Latest reviews by Rhodora Garcia

(2014)
"Hotter Weather Than Usual"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

We had fantastic weather in Portland and a lot of the locals we talked to said this is very unusual during this time of the year. I was expecting cool, cloudy, and maybe a little rain. However, this didn't happen on race day.

The expo was held at the Hilton in downtown. There's plenty of street parking and a parking garage was a block away. Bib pickup was quick and we had to walk through a sensor to activate our bib. Then you walk into the race gear shopping area. They had a lot of cute shirts, sweaters, and jackets. I felt that they had more race gear for the full marathon, but I got myself a green 'Run Portland' shirt. Next we headed to the main exhibit hall where all the vendors were at. It felt like Halloween with the amount of samples we received. They were giving away free Portland Marathon poster, so I grabbed one of those. Before heading out, we stopped by the information booth for race day parking info since we were out of towners. They were very nice and gave us a map and drew locations on where to park on the street and suggested a couple of parking spots.

On race day, we woke up around 4:45 am, put on our race gear, and had a quick breakfast before heading out. Parking wasn't an issue when we got to the garage a little before 6. But I could tell it was filling up fast since we parked on 4th floor and the garage has only 6 floors. The garage was about 6 blocks away from our start corral. We found our corral and waited for the start of the race at 7 am. In each corral, they had about 20 porta potties which is great because we didn't have to rush back and be late to the start. The first 5 miles were in downtown Portland and there's an incline in elevation during miles 2-3. Rest of the course was relatively flat. Once you hit around miles 6-10, I didn't think it was very scenic because we were running by warehouses. Also there's not a lot of shade during this part. With the sunny weather, it affected me a lot. During Miles 11-13, we were back in downtown. The entertainment during the course was great especially during the first 3 miles. Running to the beat of taiko drums in Chinatown was cool. Then lots of bands and I saw a bunch of pirates cheering us on around the 6 mile mark which I thought was amusing. I didn't use the aid stations because I brought my own water pack, but I thought they had plenty of them during the race.

Once we crossed the finish line, we got our awesome medals and they handed us a paper "finisher" jacket instead of the traditional wrapper. I thought it was pretty cool to get the jacket because you can use it a couple of times before throwing it away. They also gave us a rose for "Rose City", a pendant, a finishers' coin, and an actual tree to plant! Lots of goodies! Then they had plenty of tables of food and drinks to get refueled again. I got myself a fruit popcicle and chugged a small carton of chocolate milk. I did spot candy, cookies, bananas, bottles of water, etc. After we passed by the endless supply of food, we picked up our long sleeved gray finisher shirts.

Overall, I had a fun time at Portland and definitely recommend this race because you get lots of support on the course and tons of goodies at the end. Not the most scenic around miles 6-10 but still worth it. Another U.S. state off the list!

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(2013)
"Burning off Thanksgiving Dinner"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

I currently live out of state and when I come home to San Jose, I usually try to take advantage of the great year round running weather before I brace myself for winter in the Midwest. One race I always sign up for when I'm home for Thanksgiving is the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot 10K, which is one of the largest Turkey Trot races in the country. Packet pickup has always been Sports Basement in Sunnyvale and they offer several days for pickup starting the weekend before Thanksgiving. I went in the middle of the week and didn't have trouble getting my packet. You can pick up your packet on race day, but I hate doing that. The race shirt last year was purple long sleeved shirt which is great for cooler weather. On race day, I usually park at the San Pedro Parking Garage which is really close to the start line and most importantly free. The course itself is pretty flat and it goes through downtown San Jose, Japantown, past the HP Pavilion, maybe at the edge of the Rosegarden neighborhood, and then back to downtown San Jose. When I was running through Japantown, one of my good friends came out of her house and we got the chance to wave hi each other. It was pure luck! I didn't use any of the aid stations because I had my hydration belt on me but there's a good number of stations on the course. I was shooting for a 10K under 1 hour but I was off by a minute. Once you are at the finish line, you can head to Guadalupe River Park. I didn't spend much time there because it was really crazy. Overall I had a great time especially since it's my hometown and also get to see the funny Thanksgiving costumes. It's always fun to run beside a turkey leg!

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