The inaugural Portland Rock and Roll Half Marathon is Sunday. Three days away! I am excited and that makes me incredibly happy. My attitude with respect to my running of late has not been positive. I believe this has nothing to do with the upcoming half marathon on Sunday and everything to do with the full Marathon in 3 weeks.
But whatever. Right now. At this moment. I’m excited to run a fun 13.1 miles with 13,000 of my closest friends.
The weather has been lovely here in the Pacific Northwest for over a week. Mother Nature is certainly messing with our minds because this is not normal. Of course the Rock and Roll Half is the kick-off event for the annual Rose Festival, and anyone who lives here will tell you no matter what, Rose Festival equals rain. So I don’t doubt the rain will return soon.
For now, however, the weather in Portland ROCKS!
Yesterday Blue Eyes and I walked the waterfront (both sides) for a couple of hours over lunch and I took great pleasure watching the event staff continue to set up stages for the various acts that will be playing at Waterfront Park. So excited.
What makes this race especially exciting is that it is not the normal half marathon course that Portland events love to utilize. Our city is lovingly divided by the Willamette River. You either live and/or work on the East Side or you live and/or work on the West Side. Both sides are unique but I’ve found in the 20+ years I’ve lived here that many west side residents don’t make a point to go to the east side very often. Like they believe there is nothing of substance on the east side, except for possibly the Rose Garden and Convention Center.
I’ll admit I use to be one of those people. My ex-husband was raised in Lake Oswego (a west side suburb) and he had me convinced that any trip to the east side of Portland (and this included the east side suburbs) would be met with hooligans, dirty streets, an excess of homeless and danger around every corner. This is no lie.
Once I divorced him I expanded my personal knowledge and dared to cross a bridge. What I found was not what he described. What I found was pretty cool and amazing. Some of the oldest and coolest neighborhoods of Portland are on the east side. Laurelhurst, Ladds Addition, Eastmoreland, Mt. Tabor, Alameda, Woodstock, I could go on and on. Amazing, beautiful, eclectic and so Portland.
Most running events, in Portland, no matter what distance, start and end on the west side. Tom McCall Waterfront Park is usually the backdrop for the start and finish line. The regular route will generally run you through downtown, out into the industrial area a little north of downtown and, depending on the distance up and down Terwilliger (the mother of all hill training, I swear!)
They are nice routes, don’t get me wrong. I do love this city. But it’s so easy to get bored with it. How many times must I run up and down Terwilliger before they choose something else to challenge me with?
Enter the Rock and Roll Half! While they will start at the park on the waterfront and run us down Naito Parkway they are shooting us over the Hawthorne Bridge to run the majority of the race on the east side. All but two miles are on the east side!
For everything negative I’ve heard about Rock and Roll events I have no choice but to give them props for doing something different, stepping outside of the race route box and showcasing the beauty of the east side of Portland.
I am excited!
Not only that, my training this week has been wonderful in a new and different way. I decided to push myself a little differently and see what the outcome was. The outcome has been positive and I have maintained an average pace over a minute and a half quicker than my usual pace.
Under normal circumstances I’d expect to snag a great PR based on my training this week, but since I have friends that will be all along the course that I will be high fiving and taking pictures with, I am throwing that expectation away.
All I want out of this run is to enjoy every moment with 13,000 of my closest friends.
Wishing you the best of weekends!
Have fun and enjoy!