Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon #7, Half Marathon #9 of 2012: PORTLAND, OREGON
Thursday, May 17th:
I left the Greensboro airport around 10am to begin a long day of flying. The only flight I could get that was remotely reasonable was a 3-leg deal: Greenboro to Charlotte, Charlotte to Phoenix and Phoenix to Portland. Not a lot of fun changing planes but at least it gives you an opportunity to get out and walk around a bit between flights. Made it to Portland at 8:00 pm local time (was now 11pm for me!) but had the wonderful gift from a friend waiting for me at the airport: a loaner car for the week! My bags were the first off the plane and I made it from landing to car in less than 15 minutes--sweet! One of my best friends from high school (and now), Christian Vansteen Buccholz, lives in Portland with her husband and 3 daughters. She left the car for me as long as I promised to meet her in downtown Portland upon arrival... she's sneaky that way!
Luckily she picked a spot just a few blocks from my hotel, so I checked in and somehow resisted the gravitational pull of the sweet king-size bed calling my name. I popped back out and found my bearings, then began the short walk in the Portland twilight.
|The view from in front of my hotel, The Vintage Plaza, in downtown Portland. This photo was taken around 8:45 pm.|
I had a great time with Christian last night but had to beg out after about an hour or so with her... I was so tired and I had a long weekend ahead of me still. I had hoped to sleep in today but my internal clock was still set on East Coast and I popped up bright and early, around 4:30 am! I did a bit of work on my computer to kill a few hours then to Peets Coffee around the corner for a cup of bold roast and newspaper. What can I say, old habits die hard!
Next Jim and I decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and went for a run along the Willamette River. Here are a few sights along the way:
|Heading North from the riverfront area.|
|Everywhere you look you'll see water, trees, bridges and people out enjoying them all.|
|Just one of 7 bridges I counted from my vantage point... on this run I ran across 2 of them.|
|A leisurely pace for sure!!|
|I think this bridge is called Steel Bridge. I may be making this up. But really, there is supposedly a bridge by this name in the area so I'm saying it's this one.|
|Another view looking back West to downtown.|
|OK, Maybe this one is steel bridge? Either way, a beautiful view on a clear day in Portland.|
|I've heard of the Oregon Ducks, but Oregon Geese?|
|I couldn't resist stopping and watching these cute little guys.|
|This sign looked so cool coming in from the airport last night... it is adorned with lights that make it shine like a Christmas decoration. Just to the right of the sign is the area of Portland they call Old Town.|
|Christian, discovering that they had her name in registration so she may just have to go through with the run.|
|The beautiful Buccholz girls!|
|Game on!! This was the Skeeball competition set up in the Brooks venue at the expo...the first person to 26.2 miles wins!|
|Harper volunteers at the Brooks exhibit to run across the "magic potion"... she's a rockstar!|
|A relatively new upscale pizza restaurant, Oven & Shaker.|
|the menu. We ordered a few small pizzas and a salad to share...yummy!|
|So many flavors to try... I got 3 tasting spoons before settling on the Coffee with Cocoa Nibs.|
|Salt & Straw is located in an area called "Trendy 23rd", a few blocks worth of cool shops, boutiques and eateries.|
|I never got to try one of these but Christian and her family LOVE this place... a food truck that sells grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.|
|The menu at PBJ's.|
After eating and walking along 23rd street I was off to meet Jim, who still needed to check into the Expo after working with his local distributors all day. While Jim was getting his gear I noticed a man wearing one of Allard's braces and stopped to get his story. As it turns out, Darren is an incredible athlete who had a life-altering surgery a few years ago. Here is a link to what I eventually discovered about him:
|Another athlete with footdrop! Darren Smith with his son at the race Expo. Darren is a seasoned triathlete and is running the Half tomorrow in support of CAF, the Challenged Athletes Foundation: http://www.challengedathletes.org/site/c.4nJHJQPqEiKUE/b.6449023/k.BD6D/Home.htm|
A beautiful sunset to end the long and eventful day.
Saturday, May 19th:
I slept in as long as I could then Jim and I went out for an "exploring run" through downtown. I was told I had an opportunity to meet with a TV reporter between 10am and noon, somewhere near the starting line area, and so I wanted to remain in the vicinity. Also, Carl Brance and his wife Ashley were driving in from Eugene to meet us for lunch after the interview. Here are a few of the Saturday morning sights:
|One end of the Alley served crepes and coffee, the other end was...|
|There was a line around the block for this place... we opted out on this trip!|
|A bronze statue of the Green Man of Portland.|
|For the record, I was never struck by the archer's arrow and so I never saw the Greenwood.|
|Along the riverfront, where I was to meet the reporter, we found a local tradition: Saturday Market. Tent after tent of local food, arts and crafts and music... really a fun discovery!|
|More Saturday Market.|
|Getting out the Get Back Up message!|
|Perfect timing! Carl Brance, right, met us just as the interview was getting underway.|
After the interview Carl, Ashley, Jim and I went to lunch to catch up on everything that had happened since we all saw each other a year ago in Sweden. At that time I was not yet working for Allard but instead was a guest of theirs, invited there to share my story at their world HQ. Carl presented his story for the crowd as well, and we both laughed when we reminisced about tearing up in our presentations. We both forget sometimes how challenging our journeys have been now that we have successfully found our way "back up".
After our lunch visit together, we made plans to meet the next morning for the race then Jim and I found our way to Kells pub to watch the soccer match... the Champions League final between Chelsea and Bayern Munich. Every pub in Old Town was packed with spectators so we had standing room only for what turned out to be a very exciting match.
|Kells' Pub for European football.|
|By mid afternoon the crowds were rolling in!|
We were all surprised by the early morning drizzle, the forecast had been calling for clear skies until later in the day. The rain, although not ideal for spectators, was actually perfect for runners. Temps were in the upper 50's to mid 60's for the day, with precipitation going from mist to drizzle to pouring rain by race's end.
|Carl and Ashley came out to support us before we started the race.|
|A brief moment in the sun: Carl, Ashley, Jim, Christian and her husband, Mark in the VIP tent before the start.|
|A view from the inside of a very roomy and spotless Porta Potty, or as the name on the front indicates, Honey Bucket. Trust me, this is a perk over the facilities at any other race!!|
|Our private facilities, complete with a toiletries table with fresh flowers!|
|The VIP tent with the finish line area in the background.|
WE DID IT!!
|Here's Christian, in her Sweaty Band without a hair out of place. She finished in just over 2 hours after 5 tennis matches in 3 days... she's a Rock Star! The hot plate of food in front of her did not last long!|
|Myself, Mark and Christian sporting our Portland medals.|
|Carl and Ashley braving the weather to cheer us on and spread the Get Back Up Message!|
|Here is Carl, hoping to catch a glimpse of Darren Smith crossing the finish line.|
|Darren finished and celebrates in the VIP tent! Carl brought 2 liners for him to try and they got to share their experiences with foot drop and the Blue Rocker brace.|
|Big food and fun before the game... the Buccholz' are sporting their Timbers Army scarves.|
|Christian and I in front of the stadium.|
|The crowds pour in...|
|The match is on!!|
|The fans are amazing at every one of these sellout matches... no sitting for the Timbers Army!|
|A view from our seats|
|The scoreboard with the game underway beneath it.|
|Jim with Timber Joey (I think!)... a slice of log is cut every time the Timbers score a goal... which in this case was the first time in a month! The Timbers beat Chicago 1-0.|
|Back to the hotel after a long day of running and soccer.|
Goodbye for now to my best friend Christian, and to 3 of her best friends... I will miss you all!
|At home with Christian and her beautiful family before I head back East.|