For those of you who don't want to read a slightly lengthy race recap:
Official time: 42:13 (6:48/mi pace) (5 second PR)
Place: 44/2,466 (8/126 in age group)
I heard about this race before I moved to Portland, and was told that I should run it because a, it ends with beer, and b, it's the only race here to go over a freeway bridge. I never signed up for 2012 and 2013, and so I signed up for the 2014 race. I signed up in January, and as luck would have it, my doctor put me on the GF diet a month later. I have to admit, I wondered why I signed up for this race if I wouldn't be able to enjoy those post-race brews. But in the end, it is (or in theory, should be) about the running and not the beer. Right?
Packet pick-up was at one of the Foot Traffic locations (for those of you outside of Portland, Foot Traffic is one of the specialty running shops here, and the one where I typically buy my running shoes), and it was a breeze. No joke, I was in and out of there in about five minutes.
After running to the start (and showing up about half an hour early), I met up with some of the other Frontrunners who were racing, and posed for a pre-race photo. I discovered that they were also offering post-race cider and wine, so my fears about not being able to enjoy post-race booze were squashed. We hung around for a bit, and made our way to the start. They did a staggered start based on anticipated pace. Unfortunately, due to the crowds, I couldn't make my way up to the 8:00 or faster wave for their start. However, I was able to get to the front of the 8:01-10:00 wave, so I didn't end up getting bottlenecked at the start. I wasn't sure what to expect from this, as I don't normally do 10Ks. (The last one I did was Pints to Pasta in 2012.) My ultimate goal for 10K is to break 40 minutes, but really, a simple PR would've made me happy.
During the first mile, two people passed me, but I passed a bunch of runners who started in the 8:00 or faster wave. I focused on running the tangents, and my watch beeped right at the mile 1 marker (split: 6:58). We made our way up and over the Fremont Bridge (super cool to run on a freeway overpass and get a spectacular view of the city). Some people stopped to get photos, but they were courteous and moved all the way over to the edge. I continued to pass people, including one who also decided to wear the Portland Marathon '09 shirt. (I had mine on, and decided to say, "Nice shirt!" as I passed her. She appreciated it.) My split for mile 2 was 6:44, which was a good confidence booster. Mile 3 brought us on a windy route through the Pearl and NW Portland. Generally flat; nothing too noteworthy to report (aside from passing one of the guys who passed me during mile 1). My split was 6:35, which convinced me that a PR was within reach.
During mile 4, I saw my friend Daniel, and got a couple side-fives from other runners making their way to the turnaround point. I also passed the other guy who passed me during mile 1. Remained on pace for a PR. During mile 5, we headed up the Broadway Bridge to go back to the east side. I always hate that hill on my training runs, and worried that it would ruin my chances of setting a PR. However, I kept passing people, and my mile 5 split was still faster than my PR pace. I just kept trucking along to make my way to the finish line, and was still feeling good (okay, I was ready to be done running, but I was still passing people). There was a small hill just before mile 6, and my first thought was, "You've got to be kidding me" (it reminded me of Mt. Roosevelt in the Chicago Marathon). After I hit the mile 6 marker, I noticed that I had about 1.5 minutes to go in order to PR. I just told myself to keep pushing. As I rounded the last turn and saw the finish line, I noticed that I had about 10 seconds before my PR chances were lost, and gunned it. And then I made it with 5 seconds to spare.
A couple minutes later, I saw Daniel (who had also PRed), and eventually, we reunited with the rest of the Frontrunners we saw before the race. We also saw Mark W. and my friend Jeff, which was a great surprise, as I had no idea either of them were running this race. We posed for post-race photos, got our awesome stainless steel beer/cider/wine cups, and got some free booze (I did wine, the rest of them did beer). I went to the results tent to see if they had the official results posted, and was shocked when I saw my name on the first page of race results. I think I got more of a rush from that than from setting a new PR. (Side note: My previous PR was from the 2012 P2P 10K, which is primarily downhill.)
Overall, I think this race was well-organized. Packet pick-up was so easy, and the staggered start was a nice way to ease congestion. The only thing that annoyed me was having to hang around the muddy park, because my PF3s got so muddy that I had to throw them in the washing machine when I got home. (Okay, maybe "had to" is an exaggeration. But there was no way they were going back in my closet dirty like that.) I also appreciated the fax that while the beer line had 50+ people, the wine line only had about five. I know having to wait in an obscenely long line for post-race beer frustrated some people, so maybe it'd help if they had an additional beer tent? Either way. Am I glad I ran this race? Yes. Would I run this race again? I think so.