Monday, January 5, 2015

First Run 2015

As is now tradition, I rung in the New Year by running the First Run 5k at midnight, and setting a shiny new PR! (2014, 2013 recaps.) 

We started the evening by waiting until 8 pm when TriMet was free, to head into downtown to attend a party at my SIL's, where we enjoyed wassail and I lost spectacularly at Wii disc golf (sort of like I do at real life disc golf). 

About an hour before the race we jogged over to the race start - just about a mile away; counted for my last December run streak mile and a warm-up for the race. The room with the check-in looked crowded, but the line moved fairly quickly. One thing they did this year that I haven't seen at races before: instead of assigning you a number, you just get a confirmation code (sent to you via email); when you arrive, they simply scan the barcode on your confirmation, scan a barcode on the bib that's next in the stack, and that associates the bib with you. The t-shirts this year were tech shirts, which would have been nice (though I do like the comfy long-sleeve tee from the last couple years, I have enough of them now), but they ran really large. I didn't realize until after the fact, so I don't know if they would have allowed exchanges or not, but it's kind of a bummer.

It was definitely chilly out while waiting (unseasonably cold for here, for any time of year, really) (last year it was 43°), but not too bad at all once we got moving. I basically wore the same stuff as I did for the Seattle Half, which was roughly the same temps, but since it was a shorter - i.e., faster - race, I was bordering on being too warm by the end.

The course is a loop along the waterfront, starting at the World Trade Center then immediately crossing Naito to the path, crossing the Steel Bridge, back down along the eastbank esplanade, back across the Hawthorne Bridge, and a little loop in the grass to add up to the full distance before returning to the finish line on Salmon St. It's a really nice, flat course, with just some minimal inclines up/down from the bridges. Biggest downside is that parts are a little narrow (especially on the bridges) which can make passing, or staying out of the way to be passed, difficult; plus the course isn't closed to the public, so there are are some NYE revelers along the way (but they mostly move the side and just wish you a happy new year!).

Abe started the race with me (he wasn't going for a specific time, but just thought it'd be fun to pass a bunch of people at the end); we leap frogged for a while before he went ahead, maybe halfway through. The first mile was really crowded, for a variety of reasons. Some of this couldn't be helped, as it's merging from the street (for just the first block) onto a narrower park path (which is also open to the public). But they also didn't make any announcements that I recall for slower runners and walkers to line up in the back, or to stay to the right (and to not walk 3+ people side by side) to allow others to pass you. As somewhat of a novelty race, it understandably (and awesomely) attracts a lot of beginners and walkers (proof: I finished in the top third) - but those beginners don't necessarily know race etiquette, and it really wouldn't hurt to give a reminder at the start of the race.

The second mile I hit my stride; the crowd thinned enough to pass people occasionally. By the third mile I was running out of energy, and couldn't keep up quite as fast a pace as I would have liked. Official time: 31:52, for a new 5k PR by 100 seconds! Still not to my sub-30 goal (which I didn't think I was quite ready to hit), but getting closer. Though I don't count a PR as "real" unless it's at a race, I might nonetheless try for an unofficial sub-30 5k before my birthday in a few weeks.

Mile 1: 10:47
Mile 2: 10:04
Mile 3: 10:33
Mile 3.1: 9:10 (0:31 time for 0.06)


  1. Way to go on the new PR! You're so close to your sub-30 goal, you'll definitely hit that one this year!

    1. Thanks! It feels so close yet so far away... :)


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