Archives for May2013

Rock ‘n’ Roll Portland Half Marathon 2013

Contributed by Samantha Torres


At the end of last year, I had to take time off from running for a few months.

I really like the Rock ‘n Roll races and especially their heavy medal program. So I decided to be proactive and sign up for Competitor’s  2013 Tour Pass, knowing that if I paid in advance I would definitely do it. I signed up for six races; but was disappointed I missed the first year one offered this year in San Francisco because I was on a beach in Puerto Vallarta — so wasn’t too sad.

I’ve never actually run a half marathon that Tara hasn’t been at. This was going to be my first. I booked my airfare, my hotel, was really excited to run my first out-of-state race. Luckily though, Tara decided to come with and we did our first out-of-state race together. Things like that provide cool memories for the future.


Our adventure started out with me getting up at a ridiculous time to get Tara and head out for the airport. To fly to Portland, we had to fly on a smaller plane. It was weird. It was the first time I actually saw wheels go into a plane I was on. Also smaller planes fly closer to the ground, who knew?

We started the morning flight with complimentary drinks. I had pyramid beer as a toast to Tara’s hubby who is usually our planner/driver for races, but wasn’t going with us.


When we landed – my ears would not pop I could not hear. it was the most annoying this ever, it was like being under water.

We exited the airport and decided to take a cab to the expo. Wasn’t the best idea, it cost $40. I think the cabbie took us the super long route cause it was supposed to be only eight miles away. Then we arrived at the expo center.


The expo center has multiple halls and we went up to the first one to figure out where to go. It was a gun and knife show, the look on my face was priceless. I was so excited until I realized if I bought anything I couldn’t take it home. I have wanted to go to one foreverrrrrr, but I always seem to miss them. The very nice security guard pointed out where we were really supposed to be and off we went.

As soon as we walked through the door we got handed a raffle ticket for their door prizes. After a second we realized, you didn’t have to carry the ticket all day. Just had to enter your ticket number and personal info into a iPad. Neither of us got the call that we won anything. But it was cool, no of the other ones had this. They all have music going the whole time.

After that, was the normal get your bib, get your bag, get your shirt. Then nothing was the same. We walked around the corner and there was a ticket booths, where you filled out info and took to a prize booth, where everybody won a prize. I won a T-shirt.


We had entered the Brooks Run Happy Cavalcade of Curiosities. I can not believe they don’t bring it to California or to Vegas. They have the Human Jesus Lizard …. yes, I said the Human Jesus Lizard. He’s awesome. He runs on DNA (per Tara: cornstarch, water and food coloring ). Better yet was the kid that volunteered to run on it. The smile and the way his face lit up was pure joy. The only better than seeing a kid light up like that, is seeing your kid light up like that. I got my fortune told by a runners’ fortune telling machine. They even had skeeball. I got my gait analyzed. We spent more time in the brooks area at this expo, than we have at any other expo ever. I had so much fun I almost bought Brooks shoes, only reason I didn’t is that I just got mine last month. I did buy one of their race tanks though.

After that we went to the regular area. Which had a fair amount of good booths. I bought my water bottle belt at the last race. I got a belt for my phone this race and a foot pod for my Garmin. They didn’t give you a wrist band for beer which surprised me. Tara even got a photo with and autograph from Kara Goucher, the fastest woman’s half-marathoner in the US.


Then we were done. Our bags were heavy, time to go check-in at the hotel.

Took the MTA and found out the street Couch is pronounced “kooch.” We had great fun with that. Got checked in by a rude front desk clerk.


What’s strange is that almost everyone is Oregon seems to be nice. Which made him stand out as an ass. Then we went hunting for VooDoo doughnuts. Our timing was bad, it started to rain and the line is apparently always an hour long. After 20 minutes, and with hunger taking over we gave up and went got dinner. After dinner, we stopped at a cupcake shop (Tara’s vice) and got helped by strange Emo folk. They all looked alike, we passed by every time we went anywhere, I kept looking …. different people same look, usually you have variety.

I had taken allergy medicine to try and help my ears so we crashed out early.

Woke the next morning for race day. It was nice we were close we didn’t even leave until it was close to start time.

We stopped by a liquor store and I bought water. We didn’t realize until later I accidentally got us sparkling water — will not do that again.


And then we lined up and were off.

It was a nice course good people.

From Tara: The first part of the course took us through downtown. Then after crossing the first bridge, we went into an industrial, not-too-scenic area. There were neighborhoods during miles 8-11, big houses, before going back across the Willamette River and into the downtown waterfront finish area.

I just concentrated on keeping moving. It was a fairly good urban course until mile seven.

Mile seven is straight uphill, for what seems like forever. The rest of the hills not as bad. They put carpet on the bridge to cover the grates. It was a weird feeling and I saw someone trip where the carpet got bunched.

My goal for this race was under three hours. I had thought my last race was a horrid 3:30. But Tara checked later and it 3:13. My best was 2:32. This race was 2:52. That’s only twenty away from my best and 21 less than the one three months ago. I have another in two weeks I’m hoping I won’t be too sore.

At mile seven, I had the best race moment I ever had.

While I was walking someone came from behind me and said “you’re doing great I’ve been trying to keep up with you” I knew exactly what she meant. I’m not sure if fast people do this. I know my friend Jennie picks people to pass. I’m slow and I get tired. I always pick someone about the same speed in front of me and tell myself, I’m going to keep up with them. To me being that person for someone else was absolutely amazing.

At mile eight, for some reason I realized I’m a runner.

I don’t think I’ve ever truly believed that. I’m hella slow, I’m not where I was last year, but I had the dedication and the determination to fly out of state to go to a race.


I was going to do it all by myself (glad Tara decide to go, made it more fun ) The fact that it is hard for me, tells me how dedicated to it I really am. Its not about being the fastest or the best, its about challenging myself and knowing no matter what I can do it.

After the race we got cleaned up, checked out and went to VooDoo Doughnuts. Where I got a bunch Voodoo Dolls. They didn’t travel as well as I would’ve liked, but it’s the thought that counts.


Note: Tara also swears she saw a naked chick carrying doughnuts in the back part of the store.

It was amazing, it was a great experience and hopefully this will be another of our annual races. Pasadena is our first one. We were there for the inaugural, the second run and hope to be at all the ones to come.

Also excited that my sister and I will be doing our first race together in San Diego. I’m so proud of her.