Race Recap: 2015 Run Like Hell 5K- Portland, OR

After skipping this race last year in favor of Rock ‘n’ Roll Vancouver, I ran one of my favorite local races, the Run Like Hell, this past weekend for the third time.

Run Like Hell is a halloween costume race through downtown Portland and I’ve enjoyed it every time I’ve ran. In fact, it was my second race ever when I ran it in 2012, dressed as a superhero.

This year, the theme was “Under the Big Top” and I ended up throwing a costume together the day before the race.

Running costume, Night Circus

Running costume inspired by the book The Night Circus.

I signed up for this race rather last minute when I found out a friend would be in town and wanted to run the 5K with me. She actually ended up canceling, but having already registered, I of course, ran anyway.

The night before, I pondered the theme and thought “Under the Big Top” was a dumb theme. The last thing I wanted to do was dress up as a stupid clown. I also immediately thought of Dumbo and then was reminded of the wonderful novel The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

I went for a performer’s outfit, complete with ballet style top-knot and soft tutu with a black choker. To draw in elements of the Night Circus, I added black and white striped tights and matching black and white striped flower hairpiece.

To bring in the circus element, I added Harlequin-style makeup, with 1920’s lipstick. I’m rather pleased by how it turned out!

It isn’t a running costume I’d be okay going long distances in, but for just a 5K, it was fine!

Since I was actually running this race solo, I decided to try to put in a decent 5K time. I haven’t gotten close to my 2014 PR and my last 5K time in July was abysmal.

The forecast called for heavy rain most of sunday, starting at 9 am. My race started at 9:15am. Luckily, the weather actually held off until right before I finished.

Does the blur make me look fast?

Does the blur make me look fast?

I did a quick lap around the block to warm-up and do a last minute costume test, then lined up at the start. The best thing about Run Like Hell is the fun route in the heart of Portland. The race itself starts at Pioneer Courthouse Square. I can’t speak for the half marathon distance, but I’ve run the 10K and it was also excellent.

It did seem like a lot more people ignored the costume theme this year, but I saw some excellent ones, including ringmasters, circus animals, and of course, clowns.

The first mile felt rough for me, but was probably my best time. There was an uphill, but balanced out when we went right back down again. Jason wasn’t running the race, but since he came to spectate, ran to meet me at different parts of the course to take photos and cheer.

It's a popular race with lots of people!

It’s a popular race with lots of people!

It’s a testament to our different running speeds that he could cheer me on, then run further down the course to then cheer me on again….

I’ll admit I was in kind of a bad mood at the start of the race. In general, I don’t sign up for races by myself. If not running with me, there’s always at least someone else participating. So I switched from my normal run playlist and put on angry, yelling music (like punk rock) on spotify to give me a boost.


Focused on running.

Around mile 2 I had to ditch a costume element. After sweating, the satin ribbon I used for a choker was soaked through and the resulting slimy band around my neck was unpleasant. This is probably the first time I’ve ever had to ditch a costume element during a race, which is actually a pretty good record for me.

I felt myself slowing down during the last mile, and concentrated on my music to pull me forward. In the last half mile, it started sprinkling, providing the incentive to finish before the rain really started.

I was able to sprint the slight uphill to the finish, but was nowhere close to a PR. Apparently, marathon training means I could run further, but definitely not faster. After wishing my time was better, I finally conceded that I turned in a respectable (for me) time, especially considering the course was not a particularly fast one.

The post-race party was still hopping, with half-marathon and 10K finishers still coming in. The soup provided was extraordinarily delicious, but I skipped the free beer. I might have stayed longer to listen to the band and hang out, but I was the only runner this time and the promised rain had finally started to fall heavily.

All in all, a fun race and I still definitely recommend Run Like Hell. It’s such a blast and the race shirts are great!

And I now have new songs I need to add to my regular running playlist!

Time: 34:13
Ran With: No one!
Best Costume: Circus Strongman, complete with (fake) barbells.
New Favorite Running Song: Rebel Yell by Billy Idol


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