Friend and fellow Run Oregon blogger Brian Bernier
Thanksgiving is all about being thankful, and time with those you love. Though I went by myself to the Uberthons Turkeython at Bridgeport Village, I was definitely welcomed by my running family. No less than a dozen people made it a point to say hi and exchange at least a few words. In spite of the chilly temperatures, everyone was smiling and ready to have a great time. It was unfortunate I was there, as I had been on the fence about registering and decided not to due to being unsure about my fitness level at the time. But after a friend was unexpectedly unable to run, I decided the night before I would see about taking her entry and just getting out to have fun. Even as I pulled up almost an hour before the race, there were cones everywhere and prolific volunteers already on the course. Uberthons always does a really good job with course staffing and marking and this race was no exception. It was easy to see that it would wind around the shopping center before making a large loop, mostly on Boones Ferry. Not the most scenic course, but it had the potential to be fast and was definitely unique. Packet pickup was a quick stop inside one of the storefronts and the only left to do was warm up. I wanted this to be a higher mileage day and knew it was going to take a lot longer to get warmed up due to the temperatures, so I started meandering around the mall almost 50 minutes before the race start. I felt energized, and noticed no niggles or tweaks on this particular morning. I put off stripping down to race gear until minutes before the start, preferring to stay warm. I had noticed quite a few fast looking women before the gun went off, but only one speedy male. Knowing this was not a foolproof assessment of the field, I just toed the line hoping to win, but the first goal was just to eke out as much speed as was possible in that moment. After the start, I found myself at the head of the field with a few other men. It quickly settled as another competitor got to the front and three of us made a lead pack. I pushed for the lead a little to test the waters and discovered that the other two were quite serious and settled into a comfortable pace.
We worked together for about the first mile, then they picked up a little as we got onto the road. I tucked in behind them, but they drew away slowly as I concentrated on maintaining my form for that speed and trying to stay relevant. As we headed south on Boones Ferry and climbed the long gradual hill I kept within a few feet of them, after the crest they hit another gear I just didn't have and smoothly pulled away. Instead of giving up as I lost my chance to win, I kept my form and effort level. As usual, I was not wearing a watch, so had no way of knowing what I was running. After 3 more turns and a slight uphill we were back in the mall parking lot, and another 3 turns put us on the block long finishing straight. I had been accelerating, but didn't get into a full on kick. Just opening up my stride for a strong finished and glanced at the clock with a few steps to go to see it ticking along at under 15:30. I was completely floored as I crossed the finish. I had just ran a 27 second best with an official time of 15:33. It was a very cold morning, but the atmosphere, logistics, and timing made this for an amazing race. Even though I had been hoping to continue my win streak, to be soundly defeated and use that gap to pull myself along to new heights is a great experience. It was awesome to see happy, involved volunteers at all the turns and placed regularly on the route along with a incomprehensible number of cones to keep us on course. This is what racing is all about, enjoying all the aspects of the running community, the chance to do our best as well as mingle with friendly people. I am thankful indeed for my running family.
I love Freedomthon. It's incredibly fun and a perfect way to start your 4th of July--and it's also where I got my current 5k PR, because the course is flat and fast. :) I was disappointed that I wouldn't be able to attend this year's event (and get another amazing and hefty Uberthons medal!) but my BFF Cari ran it and had a great time. Scroll own for more photos and her race recap!
I've always been to busy with other traditions to do a 4th of July race, but I decided this year I was going to get out and do one no matter what else was going on! And of course I wanted a race that gave me a great piece of patriotic race bling, so I chose Freedomthon for my holiday race, and I'm so glad I did!
I've been so excited to do a recap of the 2015 Hop Hop Half, but have gotten delayed this week due to a major issue: my laptop is on it's last leg, you guys. :( It's made it seven years, but this week it's starting to look like it's not going to make it much longer, and I've been trying to get any photos or files off of it that I can! Anyway, ON TO THE MUCH-ANTICIPATED RECAP!
