Packet pickup was the day before the race at Foot Traffic on 2nd Avenue and Yamhill. Morgan (on the left) had arranged for us to do this event as a team as we were looking for an SYA February event. She found me inside and said, "Oh, we're next door having a beer." That pretty much set the tone for this 12K, and not just for Morgan and me but Adam and Theresa on their own separate adventure as well. None of us really accepted we were running a race until we were standing at the starting line Sunday morning.
Not that we went hogwild Saturday. No, just a few beers and lots of wings at Pok Pok (just saying "wings" and "Pok Pok" makes my mouth water. I'm not even hungry and I still have a Pavlovian reaction). But to quote Morgan, "Did you think I'm racing tomorrow? I'm not - I'm running."
That's how we all felt. The 12K/SYA race would basically be a timed training run for us. Training races are brilliant and should be included, in my own humble opinion, in all training plans. They stave off boredom and stir up those competitive feelings that drive you at the starting line, even if you're only competing with yourself. When I finish a race of any length, motivation is greatly increased, even if it's driven by not wanting a repeat of the race experience I just had.
We parked under the Hawthorne bridge on the east side and walked across. Note to runners - parking on the east side is the way to go for downtown races. You don't pay, you don't have to worry about post race traffic (although in the case of the Fanconi/Anemia race, there wasn't any), and it's a short distance across the river.
At the start line, there was a person holding up a 12K sign, a few paces behind an 8K sign, and further back the 5K for runners and walkers.
I couldn't say how many people ran/walked, although the 12K was by far the smallest number. I would guess about 1000. Our teammate Theresa checked out the competition. She's the gal who won her first marathon. And came in third at the last Fueled by Fine Wine 1/2 marathon. Folks, have you run that race? It's brilliant, and outside of my marathons the most difficult race I've ever run. Needless to say, we weren't planning on running withTheresa.
The buzzer sounded and the race began at a good pace. We ran down the esplanade towards the condos and the Old Spaghetti factory. Morgan, Adam and I chatted and kept our pace right around 7:45. People scooted past us and, after we hit the 2nd mile marker, we scooted past them. The paths, while narrow, worked well for a race of this size. Volunteers were plentiful and in appropriate positions on this somewhat circuitous route. If you've run the Eastside/Westside esplanade loop (Springwater starting by OMSI, up over Sellwood bridge, west side taking paths through industrial area into Willamette Park and then through the condos) then you know this route.
Again, let me comment on this stunningly mild February weather.
See the two in brown up ahead? Adam and Morgan.
And also let me comment on these photographs. I ran with my old camera in my hand instead of a water bottle for the duration of the race (oh, the things I do for you, WPE!). Needless to say, picture angle and lighting were not foremost in my mind when I took these quickie shots. My apologies.
Normally, I'm not a big fan of out-and-back races. Regardless of the scenery in the back of my mind I'm thinking, "I have to do this AGAIN." Perhaps it was my familiarity with the course, or the distance which I quite liked, but the out-and-back didn't bother me much this time.
We turned around at Willamette Park and headed back. There had been a bit of crossover between the 12K and other races prior to the turn-around, mostly with the fast 8K runners. Running back into town we now encountered The Walkers.
Let's talk about The Walkers. Not everyone is a runner (I know - shocking!). Walking is a much more accessible avenue for charity events. So many people are able to take part who wouldn't otherwise if the event was only for runners. Their entry $$ help pay for all the waivers and permits needed for the race, just like mine do. And it would be ridiculous for an event dedicated to health not to have an event for people perhaps not healthy enough to run.
All things I told myself as I dodged walkers at the end of my run. Whenever I run a race/walk combined, the above paragraph is my mantra, which I hope will someday replace the much-less evolved other voice in my head going, "GET OUT OF MY WAY!!!"
That said, the dodging at the Fanconi Anemia run was not nearly as bad as it has been at other run/walks (ex. ANY Shamrock run). Plenty of room, a level of awareness about the other people on the course. Enough said on that subject.
We finished back where we started under the Morrison Bridge. Morgan, myself, Adam. Theresa cheered us on from sidelines. She came in second for women, fourth overall. Did I mention she was at my house recovering from having her wisdom teeth out last weekend and this is the first time she's run in a week? Even if I'm not fast, I like having fast friends.