Date/time: Sunday, May 18th, 2014
Registration/price: Half marathon $80-150; 10k $45-75
Location: Tom McCall Waterfront Park; Portland, Oregon
Events offered: Half Marathon, 10k (inaugural)
Number of runners: 10,000+
Beneficiaries**: Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Banfield Charitable Trust, Cupcake Girls, Humans for Cheetahs, JDRF and Operation Homefront. **For some interesting info on the Rock 'n' Roll series and their relationships with charities, please check out this article.
Swag: I like that the medals are very Oregon-inspired with the plaid ribbon. The tshirts are black with a grey/white logo--they're Brooks, and they run smaller than usual! The design was alright but not amazing.
Parking: There was no designated race-event parking, but we parked just a few blocks away for less than $10 for all day parking. I had been really worried because of streets being closed off and the number of people attending, but it was really pretty quick and easy!
Bag check: The Rock 'n' Roll series has bag check down to a science. UPS trucks are labelled alphabetically. It was super quick to quickly drop off items (which was nice, because it was a little chilly and I wanted to wear my jacket until the VERY LAST MINUTE), and also super quick to pick them back up.
Course: Ohhhh the course. I looked at it many, many times before the event, because I was considering pushing for a PR. The course starts and ends at Waterfront Park, and I had heard that it wasn't flat, and looking at the elevation map, I was NOT looking forward to that long uphill stretch.
The race: I was pretty nervous before the start of the race since I had slept poorly all week. I wanted to PR again but didn't want to be greedy and end up injured... but I really wanted to finish under 1:50:00. And I was in Corral 5, near the front, which meant the course would probably be less congested... meaning, better for running fast! That didn't quite turn out to be the case--apparently a lot of people overstated their estimating finishing time, even in the first four corrals! But I was on a mission. I started out the race a little fast, knowing that it was flatter and I would lose time on the hill in the middle. The hill was rough in the middle. I felt exhausted and my pace tanked, but my friend Claudia said I looked like I was really trekking and making good time! As I approached the last part of the race, I knew the course would be easier in terms of elevation, but I was just worn out. I kept looking at my Garmin and my average pace... I was so close to getting another PR, under 1:50, if I just kept pushing. When I crossed the finish, I was fairly certain I had PR'd but wasn't quite sure by how much.
Post-race: I grabbed a Gatorade, water, and a space blanket and wandered around, meeting up with a few friends and then going to the "PR" gong to celebrate my PR! We then went to grab our free Michelob Ultras and listened to the music for a bit (ok, I'm going to say that Michelob Ultra is barely bear, and I don't even know who G Love and Special Sauce is, and I'm super incredibly jealous of Rock N Roll Seattle runners, because they get The Presidents of the United States ("Lump," and "Peaches") and Sir Mix-A-Lot ("Baby got back.") And while The Presidents and Sir Mix-A-Lot are a two- and one-hit wonder respectively, at least they HAD a hit! G Love? No clue. After grabbing a Bro Dog that consisted only of a toasted bun and every topping (and tasted like heaven), we decided to skedaddle since it looked like it was about to storm (and it did later)!
Photos: You have to pay for them, but even though there are a good number of them, the pictures aren't great. I look tired. I look like I'm leaning back. My legs look wonky. I need to work on my form. Blah Blah Blah.
Results: I ended up placing 47th out of over 660 in my age division! That really surprised me. More importantly, I got my 4th half marathon PR for the year!
Overall: I think that the Rock 'n' Roll series does a pretty great job of doing a good race for a large number of participants. However, there's still plenty of room for improvement, particularly with the shirts, post-race band, and swag for purchase.