#RockNBlog // Portland Expectations


Hello friends!  The hubby and I will be in Portland, Oregon, USA very soon!  As such, I wanted to write out some of my upcoming expectations for the city and the race!


From everything I’ve read, Portland is a friendly city, with a love for nature and coffee (and beer).  There are lots of parks, and trails, and waterfronts to explore!  I’ve been told that on clear days, Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens dominate the horizon!  Portland is known as the “City of Roses” with many rose gardens throughout the city.  And food trucks are known to help contribute to the unofficial slogan “Keep Portland Weird.”  Interesting…. Below is a list of places to see and things to do that are on our short list for the long weekend:

  • Portland Saturday Market
  • Powell’s City of Books
  • Oregon Zoo
  • Voodoo Doughnut
  • Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)
  • International Rose Test Garden
  • Pioneer Square
  • Portland Aerial Tram
  • Columbia River George
  • Woodburn Outlet Mall


I’ve thought long and hard about my race expectations.  On the one hand…I want to put faith and confidence in my last 3-4 months of training…but on the other hand…I don’t know yet if my “side pain” is healed.  I’ve been playing it safe all week, and the only activity I have been doing is walking.  But I also know the course has some hills – the largest and steepest of which is near the beginning of the race, ~ mile 3.5 – 4.5.  The side pain only seems to return when I run hills…and during the Calgary Police Half, I didn’t get the pain until over halfway into the race, and it seemed to disappear in the last 30 minutes of running.  So, I’m going to lay out a “feeling really good” time…and a “feeling really bad” time…and hopefully there is no pain and I can finish strong!  I know this is not a PR course, so I need to remember that – and all of the following – and just enjoy myself!  1) I’ve never ran in Portland before, so I want to take it all in! 2) I’m on a mini-vacation with the hubby, and this is just one part of one day of exploring the city!  3) My hubby has been training REALLY hard, and I’m excited to be there and run the same course as him so I can understand and feel his triumphs after the race!

Goal A: 1 hours, 58 minutes. This is my stretch goal, a strong 9:00/mile pace.

Goal B: 2 hours, 2 minutes.  This is my realistic goal – a “more comfortable” 9:18/mile pace, allowing for some cushion on those hills!

Goal C: 2 hours, 6 minutes.  This is my “it’s not my best running day – but I just ran 13.1 miles” goal.  If I can maintain a solid 9:36/mile, then I can reach this!


Portland’s Waterfront Park. (Photo by Sam Churchill/flickr)

Portland’s Waterfront Park. (Photo by Sam Churchill/flickr)

I love writing this type of post, because even though I’ve never stepped foot in Portland, I feel like I can visualize the course in my head.  The course descriptions below are a compilation from various sources, such as the RnR official site, bloggers, and HalfMarathons.net.  I’m getting nervous/excited, so this gives me something to focus my energy on!  The descriptions below takes into account the changes made to the course for 2015 (or so I’ve read).  I hope this post finds all you runners feeling fantastic and ready to go on Sunday!  See you at the start line, and best of luck to you on race day earning your City of Roses title.

Course Description: Starts and finishes at Portland’s Tom McCall Waterfront Park, with long stretches along the Willamette River waterfront, and a run across a pair of bridges with gorgeous views of the city!

Mile 0-1 Starting in Tom McCall Waterfront Park, runners first head north along the Naito Parkway, along the riverfront.  .

Mile 1-2 Runners continue along Naito Parkway until they reach 9th Ave, then there is a small loop from Station Way to Broadway.

Mile 2-3 While on the return stretch of Broadway, runners then branch off to cross the Willamette River via the Broadway Bridge!  There appears to be a pretty steep exit off the bridge – ~80ft. incline in 0.1 miles.

Mile 3-4 Runners follow the exit ramp down and around to Interstate Avenue, which is a gentle decline to Mississippi Avenue.  At ~ mile 3.65, a large hill appears to loom ahead…all the way through 4.25 miles.

Mile 4-5 Runners crest the hill right before turning onto Beech Street, where the course flattens (or slightly declines) for the next few miles.

Mile 5-6 Mile 5 begins right as the runners pass beneath the Mt. Luther King Jr. Boulevard, and continues east along Fremont Street, and then south along 17th Avenue.

Mile 6-7 Still following 17th Avenue, then a little hop over to 21st Street.

Mile 7-8 The beginning of Mile 8 brings another generally uphill mile running along Pine Street to Firwood Lake and Laurelhurst Park.

Mile 9-10 This section looks to be fairly even, taking 37th Avenue south to Hawthorne Boulevard.

Mile 10-11 Relief at last, as this mile is nearly all downhill (from 172 ft elevation down to 45 ft) along Hawthorne Boulevard.

Mile 11-12 This section seems to be small rolling hills, traveling south to Division Street, where it turns West and then North back up to Hawthorne.

Mile 12-13 Just after the 12 mile marker, runners turn onto Hawthorne Boulevard and run downhill and East over the Hawthorne Bridge.  There is a slight ramp at the end of the bridge, looping us back around to greet Mile 13 back on Naito Parkway.

Mile 13.1 (or 13.23 as many sites note).  The final stretch is downhill and leads back along Tom McCall Waterfront Park!

ENTERTAINMENT:  Oh yah…and I can’t forget the fabulous-ness that is the Rock’n’Roll series!!!  There will be bands stationed along the course to keep our spirits high and our legs moving fast!  There will also be a Spirit Competition between the local high school cheer squads.

WATER STATIONS/COURSE SUPPORT:  There are 8 water stations along the half marathon course at miles: 1.8, 3.4, 4.9, 6.4, 7.9, 9.5, 11.1, and 12.2.  Gatorade (Lemon-Lime) will be served at alternate stations beginning at station #2.  GU gels – Vanilla Bean, Salted Watermelon, and Strawberry Banana flavors – are also offered at station #5.  Porta-potties will be located at every support station.  There are also 7 medical stations on course, approximately every 2 miles.

WAVE START:  Due to the high number of participants, runners are assigned a bib number and corral based on projected finish times.  The hubby and I are in Corral 4.  Corrals are released every 1-2 minutes to help with the flow.

EXPO:  The Expo is held for two days – Friday, May 15th (12 pm to 6 pm) and Saturday, May 16th (9 am to 5 pm).

via HalfMarathons.net

via HalfMarathons.net

That’s all for now!!!  See you soon…



One thought on “#RockNBlog // Portland Expectations

  1. Pingback: 7 Portland things to do this spring

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