I LOVE doing the Hop Hop Half. I've participated in this race the past two years (every year since it started), and it has been SO much fun. Not only is it a well organized and very festive race, for me personally, there's something really kind of cool about having done a race every year since it started :)
Hop Hop Half Marathon & 5k
Date: Saturday, April 4th, 2015
Events, times, prices:
7:30am: 5K $36-45
8:15am: Half Marathon $60-85
9:15am-12pm: Post-race party, egg painting, food, music, and more!
Location: A vacant parking lot on Marine Drive; Portland OR
Number of runners: 1150
Beneficiary: Fanconi Anemia Research Fund, Inc
Swag: Big adorable medals, one Mimosa or beer (with souvenir champagne glass), Easter brunch snacks (including scrambled eggs on 1/2 croissant, cinnamon rolls, fruit, hardboiled eggs, more!), Easter Egg painting, costumes and more!
Course: The course is slightly different than last year. Both events are out-and-backs, on very flat paved paths. There were beautiful views of the Columbia River during most of the race!
CLICK HERE FOR GMAP of the HALF MARATHON course
CLICK HERE FOR GMAP of 5K COURSE
Results: Available here.
Past recaps: 2014, 2013
Other notes: Bag check available, event entirely outdoors.
That morning was a bit cool and overcast--perfect race conditions, and we all were really hoping it would stay that way (anyone else run this race in 2014, when it started POURING and blowing sideways while a few half marathoners were sitll out there on the course?). My friends and I arrived just before 7:30 (when the 5k was about to start). Instead of being instructed to use the main parking lot, we were diverted into another parking lot a short distance away from the starting line, which I thought was odd because I was sure that the main parking lot wasn't full yet (and it wasn't). It seemed to just be the timing of when we arrived. We headed to the starting line area so we could scope everything out. It was really festive, with music going and activities all set up and ready to go. There were several vendor booths to peruse also.
I ended up running with a group of four of my girlfriends, but I wasn't sure if I would be able to run the entire race with them because my right foot had been having issues. The half marathon consisted of a short out and back (passing by the start/finish line), before heading out on another out and back along Marine Drive (with an extra, little out and back thrown in at the turnaround). The course was flat for the most part. That morning had just a slight breeze coming off of the river. I was pretty excited to run the race pain free.
After we finished the race and took a few pictures, we headed back into the post-race area. IT WAS SO FESTIVE! The Easter Bunny was hopping around taking pictures (ok, not literally, but that guy was PRETTY POPULAR), music was playing, raffle prizes were being given away, kids and adults were coloring eggs, people were riding in the beer chariot, and brunch and beer and mimosas were being served! Getting my stuff from bag check was super quick thanks to the attentive volunteers, and then I got a free quick stretch at a vendor booth. It was so fun. We definitely hung around for a long time afterwards, enjoying the festivities (thank goodness no rain!).
I really had a great time, and I think my only suggestion is that I think it would be nice if the 5k started after the half marathon, so that they finished closer to the same time, instead of most of the 5k-ers being finished before the half marathon even started (my friend running the 5k finished in time to see me head to the starting line). I heard quite a few other runners express the same thought. The price is a smidge higher than some other half marathons, but this event sells out, and you can see why.
Everything else was really awesome. In particular, I did appreciate that even if you registered late (after March 3), you still received an event t-shirt--it was just a regular cotton t-shirt instead of a tech t-shirt (I'm actually more excited about the cotton one anyway since I can use it on my t-shirt quilt!). I also loved the quantity and quality of volunteers--they were absolutely plentiful and fabulous! Additionally, there were lots and lots of police officers helping to stop traffic, allowing runners to safely cross. I'm very impressed with the quality of this event, and definitely planning on registering for year four, 2016 :)
Date and time: Sunday, January 4, 2015 @ 10:00am
Events and price:
5k or 10k $42-45
1k Cub Run $15-20
Polar Bear Slide (free)
Location: Battle Ground Village; Battle Ground, WA
Beneficiary: Clark County Fire & Rescue Fire Cadet Program Booster Club
Number of runners: 500
Swag: Tech t-shirts (see below!) and goodie bags. New for 2015--all 5k and 10k finishers will receive a medal! Post-race pancake breakfast, beer by Northwest Public House & Brewery (Oakshire IPA and Bud Light). TONS of FREE photos on their Facebook page after the event.
