Date: May 17, 2015
Location: Portland, Oregon
What? Rock n Roll Portland #RnRPDX
This was my second (or is it third?) time completing the Portland Rock n Roll Half Marathon. (Am I the only one that loses track sometimes of the # of times I run in my favorite places?!)
I will say though, I do remember that the course was “eeh” in the past. But we love Portland, so we always sign up.
This year however, the course was beautiful! They really do take runner feedback seriously and boy, did they make this course a great one! But more about that in a bit.
We live in a suburb of Seattle, so it’s pretty convenient for us to participate in the Portland runs. It’s about a 2.5 hour drive. This year, we bought a 3 pack Tourpass knowing we would be running Portland, Seattle and Vancouver BC. Not only do we love our bling, but with the Cascadia for doing all 3 above mentioned runs, plus the Heavy Medals – you just can’t go wrong!
Saturday morning we left and made it to the Expo when they opened, at 12. This expo is much smaller than the one in Seattle, but just as organized. Conveniently located as well and near a TriNet public transit system line. We walked in, got our bibs, made a quick walk through the booths (grabbed a few samples) and got out. It only took us about 30 minutes.
Next stop, before we checked in to our hotel was VooDoo Doughnut. I don’t think I could write this without including VooDoo. The wait is always at least 30 minutes but worth it! Plus, it’s become our pre-race fuel in the morning. Can’t go wrong with Maple Bacon before a run!
We stayed at the Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront, which was one of the hotels listed on the RnR site. We have stayed here for most of our runs. (We come back in October for the Portland Marathon and Half as well.) No Free Wifi, but we are there for such a short amount of time that the other things about the hotel make it worth it.
They’re almost done renovating the rooms and we were pleasantly surprised to see how nice the room was this visit!
The hotel is only a few blocks from the start and the finish line, and that’s the #1 reason we like this hotel. We can sleep in a bit, and it’s quick to get back before check out on race day.
Speaking of races….
When we woke up in the morning, the weather looked wet and cold but when we walked outside, it was actually perfect! We made the short walk to the start line, checked a bag, took the obligatory pre run photos, (and a selfie, of course) and headed towards our respective corrals.
Last year, there was a delay at the beginning of the race due to a train. This year was no different, although they did get 3-4 corrals out before the train caused the delay. No worries though!
This year’s course was a bit different than last year’s course. We started off running downtown towards the industrial part of town but quickly turned in to beautiful neighborhoods with pretty wide streets and lots of spectators out cheering us on. There was even a proposal along the route! (Hope she said yes!!!)
Last year, I remember being more in the city and I definitely preferred the scenery in the beautiful (and sometimes eclectic) neighborhoods of Portland.
One thing that was a HUGE improvement over last year was that there was no stopping for trains or traffic. Last year, I was stopped 4 times on the course and I know I wasn’t the only person that was a bit upset about it.
This year, they made a modification so the stopping would not be necessary. At one point in the course, Police Officers would send you to the left or to the right depending on the train schedule to avoid the train. It just so happened that my running partner Emily and I were diverted. It was a bit confusing at first, because I had forgotten that it might happen but we were assured that we would be on the right course.
The fun part about that was that we were in first place for a few minutes! Sure enough, when it came time for us to meet up with the rest of the runners, we were right back in step with the people we had been directly behind. I say that was a great improvement.
The course is pretty flat. There is a pretty good gradual, mile long hill but it was somewhat rolling and not terrible really.
The best part of going up, is that you must eventually come down. And down we came, starting at mile 10. What a great way to get some extra gas in the tank for sure!
The last mile of the course was over the bridge and water, gorgeous view and a hearing the finish line is always a great motivator to keep on pushing!
At the finish line, (which was the PDX carpet, by the way!) there was plenty of Gatorade, Chocolate Milk (my favorite) Power Bars, Half Pops (another favorite) and of course our medals!
The only slightly disappointing thing this year is that it seemed like there were fewer bands.
The website says there were supposed to be 10. I’m not sure what course they were playing on, but I’m certain I did not see 10 bands. It’s OK though. I had a great partner to chat with while we ran.
Portugal. The Man was the headliner. I will admit that I did not stop by and watch. My husband did though, and said they were good!
Overall, I had a great time. I know I said it early on, but I’ll say it again. We love Portland. We also love the Rock n Roll series. This course became one of my top 5 courses (I’ve ran 20 races now) and I am not sure if they could even improve it for next year. We’ll be back again to see though!