I got up early and since we were also going to go for a hike later that day, Vicky and the kids decided to watch the race from the hotel window :) When I arrived at the start of the race, I instantly understood why Portland is rated the 5th-fittest city in the United States: there were 16,000 runners running in the 5K, 8K, and 15K combined!
I decided to run the 15K and despite the huge crowd it only took me five minutes to get a race bib (they were out of chips for the late registration) and just two minutes to check in my clothes, thanks to the hundreds of fantastic volunteers and an impeccable organization.
Never having run a 15K, not knowing the terrain, and not having run any short races for a while, I really had no idea what I could expect as a finishing time. I lined up towards the front of the roughly 2500 15K runners, after having seen the 5K starting line take almost the full 13:30 that it took Dan Brown to finish and win the 5K to simply get past the starting line.
We took off, touching the Shamrock race banner for good luck, and after a short tour of the downtown we started a pretty good climb. Whenever you see several race signs that make fun of going up a steep hill ahead, you know that you're going to be in for a pretty good climb and, sure enough, this one did not disappoint. The first 4.5 miles were all uphill (approximately 600' climb) and it only really started dropping back down at mile 7.
Elevation Profile of Portland's Shamrock Run 15K
The course was really pretty and I enjoyed running in the new environment. I paced pretty well and went faster than I expected. I hit mile 6 in under 42 minutes, which surprised me a little bit. At mile seven, the race joined with the (3000+ ?) 8K runners and the 15K runners started weaving through the crowd. Towards the end, the two races ran in different lanes and I picked up the pace for the last half mile. I sprinted past about three runners who had previously passed me just seconds before the finish line. I finished in 1:03:30, in about 24oth place overall (a new PR by default for this new distance, but one I was quite happy with). I grabbed some water and within ten minutes, I was back at our hotel room.
We went for a great hike at Multnomah Falls later in the day. The hike features a one-mile, 600' climb to an observation deck at the top of the waterfall. This is the second highest waterfall in the United States -- pretty spectacular.
Race Details (Motionbased): http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/5182333
Next up: Rucky Chucky 50K (Note: the first aid station of this race cannot be reached by trucks, so there will not be aid for the first 13 miles of the race, so if you're running this race, bring extra water bottles -- so much for using this as a supported training run :)