Portland Downhill Dash (10K)

Date: 10/09/11

Distance: 10K (6.2 miles)

Time: 57:43 (PR!)

Another fun weekend with my Portland marathon buddies! For the third year in a row, a small contingency of the Bozeman Hawks class of ’86, and one adopted member, met up in Portland for some catching up time.

Jen was the most ambitious of the group and ran the full marathon; Todd, Anne, Angie, and Suze completed the half marathon, and I chose to complete the inaugural 10K Downhill Dash.

The Downhill Dash was a blast. The course covered the last 6.2 miles of the full marathon course and the conditions must have been in my favor–cool weather and a light rain or mist, along with a mostly downhill course allowed me to run my fastest 10K so far. I was just hoping for a sub-one hour time and met that goal by over two minutes.

After I picked up my race medal, received my post-race space blanket, and grazed my way through the amazingly well-

stocked food tables, I walked against the stream of racers to find the half-marathon crew. At about 2.5 miles in, I saw Anne. She was doing great and finished first among the half crew. At about 3 miles in, I saw Todd and Angie. They both had big smiles on their faces and were walking much faster than I had expected them to be. They were doing great.

With about one mile left, Todd decided to run and crossed the finish line next. I left the course with just a couple of blocks from the finish and Angie triumphantly completed her first half marathon. Suze crossed soon after that–also completing her first half marathon. I was so proud of both of them! Jen finished not too long after the walkers–and had a great, 4:27 time. Amazing.

The weekend was emotional–we were happy to spend time together and celebrate our continued friendships. The past few years have presented us all with a variety of emotional and physical challenges and I’m very thankful for the friendship and support of my Portland group. We spent the weekend, as usual, talking about the good and the bad that life brings.

Over the weekend we hatched possible future race plans–all running next year’s Portland half with daughters or nieces, all running Bloomsday in Spokane, or all running among the redwoods in California. Whatever we decide, one thing is certain: we all look forward to our annual get together, wherever that may be.

About the Portland Marathon:

Ranked as one of the best first time marathons (I would agree–it’s very well-organized and the course is great).

Best food at the end in terms of variety and abundance. Where most races will have a few items at the finish–the standard juice, bananas, bagels–Portland offers much more. I remember seeing several different types of yogurt, nuts, donuts, cheese sticks, chips, cookies, licorice, candy bars, and more. Oh, and along the course, you’ll also get Gummy Bears at some of the many well-placed drink stations.

Two shirts. By running the full or the half, you will receive a shirt in your goodie bag as well as a finishers’ shirt. And I love the finishers’ shirts–long-sleeved, nicely designed, and a great tech material. I didn’t get one this year since I only ran the 10K and was bummed.

Great crowd support. Even in the rain, the course is lined with lots of people cheering the runners.

Bridges. If you like running across bridges, you’ll get that in Portland’s full and 10K races.

Different Distances: Racers can complete the full marathon, which has been offered for the past forty years, the half marathon, which has been offered for the past two years, the 10K family walk (don’t know how long that’s been offered), and the 10K race–new this year.

Live Music. Portland has included live bands along the race course long before Rock and Roll marathons gained popularity. Even when it’s raining, the bands are out there, playing their hearts out.

Rain. Did you hear that it rains a lot in Portland? It’s true. When you plan to race in Portland, plan to run in the rain. Two of the three years I’ve run there, it’s rained. Just dress accordingly, put dry clothes in your gear bag for the end, and you’ll be fine.


3 responses to this post.

  1. I love you Gail. Thanks for this post. Congrats on an amazing run:)


  2. Posted by angie on October 11, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    love your new updated 10k personal record!! and I love YOU!


  3. Posted by Anne Graham on October 11, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    Gail, what a great post. It was wonderful to see you again, and I’m glad we’re talking about Bloomsday, so we can see everyone earlier than next October!


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