Friday, October 28, 2011

Portland Trail Series Report

This last week we completed the final race in the inaugural Portland Trail Series. The races were held on the various trails in Forest Park every other Wednesday night at 6:15 from late August through late October, with 5 races total. At only $50 for the series, it was a bargain! And we can't get enough of Forest Park, so of course we were in. Zach and I signed up and our friend Justin (Alisa's husband) did too. The way it works is you earn points for every race and they use your best 4 scores to rank you overall. It was neat to see the same people out there and to get to know a few new faces.

Unfortunately, I only completed 3 races so I was out of the overall running. The series spans a big chunk of most people's peak training, so it was interesting to see how people's performance changed each time. For me, the races caught me right after my two big events (the 50k run and the Portland Marathon) as well as one in the middle of my training where I was in top shape. To be able to place in the overall rankings, it is important to be able to actually run all of them. Sounds obvious, but it is surprisingly difficult!

The time span of the races also includes a pretty significant change of seasons... August had warm weather, green leaves , and full sunlight. By this week we were racing in tights, among fallen leaves, in the PITCH BLACK. Another big factor!

Race #1- August 31- No report. We missed the first race because it fell in the middle of our vacation in Central Oregon. Justin was also out of town that week running a 50k.

Race #2 September 14
5.18 miles, 877 ft elevation gain

This race was 4 days after my big 31 miler. I was actually feeling pretty recovered but planned to take it easy. That plan went out the window when the race started. I got caught up and had a blast running hard. I discovered that among the mid-pack ladies I actually am a pretty strong climber! I was happy to pass quite a few gals up the big hill. They caught up to me on the flat and downhill, but I turned my burners on and dropped the pack I was running with in the steep downhill at the end. The last quarter mile was on Leif Erickson which is a slightly downhill dirt road, and that stretch is home to my fastest running of all time, so I was loving it. Eat my dust!

47:39 (9:12 pace)
5/18 AG (30-39), 10/31 Females, 43/67 overall

Race #3 September 28
4.97 miles, 645 ft elevation gain

My second race of the series fell at a great time for me training-wise. I was all recovered from the 50k run and tuning up for the Portland Marathon. I used this race as speed work. We got off to a rocky start- Zach and I picked Justin up and we were running very late... we literally parked and ran up to the start as they were counting down. Good warm up I guess! I grabbed my race number and folded it up and shoved it in my bra. I'm sure the guy at the finish line liked that. Hehe. It was less hilly with just the one climb so it was a fast race. It felt like a 5k. There was a girl trailing me the whole time but I could tell she was working hard to keep up so it didn't bother me. I eventually asked her how old she was, ha! She said 27 so I welcomed her to tag along. I dropped her as I bombed down the Wild Cherry trail again and sprinted to the finish on Leif. Weee! 

40:28 (8:08 pace)
6/16 AG, 10/27 Females, 38/58 overall

Race #4- October 12 -No report. This was 3 days after my marathon and I was way too sore. My foot was feeling better but I still had some pain and I knew there was no way I could run. I ended up taking off two full weeks so this was obviously way too soon. I hated to miss it, especially because I knew it took me out of the running for the series standings. Even though I had finished 5th and 6th in my Age Group in the previous races, the girls who finished ahead of me were not necessarily doing all the races and weren't going for the series points. Plus, one girl was the overall leader and was therefore out of the AG rankings. Anyway... woulda, coulda, shoulda, etc. Zach and Justin ran the race and had a blast. It was 8 miles and got very dark by the end, sounds exciting! I stayed home and made fall crafts.

Race #5 October 26
5.37 miles, 896 ft elevation gain

The final race was this past Wednesday. It was twilight as we lined up at 6:15 and dark already in the forest. As the race went on, it managed to get even darker and became pitch black. It was SO weird! Everyone had headlamps. I had only run one time since the marathon and that was only 3 miles. My foot is better but I'm just still feeling a little achy and sore all over. My body is still very much in recovery mode, so I went into this race knowing I needed to go easy. Since I was out of the running for series points, that was fine. It kind of stung though to hang back as the faces I'd gotten familiar with ran past me. Whatever! Not only was I nursing a sore body, the dark was a total factor. It was a trip. I ran really slow and careful and just tried not to fall. My ankle and hip hurt quite a bit, especially on the downhills. I was running so slow I didn't feel like I was breathing hard at all, except on the climbs. It was weird. When we hit the Leif Erickson trail I did run faster but didn't push too much.

