Electric Run Portland

Monday’s are especially hard to get through after you’ve had a great, busy, exhausting weekend!! My husband and I headed down to Portland with my friend, Ellen, for the weekend. Our main agenda item was to run the Electric Run 5k but of course we had to squeeze in a few other fun things!

We arrived on Friday evening after battling some serious traffic. After a quick packet pick-up and dropping our bikes off for a tune-up at River City, we met up with some of Ellen’s friends for dinner at Deschutes. We’ve visited once before (last December) and knew we’d enjoy it. I had the gluten-free elk burger with a side salad and a couple saison’s which were very tasty.

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Afterward, we went to Green Dragon for another beer but alas, were too full to enjoy their amazing tater tots we gorged on last time.

Saturday started off bright and early – Jodus and Ellen wanted to get in a long run so we headed into the city (from her parent’s house). While they ran (for 2 hours!), I enjoyed a coffee, read a little, and wandered the streets a bit as stores started to open up. I am totally in love with this town. ImageImage

We enjoyed a late brunch at Mother’s, complete with huge mimosas! I had the wild salmon hash with 2 eggs over medium. Zero complaints. That place is bomb. (But it is no La Provence…)

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After brunch, we wandered around the Saturday Market for a bit before heading back to get ready for our main event! At packet pick-up, we were told that parking was going to be a nightmare and to arrive at 6pm (for a race that starts at 9:30pm!). They sounded pretty serious so we took their word for it. We grabbed sandwiches to go and got there around 6:30 with NO parking issues. As we ate and people watched, we monitored parking and traffic. You were definitely fine for parking until maybe 8 or 8:30. So irritating but whatever. The people watching, including ourselves, was priceless.

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The entire premise of the Electric Run is that it is a “Run for Ravers” so lots of lights, lots of neon, lots of loud music. Everyone was totally decked out in neon, glow sticks, body paint, etc. I was even rocking glow-in-the-dark nail polish I bought just for the occasion.

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We managed to be at the very front of the starting corral by chance and I was glad that we were. We were right at the front of all the action and got showered with goodies the entire time! If you ever run an Electric Run, I highly recommend getting there early to be in the front. The entire thing is very high energy and they totally amp you up as the sun goes down! (Also, a tip for those planning on running Electric Run – standard glow in the dark stuff like my nail polish and make up stick doesn’t work that great but glow sticks, LED lighted stuff, neons, and black light activated stuff works amazingly well!)

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The course itself was fine – a little rough terrain (some gravel, some dirt, some grass, some paved) but they did a good job of starting in waves so it wasn’t too crowded even though there were 9,000 runners. The lights along the course were fun but honestly, I was kind of expecting more of them. There were a few long stretches without anything which was kind of sad. But it was definitely fun.

I guess I should add that I really haven’t been running much at all. 10 miles in June, 14 in May. I’ve been “injured” and focusing on weight training instead so I wasn’t really prepared for this run but managed to do ok and my body held up but it definitely made me nervous to be out there. There were a lot of walkers on this course though (unsurprisingly) so I didn’t feel too bad about being a little pokey on this fun run.

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At the end, they had a dance party. A DJ, lots of lights, lots of dancing and music. It was really fun and I could have probably danced the night away, hopped up on a couple free Rockstar Energy drinks!

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We ended up back at Ellen’s parents house a little before midnight, wired! Tried to settle my mind and read for a bit but it was definitely hard to fall asleep after so much energy!

The run was definitely about the experience more than the running. Sunday morning, Ellen’s mom asked me if I would do it again. I thought about it for a minute and said, “No.” It’s an experience, and I’ve experienced it, and now I’m ready to move on. It was my 3rd night run (Firecracker 5000 on 4th of July and First Run on New Years) and they’ve been a good time but I’m ready for something new! Most likely, no more running events for awhile until I can figure my body out. Good luck with that, right?

