Monday, October 7, 2013

Portland Marathon: My First 26.2!

The good: I now know that my Garmin's battery life lasts for at least 6.5 hours of continuous use.

The bad: I missed my time goal by an hour.

The ugly: I have some ridiculous sports bra chafing on my rib cage.

But I'm a marathon finisher!

Corral E about 6:00 am.
My parents were in town for the weekend to support me through my first marathon, and even graciously got up early to drive Abe and me into downtown to be there by 6:00 am.

I got up at 4:30, ate leftover breadsticks from the Olive Garden, a spoonful of peanut butter, and a HiBall for breakfast. We headed out around 5:30, dropped off Abe in Corral D, and then me in Corral E. The official instructions said to be in place by 6:00, but the street didn't really fill up until closer to 6:30.

Waiting to start

Miles 1 - 5: 12:43, 12:14, 12:17, 11:48 (what!), 13:32

(Mile 1 includes about 15 seconds stopped for a Max train to cross. Mile 5 includes about 90 seconds stopped at a porta potty. So these miles are really between 12:00 - 12:30 of running.)

I felt good as we started. The effort that I thought was appropriate was a touch faster pace than I expected. I saw Jessica spectating around mile 4.

Miles 6 - 10: 12:20, 12:20, 12:28, 12:18, 12:14

Still going strong! Saw Abe on an out-and-back when I was about mile 8 and he was about mile 10 - watching for him on the other side of the street kept me distracted for a good mile. Then I saw my friend Karey and her dad when I was about mile 10 and they were about mile 8. I also saw the managing partner of my firm, walking the half marathon with his wife. Although he should have seen which bib I was wearing (the full and half had different colors), when we talked on Monday he asked if I had run the half or full - seeming to assume I ran the half. Guess I don't seem like a marathoner!

Miles 11 - 13: 12:16, 13:56, 12:29

(Mile 12 includes about two minutes stopped at a porta potty - still keeping up a 12:00 - 12:30 pace of actual running.)

Crossed the 13.1 mark at 2:43 - over 5 minutes faster than my current half marathon PR! Although that gives me a great deal of confidence for my next half marathon, that probably wasn't a great thing in terms of pacing myself for this race.

Miles 14 - 16: 13:04, 13:12, 13:24

Started to slow down a little. I realized around this point that the volunteers were gladly refilling people's water bottles, and my handheld - which I'd been planning to use just while eating Shot Bloks, and take cups at the aid stations to stay hydrated - was getting empty, so I started getting it refilled, which was great as the temperature started increasing.

Miles 17 - 21: 15:36, 14:18, 15:03, 18:09, 18:16

So... yeah... obviously slowing down a bit! Mile 17 includes the second of the two real hills, the approach to the St. Johns Bridge. I shuffled up it a bit, but mostly walked, as many people were starting to by that point. Around mile 19 I saw Jessica again, and then ran into my friend Windy on the course. She had started in the corral after me, passed me at some point, and then I guess I had passed her on the bridge. We chatted for a minute before I got a second wind and picked up the pace for a bit - seeing Jessica and Windy definitely gave me a little boost! Windy passed me a little later when I stopped for a porta potty, and she ended up finishing in just over 6 hours!

Almost done
Miles 22 - 26: 22:39, 18:57, 20:06, 19:18, 18:25

At this point, it was all I could to keep moving forward. My feet hurt so much! (No blisters or anything, just from the pounding.) I tried running for short spurts, but after a while just stopped caring.

Abe (having finished in 3:50! For his first marathon!) met me on the course around mile 25, and kept me company until I entered the finishing chute for the last quarter mile or so. I kept thinking, ok I'll run the last mile. Then stopped to walked, ok I'll run the last half mile. Then stopped to walk again.

Mile 26.2: 5:55 time for 0.35 per my Garmin - 17:14 pace

Saw my parents and Abe as I entered the finishing chute. Finally knew I had to run when I crossed the half marathon 13 mile mark - only a tenth of a mile left. I shuffled across the finish line, and it was done!

The finish line

At the finish line you get a medal, finisher's t-shirt, space blanket (though really didn't need it in the 70 degree afternoon), a rose, tree seedling, coin and pendant that are miniatures of the medal, and a ton of food and drinks. 

Nothing really sounded good right after. I took a cup of Ultima, which I hadn't tried before, and it was kind of gross. I tried some string cheese - normally a favorite, but also wasn't good in the moment. Finally a plain bagel tasted pretty good, plus a doughnut. 

I slowly made my way out to meet up with my parents. My mom guided me over to the curb so I could sit down, and I promptly started crying. I knew the tears were on the edge of starting since about mile 20. I was so glad to be done.

Two marathon finishers!
I had given my parents a protein drink and coconut water to have for me at the end. I took some sips of the protein drink; the coconut water, though not really that sweet, was too sweet after six hours of eating Shot Bloks.

I was very impressed with the organization of the race. The start was well done, with the corrals merging towards the start line one at a time. There are 19 aid stations, so about every 1.5 miles. They seemed to be further apart near the end... oh wait, that's just cause I was taking so long in between! Even though the bands were more likely to be on a break, or a few even were packing up as I passed near the end, there were still volunteers out and some degree of crowd support even though it was so many hours into the event.

Best spectator signs that I recall:
Run random adult
Mortuary ahead - look alive
Inspirational statement
I ran once [drawing of Grumpy Cat] It was awful

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