And then I heard about Cause+Event Portland. Cyndie and Amy are the amazing race directors, and I couldn't help but get excited about their event too! Their enthusiasm was pretty contagious. And I love that C+E benefits ANY 501(c)3 cause that a participant chooses!
So there were two AMAZING but incredibly different races... and I wanted to be involved in both. So I decided to run the Oregon Half Marathon, while also doing the virtual Cause+Event race (unlike some virtual races, C+E allows any type of run/walk, whether it's outside, at another event, or on a treadmill!) Here I am, double-bibbing it. Party in the front, party in the back.
Date and time: Saturday, September 13, 2014 @ 7:00 am
Events: Marathon, Half Marathon, Marathon Relay
Location: Mt. Angel, OR
Number of runners: 800
Race name: Cause+Event Portland
Date and time: Saturday, September 13, 2014
Events: Half Marathon, 10k, 5k, Virtual race
Location: Bethany Village; Portland, OR
Number of runners: 500
Beneficiary: Any 501(c)3 of your choice! I chose Solemates.
Swag: The Cause+Event t-shirt was a nicely designed slim cut Nike casual shirt. The Oregon Half Marathon included a v-neck tech t-shirt of thicker material, a nice hefty medal, 10 beer tokens, and $10 in food vouchers. Oregon Marathon jackets were also available for purchase--they're really nice quality jackets. The Uberthons jackets were also available--free if you ran any 4 Uberthons events in the past calendar year, or free if you placed in your age group in any 3 Uberthons events in the past calendar year.
Parking: We arrived early and lucked out with a parking spot just across from the starting line! There's lots of parking but it filled up when the Oktoberfest got started. Leaving the area took awhile because of traffic. There was also some confusion about the shuttles--there were numerous shuttles, and for events other than the race. It would be very helpful for participants if the shuttle locations and shuttle buses were marked with large printed signs.
Bag check: There was a bag check at the starting line, and all of the bags were transported to the finish line for us.
Course: The half marathon course was all paved along closed roads. There were tons of police officers and volunteers the entire course. The full marathon course featured some stretches of gravel. Both courses started at the Mt. Angel Oktoberfest and end at Mt. Angel High School. The course/venue changes every year. Last year, the race took place on the Vernonia-Banks Trail. There was nuun and water every two miles.
The race: I was so excited the night before the race, I couldn't fall asleep til late, and then had to wake up at 3:30 to be ready when Mary came to pick me up at 4:30. I ended up waking up just about every hour, afraid I had overslept! It was pretty chilly and still a little out when Trinity, Mary and I arrived at Mt. Angel, but the skies were clear. The race started a bit late since Uberthons orchestrated having all of the half marathoners flank the starting line as the the marathoners began the racing. Heading into the race, I hoped for a PR but knew that my training had been lacking speedwork. I decided to shoot for a pace just a bit faster than my PR of 8:19. For the first 8 miles, I felt pretty good and was at my goal of 8:10 pace, although my left ankle tendons seemed a little tender and my back felt a little tight. But then I started to feel fatigued. I slowed down a bit for the next two miles, hoping that I'd be able to bounce back for the last three miles. Instead, I just felt worn out and my pace tanked. I struggled to motivate myself to at least run fast enough to finish under two hours. It was a little warm and there wasn't much shade on the course. I tried to enjoy the course and the experience, but felt frustrated to have gotten so far at a good pace, and then watch it all fall apart. By the time I crossed the finish line, I was a little cranky with myself.
Post-race: After the race, I signed up for a free massage, which felt GREAT. I chatted with other friends who had finished, which put me in a better mood! There were several other bloggers (including a few from Run Oregon) and lots of running friends, and I loved the cute outfits made by Moms Run This Town. There were mini Larabars, bananas, popcorn and watermelon (which was DELICIOUS) and laid in the grass with Trinity waiting for Mary to finish the marathon. Then the three of us headed back to the Oktoberfest to grab beers and food! It was really fun and we hung out for quite awhile--the 10 beer tokens got us two beers, and the $10 for food was plenty. The Oktoberfest was really busy and crowded, but it was fun to experience.
Photos: Race photos were taken near the finish line, and a few at the start.
Results: I finished in 1:53:36, missing my PR (1:49:06) by quite a bit, but finishing under 2 hours by quite a bit. I was 5th out of 40 in my age group.
It's worth mentioning that a lot of runners' GPS devices said the course was about 1/4mi too long. The course was certified by USATF, so I feel like the burden is more on them than on Uberthons, but it's still a bummer for those who were close to qualifying for Boston Marathon or to a PR. The half marathon course was spot on though. Although my personal run wasn't great, I liked the event overall. It was a little far away, but the goodies were worth it! I'm really looking forward to seeing where The Oregon Marathon and Half will take place in 2015.