Course: The 5k and 10k courses are both fairly flat and fast.course maps with elevation charts are available here.
I was so excited to continue working with Get Bold Events and to be invited to be a Bold Babe at the 2015 Resolution Run! The night before Ingri helped me plan my outfit, modified my tutu (by adding a ginormous sparkly bow!!) and made me an adorable headband to wear for my run. I knew some of the Bold Babes, but not all of them. They were all very welcoming as this was my first event as a Bold Babe :) We arrived at the event at 8:00 am to help with registration and packet pickup. Despite the cold and rainy weather, lots of people showed up the morning of the race to register! Registration swag included a goodie bag, and a nice heather blue tech t-shirt.
Shortly before the race was scheduled to start, I left my nice warm snow jacket with the Bold Babes and headed to the starting line with my friend Krista, who I had promised I would run with (she said I didn't have to, but I thought it would be nice to have some company since I wasn't shooting for a PR). The 10k course is a flat out and back through Battle Ground. The streets are not closed to traffic, but there is enough room on the shoulder and sidewalk for the volume of runners to safely run the course. There were also lots of fantastic volunteers on the course, including several Clark County Fire Cadets, who also helped set up and tear down before and after the event.
A mile from the finish, Krista mentioned that the last mile was usually the hardest for her. Although I wanted to be encouraging, I was a little too tired to carry on a conversation and wanted to try to pick up the pace a little. Krista didn't seem to notice or mind, so I kept at it. As we neared the finish line, I made a goal of trying to catch the person in front of me, and hoped to motivate Krista to finish strong! I was so proud of her when she said that she had PR'd by 5 1/2 minutes!!!
After we crossed the finish line, we received our medals, hung around, met up with other friends, listened to the DJ, and watched the crazies who braved the Polar Bear Slide, including Race Director Elba and my friend Kevin! I had considered it, but chickened out. But they did have towels for those who did the slide, and the hot tub was reserved for Polar Bear Sliders only, who also received a special prize (such as a cute mug).
When I was getting my jacket, Brighid, who won a race entry on the blog, came to say hi! She had pushed her little kiddo in a stroller for the 10k, and she did great. It was really nice of her to say hi--FYI I love meeting my readers! :) Once I was bundled back up, I grabbed some nice warm pancakes with maple syrup and then headed into the beer garden! In addition to pancakes, they had gummy bears, peanut butter and bread, Gatorade, water and root beer. Kind Bars was there handing out bars as well. We hung out for awhile, as there were several friends who received overall and age group medals (congrats!!!). A bunch of Chuggers headed to Northwood afterwards for lunch. Battle Ground Village is a great venue because it is so convenient to go straight from the finish line to an actual restaurant (you don't even have to move your car)!
Overall, it was a well-organized race with a big emphasis on HAVING FUN--and an even bigger emphasis on helping the local community. I love that the 2015 Resolution Run raised over $1000 for the Clark County Fire Cadet program!
New Yearathon 1 miler and 5k
Date and time: Saturday January 3, 2015 @ 8:30am
Events and price:
1 Mile $14
1 Mile & 5k $25
Kidathon FREE ($10 for a kids medal)
Location: Cook Park; Tigard, OR
Swag: Every finisher received a nice, hefty Uberthons medal. There was hot cocoa and bananas post-race. Pins for age division winners; necklaces for those running their first 5k with Uberthons (even if they've run any other race prior--your first Uberthons 5k is special!)
Course: The 5k contains both dirt and paved trails. It's nice--pretty, well-marked, and not hilly.
Number of runners: 400
Past recaps: 2014 New Yearathon
I'm so excited to have earned my first medal of 2015 :) Although I'm bummed that my fitness level has plummeted over the past few months, there was a lot to enjoy at the second annual New Yearathon. I LOVE Uberthons events, and race organizers Darwin and Alan are two of the nicest guys ever. Uberthons events are very welcoming to all abilities--it's low key enough for new runners, and well organized enough for more experienced runners.
