Well we DID IT! Months of training, weeks of injury and many, many doctor appointments and the Portland Marathon has been conquered. Ok it's done so let's move on. Ha ha you don't get off that easy.
I will save you the play by play but I will give you a good overview of the day. Sunday morning I met Jamie in the lobby of the hotel and walked over to the start line together. We met up with Rachel, Erica and Corey in the corral so we could all start the race together. Rachel, Erica and Corey were all doing the half marathon but for the first 11 miles both groups ran together. It was great to see the girls and they all wore their Pip Running shirts which felt amazing! Shortly after we took off Rachel and Corey fell back into their comfortable running pace and Jamie and I ran with Erica for awhile. Lesson learned: be less generous with your finish time. We were in one of the last corrals and took off with the walkers. While I'm sure they are as a whole nice people they were very irritating to negotiate around when you are running a race. The time on our first couple of miles was all over the place do to the "obstacles".
I felt pretty good when the morning started. I knew I would be out there for awhile and faced the miles as a job that needed to be done. My foot was no longer hurting so I just had to handle whatever came up as it came up.
We eventually lost Erica and Jamie and I ran through the first 13 miles. There were some interesting distractions such as the pirates shooting off cannons, ladies talking on cell phones and trains moving parallel to us giving you a sense of running on a moving sidewalk. My calves and hip flexors were already tight by the 12 or 13th mile and somewhere around mile 7 I could feel a blister forming. I tried to focus on my form, remember to lift my knees and remember that I had blister Band-Aids in my hydration pack (thank you Beth Baker for the story of you and the blister Band-Aid) and packed in a bag for Mike to bring when he met us on the course. We met Mike and the kids at Mile 12 and I put a Band-Aid on the forming blisters and was able to move on. I tried to keep in mind that I should be fueling and around Mile 5 I started taking Shot Blocks and drinking my watered down Gatorade that filled my hydration pack. When I met Mike at Mile 12 I pulled out my peanut butter pretzels and started to eat those for the next couple miles. Mile 12 was the last chance for Mike to see us for the next 6 miles so I'm glad he was able to negotiate his way around the course (with both kids) before our next scheduled meetup at Mile 18.
Jamie and I filled the next 6 miles with chatting, walking large hills and running over bridges. On the one big hill of the race, right before St. Johns Bridge, most of the people were walking up. Many, including ourselves, stopped at a scenic point on the hill and took pictures and then we took pictures for other people. One day Jamie will send me those pics. By this point my calves were so tight they felt like they were in vise grips or that they might snap but it didn't hurt too much to run. The stopping and starting was hard but once I was moving they were OK. By mile 18 Jamie had developed a blister so thankfully Mike was meeting us. She blister Band-Aided up, I had some Smokehouse Almonds and I kissed and cuddled the kids. Ailbe kept stealing my almonds but I got a few in before we took off again. Mike was going to meet us again around Mile 21-22. As we came up to Mile 20 our favorite partner in crime Donna was there! It was so great to see her. I think Jamie's spirits were down and having this ball of positive energy that is Donna with us was great. She jumped right in with us and ran and walked the next 5 miles with us. She came really prepared too. She brought Kleenex, wet towels to wipe our salty faces and she said she had her car full of food/drinks. Our marathon angel.
Mike was there again at Mile 21 and this was a fun meeting because the kids ran with us for a block or so. I wish someone I know got a pic. By this point we were in the neighborhoods in Portland. Strangers were camped out in their front yards or in lawn chairs along the road cheering us on. We were able to customize our bibs when we registered and it was so great to hear strangers saying "You can do it Susie Q!". I high-fived and cheered my way through the next couple of miles. Around Mile 23 we met up with Jamie's family and I think she really needed to see them. Her family all had white shirts on which they wrote supportive slogans to support her. Off to Mile 25 and our final meeting with Mike and Donna's departure from us. Once we met up with Mike, Jamie and I dropped our hydration packs off with him and ran our last mile in elation. We were almost done!
On the final bit of our last mile Erica, Rachel and Corey were waiting for us. They finished their half marathon 3 hours earlier but they hung out, thankfully on a beautiful day, for us to come in and ran that last quarter mile or so to the finish chute with us. I was so happy to see them and loved that we ran together.
Finally we were at the finish chute and we were crossing the Finish Line. It was great to get our medals, space blanket and finisher's shirt. The Finishers Chute was pretty empty by this point so we were able to walk through like champions and pick and choose our bounty. Fruit? No thank you. Chocolate covered donut holes? Yes please!
Jamie was able to cross another "40 Before 40" goal off her list and I could welcome my 40th birthday feeling wonderful. As my training mileage really started to build I became injured. Top mileage before injury was 17 miles and post injury maybe 12. I did not know how I would feel during those 26.2 miles but knew I had the base miles and experience to finish. Never a doubt I was going to finish. I ended up feeling pretty great. Mentally throughout the race I never felt down or that I couldn't finish. Yes might calves were tight but I could still run and really just ran the race loving everybody but especially loving my body for being strong and putting up with this bullshit I was putting it through.
planning my next one now. When I told Mike he rolled his eyes. Gotta love him. I really can't wait to see how it goes with what I hope to be a full training.