Monday, May 25, 2015

Time to change that bucket list - Rock n Roll Portland 2015

There's something to be said about setting goals. We started racing in 2005 because of a bucket list item. That was supposed to be a one-and-done. We had so much fun we set the next goal to 50 races by age 50 and we passed that years ahead of schedule. Now, ten years later, we're crossing the finish line at our 100th race at the half/full/ultra distance.

We've been to Rock n Roll Portland every one of the four years of the race and it's the oldest race where we have legacy status. It's a great location for us and logistics are well set up for a quick trip in and out from Oakland. The mid-May date puts it near the peak of our training season so it's also a pretty fast one for us.

That's in an ideal world. 

Stop number 7 on the tour. It's still cool to see the Hall of Fame banner!

We flew in early enough on Friday to hit the expo before most people showed up. The best part about doing that is not only to hit the vendors for any forgotten essentials, but also to catch up with friends and the CGI staff. First stop in merch, of course. I'm still bummed that we're now missing two luggage tags for 2015. Note to Brooks: I'd pay whatever you asked and wouldn't even look at the price tag!

With Kevin, Darlene, Joe and Jen
One of the bright spots of the weekend was hearing that Beth Deloria was ready to race again after surgery. She was still on the fence on if she would do the 10K or the half, but just seeing her face light up with anticipation was awesome. 

Toyota had a selfie-car set up. This is a rare picture where Jim has hair and Kevin is smiling.
We were on hand for a really nice moment with TeamUp captain Darren presented at running leg to Erica, a recent amputee who was running on Sunday. Local CBS affiliates were on hand to broadcast.

CGI listened to the past participants regarding the forced stops to let local traffic through. This year, the instituted the 'bus box' diversion method in several places.

We were staying with Wendy about 30 minutes from downtown Portland, so we weren't able to spend a lot of time with folks in the city this weekend. We did some shopping and by the time we were done shuttling Al and Sherry from the airport to their hotels, we had just enough time to grab dinner in Gersham before heading to bed. 

Beth decided to go for the half marathon. She said her recovery was sped along by all the good wishes and getting back to see all of us RNR Gypsies was a motivation. Hugs flowed freely.

Ron, Kevin, Blowfish Jim, Gary, Al, Beth, Joe and Susan. Ready to Rock another race.
Something about our little group seems to send out signals so we know where to find each other. We saw Kamika for the first time in months after two world business trips. He dragged his friend Trevor into racing with us.

Two years ago, Jim found a puppy friend. They were reunited with another friend as Darren took care of them pre-race.

In 2013, Jake Zeman passed away at the finish line at Rock n Roll Savannah. Joe was the most recent in a series of runners who wore Jake's race bib in his memory. The rest of us donned bibs to honor him and Team Trust, a charity set up to help his son pay for college.

Just like in Nashville, Michelle, Ted and Sherry found us at the starting line without a single text or call or email. Granted this was a smaller race and fewer ways to get to the start, but it's cool that we always seem to magnetize to each other.

Let's not discuss the fact that this is the start of the 10K, not the half (as a kind spectator pointed out to us about 3 minutes after we were supposed to start... quick quarter mile hoof north to the half start!).

The bus boxes working really well. As far as I heard, no one had to be stopped to let traffic through. Some of the elites were stopped because of a train crossing, but from what I hear about downtown Portland, that kind of this is a lot harder to control so people tend to just roll with it. Not the best of conditions if it's in the middle of a race, but I've learned to look at RNR Portland less as a half marathon, but as a 10K and a few 5K with breaks. At least I got a picture of one of my favorite signs this year.

Susan was able to catch a picture of the new Double Agent shirts for those who've qualified for both Half Fanatics and Marathon Maniacs. Technically, we're in that classification, but we may have let our MM dues expire. The shirts look pretty cool, so we may have to get around to renewing.

Beth ended up finishing her 'welcome back' race in the mid 2:10's. We were worried a few months ago that surgery might leave her unable to walk, much less run. She's the embodiment of her cause Get Back Up Today. Darren and the inflata-puppies greeted her with great enthusiasm.

This was our 7th Rock n Roll of the year, earning us the Stairway to Seven Heavy medal  Having done RNR Arizona, Kevin (with bacon) is still a race ahead of us on the RNR Heavy Medal count. The 8-track medal will be our next in San Diego. I'm already working out my neck muscles to carry that monster.

We saw a number of our friends picking up the 7 and 8 race medals. Four people picked up the 9 in Portland. With San Diego and Seattle left in the front half of the year, we should see quite a few of the Gold Record 10 race medals soon. Thanks to Ryan Davis (below) who sustained an injury while handling the hardware. Way to take one for the team!

Susan had gotten in an extra women's half marathon race, so our 100th race milestones weren't lined up until I did the Brazen Half over Valentine's Day this year. But every race we've done has been special. And 95 of them, we've been together.

Race #1: Mayor's Midnight Sun Marathon, Anchorage June 2005

10: Maui Half Marathon: 2007 / Bar Harbor Full Marathon 2007

25:  Pacing the Nike Women's Full Marathon 2010 / Scottsdale Women's Half Marathon 2010

50: RNR Arizona Half 2013 / RNR St. Petersburg Half 2013

75: RNR Raleigh Half 2014 / RNR Dallas Half 2014

100: RNR Portland Half 2015. Thanks to Joe for the celebratory 100th race card!

When I crossed the line in Anchorage 10 years ago, I told myself I wasn't just finishing a race, I was finishing my FIRST race. Susan followed me on the marathoning path on a lark. Ten years, 100 races later, we're still at it and we have no plans to slow down.

Time to update that bucket list item. 200 anyone?


Rock n Roll Portland is in its 4th year. Participation is down by about 1000 overall from 2014 (7,878 total with 2,016 in the new 10K, 5,862 in the Half).  Median finish times were about average for RNR races (1:07 for the 10K and 2:17 for the half). Race day weather was in the mid 50's with a thick overcast. Rain held off for the most part, but we did get sprinkled on a bit.  Overall elevation gain for the race was 411 feet which makes it actually less hilly than 2014 (682 feet, if you believe my Garmin data). The start/finish area in Waterfront Park is really well organized and close to a lot of downtown parking and light rail. If you can't find a place to stay in downtown, public transportation is really good. Since we've been there 4 times, we didn't hit a lot of the local curiosities like VooDoo Donuts. We got our fill in Denver last year!

Next week in San Diego, most of the die hard Rock n Roll Gypsies should be in attendance. We've started looking at lifetime race totals for RNR weekends since we haven't figured out if we should be counting 5k and 10k Remix races as separate events and we're still on the fence about the Brooklyn 10K since that was the only distance offered that year. We're pretty sure we've identified 9 people with more than 60 Rock n Roll races under their belts.  All of them will be in San Diego. Maybe we can get an update when we run into each other at the starting line again.

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