The day of the race, I was tired and having an off morning (Ardara called me a cranky panda), but there's nothing like a good race with good people to turn that frown upside down :) Five other Run Oregon bloggers were running at the event, and sooooo many of my running friends! It was great. The event was capped at 400 runners and walkers, which was just right for the venue. There was plenty of nearby parking, there were two heat lamps under the park shelter, and plenty of bathrooms.
The one milers were split into two tiers: the sub 7:00 runners started first, and the over 7:00 runners after all of the one milers in the first group finished. It was really fun to watch Run Oregon super speedsters Brian, Joe and Tung finish! The one mile course was a mix of paved course and dirt/barkdust trail. It's a fun course but it's a little challenging--don't expect an easy 1mi PR!
After the one miler, I gave a quick speech about Eating Right and Exercising right--I was super nervous about talking in front of the group, but fortunately it went alright! I also got to announce the two raffle prize winners, who each received a voucher for new shoes at Road Runner Sports (up to $120). I feel like I had barely caught my breath and then it was time to run the 5k! Because there are a lot of newer runners and walkers at Uberthons events, if you're a faster runner or looking to PR, you'll want to start near the front and be prepared to weave! And the 5k course also had a mix of paved trail and a bit of dirt trail, as well one short steep climb. It was very, very well marked with plenty of volunteers on the course. After running the 1mi pretty hard, the 5k felt a lot more difficult for me than usual! (Oh yeah, and being super out of shape....) I was very relieved to cross the finish line, hear my name announced, and receive my ginormous medal ;)
I loved that official times were available immediately after the race on two kiosks. Usually age group awards are announced fairly quickly, but this time the awards were somewhat delayed. Although I was a little bummed not earning an age division pin for either race, I was super happy for all of my friends who did!
As always, this was a fantastic event, and I'm so excited for all of the Uberthons events coming up for 2015!
Date and time: Saturday November 15, 2014 @ 10:00 am
Events and price: 5k run/walk; kids race
Location: Big Al's, 14950 SW Barrows Rd, Beaverton, OR
Beneficiary: the Movember Foundation
Swag: Cotton t-shirt (gender specific fit); goodie bag; bottle opener medal; 1 beer from Widmer; 1 Cuervo cocktail (hot apple cider w/Cinge or a margarita on the rocks); post-race snacks.
Course: A really tough road race. Steep uphill for the first half, steep downhill for the second half.
Thank you to everyone who came out for the Portland Mustache Dache! It was sunny and cold, and the course was tough, but it was so fun to see over 800 runners and walkers supporting men's health, and wearing mustaches!
I debated buying a ton of cute mustache-specific costume items, or making some items myself... I ended up doing neither, instead just throwing together a random mix of beer socks, a black tutu, my Burnside Bourbon tank (with mustached man on the front), green painted on mustache/goatee, warrior helmet (I cut a hole in it for my ponytail to go through!, and a gold cape. What was I supposed to be exactly? Heck if I know. But it was a fun costume in any case ;)
We arrived about an hour early to hang out, and make sure we could park closer to the start/finish. There were lots of great photo ops, and tons of people were dressed up, which was super fun. Tons of vendors were there giving out samples also.
The run itself was tough. It was really cold, and even though I waited to drop my jacket off at bag check (which was super fast, as always!), my muscles were COLD. I was glad it wasn't windy or rainy, because the hill would be bad enough to deal with! Getting a PR at this race never even crosses my mind. There is an elevation gain of approximately 400 feet--the mile and a half is a VERY steep uphill. Many participants chose to walk portions of the uphill, including myself. It's just constant incline and it's pretty brutal. The last mile and a half is really steep downhill. You'd think it'd be fun, but it's a little too steep to just let loose. I was pretty nervous about doing a faceplant, especially around some of the sharp turns. While it was difficult, everyone around me still seemed to be having a good time, commiserating together.
The finish line was great--they announced everyone's name as you crossed the finish line, which I love. We took lots more pictures with our medals, and then headed to the beer garden, which was in the finish line area. There was Widmer Hef and Upheaval IPA. There was ladder toss and cornhole in the beer garden too. We only stayed outside a little while since it was so cold, and the kids wanted to play arcade games inside Big Al's.
