Last weekend I ran the Bowerman 5k at Nike World Headquarters. I’ve always wanted to run this race, at least since I found out about it three years ago. But every year nothing seemed to work out and I would have to miss it.
This past May I decided I would run it this year. One of my running crews, Concrete Runners, would be going as well and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to run a fun race with friends, get my fill of Nike World Headquarters (seriously, my Disneyland, no question) or my happiest place on Earth. I know in my heart that someday I will be working for this amazing company.
Since I love running and Nike, the Bowerman 5k is the perfect race. It’s short, fast and located on the beautiful Nike World Headquarters campus in Beaverton, OR. I couldn’t wait for the weekend to arrive.
Traveling to Oregon
Friday before the race my friend Amanda and I woke up at 3:45am to head to the San Francisco airport. We had a 2.5 hour drive so we had to leave extra early.
Everything went smoothly, other than our tiredness and we were off! We landed at 10am in Portland and were met by my wonderful parents who took us out to breakfast.
After catching up we went for a hike in the Columbia River Gorge. We went to Multnomah Falls and some of the smaller trails nearby. Originally, I was planning on meeting the other Concrete Runners there at 12:30, but they were running behind schedule, so my parents, Amanda and I all went on a hike ourselves. Then we met up later with the Crew when they arrived. Oregon hikes are gorgeous and everything was so green, I loved it! I couldn’t stop thinking about moving back someday.
Following the hike we explored Portland, found some food and met up with one of my awesome runner friends, and baker extraordinaire, Karolynh! She has inspired me so much as a runner and is an amazing race pacer and marathon and ultra marathon runner. It was so good catching up.
After our meet-up Amanda and I headed back to the hotel to get an early nights sleep. We were pretty tired from our early morning travel.
Pre Race Adventures
Saturday morning we headed to grab coffee, or tea in my case, and then I picked up my Concrete Runners Bowerman 5k race kit. We had some awesome sponsors in: Nuun Hydration, Kellogs, Muscle Milk, Shower Pill and Plantronics. I also loved the Nike tank, notice the fun nod to the famous PDX Carpet!
After snagging my kit we all headed to breakfast. Concrete Runners know how to eat and we had some amazing food at Tasty and Son in Downtown Portland. My french toast and these blackberry topped biscuits were so good!!
After breakfast Amanda and I knew we needed to do a little site seeing. But first, the Nike Company Store! I was lucky enough to snag two passes last minute and did some damage and got some killer new swag and running kicks. Yes! Thank you to my Nike angel 🙂
Getting to know BIKETOWN
On to the site-seeing. Nike has just release rental bikes all over Portland in an effort to create a bike friendly city to visitors and locals alike. The service is called BIKETOWN and there are 1,000 rental bikes all over the city. So convenient!
We biked from our hotel, The Paramount, down to the waterfront and all through downtown. It was so much fun. I hope more cities follow suit in Oregon. These bikes of course have the swoosh, so I was in love. One cool thing is that there are special limited edition bikes throughout the city with nods to popular Nike sneakers. Kind of makes it fun to try to find them. We struck out though. But the regular bikes are totally worth it!
Off to Nike WHQ
After our little bike adventure we headed to Nike World Headquarters so we would have plenty of time to explore before the beginning of the Bowerman 5k. Or so I thought.
We arrived around 5pm and got our race bib and shirt right away. Then I, of course, had to show Amanda how amazing the Nike campus is. I had a huge permanent grin on my face the entire time. We wandered around for an hour, met up with my parents to return the car I had borrowed, and then did some more exploring at the Michael Johnson Track. My favorite track, surrounded by gorgeous trees. Oh how I wish I could run here every day.
It was getting close to race start time so we said goodbye to my parents and headed towards the start. I ran into a lot of people I knew and loved catching up. I also finally met Paige in person, she blogs at The Athleisureist, and is an awesome runner.
This is where things started going a little bit against my original plan.
What not to do before a race
I always have to use the restroom before a race, it’s just what needs to happen. It was getting really close to the start time, and the line for the bathrooms was extremely long. Ok, I figured, everyone is still here, we have time. I waited for close to 15 minutes and with 5 minutes to spare headed towards the start. Or what I thought was the start.
Amanda and Paige had started off in the direction of the start and I just ran after them to follow. A minute later I asked them if they knew where the race start was, they both said no. They just saw a few people headed this way and followed.
My heart dropped, we had no idea where we were going and the race started in less than two minutes. We frantically turned around and started running. We saw some cheer squads along course and they pointed us in the right direction. We took off running toward the start again. I cut across the track, around the corner and suddenly saw everyone running towards us, the race had already started!
Luckily, it was chip timed, but this is no way to start a race. I finally got to the start about 5 minutes late and took off. My GPS having trouble starting, I gave up and just sprinted onward.
The one nice thing about running late is that you pass a lot of people on your way. I felt a lot faster than I was.
The Bowerman 5k Course
The course was beautiful. It ran from the main entrance at Nike, though campus and out onto Hollister Trail, wrapped through trees, and came back out and returned to the Nike Campus. It was a looping course and fairly flat and fast. I ran a 25:28, nowhere near my fastest, but still a good race, all things considered. Now I have a reason to come back next year, to redeem myself!
This race was so fun because of the location, my Concrete Runners Crew, my friends (Amanda, Karolynh, Paige), and the joy I get from running.
The Concrete Runners Crew
Amanda, Paige, Karolynh and Me
I absolutely love these ladies and my crew! This race wouldn’t have been nearly as fun without them all participating.
We celebrated after with burgers followed by ice-cream at the famous Salt and Straw. I loved every minute of my time in Portland. The Bowerman 5k has to be my favorite race because of the course, the weather and the fact that it is at the home of Nike. So many legends run here. The experience is amazing. (Yes, Olympians and professional runners compete, how cool is that!). You really must experience it yourself.
All in all, the race weekend was a huge success, and I learned that I should always do my research pre-race to ensure I’m at the start line on time. See you next year, Portland!