When you sign up for a Rock n’ Roll running event, you are not just signing up for a run. You truly are signing up for an event. Heading down to the Waterfront that Sunday morning (on the Max because I wanted to be Portland Green, and avoid a parking nightmare), I already felt like a rock star with my number showing and cliff bar in hand. Why yes, I was going to run a half marathon this morning. What are you doing up so early, strangers on the train. Over half the Red Line train ended up pouring out at the same stop as me; we were a few blocks from the river and already hearing the music bouncing off the buildings.
This was going to be fun.
I had signed up for the inaugural event in Spring 2012 for two main reasons: I had been reading about the company for months in Runners’ World Monthly, and the course traveled outside of the normal downtown routes. This year, unfortunately the event incorporated a lot more of Naito and less Laurelhurst, but it did still venture up that long SE Hawthorne hill. For the first time I was running a race with a friend, and during that particular mile, I came to adore and hate my friend Patricia, depending on the block we were on. Based on the comments from other runners, there was a general enjoyment of the course but definite hope that it will keep SE part of its scenic route.
Now I must give a shout out for all of the volunteers who make this a well oiled machine. There was plenty of water and Gu along the course, and lots of cheerleaders too. Much like the Portland Marathon, the best part was just the people on their front lawns, cheering on strangers and giving that boost of belief that would keep us going to the end. And that official volunteer keeping the porta potty area clear near Corral 16; your job was far from glamorous, but you kept at it with a smile and speediness that I appreciated so much.
13.1 miles and about 2:30 later (which was right on target for my goal), Patricia and I cross the line with fists pumping into the air and tons of random strangers cheering for their loved ones coming in around us. We placed our new medals on each other’s necks, toasted with chocolate milk and bagels, and then sat on a curb with her family to enjoy this mass of celebrating people for a while. Yes, the event was a bit on the expensive and busy side, but it was well-organized, well celebrated, and well worth the mileage.
Plus, it was fun.