How I won the Portland 5K by accidentally running 6K

running shoesIt was a tight race. With the help of some old school Oregon-style green sustainable strategy, 100% renewable solar energy on my shoulders, and the inspiration of a recent television bender in the form of an historic Olympiad, I did it – I pulled off the victory of the century for team Almost Fit.

I placed FIRST in the World’s most revered foot race.

You read right. A self-described dorky-looking white guy (alternately described by some as “portly and stout” – to whom I simply say, “racists” -), running with a camera bag, a cell phone, and a trusty moleskin notebook, took the Blue Ribbon in America’s fiercest competition of the season, bar none: The Iowa Avenue Virtual 5K - Portland edition.

To quote that eloquent icon of my youth, Sir D. Duck: MINE. ALL. MINE.

How I redefined competitive sports as you know it

keep portland Beered

In case you’ve never visited Portland, you may be surprised to know that in addition to pouring an ungodly amount of coffee, having seedy strip joints and bars in every school district and flowered meadow, and having elected without a single hanging chad a Mayor who’s greatest electoral advantage was that his name mirrors a ubiquitous American beer (WHATTA’ Ballot entry tactic – “would you like to vote for this other boring guy with a dull name, or just have a beer? Ya know, on us? Your call, pal.”)(No offense Mr. Mayor Sir. Just the messenger.), Portland is also a great running town. You may have to buy a helmet cam from Oregon Scientific with the lens facing backwards to dodge hell-bent cyclists with an “I hate you ya’ stupid car driver” axe to grind, and a low-jack chip in your shoe for fear of the occasional loitering prison escapee (who may also be on a bicycle – it’s a free country after all), but beyond that, you are in a virtual runner’s paradise complete with ample sidewalks and coffee stops on most trails.

And the weather is perfect. Well, 4 months out of the year anyway.

I chose to participate in the highly anticipated and Nationally recognized Iowa Avenue Virtual 5K after a lengthy corporate courting process in which my team of agents and athletics consultants negotiated an amicable deal with IA. No small feat for an athlete of my considerable grace, stature, and ability. (I believe the word “prowess” may have been used. Their words.)

I was honored to receive the hand-hammered 75-pound stone-engraved invitation to be a celebrity participant via a one-legged Courier, and after a full legal review by my cadre of law professionals, with open arms and my incredibly powerful heart on my sleeve, I eagerly and unhesitatingly accepted. The immediate flood of sponsorship offers from major multinational athletic thought-leaders was a little overwhelming, but I decided early on that I would turn them all down in favor of having those dollars sent, as a charitable contribution, to the Jamaican Track team. A decision which I would later regret, after having nearly choked on an All-American cheese puff and my Kombucha during the Men’s 100 meter race (are we NOT checking for doping among other nations, gentlemen? Am I the only athlete forced to pee into an incredibly undersized plastic cup?).

At any rate, without further adieu, I present my photo essay of my victory. It was glorious. Portland, thou shalt tremble.

The Race of Champions

Here is a view of the route I planned to take:

5K route on the Portland Waterfront

And here is the ACTUAL route I wound up running (which is closer 5.98K):

racemap of downtown portland 5k

You will note, on the route that I followed, that there are a number of switchbacks that occurred. This was for one simple reason: I wanted the competition to be fair, so as I pulled away, I often doubled back to let the others catch up. It was generous, but I didn’t want to be conspicuous (and it was in my contract). I assure you, I was not lost.

weight limit

This sign was apparently a race prerequisite. I was GLAD, for once, that my name was not MAX. And thanks to my strict regimen of air, pine needles, and diuretics, my final weigh-in satisfied the requirement. It was shortly followed by this sign, which I felt was stifling to my performance, but a rule to which I did adhere:

photo of 30 MPH speed limit

Thanks to that sign, I did fall short of my world record and personal best, but rules are rules.

Old Town Portland

A shot of downtown Portland on the waterfront. You’ll notice that there is not a single competitor in view. They are all well behind me at this point, some utilizing heavy drugs and a shared defibrillator.

Walk sign

I found this sign laughable.

east side portland sculpture

Obstacles in the form of art are no match for my footwork. And, the view is sans competitors, I might humbly add. Oh there’s one – Nope. Just a man of mystery, not unlike myself.

hawthorne bridge in portland

The Red weights on that bridge were raised into place in honor of my participation. They are usually at half-mast, but by request of undisclosed Royalty they were raised to full tilt in my honor. I am awash.

you are here, portland

I couldn’t help but take a photo of this sign that was on the race route. It was a moment of hubris, I admit. But golly. Portland – Oh YOU!

Ped bridge, east side portland

I chose to avoid the footpath in favor of leaping from post to post, just to make it a little more fair. It did not seem to help my brothers in sweat, unfortunately. Poor souls. You can see one, there in the distance, resorting to a cart of some sort. Ah, competitive sporting world. Must I be the only witness to such traversal of the rules?

Steep bridge in Portland

The Steel Bridge. I ran across this bridge with 3 long strides, barely spilling my cocktail.

View of portland from steel bridge

A view from the Steel Bridge. If you squint, you can see the remnants of the skywriting that was presented by the State of Oregon in my honor.

Keeping Portland Weird

Here is a sampling of the crowd of several million spectators (I didn’t want to carry my wide angle lens, so this is the best I could do). They were fervent, with the air absolutely electrified with a nearly effluvial roar as I whirred along, with a single waive and a nod. I believe the pink hair is part of my marketing campaign, but I can’t be sure.

Geek graffiti

Some of my fans’ work. This illustrates one of the reasons I love this town: Geek-Fiti. It takes some serious guts to walk along a bridge at night and write on something with a white marker. That’s So Street. I believe I am the one on the left.

Portland Waterfront, downtown

I ran this stretch in .03 seconds. I always throw in a good sprint here and there during a race, just to mess with everyone’s heads. It apparently worked, as I see none of my race compatriots.

Slow sign

This sign I can only assume was a tactic that was used by my competition. I paid it no mind, as my staggering race time reflects.

Portland Waterfront, downtown west side

Where are all of my competitors? Oh, there they are. WAAAAAY off in the distance, in my colloquial Dust. They look like Ants from here, don’t they?

Fire hydrant

And finally, here is a photo of my prize. I wanted to highlight in a photo the strong men and women who completed the race after me, however they unfortunately couldn’t make it – several of my publicists and viral bloggists say that the competition may have died shortly after the race presumably from exhaustion, doping, and awe. We all have our struggles.

The conclusion, and One last question

I hope you enjoyed my record of my successful participation in this event. All joking aside, I had a blast running one of the best routes in Downtown Portland, and loved the concept of a virtual 5K. I did indeed accidentally run 6K instead of 5, mostly because the route was new to me, and well, I was running it alone.

My actual reward for running the virtual race? A visit to Powell’s Books, where my reward was a book purchase. I bought a book on running.

Thanks for reading. I hope you got a laugh. But I do have one request from Readers:

Does anyone have Michael Phelps’ email address or phone number? I’ve never tried competitive swimming, but I think he should start worrying right about now.

Thanks for visiting Almost Fit. When I’m not otherwise occupied trying to impose my sense of humor on readers, Almost Fit is about losing weight and improving your health by eating real food in moderation. If you enjoy this entry, please consider sharing it via your favorite social media tool . Thanks.

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