Running at the Portland Track Festival


Vanessa running

Associate Vanessa Righeimer (wearing the number 14) shared her experience at the Portland Track Festival between June 13-14. 

As I dropped my bag down to take out my bib, I froze in awe. I looked up to see numerous Olympians, American record holders and All-American distance runners all stretching within the infield. No, I wasn’t at the Prefontaine Classic, the Olympics or even the trials. I was at the Portland Track Festival, a meet put on by Nike at Lewis and Clark College that invites elites, non-elites and fans alike to race and watch some topnotch competition.

I first heard of the Portland Track Festival through a former college teammate of mine who grew up just outside of the Rose City. Though my days of collegiate racing are over, I’ve been fortunate enough to continue competing with the encouragement and running perks I receive at Garmin. But having the chance to race on a track again was a whole different story. There’s something about the lightness of your feet bouncing off the track and feeling the rhythm of your pace that can’t be replicated on the road. Add the factor of getting to watch professionals and Olympians go head-to-head, and I was sold.

I raced in the open 5k heat, which was my first time racing that distance on a track for more than a year. I fell short on my race plan, clocking in 10 seconds faster than planned during the first mile. I paid the price for trying to hold with the first pack, I struggled quite a bit during the second mile, and then started to get it back together on the third. While I was pretty disappointed with my final time  my mood quickly lifted, as I was about to score the best seats in the house for the next race.

The highlight from Saturday would definitely be the High Performance Women’s 5k, which was stacked with some of the hottest names in the American distance running scene.  It was extremely exciting to watch the #1 and #2 runner work together the entire race until the end when one pulled away for the win. Most of the runners were exhausted and needing to cool down after the race, but they were still good sports and met with fans for photos and autographs.

It was also pretty neat to see Garmin Forerunners on the wrists of elites and non-elites. One high school runner I met at the race was wearing a 620, which blew my mind to see. It’s amazing how much the sport of running has evolved, compared to when I didn’t even wear a basic watch during high school cross country.

I was unable to attend day 2 of the meet, but I ended my trip in Portland with a final long run on the Leif Erickson Trail in Forest Park. As I took in the cool breeze, fresh air and gorgeous greenery, it became even more obvious why Oregon is considered a runners haven for many. In fact, I couldn’t think of a better place to run or watch a track meet and I definitely plan to return for the meet next year! 

Do you have a great fitness story to share? Let us know on the Garmin Fitness social media channels using the hashtag #UpForMore.  

The post Running at the Portland Track Festival appeared first on Garmin Blog.

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