Portland Marathon Race Recap

10/10/10

Race morning I got up at 5am and started getting ready.  It wasn’t raining yet so I stuck with my original outfit choice B.  Looking back, probably not the best choice, but we’ll get to that…

Showered, had 2 cups of coffee, the usual.

Mom, dad and I got ready and left the hotel at 5:45 for a 7 am marathon start.

Not raining yet, but by the time we parked the car, it was pouring… and didn’t stop until we pulled away from the curb after the race. awesome.

We got to the starting area (which was really confusing… more on that in the race review post) around 6:20.  I headed to a porta potty, ate most of a Clif bar (not in the porta potty) and then got into corral A.

Waiting in line for a stink box.  I wore my mom’s extra rain jacket until right before the race started.

I had on a super thin rain jacket (that’s actually a fishing jacket) the whole race so I didn’t even get to show off my Sutton shirt and neither did my family since everyone was all bundled up.  So I’m thinking of resurrecting the outfit and running a second race – the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco this weekend – for Sutton.  I don’t think he’ll mind, do you?

The race started right at 7 am, and you can see my skirt’s already nice and wet.

Looking back, I should have changed my outfit before I left the hotel and worn Drymax socks instead of thick Zensah compression socks,  a tight fitting Drifit t shirt and Drifit capri tights so there’d be less fabric dripping wet and hanging.  By mile 8 I started wringing out my whole skirt, but you live and you learn…  My family wore all their shirts and I wanted to too.

(Byron and Niki and the boys wore their shirts out to breakfast.  Fortunately, they didn’t come to the race; the little guys probably would have gotten sick out there.  Or floated away in all that rain)

Classic SR race posing.  It doesn’t get any better than the Running Model Pose.

Because I was wearing a rain jacket, I didn’t check my garmin much at all during the race.  It was too much work to get it out of my sleeve, and I didn’t want it to get wet and stop working.

It was kind of liberating and frustrating at the same time to not know my pace.  I would check it every couple miles for the first part of the race; I was running about 8:05-8:15 miles.  I checked it when I crossed the halfway mark and that was the last time.

I tried not to start out too fast and take it easier for the first half, but I think I probably should have started even slower since I ended up running really positive splits.  oops.

The first 11 miles were a dream, a walk in the park, so easy you think you can run forever.  Funny that 9 short miles later, you hate running and life.

One of the best things about the race was being able to see my family so many times on the course.  No, scratch that.  It was the best thing.  Running in the pouring rain isn’t really that fun.  No, scratch that.  It’s miserable.  Especially when you’re doing it for nearly 4 hours.  But I got to see them at mile 5, 12 and 20.

My dad would check to see if I wanted to keep my jacket on, my mom would run alongside me and tell me to go faster, and my personal cheerleading squad Marlie and Matti would yell for me.

They were such troopers to go stand in the rain for 4 hours for me.  Marathoning is not a very spectator-friendly sport: it’s pretty boring.  Heck, I bore myself while running so I really appreciated them being there for me.

Back to the race… this was the first race where I didn’t bring any of my own gels; I just ate whatever they were handing out.  The calorie intake:

-Clif bar before race

-mile 8.75  grabbed a Liquid Gold energy gel cup.  tasted like a GU with honey.   (Got a shoutout from reader Steffanie around this time, thanks!)

-mile 9.5  grabbed a handful of gummi bears.  I think 6-8 of them.

-mile 17ish  another Liquid Gold gel.

-mile 20ish   more gummi bears

-mile 23   more gummi bears

I also grabbed a cup of Ultima energy drink at every aid station along with a cup of water at a few stations when I felt really thirsty.

I crossed the halfway at 1:47 and felt pretty good.  At that point I thought I could maybe finish in BQ time since I’d have a 6 minute cushion for the last 13.1 miles.

The first half of the race was pretty flat with a few small hills, but then mile 16 brought a long, steep hill up to a bridge.  A lot of people were walking and I thought about it, but I told myself that Sutton would hate me if I walked.  So I didn’t.

We crossed the St. John’s Bridge at mile 17 and it was like the pain light switch turned on.  In a moment, everything ached: my hips, my hamstrings, ankles and knees.  I think this happens to me during every marathon, but normally a little later than 17. More like 20 or 22.

Even though I didn’t know what pace I was running, I could definitely feel I was slowing down.

After crossing the bridge, the course wsa mostly flat for the remainder of the race which was awesome.  I was hurting and slowing down, but I never hit that wall where you just want to quit. or die.

I saw my family again at mile 20, and I kept telling myself, It’s gonna hurt for the next 45 minutes so friggin suck it up.  I kept repeating that and counting down the miles which seemed to last forever.

I have this theory that the last 6 miles of any marathon are going to be miserable, no matter how hard you train.  And if they’re not miserable and gut-wrenching, you’re not running hard enough.

So I just kept pushing as much as I could until I finally saw the finish line and sprinted the last .2 mile.

I finished in 3:40:09. 8:24 average pace.  951 out of 7434 people, 207 out of 4132 women, 66 out of 700 women in my age group.

So I ran the second half of the race 6 minutes slower than the first half.  But I’m happy with my time considering the conditions and my lack of training.  But most of all, I’m happy that I didn’t mentally break down or hit that mental wall.

I was pretty sore afterwards, especially my hips.  And cold as soon as I got done running.

The race had a great post-race “party”; I’ll have my race review up in a few days and give more details but think tons of greek yogurt and fir trees.  yeah, trees.

I was able to find my family right away and head for the car and then the hotel for a hot shower.  After warming up and wringing out my clothes, we headed to Red Robin which was mighty tasty as usual.  There’s no better feeling than telling the waitress “I just ran a marathon” when she looks at you like you’re a pig for eating 26 baskets of fries.

After lunch we drove back to Astoria and walked in to find a beautiful bouquet of flowers and my own fan club:

Niki was so sweet to go to the local farmer’s market and get me flowers plus my own glittered sign.  Aren’t they so dang cute?!

And then Sutton decided milk was for babies so he went after the cardboard. yum.

Even though the weather was pretty miserable, it was a pretty memorable race for me.  I loved my family being there, and I loved running for something more than myself.  Team Sutton.

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