55:03 (10:15 pace)
9/13 AG, 13/22 Females, 38/49 overall

After this last race we headed down to the Lucky Lab, a local brewery with good food, for the post-series party and awards banquet. It was super fun! The people were all really nice and it was cool to acknowledge everyone's hard work.

I should go back and point out some of Zach's highlights from the series. He did so good. So good! 

    Race #2- 8th place, 6:59 pace

    Race #3- 11th place, 6:21 pace

    Race #4- (The race I skipped, it was 8 miles with plenty of climbing) 11th place, 7:05 pace

    Race #5- 6th place, 7:01 pace.

That's overall place, not Age Group. Of course a lot of the guys in the 30-39 AG are super fast, so I think he generally finished about 5th or 6th in his AG. But as I pointed out before, a couple of those guys weren't in the series points race, and two of them were top finishers overall. In the end, drumroll please.......

Zach placed 3rd in his AG for the Portland Trail Race Series!!! And that's among a field of really fast guys (ahem, like Justin! who finished a couple spots back). Yay Zach! He won a nice Nathan fuel belt and got a nice round of applause as he collected his prize. I was so proud!!

He has really found his place in trail running and continues to improve. It's pretty amazing actually. He is both fast AND an excellent trail runner/climber and really stands to be competitive in some of these local races. He nearly finished in the top 10 of his first 50k for cryin out loud! He's very talented and it's cool to watch. Of course I'm a little bitter about him stealing my thunder and all that, but what are you gonna do. He's supported me for years of racing and I'm happy to let him have the spotlight.... for a while.

The race director said they are looking to put on a spring trail series next year, so you bet we'll be signing up! I can't wait. :)


A few pictures:

Trail in the light:


Trail in the dark:


Zach going to retrieve his award (bad picture):

 Award 1

Major Award! Nathan Fuel Belt for 3rd Place in AG:


Raffle prizes- we all got socks!


Trail running buddies- Justin, Zach, and me:

Lucky Lab 



Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Portland Marathon Race Report

Yesterday I ran my 10th marathon here in Portland. It was my first time running the Portland Marathon and it was a race I will definitely be running again. I feel so lucky to have such an amazing event right here at my doorstep! I would recommend this race to anyone- the course was fast but interesting, the crowd support was phenomenal, and the weather was perfect. I got to enjoy all this, plus the benefit of having dinner at home and a full night's sleep in my own bed. PLUS I knew a bunch of people that were also running the race and a ton of friends were out cheering at multiple places on the course! It was a perfect setup for a great race.


I signed up for this race in a frenzy of peer pressure a few months ago. It was definitely a gamble. My focus all summer was trail running, specifically training for a 50k run on my birthday. Zach and I did almost all our runs on the trails and I built up spectacular endurance. I ended up running a solo 31 miler on my birthday in 6 hours and 19 minutes, and finished with a huge smile on my face and felt great. My pace was just over 12:00 which was my goal and the pace at which I did most of those long, hilly, beautiful trail runs. From time to time I ran with Zach and would run a 9:00-10:00 pace, but that was about as speedy as it got on the trails. I kept my overall mileage pretty low and focused on those epic long runs. I didn't even have a Garmin for the summer and was feeling very free and relaxed. I really found a love of trail running this summer.

The Portland Marathon fell one month exactly after that 50k run. Thankfully I recovered quickly and only took a couple days off, and was able to squeeze in some "marathon training" in the following 4 weeks. I made a point to stay OFF the trails and get my legs used to pounding the pavement again. I also tried my darndest to whip some speed into my legs. So long free-running forest girl, hello intervals and pace analysis. I got a new Garmin (I'd lost my old one at the Cascade Lakes Relay), busted out my road running shoes, put on my game face, and crammed for this race.

