I'm still catching up on race reports that I've let slide the past few months so once again, in lieu of a standard report, are ten things you may, or may not, find enlightening about Portland, Oregon, or the Lake Run 12K.
1. The Lake Run 12K is actually in Lake Oswego and does, in fact, circle Lake Oswego - only for the most part not exactly in an up-close-and-personal style. The lake is rarely in sight while you're running along the course.
2. When you can't find a direct route to the race and all the roads seem to meander all over the place, it's probably due to the terrain. Expect hills.
3. If you hate hills, stay away from this race. Even if you're seeking out hills to get accustomed to them, stay away from this race because this is like aversion therapy; these aren't the sorts of hills to leave you with warm, fuzzy memories. Especially early in the race; it might just be my traumatized memory but it seems like the first 2.5 miles were pretty much all uphill. Although only the last two miles of that stretch was really bad.
4. After the initial hill ordeal, there are still major climbs lurking on the course. And you finish uphill - after a pleasant downhill (technically I'm pretty sure the course has a net elevation loss) - and while it's an insignificant uphill, it's still adding insult to injury even if the only thing injured is my ego.
5. I was afraid to say anything about the hills to the locals. I didn't want to find out that they all ran this race because it was the easiest course around.
6. The McMenamin brothers are building a brewpub empire in the great northwest, with at least some of their locations doubling as hotels and with many of their locations being in historic buildings. I've been to their Kennedy School place three times and never been disappointed. It's in an old elementary school in northeast Portland, somewhere between the Rose Garden and the airport. On the other hand I also went to their Cedar Hill location and I was slightly disappointed - it's just another bar. But with good beer, though.
7. Preserve your sanity - try not to drive too much in Portland, especially around downtown.
8. The night before the race, the Reno Aces beat the Portland Beavers, 3 - 1, in Pacific Coast League action at PGE Park. Which was odd, because Portland was dominating the game with scoring chances throughout (they had a runner thrown out at the plate, another picked off second, and they hit into two double plays) but not totally unexpected because frequently when a team wastes so many opportunities, it comes back to bite them in the ass.
9. If you're going to a Beavers game, take the train. PGE Park is on the west side of downtown and there's a light-rail station right next to the park, making it easy to avoid the hassle of driving and parking in downtown. I think it's expected - the stadium 'lot' seemed like it cold hold maybe fifty cars.
10. I've been to Mount St. Helen's twice now; once all I could do was tour the visitor's center because it was too rainy to do anything else, and this time I couldn't even do that because I got there too late. After getting in stuck in traffic coming out of Portland, of course.