Friday, March 7, 2014

First Thursday - March 6, 2014

The kick-off of the 2014 running season in Portland is officially underway!  Last night was the first First Thursday event through Fit Right (FR).  This scavenger hunt through NW Portland brings together runners and walkers and sets them loose on the streets.  Arrive to find cars parked everywhere bearing those familiar oval stickers with 13.1, 26.2 or even specific race stickers (Rock 'n Roll Portland was a popular one) and runners milling around wearing varying shades of neon colors.

Marilyn and I are sporting our New Balance High-Visibility Neon Jackets

At 6pm on the nose, the MAP is released on Facebook and on a large white-board.  Runners jockey for positions to get close enough to take a photo and then we're off - typically scattering in all directions clustered in small groups.

The map reveal!

 Stopped for a sample of frozen yogurt from Twist before grabbing our raffle tickets!
Each group will have one or two navigators, some with the photo on their smartphones, some with the intersections jotted down on a scrap of paper, some with maps they preprinted and brought with them and then marked with the stops.  The idea is to run to as many of the stops as you can and collect a raffle ticket from each one. The raffle starts at 7pm so you need to back at the starting location and have your raffle tickets organized and 1/2 put into the large ticket bins before it starts.  Each month has different vendors at the event and most of them put something into the raffle as well as a few of the stores we visit along the scavenger hunt.  FR always has a few things to raffle off and/or throw into the audience (a big favorite is socks! this event had lots of beer cozies and a few t-shirts).  You can earn additional raffle tickets by purchasing an event t-shirt at the beginning of the season (this year its a super-soft blue short sleeved t-shirt - you can see the back of it in the map photo).  So, mark your calendars and join the crowd for the First Thursday from March-September with Fit Right!

Apparel Review:  This was my first run in the New Balance High-Visibility Neon Jacket.  Marilyn and I were visible, but I think it was more because of the neon color and reflective striping on the jacket as opposed to our "tiger stripes" of glow in the dark areas.  The visibility is designed in three stages (low light is the coral color, oncoming light are the reflective strips and no-light is the glow in the dark accents).  We didn't get the opportunity to test the glow in the dark sections - they probably work great if you're running in pitch black but we were in the downtown area and there is plenty of ambient light from streetlamps and stores.  The jacket is super stretchy which I love.  It doesn't breathe very well if you tend to run hot, but I was fine for our ~3 mile run with stops.  It has two front pockets with zippers, which held my iPhone as we ran tonight (would bounce around a bit too much on a serious run through).  Nice long length, and it dips down in the back to cover your bum - a feature I always love.  Sleeves are a bit long, which would be great if they have thumb-holes, but sadly they do not.  The price tag is a bit steep - $175 but both Marilyn and I were able to snag ours on the clearance rack at our LRR (Local Running Retailer) for 50% off.  Am I happy I purchased it?  Yes.  Would I pay full price for it? No. In summary, it's a gimmicky jacket, but still cute and wearable for runs.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

My Muddy Valentine 5K - Race Recap

My Muddy Valentine 5K

February 15, 2014

WHAT FUN!!!!  OMG - I LOVE mud runs!!!!
Okay, anyone that knows me knows that being dirty is completely out of character for me.  Perhaps that's why I had such a great time getting muddy!?!?!?

Let's back up to the beginning of the day.  We started off by running with Foot Traffic University for a nice 5 mile run.  Then hit the annual RaceCenter expo, where we signed up for a few races!!!  Then off to Tualatin to find Lee Farms - the location of My Muddy Valentine.  Keep in mind, it's been raining all morning.  The race - which has waves of runners every half hour - started at 8am.  It's now 11:30am.  Did I say it's been raining?  It's actually been pouring most of the morning.  So, as we headed toward the start line and saw some runners milling around with just a little bit of mud on their shoes... well, I was a bit disappointed.  However, as our wave took off we quickly realized that hours of rain and thousands of feet had pounded the mud into deep rivets and pools of dirty water.  It was GREAT!!! This was an inaugural event... and thinking of doing a mud run in the middle of winter sounded crazy.  It was freezing.  It was VERY wet.  It was VERY dirty.  It was HECKA fun!!!! :D
The obstacles were all pretty easy - honestly, trudging through the long miles of mud was the most challenging part.  Sadly, someone was seriously hurt on the very first obstacle, right in front of us, so they closed that one.  It looked to be the most difficult one (over tall angled walls build out of OSB).  Many were just fun- like crossing a small ravine by walking sideways over two 2x4s or going down a slip-and-slide on your bum.  There was even a root beer option on the beer chug!  Yay!!! I was exhausted by the end but would've happily turned around and done it all again.    

Wished I read something like this:  What To Wear for Your Mud Run
But I didn't.  I knew enough that I wanted everything covered and to be wearing things that I didn't care about if they got ruined.  Black seemed appropriate.  Pigtails were fine but in retrospect might have been better braided or somehow tied up and out of the way.  Fortunately the headband covered most of my head and kept the wet and dirty hair out of my face.  The compression socks became very heavy but honestly I can't imagine what socks would not have.  We were drenched.  The only way to diminish that perhaps would be to wear a pair of running shoes with GoreTex but those are my spendiest shoes and instead I went with my oldest pair.  I was surprised at how much dirt actually permeated through my running tights.

There were hot showers at the finish line but you had to have pre-paid $5 for them.  I didn't see any other options to rinse off.  We did duck inside the tents to use the changing rooms (like a locker room, don't look up).  That all went well with the exception of me packing a pair of white socks.  So... note to self (and you!)... pack clothes that you don't care about for AFTER the run, too.  Even if you do get a shower, chances are you may miss some areas and/or you'll still be dragging yourself through dirt to get to your car.  We had taken a shuttle bus and I feel bad for whoever has to clean them!  Every seat was crusted with mud. 

See advertising for an upcoming mud run?  Don't even hesitate.  DO IT!