It was interesting. Obviously 4 weeks isn't sufficient to "train" for a marathon, but coming off that big base of endurance I figured it was enough time to fine-tune a bit. I still only ran about 35 miles per week but plugged in some speedwork and marathon-pace stuff. It was definitely a wake up call. Once I did some 800's and could barely hold a 7:30 pace where I used to run closer to 6:30 pace for those. Ouch. On GA or Long runs, I struggled to get my pace under 9:00. I was feeling good, just didn't have the speed (You'll hear this sentence again later). The road did take a bit of a toll on my legs- I noticed shin splints and other soreness that I hadn't dealt with all summer. I was reminded why I had backed off from road running/racing. But, I was signed up for this thing, and with no valid excuse not to, I was going to run it.


As I mentioned in my previous post, I had no idea. I was hoping for under 3:55 (my slowest time) or at least a sub-4. But I didn't know- maybe some speed would appear and I would have a great day, or maybe I would fall apart and crawl in. I had been dealing with a pain in my right foot all week and had only run twice all week in hopes of it feeling better, so that was a factor for me too. My main goal was to finish my 10th marathon and have fun.


I went to the race expo Friday after work. It was just a few blocks from my office - so nice! There weren't many people there so I really got to enjoy it. It was a great expo- one of the best I've been to! They had a huge merchandise section with really nice stuff and not overpriced. I got a pint glass and a t-shirt with the marathon logo. I got some samples and visited with a few vendors.

At one table I noticed the sign said "Legends of running" and who do I see standing there but my old friend, Bill Rodgers!! I'd met him at the 2007 Boston Marathon, so we go way back. There were just a couple people at the table so I wandered over and just listened in on his conversation. He was talking about one of his legendary classic races with another older runner- it was great. I started chatting with a gal standing there and found out it was Bill's girlfriend! She was so nice. She told me about her family there and we talked about running. She was asking about places to run besides the waterfront so I mentioned Forest Park. She said, "Oh you should tell Bill about that..." so as soon as he was done talking with the other guy, I shook his hand and filled him in on Forest Park. He hasn't spent much time in Portland at all and hadn't heard of Forest Park. I gave him directions and told him about the Leif Erickson trail. I could have died!! Telling one of the best marathoners in American history about one of the best running routes in the Northwest! It was seriously a moment I will never forget. So cool!! He signed my bib and wished me luck. I finally picked up my goodie bag- which included a nice technical t-shirt. Which is in addition to the finisher's shirt you get after the race! Two shirts! I shoved everything into my reusable goodie bag and practically skipped to the bus stop.

Since I hit up the expo on Friday, I had all day Saturday to chill out at home. It was a gorgeous day with lots of sun. I got my race stuff ready first, and then I walked up to the bagel shop, met up with Alisa and walked with her and her puppy for a bit, then went and got a pedicure. I ate lunch in my garden and read for a couple of hours. Finally I did some chores, Zach made a delicious pasta dinner and I took a bath. Perfect! I have only ever slept in my own bed ONE time before a marathon and that was my first one in San Francisco. It was great. I slept like a baby and woke up a little before the alarm at 4:00 am.

Race Day

I ate oatmeal and a half a piece of toast and checked the weather. It had rained overnight but had stopped, and the temperature was in the upper 50's. It looked like it might drizzle a bit but no heavy rain, and no chance of the sun coming out. Good! Zach had his support-crew bag loaded up and put his bike on the car- he would be riding all over the course getting pics, cheering me and our friends on, and passing off water bottles to me. We left the house about 5:40. We drove to our friend's apartment downtown, where we used to live (that's how we met them). I used their bathroom and we all walked to the start together at about 6:15. It was our good friends Brant and Emily, and their friends from out of town, Laura and Colin. All of us were running the marathon, and besides Emily, it was everyone's first. So exciting!! I felt like such a veteran and really enjoyed sharing their pre-race moments. So cute.

