Reasons Why Portland is Awesome, Part Two

Life is all about embracing weird and wacky opportunities when they come your way. So when I discovered that Matthew Inman (The Oatmeal) was leading a 5K run before a book signing in Portland Wednesday night, I signed up.

Thanks to not quite adjusting to the time change and also being inspired by the super healthy lifestyles people embrace in the city, I got up every morning and logged a few miles on the waterfront trail. Running and I have a love-hate relationship, but we were totally in synch. Wednesday would be golden!

Then Wednesday rolled around, along with a colossal amount of rain and The Blerch began to set in. My hotel bed was sooo comfy and warm. The urge to don sweats, scarf a bag of kale chips and crush a bottle of Pinot Noir in bed was strong with this one. But I powered through and trucked over to the Portland Running Company ready to take a leisurely jog through Portland streets.

Rainy RunnerRunning along Portland Waterfront

Flash forward 27 minutes, to me having just run the fastest 5.3K I’ve ever clocked. People of Portland, you are gazelles, albeit super friendly ones. High fives were dished out en mass and one volunteer paced me the last 2 kilometres. Upon completion, I was handed a piece of delicious chocolate cake and a freshly poured beer. I was soaked through but totally inspired – thanks Portland Running Company for pushing me a little bit further and throwing a great party.

Following the run, I refuelled at Boxer Ramen with a bowl of soup that could feed a family of four. This place is quirky – hip-hop soundtrack, funky illustrations on the walls and a simple menu that will crush your hunger. My colleagues and I capped
off the night at the gorgeous Multnomah Whiskey Library. Imagine your favourite cozy library (if your library happens to have wood panelling, a fireplace, ornate chandeliers and good-looking bartenders in bow ties and flat caps, natch) but replace the books with bottles of top-shelf whiskey, scotch and spirits. It was delightful and helped take the edge off the burning pain in my legs from the run…

Lately I’ve been feeling a bit run down and burnt out. This week (while busy) has certainly helped me start to refocus my perspective. Thanks for the hospitality and adventures, Portland.


My Brain, When Running


Running shoes

In two weeks, a friend and I will run the Sporting Life 10K. I’m hoping to tackle one of my 31-for-31 goals (running a 10K in under 1:05) and also set a regular running habit for the summer in the process.

Here’s the thing, though – I generally HATE running. I was always last-picked for team sports that involved any sort of quick movement, and the only reason I joined cross country was because it was a no-cut team (hat tip to my dad for always running the last few hundred meters of the course with me to get me across that line). I also have ridiculous shin and hip problems that flare up when I’m nowhere near home on a run (thankfully I carry subway tokens now as a precaution).

But I also LOVE running. Nothing tops the satisfaction of accomplishing a goal, and getting bling at the end of a race is always a nice bonus. So basically, it’s a complicated relationship.

And like anything I do, there’s generally a solid internal monologue accompanying it. So, I present to you – my brain, when running.

Ok! 10K! I can do this!

I am running! This is amazing!

Polite nod to passing runner. We are part of a tribe! A tribe of runners! Hello good sir!

Oops, shoelace.

Alright, on the trail. Wow, I need to come to the lake more often, it’s really nice down here.

Keep forgetting to breath. Steady.

The Map My Run lady is so nice. She sounds very pleasant and I appreciate her subtle encouragement to move my ass a little faster.

Seriously, shoelace again? I need to get velcro.

Do they still make velcro??

I really hate this song. I need a better playlist.

Oo, I like this one. *starts singing in between wheezes*

The hammer of the gods will drive our ships to newwww landddds 

I am so sweaty right now. This is gross.

I should plan meals for this week. Lots of salads.

I wonder if my face is as red as I think it is?

Hmm. That runner I just passed looked awfully alarmed at my appearance.

So thirsty

I think Map My Run lady is asleep at the wheel. There’s no way I haven’t run 7K by now.

I could eat a burger right about now

Oh thank goodness, she’s back. Walk time!


A dog!

I really wish I could get a dog

I should find a running partner

Everything hurts so bad, why am I doing this?

9 km! 1 to go!

I feel nauseous

The Map My Run lady is a smug jerk. I know my current pace is slow. Let’s see you run this distance and not slow down when you’re tired. I DIDN’T SLEEP WELL, OK?

Do I actually want a running partner? I don’t want them seeing how red-faced I get

Seriously what is with my shoelaces??

My street! I’m almost home!

I’m really thirsty

RUN DONE! Time to stretch.

Screw stretching, let’s just nap on the floor a bit

Sunday Seven – Seven Great Cities for Running

While brainstorming topics for this week I thought about how travellers are often referred to as running “away” from something (“life”, “responsibilities” and the like), although I think it’s more of a situation of running towards something. And then a lightbulb went off in my brain and I thought running + travel = this week’s Sunday Seven.

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with running for a few years, but am really keen to get back on its good side. So much so that I am (slowly) training for my first-ever half-marathon in the fall. Writing those words just made me shudder, but public accountability! Therefore, if I write it – it WILL happen. Just don’t tell my left hip as I don’t think it will support the idea.

At any rate I always like to pack some runners and gym clothes I’m not mortified to be seen in public in when I travel, particularly if it’s for work and I can squeeze in a quick jog. It’s a fun way to get some exercise, check out the neighbourhood you’re staying in, but also blend in a bit – if you’re in a city where running is an acceptable pastime, of course. In no particular order, seven great cities for running – with a few tossed in that I’d like to visit.

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