This Friday is Ragnar Northwest Passage. For the first time since I started running, I’m not running in it. Jodus will be. And some other friends. But I’ll be on the sidelines this year. I’m volunteering the first day with my friend, Shannon, then we are spending the rest of the day in Bellingham then meeting up with our team for the finish on Saturday. It is definitely bittersweet… I’m having a little bit of a hard time with it since they are down a runner this year (again) and part of me just wants to jump in and help out but I know that isn’t wise. So I’ll be their #1 cheerleader instead.

Portland Beercation

Exactly one week ago, Huz and I took off in our loaded down SUV to visit our metropolis neighbor to the south – Portland.

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Even though P-town is only a 3 hour drive (roughly) from us, I have never spent much time there. Sure, I’ve made the trek down there to catch an obscure concert or two while in college but we never dallied – there was always classes to get back to. I don’t even know how we really came up with the idea to visit… I think we read an article about microbreweries (Oregon has the most, per capita!) and joked how we should just do a brewery tour vacation. My running buddy, Ellen, is from there and was going down to spend the holidays and offered us a place to crash so that sealed the deal.

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We ended up going down for 3 nights, and 2 of which were spent at a hotel thanks to a Living Social deal. (We didn’t want to impose too much on Ellen’s family.) Our hotel was on the Eastside by the convention center so not exactly a happening spot BUT Portland has the most amazing public transit system ever so we were fine.

We rolled into town around lunch time on Saturday and headed directly to our first beer stop: Burnside Brewery. We had done a decent amount of research and formed a loose itinerary based primarily on location and reviews. I loved the atmosphere of Burnside and the menu looked great. I honed in on the gnocchi and buffalo ragu and was not disappointed though Jodus was a little saddened by his unimpressive grilled cheese sandwich and a mountain of fries that weren’t exactly all that good.

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Going into this vacation, knowing that beer drinking was our primary task, I settled on just doing samplers everywhere we went so I could try as many as possible (which ended up being over 60!). At Burnside, they had a full sampler of all their 11 beers so Jodus and I opted to split that. 44oz of beer for just me would have been a little much. Overall, Burnside’s beer was just average. We enjoyed the porter and the stout most of all but also had the worst beer of our entire vacation there – the Sweet Heat, a hot pepper wheat ale. We each had a sip and then it remained untouched which says something amongst beer lovers.

That afternoon, we had some giftcards and Christmas money burning a hole in my purse so we decided to take advantage of Oregon as a sales-tax-free state (compared to Washington’s lovely 9%) and make a fairly large purchase.

Yep, we bought new bikes. We’ve been talking about it for months and doing our research so when we went to River City Outlet, it was a fairly simple process. They were really knowledgeable and helpful and installed all our accessories for us. I would highly recommend them for locals. For those curious, I ended up with a 2012 Raleigh RX 1.0 (a cyclocross bike) and Huz ended up with a 2011 Jamis Bosa Nova whose selling point was disc brakes and fenders.

After breaking the bank, we headed back to check into our hotel quickly then went back out for more beer. Our next stop was Base Camp Brewing which ended up being our favorite of the whole trip. It’s basically just a tasting room but they do offer some food via food trucks. We each got slightly different samplers but managed to try all their beers between the two of us and were very satisfied. Our most favorite EVER was the IPL – India Pale Lager which is a style of beer they essentially made up. Points for ingenuity! Also, the Smores Stout had a roasted marshmallow on it. Winning.

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Our next stop, which included dinner, was Green Dragon Bistro & Brew. They are a nanobrewery with kind of a weird set-up so they actually only had one of their own beers on tap but I think they had somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 beers total! No samplers though so I actually had to drink a full beer. I enjoyed a Diamond Knot Brown while Huz worked the IPAs. For dinner, we each got burgers and they were ok. What was amazing though? Their tater tots. Jodus got some as a side with his burger and they were so good we ended up putting in another order. And devoured them.

After enjoying another beer, we headed back to the hotel. We were pooped – neither of us slept well the week prior.

Sunday, we went for a scenic (but icy!) run around the bridges and river of Portland then scarfed down hotel breakfast (gag) before heading out to a slightly less nutritious locale.