It was really crowded as we got toward the start - so many runners! I think 15,000 total (the half had a couple thousand). They had a pretty good corral system going so we all split off and hugged and said good luck. Laura and I were in the same corral "B." We found the porto-potty line in our area and chatted while we waited. We made it with just a couple minutes to spare. (after letting a Wave "A" guy go ahead of us, he was cutting it super close and needed to warmup because his goal was 2:40! Go him!) She revealed her super-secret goal to me- to run a 3:30! WOW! I had put 3:40 on my entry form (hey, this was months ago and I was playing the odds) so I was in her wave. I ended up kind of regretting this decision because I was passed by a LOT of people. Which is never fun. Laura went with the 3:30 pace group and I wished her luck and moved back.

Finally, our wave was off. There were tons of people around me, the downtown lights were twinkling, I could already hear the first band ahead, and the energy was amazing. I was totally in the moment and feeling so blessed. I didn't know what to expect for a finish time, but I knew it was going to be a fun day.

The Race

( Click here for link to Course Map and Profile)

Miles 1-5 

It was crowded, and for the first few hundred yards, I was mainly focusing on not tripping on someone's feet. There were puddles, manhole covers, and train tracks to dodge as well. The first mile was downhill-y and flew by. We made a couple of turns through downtown and it all felt very urban and exciting. This was the first time I've ever run a race where I was super familiar with the area- it was weird! There were several cool bands and dj's all along the course and in the first few miles it seemed they were non-stop. As soon as one fell out earshot a new musician could be heard.

I had lined up around the 3:40 pace group (because I was too lazy to work my way farther back in the corral) and generally felt like everyone was moving a little faster than me. I let that happen. I was so caught up in the moment and not too focused on my pace. I was hoping for 8:30's-8:40's, at least in the early miles, but I knew a crowded start and a couple hills could slow me at times.

We made our way down to Naito Parkway- the wide road along the Willamette River. I saw Alisa and Lisa right around  mile 3. The first of many, many friends I would see along the course. I was in with the 3:40 people at that moment and I hoped they didn't think that meant anything about my pace. The 3:40 group pulled away quickly. We made our way up a gradual hill which I was very familiar with, but the turn to head down hill came quicker than I thought. A nice surprise! The downhill was long and I opened up a bit, loving the speed. It was the fastest I'd run all day. There was a neat band on a pedestrian overpass and we all waved up at them.

I was carrying a regular plastic water bottle that Zach had outfitted with a duct tape handle- we've done this a few times and it's the awesomest. I reminded myself to drink a bit at each mile and was glad to avoid the aid stations which were crowded. I ate a Gu at mile 5.

Oh, and just past the 5 mile marker, I almost got stopped by a train! Ha! It was pretty awesome. I'm sure if I was fast or more invested in this race I would have been bothered by it, but I thought it was cool. I am stopped by trains at that spot all the time and I knew it was a possibility today too. It's all part of the fun. I didn't actually have to stop though- people just ahead of me did, but by the time I reached the gates they were going up and people we moving though again. It was only about a minute or so (it was an Amtrak) so I don't think I would have cared. I've been stopped by freight trains for 20 minutes at that spot before!

Mile 1: 8:48
Mile 2: 9:09 - slight hill
Mile 3: 9:05 - slight hill
Mile 4: 8:34 (average) - up then down
Mile 5: 8:34 (average) – down

Miles 6-10

After the initial excitement faded away and I was less distracted, I noticed something Not Good. My right foot was hurting. This was the pain that had bothered me some for the last week or so, but I really didn't expect it to crop up this early in the race. It was quite sore... like a 4 on a scale of 1-10. This worried me. I couldn't imagine that it was going to get better, and was scared to think how it was going to feel in an hour, two hours... I realized that this might end entirely differently than I'd ever imagined- I might have to drop out. This was the LOW point for sure. I knew I was ok at the moment and told myself just to take it mile by mile. Don't make any decisions now.

