It’s been almost a year since I ran my last full marathon, which was Athens, Greece last Halloween. I’ve always approached marathons in a non-competitive, very easy pace kinda way. I was very curious though, to see what difference being on the IronTEAM and completing 140.6 would do. I certainly felt the most active I’ve ever been in my life. I’ve pushed myself through some half marathons within the IronTEAM season and PR’ed there, and I was able to manage a 5:10 marathon at the run portion of Vineman, so taking advantage of all this, I actually set a goal for this marathon. Not only to PR (my last PR was 4:58), but to be at 4:45, a pretty good point to my eventual goal of 4:30 at the Rock N Roll Las Vegas Marathon in December.
Portland, Oregon is one of my favorite cities, so I was very excited leading up to this race. I’ve been twice before, primarily to explore the food, and for the MusicFest Northwest (MFNW). I love the greenery surrounding the city, really friendly people, and relatively clean and not crazy busy like Los Angeles. The event took place on a Columbus Day weekend, which my work fortunately gives us the extra day off, so it was a no brainer for me to sign up and do this race. I’ve always wanted to, really.
The night before my 7am flight, my friends and I went out, and oh man… did WE go out. We went to several bars and didn’t get home until 5am, but that’s a different story. Won’t explain the details here. Pretty much had a 1 hour nap before it was time for me to leave LAX. I tried to sleep as much as I can on the 3 hour flight, but it wasn’t much. I met up with the same friends I went out with the night before and wandered the city a little bit because the hotel wasn’t ready yet either. Went to packet pickup just a few blocks away at a Hilton. It was a different Expo set-up like the usual Rock N Roll ones I’m used to, but still had everything you expect expos to have.
My hotel was only half a mile from the start, so that was a huge plus with my overall marathon experience. The morning was a little cold, but still manageable. No rain, just overcast. The waves are set up perpendicular to the main start chute, which I thought was interesting & genius at the time time. A teammate, Donovan, suggested I try to run with the 4:30 pacers during the race, so I found them in my wave and waited with them. Overall energy of the race was high. Everyone was so friendly and calm. Once it was our wave to start, we all walked pretty calmly over. I was amazed at how organized and well the crowd was flowing through the start.
The course took us through downtown Portland and took us through surrounding neighborhoods along the waterfront. It had some nice downhills, but also two large hills. One near the beginning from 2-4, then another big one at 14-17ish. The rest was flat. Overall, it was a beautiful course, always trees in sight. Crossed some bridges over the water, and also ran along with nice views. Great crowd support throughout, and the runners were friendly. Even a girl from South Carolina wanted to run with me at mile 15, because we were at the same pace and found out we wanted the same time goal. We chit chatted up the large hill at 16, motivating each other through. We also ended up meeting another woman from Hawaii, who also kept us company. This whole time, remember, I was somewhat near the 4:30 pacers. Once that last hill was over, there were a few minor rollers, then the final 10k was ALL downhill. LOVED that. It started to rain a bit, but it was quite refreshing actually. A nice gust of wind re-energized me, and I noticed that I was WAY under my goal time, so I kept pushing myself through those final miles to see what I can get out of it. I might as well put it all out there! I felt great the whole time. I think it’s the tri-thinking of getting the right calories and hydration throughout the course that helped me! The last mile was a little annoying because I couldn’t really see the finish line (I could hear the announcer though), and it took everyone through some 90 degree zig-zigs until the finish. I sprinted!
30 minutes off my last PR which I set 2 years ago, and 15 minutes off my original goal time for the day! My first marathon was a 5:50 I think, so you can imagine how happy I was when I finished! I was almost just as happy as finishing Vineman! Felt amazing! Also felt A LOT more sore than Vineman! What the! When I finished, I was given a pretty sweet medal, oh but wait, that’s not all… I also got a finishers long sleeve shirt, a finishers coin, and a finishers pendant. There was also the most amount of food at a finish line I’ve ever seen! All kinds of fruit, ice cream, bread, all kinds of drinks, pizzes, sandwiches… oh wow! They also gave away small trees to plant, and I forget what else. There was just too many to name! This because my new favorite marathon. Well organized, great crowds, great people, awesome finish line food. LOVED it.
Marathon #11, State #6 in the books!