Inside they had Cuervo cocktails in the bar--hot apple cider mixed with Cuervo Cinge (cinnamon tequila) and margaritas on the rocks. It was fun talking to everyone about the course and their mustache outfits.
The race shirts were cotton "gender-specific" tshirts with the Mustache Dache logo on it. They're the official 2014 Mustache Dache shirt, which is the same for all race locations that are part of the Mustache Dache event series. While Energy Events organizes the Portland race, they don't get to pick the shirts. I don't love wearing baby blue (I went to Duke... so it's not an acceptable color to wear. GO TO HELL CAROLINA GO TO HELL!) but I plan on including it in my tshirt quilt that I will someday get around to making. (First I need to learn how to quilt...)
Mustache Dache - Portland was another fantastic race put on by Energy Events. The pre-race, race, and post-race were all amazing. It's a wonderful event for runners and walkers who want a challenging 5k, and want to have a really great post-race party. Thank you again to all of you who came this year--hope to see you at Hot Buttered Run on Sunday November 2nd at Esther Short Park in Vancouver, WA!
I'd also like to give a shout out to fellow Run Oregon blogger Jessica, who wrote a great recap of this event.
Fourth Annual Halloweenathon
Date and time: Saturday, October 25th, 2014 @ 9:00am
Events and price: 5k and 10k run/walk; 15k run; 15k relay; 1k and 0.5k kids dashes
Location: Meriweather Golf Course; Hillsboro, OR
Number of runners: ~550
Swag: AWESOME finisher's medal--4" across and has blinking red eyes!; nacho bar
Course: Mixed paved golf cart paths and across the grass--see Mariah Jeffrey's thorough report here
Uberthons' Fourth Annual Halloweenathon was such a fun event. I was so excited to see so many friends come out to run in their very first Uberthons event. And I was also excited to have a few friends earn their Uberthons jackets (yay Cari and Em)! And, of course, it's always good to run into fellow Run Oregon bloggers (Tung, Jessica, Annette, and Brian).
Though it looked like it might rain, the cloudy and cool weather weather held steady for race (which I appreciated, because I didn't want a soggy tutu). When we arrived at the Meriweather Golf Course, therewas plenty of parking, and close enough that we didn't mind not having bag check. I was curious to see how this venue would differ from last year's venue (the Reserve Golf Course & Vineyards), especially since it was a somewhat last minute change since the Reserve had double-booked that day. In spite of that, I thought that the Meriweather Golf Course was a nice location, and that Uberthons put on a nice event in spite of the change. There were a good number of portapotties available very close to the start/finish, and also bathrooms inside as well. We headed inside to pick up our bibs, which the volunteers were able to do quickly and there wasn't much of a line. A bit before the race, we headed outside to take pictures and get into the starting corral. The grass was soft and muddy because of the recent rain--and this year's course was partially paved golf cart trails and partially through the grass on the course (which Mariah Jeffrey did a fantastic job previewing here). Although several runners said that they had been unaware of what the course conditions were going to be, I felt that Uberthons did a good job informing participants via Facebook, their website, and via email. The event featured a 5k loop, run once for the 5k, run twice for the 10k, and run three times for the 15k.
At the starting line, participants were released in small waves of roughly 20 people. The course was fairly wide, which I really liked, since it made passing/getting passed easier, but parts of the course were slightly ambiguous since it wasn't marked on both sides, just with a single line of flags for the most part. To ensure I wasn't cutting the course, I ran as close to the flags as I could. There were also plenty of volunteers and aid stations. I really liked that there weren't any switchbacks to clog up the flow of runners. The grass was softer and muddier than expected--I'm sure by the time the 15k-ers were coming around on their third lap, it was likely pretty squishy--but I liked the change of terrain! It was more difficult than a race entirely on paved trails or roads, but it was fun doing a more cross-country style event, even though it slowed me down a little.
