I should have written this closer to the end of the marathon, but I needed some time to decompress and relax a bit, so I apologize that it’s a bit late.
Start with the exciting news.. I finished! I had three goals when I was at the starting line. Finish around 4:30 minutes enjoy the experience and to finish strong. I’m glad to say I think all 3 were realistic and were achieved.
The morning of October 7th, I awoke about 4:30 a to get my morning ritual breakfast down my stomach; a plain english muffin and a bowl of honey nut Cheerios. It’s combination worked well for me in my training runs and I didn’t want to mess with success there. Some people can go back to bed after eating breakfast on marathon day, I was way to amped up and excited to think about it, so I laid down on the couch and did some resting/mediation/visualization for about an hour before it was time to head out.
On our way to the starting line, I asked my wife to stop at a coffee shop so I could get some coffee, I was on the fence about this, but glad I did in the end, no ill side effects from the coffee, and it gave me a little pick me up. Lisa was able to get me to within a block of my starting corral (F), then she was off to get some breakfast and hook back up with around mile 18.
About 7:00 am we could faintly hear the national anthem being unit in the corrals that were closer to the starting line and I knew it was getting close. I wish they also had installed speakers in our corral, would have liked to have been part of that.
About 7:15,they moved our corral up towards the starting line, the energy and excitement was awesome. I think it was Jeff Galloway who some some inspiring words (Don’t remember what they were, but i’m sure it was good stuff), then we were off.
The first mile or two take you through downtown Portland and Chinatown, the bands were a great way to get motivated, and feeling like you were in a real life Rocky movie. I was very careful not start off too fast, that was the one common major mistake I had read that people do. Getting caught up in the excitement and taking off too fast. I was constantly checking my Garmin to be sure I was on pace.
Splits for my first 3 miles was 10:20, 9:50 and 9:58. After mile 3, I settled into a nice easy pace of about 9:30, Miles 4-11 is essentially a long out and back some scenic sections, then it becomes a warehouse district, nothing too exciting, but a good section to knock out 5-6 miles at a decent clip.
Around Mile 11, the half marathoners split off to head back downtown while the full marathoners start making their way to the St. Johns Bridge. Another 5-6 miles of running through residential areas and commercial districts.
At mile 16, I came across my wife and son, was great to see them and say a quick hello. My calves were starting to feel a little tight, so I asked Lisa is she could meet me on the other side of the bridge with my compression sleeves, quick kiss, then it was off to tackle the St. Johns Bridge.
At mile 17, you start the incline to get to the bridge, I felt strong going up the hill and found it a welcome change from the flat constant pounding of the pavement, there were a lot of people who walked it up, but I felt strong at the time and made it up pacing about 10 min mile. Running across the bridge was very rewarding, It was such a beautiful day and to be looking out on the river it was awesome.
Mile 18-22 takes you through several residential neighborhoods, lots of support from the race crew and residents, the cheering and encouragement really did help me, not to mention all the signs, Chuck Norris never ran a marathon apparently.
Mile 22-26 was the hardest part. I had never ran more than 20 miles at one time before so it was unfamiliar territory for my body and my mind. I felt like I had plenty of energy, but my body physically was starting to wear down, sore hips, and legs. I did quite a bit of alternating run/walking for these miles. My splits start to show it, Averaged 11 minute miles in that span.
Mile 26-26.2. Now i’m not a very emotional person, but when I came across the steel bridge and knew I had about a half mile left, I started to tear up a bit. I knew I was going to finish and was happy to have accomplished something I set out to do so far ago, it was quite a feeling.
The finish line! The first thing they give you when you cross the line is a finisher medal, that was a hard earned medal and was proud to accept it and wear it. Then it was to walk the gauntlet of food to get some energy back, chocolate milk, bananas, grapes, oranges, I ate it all. Then it was off to a shower, some more food and the drive back to Bend. All in all it was an awesome day, well run event with excellent support.