I arrived to the Adidas Campus, where the half and 5k were to begin and end, at approximately 7:45am. The half marathon was set to begin at 8am, so I was in a bit of a panic since I still had to pick up my packet and complete the bag check process. While I was feeling rushed, I will note that this was entirely my fault because I drove around forever trying to find a parking spot, ultimately parking about 3/4 of a mile away from the campus at a local fast food joint. My one recommendation to anyone doing this race next year is to pay the optional fee and utilize the shuttle! Luckily for me, packet pick up was super quick, taking less than 2 minutes. The line to the bag check, however, was another story. I hopped into the back of the line, which reminded me of a line at a Black Friday sale, and felt the anxiety slowly grow as I heard the announcer counting down the minutes to the start of the race. It felt like I was in line forever, but somehow I managed to get my bag checked in before the race even started. Success!
I started the race in a big cluster of folks (in the 9 min mile and under pace group) and unfortunately spent the first mile of the race dodging people, and jogging at a much slower pace than I had hoped. Eventually the pack thinned out and I was able to get a good solid pace going. I felt like the first initial 3 miles were kind of a blur and the reality that I was running a half didn’t actually set in until mile 4, where I recall thinking to myself “Wow, I have 9 more miles to go!” The entire course ran through neighborhoods of North Portland, past the University of Portland, and offered views of Downtown Portland and Pier Park. While the race itself was predominately rainy and windy, it was probably one of the most fun races I have run in. While I obviously loved the flat course, I loved seeing so many smiling faces and so many people dressed up in festive outfits. I saw two people actually running in a Buddy the Elf costume. I saw a couple of Santa suits and saw many ugly Christmas sweaters.
As soon as I crossed the finish line, I was treated to a huge gingerbread finishers medal. And what do you know, the sun even came out for a brief moment. I immediately went back up to the courtyard where packet pick up took place and treated myself to the complimentary soup, which was much needed as I was literally shivering cold. Inside the Adidas gym there were booths offering products from various vendors and a photo booth where you could don some festive accessories and have a photo printed off within a matter of minutes. The announcer was even giving away free shirts from past Holiday Half events. I would have definitely stayed longer if I weren’t frozen to the core, but alas, I made my way out, ready to begin my 3/4 of a mile trek back to my car. It was such a great day; no amount of rain, wind, or cold could ruin it. If next year you’re looking for a fun and festive race, I would absolutely recommend the Foot Traffic Holiday Half & 5k.