Last weekend Pam and I flew up to Portland for a handful of festivities surrounding the Portland Marathon. Pam attended the annual Race Director’s College, I worked at the Expo, and we both ran on Sunday morning! It was a busy- but amazing- trip. I grew up in Seattle, my sister went to college just outside of Portland, my parents now live in Oregon, and I was at the race last year, so I’m no stranger to Portland.
We got in really late Wednesday night, and the RD’s College began early Thursday morning. Pam’s not one to text message all that often, but she was sending them at rapid speed, “Come to the Volunteer Session at 10:30“, “Race Director from Marine Corp Marathon is on the panel- he is Hilarrriouss“, ” Have the best idea for the Kid’s Run“. A couple hours later I met her at the Multnomah Athletic Club for the Volunteers Panel. Looking around, I saw a bunch of familiar faces- The Big Sur Marathon staff, Lake Tahoe Marathon Race Director (sidenote- I met this Race Director during my undergrad when some classmates drove up to volunteer for his race- many years later we laugh about that), Race Central (timing company), shirt vendors, etc. I also had a couple moments where I saw a person’s name on the name card in front of them and had to rack my mind about what we were emailing about a couple weeks ago… Each member of the panel talked about their experiences with volunteerism, how to celebrate them at our events, etc. It was so cool to hear each Race Director’s experience- each person had such drastically different methods.
After the session, I went for a quick run along the river- across one of the many bridges.
Later, we met up with the Race Director’s College crew again at the On Deck Sports Bar and Grill, had dinner quickly and then headed into the bar area to watch the Giant’s win with The Lake Tahoe Marathon, Napa Valley Marathon, and Grandma’s Marathon Race Directors. They all had such incredible stories to share- how Grandma’s Marathon got it’s name 35 years ago, what The Lake Tahoe Marathon had to do when the Governor took away all Highway Patrol just days before the event, and how each one of them ended up as a Race Director. I just sat star-struck amazed at their accomplishments- these are the people who ultimately influence this sport we love. That’s what I love about racing- it’s not just being able to run. Running I can do alone on the roads and trails. But racing brings together the best crowds. There’s just something about marathoners (and marathon planers!), that “je ne sais quoi”.
Anyway, the next two days I spent at the Expo, meeting more runners! I wouldn’t call myself a social butterfly, but I could sit and talk to marathoners all day long. I met one of my fave tweeters, Chris, talked with some first timers, and encouraged some friends and familiar faces I’d met before at other races. I did so much talking, by Saturday night, Pam and I were exhausted- definitely not the feeling you want at 9PM the night before a marathon…
Once the Expo was closed, Pam and I hit the town with one goal: Pasta. By 9:00 we were full of all the carbs and marinara we could handle and headed back to the hotel. We did our own little race night rituals- flipping through the race program for information, laying out clothes, plugging in the Garmins, hydrating, etc. After what felt like 4 hours of sleep we were up again, layering on clothes to protect us from the rain, packing up our GU packets and keys, ipods, Garmins.
Tomorrow I will post my Race Report- Part 2 of our Portland Trip!