Monday, October 24, 2011

Run Like Hell! 10k

Run Like Hell! Portland

The last week in October. The days here in Pacific NW are already short, cold and rainy. It is the perfect time for a hellish race like Run Like Hell.

Run Like Hell is a Halloween-themed race that sees participants dress out in full costume for a run through Portland’s urban parks and along its waterfront areas along the Willamette River. Run Like Hell has become a Portland Fall tradition. This year the theme of the race is zombies.

This race is very special to me. I ran it first a year ago and it was my very first race ever. And first one barefoot too. I was running in a Hawaiian man costume, it was raining and I had a blast.

Today it looks like it is going to be a bit chilly but nice sunny day. I feel good a ready for a strong run but this was not the case some two weeks ago. I pulled my calf muscle and it took me well over two weeks to get rid of it. On some recent runs my right calf has been still acting up and I am hoping today it is going to stay calm.

I pick the 10k distance again and my plan is to enjoy the run and - if the stars are right - beat my last year's time of 48:33 minutes. For a costume I need something very light that allows bare feet. Since last year's Hawaiian man worked very well I choose to do a couple of alternations and improvements and go as a Hawaiian dancer this time.

And the best part at the end - I am not going to be a lone barefooter this year, Mike as a "zombie killer" is running too.

Warm-up hula dance before the race

8 AM, 52 F.
20 minutes to start.
Waiting for the "zombie killer" to show up but he is nowhere to be seen.

10 minutes to start Mike calls me he is on his way. That's a good news I guess.
But I am getting cold fast. My grass skirt is not generating as much heat as I was hoping for.

Finally I hear the starting horn blasting from a distance so I start running towards the start line leaving Mike to his own destiny.
Really glad to be moving. The start line is a little chaotic but once the crowd gets moving, my feet are happy. I do not bother starting slow. I feel a strong urge to run like hell so I just go for it. The adrenaline works its magic, I feel great, really light and unbreakable.

Because of the "end of the pack" starting position I just keep passing runners the whole time which also adds some motivation. People around are cheering "Go Hawaiian!" and sun finally wakes up and starts to shine.
As expected the grass skirt is ventilating very well which unfortunately is not the case of my heavy wig. Sweating heavily.
But finish is in sight. I save some energy for the last 300 feet of fast sprinting and it's over. So soon, I feel like running more.
I check the time and feel some accomplishment. 40 seconds faster than last year and what a blast !

Finishing the race

I am pretty sure Mike eventually made it to the start so I am waiting and cheering up the incoming zombies. And sure enough after a while there is a barefoot "zombie killer" with a happy face approaching the finish line.
We get together and head down to the post race refreshments at waterfront. Jen with her husband from the 5k division join us and we have much to celebrate with a couple of good beers.

It was a good day today.

Myself after the race

Mike the "zombie killer"

Race stats:

Length: 10k
Time:  00:47:51 (Pace 07:42)
Placed: 15th (from 65) in my AG
             137 (from 1424) overall

Race course