Each participant's name was announced as they crossed the finish line. They were presented with their finisher's medal, water, and optional space blanket. Back inside, there was a photo booth selling pictures for just $1, as well as the nacho bar, live music, and kiosks for looking up and printing your official race results. There wasn't quite enough space for all of the participants to fit in one room, so my group headed into an adjacent room to eat our nachos. Unfortunately, I missed hearing my name announced as winner of my age division. A few people mentioned that it was a bummer that nachos weren't included for the kids, however, the kids races were FREE, with the option of purchasing a kids medal or "grown up medal" for only $10-12.
All in all, it was a fabulously fun race, that balances that small-race feel and price point, with the organization and attention to detail of a larger race. I really enjoyed myself, and am excited to see that the event will be held at Meriweather Golf Course again in 2015!
Fellow Run Oregon blogger Brian Bernier also wrote a recap, and so did Jessica Mumme--be sure to check out their blog posts too.
Lastly, Uberthons' next and last event of 2014 will be the Turkeython on Thanksgiving morning at Bridgeport Village. Stay tuned for a preview and ... a GIVEAWAY! :D
Ghost Runners Brewing Ghost Run 5k
Date and time: Saturday October 25th, 2014
Events and price: 5k beer run; Free
Location: Brickhouse Bar; Vancouver, WA
Number of runners: Capped at 150
We really lucked out with the weather, since it was cool and overcast! I was a little worried about rain, but fortunately it held off and I didn't have to worry about running in a waterlogged costume. Although it's not an official timed race, the Ghost Run is a fun running event, with the added challenge of a beer stop! I first ran the Ghost Run last year--although I didn't know anyone there, I had a blast and made some new friends (runners are so friendly). The logistics of year's event was a little different compared to last year's, but similar: at last year's run we started at the old Spark's building downtown, ran to the first stop where we had a free beer taster sample, ran to the Grant House and had another free beer taster sample, and then finished back downtown with a free full sized beer.
This year, we started at Brickhouse, there was only one stop (Grant House) with one free beer taster sample, and no free beer at the finish (back to Brickhouse). Given that it's a free event, it's understandable. However, Brickhouse did offer three food specials, and you could also order off the menu. I ordered some mac and cheese off the menu, and a beer at the bar (Brickhouse has about 20 beers on tap--good craft beers, too). Ghost Runners Brewing's prizes for the costume contest were great--growler with fill, two pairs of running shoes, and a book about running. The two guys in the red Solo cup costumes were really cool and clever, but they said that they were pretty sucky for running in.
It was a fun event and a good excuse to run through the streets of Vancouver in costume! Thank you to Ghost Runners Brewing for organizing this fun local event :)
Even though my body was exhausted, and I would end up running one of my slowest half marathons of 2014, the Girlfriends Run for a Cure Half Marathon was SO MUCH FUN.
8th Annual Girlfriends Run for a Cure
Date and time: Sunday, October 12th, 2014 @ 9:00am
Events and price:
Half or quarter marathon (women-only) $80
Pink Brigade Guys--one of 50 philanthropic men who agree to pay, sponsor someone or raise a minimum of $500 to register and run Girlfriends Run for a Cure
Kids marathon $30
Location: Northwest Personal Training; 1011 Broadway; Vancouver, WA
Number of runners: Capped at 3000
Beneficiary: Susan G Komen for the Cure; The Children's Center
Swag: Women's-cut tech shirts; a necklace placed on you by a fireman; chocolate; cupcakes; massages; post-race food (soup, fruit, bagels, PowerBars), beverages (a nice cold reusable water bottle and a souvenir taster glass with beer or wine); goodie bags with lots of NICE goodies and coupons; AND MORE!
Course: A 6.55 mile (Quarter Marathon) or 13.1 mile (Half Marathon) mostly flat and scenic course traveling along historic Officer’s Row, Fort Vancouver, the Columbian Riverfront and more.
On Sunday I ran my 40th race of 2014, the Energy Events Champoeg Half Marathon! I had a really tough time due to the heat, and ran slower that I'd planned, but it's really a nicely done event and it was nice to run somewhere new. Can't complain about the beer or sweet medal either! Check out the official race recap on the Energy Events Blog!