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Voodoo Donuts was high on my priority list when we started planning our little trip. It is iconic Portland, surrounded by a lot of hype and I had to try it.

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The donuts were really good and the place was fun and now that it is marked off my to-do list, I don’t really have a burning desire to go back.

We spent the majority of the day just wandering around the west side of the city, downtown proper. We went to Powells, a massive, heavenly bookstore, did some window shopping, and just took in the town until we reached an appropriate drinking hour.

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Lunch was at Rogue where we rendezvoused with Lisa! Lisa and I have been virtual friends for a couple years now so it was great to meet her and her boyfriend in person. Alas, I am a goof and didn’t actually get a picture with her but I did snap our beer!

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I opted for a porter/stout sampler while, true to tradition, Huz opted for IPAs. The beers were decent but uninspiring and the food was good. Overall, it was a fun lunch!

We headed back out to the streets of Portland and explored the Pearl District. We headed to Bridgeport for yet another sampler with high hopes since their IPA is one of Jodus’ go-to beers.

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My favorite here was the Blue Heron Pale Ale and one of their seasonal ales, the Porter. Must get my hands on that locally!

We headed down to Deschutes for dinner and I must admit, by this point I was feeling a tiny bit buzzed. It was super busy and a little cramped but we managed to find a wobbly table at the bar area to saddle up. Our server was amazing which made the experience a little more fun.

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Again, another pair of samplers for us! There were a few that I enjoyed but especially the Velvet Noir. We also really enjoyed the food but that could have been the beer talking. We opted to walk the mile and a half back to the hotel – it was a gorgeous evening but really flipping cold.

Monday was a day full of epicness. We packed up our things and checked out of the hotel. First stop: breakfast! We went to Tin Shed Garden Cafe and even though it was busy (they were short staffed) it was really good! Then headed to pick up our newly purchased bikes. Next stop: Lady Luck Tattoo. Totally on a whim, Jodus decided to get inked for the first time. He’s been waffling back and forth about it all year and on the car ride down here, we finally figured out what he wanted to get so we just did it! We worked with Jason, who was amazing. 

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His tattoo says “Life is eternal, Love is immortal, Death is only a horizon…” which is the beginning of a quote which means a lot in his family.

Lunch was at Lucky Labrador and, surprise! Another sampler was in order. This place was huge! And sprinkled with cute dog art so it was automatically a winner in my book! Food was basically sandwiches, soup and salad and it was all good! The beers all had cute names, too.

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We headed out to the suburbs after that to meet up with Ellen, finally! We putzed around her house and town a bit before heading back into the city to do a NYE dinner with her friends at Henry’s. The atmosphere was lovely, the food was fantastic, and I have zero complaints. It was also highly entertaining seeing all the girls in sparkly mini-dresses and high heels stumbling around. We wrapped up around 9:30 and didn’t have plans until midnight so we ended up going back to Ellen’s to change and hang a bit before heading back into the city.

Yep, another midnight run! We did the First Run 5k to ring in the new year and I had a lot of fun even though it was ridiculously cold! It was fun and well organized, with a rockin DJ, snow machine, and lots of heaters. It wasn’t a PR for me but I didn’’t expect to after the copious amounts of eating and drinking we did the last … month, basically and especially that weekend! We wrapped up the run, watched the drunks stumble home, and headed back to Ellen’s for champagne and pie. And House Hunters. And crashed at 3:30am.

The next morning, we went out for brunch to La Provence in Lake Oswego. It was a bit of a drive, and a lot of a wait but zOMG was it worth it.

What you are looking at here is the risotto cakes with poached eggs, potatoes and roasted butternut squash. What you don’t see is a fabulous soy café au lait and a piece of wheat toast the size of my head. Everyone was equally satisfied with their meals and I will definitely be returning when we come back to P-town.

It seems slightly less epic going through all the pictures now of our weekend but we really had a blast and ate and drank so much that we are more than ready for our annual detox! Happy New Year, all!