In addition to my, ahem, lackluster training schedule, this has been a HOT summer in Michigan. I am not complaining because I love the hot weather. But it's one thing to sit on the deck with a cool adult beverage and another thing to run 13.1 miles in it. Michigan's weather also took another interesting turn dumping several inches of rain the week before the race. This meant the original race course along Portland's gorgeous riverfront had to be rerouted the day before. This is a huge challenge for any race, but it was handled expertly.
I grew up in a small town (I mean SMALL - around 400ish people), and although I basically ran for the concrete jungle as soon as I could, I still appreciate the community of a small town. Portland is small city considerably bigger than my hometown (with more than 3700 people), but it boasts a quaint downtown and neighborhoods with a real community feel. (Check out a story about Portland in The Review, a bi-monthly publication of the Michigan Municipal League).
The feather in Portland's cap, however, is its riverfront. The city has utilized it beautifully, and it's the capstone of this community. Portland's nickname is the "City of Two Rivers" because it's located where the Looking Glass and Grand Rivers meet. Rivers are an integral part of Portland's history and its geography, so utilizing the riverfront is key. Portland has completely renovated its riverfront in the last decade, and the results are impressive.
|Portland's riverfront prior to redesign (photo courtesy of the City of Portland)|
|Riverfront after renovation (photo courtesy of the City of Portland)|
|Pedestrian bridge on Portland's riverfront (photo courtesy of the City of Portland)|
|Enjoying the race around mile 2|
It wasn't my best time at 2:20, but it was far from my worst time either. As a matter of fact out of the seven half marathons I've run, this time ranked number 3. Not too shabby for not training. The race was extremely well organized, and the shirt is one of my favorite I've ever gotten for a race. This was clearly a race organized by people who are runners and have run enough races to understand what runners expect. Although I was disappointed to not see more of the city during the run, clearly that was a last minute detour that was handled beautifully.
|Crossing the finish|
How would I rate the race? A (organization was fantastic!)
How would I rate Portland? A (it's done some great things and is a cute little community)