience. I appreciate that the hill was early on, it helped me enjoy the rest of the run.
Every mile was marked and there were encouraging signs along the way. One bonus of doing a popular race series, they often include more fun stuff along the course. Because they have the resources and can use them in other cities as the event travels, they can provide more “entertainment” along the sideline. I loved the “It’s a hill, get over it” sign and couldn’t wait for the next fun quip along the way. It helped the miles go faster.
There were bands every couple of miles, which gave you something to look forward to and take your mind off the miles, but I was expecting a little more rock along the course. The bands out there were fun and energetic, I was just anticipating more. We are spoiled with the entertainment of the Portland Marathon, which is hard to beat. Still, bands every couple of miles is fun and I loved all the spectators along the route.
I loved the Rock-n-Roll signs, but nothing beats the signs from well-wishers along the way. They are creative, unique and I appreciate the time invested to make our running experience that much better. My favorite ‘homemade’ sign was at a church along the course. It had me with the rainbow font and was so big there was no way anyone could miss the ‘You Are Loved’ across it. For me, it was a perfect message for our Sunday morning run, simple and straightforward.
I had a little divine intervention when ‘Thunderstruck’ blasted on my iPod as I ran by a truck decked out in ACDC, complete with horns on the roof. I know it was purely coincidental, but fun nonetheless. We made our way to Hawthorne and the downhill stretch was the best, so much to look at along the way and pretty much coasting, a fun combination. Making our way back to the westside with the Hawthorne Bridge, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to run on the carpet-covered steel portion or hop up on the curb. My legs are short, the curb looked high and I didn’t want to cut anyone off making my way over, so I stayed on the somewhat awkward surface, which was fortunately short.
I heard there was more carpet at the finish line. The popular carpet from the Portland airport covered the finish line, but I somehow missed it. It might have been that I was distracted with a guy dropping just before the finish line and the medical team whisking him off or it might have been the guy who tried to pass me with maybe 50 feet to go. Either way, I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t even notice it, but apparently it was there and everyone else got a picture of it. I’m in good company, though, since my husband missed me at the finish line. I dressed with zebra shorts and cheetah arm warmers, thinking I’d be easy to spot. Not so much. I guess my attire was all too normal and I blended in with everyone else.
Even though I missed the carpet along the finish line, I have the carpet with my medal. The medal is a running footprint, but the ribbon attached is the airport carpet, which I think is pure fun. Post- race fuel included sandwiches, chocolate milk and some other goodies, but the real fun was the concert. It was down on the waterfront with a huge concert stage and everyone was invited, runners and non-runners alike. While I shy away from the trendy, I have to admit this was pretty fun. The course was different, which I loved, the runners were from all over, which kept it interesting and Portland did a great job keeping it weird. I appreciate that this was still a uniquely Portland run, even with a national company. Definitely worth running, just know you have to dress a whole lot bolder than I did to stand out.