You gotta be nuts to go all the way to Portland for a 10k. Nobody ever accused us of sanity.
What’s the old saying? If you’re gonna race in Portland, you’re gonna race with the big dogs. Indeed, they were there.
And some little ones.
And cute chicks.
Mo’s race number was 665. This of course meant that mine was 666. He can’t have that number, Mo told the nice registration person. The nice registration person assured her that yes, he can, and please move along. Nice registration people aren’t all that nice early in the morning.
Mo compromised bysuggesting that I wear it upside down. I pointed out that it sort of defeated the purpose of wearing a number, but she assured me this would allow me to avoid eternal damnation. I am not big on eternal damnation.
Weirdly enough, when we lined up to start I was standing next to a German shepherd wearing a devil costume. Maybe Mo is wise.
I set out to run a sub-12 pace. What I did not consider was that running a 12-minute pace in Portland is not conducive with sticking with the race leaders.
When we hit the turnaround at 5K I did the customary look down the road to see the string of runners coming up. Exept there weren’t any. One guy. I was next to last. Sigh.
But the second half of the race was the most fun. The third-to-last person was within sight. I was constantly trying to reel him in but he never budged. There were enough turns that I could see the guy behind me. No way was I going to let him get past me.
The water stop was worked by an 8-year-old kid wearing a Hell’s Angel vest but no clown mask. The only race markings in a complicated course were a couple of small signs with red arrows. I hoped nobody was holding an open house. I would be lost in Portland forever.
And then the race was over. Mo, who had run the 5k in excellent form, cheered me at the finish. I waited a couple of minutes for the last guy and gave him a well-earned high five. It didn’t matter where we finished; racing is racing. 1:08:12 (11:18). I was happy with it; that’s what I had today.
A fun outing with a lesson. If you’re going to run with the big dogs, watch out for the poop on the road. Thanks, Portland. Sorry about that race number mixup …