Besides my foot, I was feeling kind of meh in this stretch anyway. I wasn't running fast and knew I wouldn't be speeding up. The crowd of runners was also still moving past me which was discouraging. I should have started further back. I was doing a really even pace but it was slower than the paces around me. I was generally just really aware of how far I had to run still and was not into it.

I did get to see lots of friends- I saw Zach right after mile 5, then I saw Tommy and Madeline, and then I saw Anne right after that. This stretch was flat, flat, flat and along the boring industrial section. It was an out-and-back which was cool because we got to see the race leaders. I was calling out people's names and the woman next to me complimented my eyesight. I yelled "Go Katherine" and then immediately realized that is Aron's friend Katie! She ended up finishing in just over 3 hours- amazing. I got to see Brant, Emily, and Laura too (she was still with the 3:30 pace group). There was a great DJ along this stretch with a crazy guy dancing on the top of this painted bus. Yay Portland. As we finished the out-and-back and made our turn into Northwest I saw Anne, Zach, Tommy, and Madeline again and gave them high-fives. 

Mile 6: 8:33 (rest of downhill, then flat)
Mile 7: 9:01
Mile 8: 8:56
Mile 9: 8:52
Mile 10: 8:57

Miles 11-15 

My foot wasn't getting any worse really and I tried to put it out of my mind. I decided that I had to shake off the bad attitude and set about enjoying this race. I figured it wasn't going to be a fast one, but I could at least have a good time. I let go of any real pace goals and just kept moving forward. We wound through the Northwest neighborhood and there were a lot of people. People were calling my name out all day - either the "Jennifer" on my bib or the "Jen" on my shirt. That was fun! I saw Sarah and Michael and ran over to high-five them.

It was kind of hilly through here but it went by quickly. After a couple of miles of that neighborhood, the route spit us out on Highway 30 where we would stay for several miles to the bridge. This stretch was pretty boring but not bad- Forest Park is on the left and far ahead in the mist you could see the St. John's Bridge. It's definitely got that highway-feel though. I saw Zach again and told him my foot hurt, which somehow helped. Just to get it out there.

I was surprised to see my friend Emily come running by me! I stayed with her for a mile or so and we chatted a bit. She had started out really fast (like just over 8:00 pace) and was slowing down. She was still faster than me though, and I let her (ha, "let her?") go ahead. I guess she stopped for the bathroom a little while after that and I ran past, and she never caught up again. So I guess she really did slow down (still beat me by several minutes chip-time though!). Zach was riding along the road and got tons of pictures and gave me a new water bottle. I had taken a Gu at 10 and another at 15, and was tossing the water bottles after I finished the Gu- I just didn't feel like carrying it more than I had to. I ran through the aid stations to supplement and got water there.

Mile 11: 8:54
Mile 12: 9:28 (northwest hilly-ish)
Mile 13: 8:50 (with Emily)
Mile 14: 9:06 (average)
Mile 15: 9:06 (average)

Miles 16-20 

Sometime after the 15 mile mark, still cruising along Highway 30, Brant caught up to me! That was a really nice surprise. He had also started off really fast and was now running around 9:00 miles. I was hovering in that range too so we stuck together for a while. He slowed down a bit actually, which I really appreciated. It was nice having some company. We compared aches and pains and I realized my foot wasn't bothering me that bad anymore. The bottoms of my feet were really hurting- not used to so much pavement I guess- and that kind of masked the foot pain. I'll take it!

We hit the 16 mile mark and began the climb up the St. John's Bridge. It wasn't that bad really, but definitely slowed us down. Brant stuck with me and we encouraged each other. At the top we got a nice view of the rainy river and foggy downtown. A couple (yes, runners) was making out at the top of the bridge and we all yelled and teased them. Up ahead we saw Zach with his camera and we hammed it up! We were having fun. We hit the 17 mile mark at the top, and it was a great relief to know that the course was almost all flat to downhill for the last 9 miles. Brant said goodbye and took off a little ahead, but I kept him in view for a couple miles before losing sight of him.

The next part was through a cute neighborhood, right over by Amy's house. There were a few blocks of uphill which was a bummer, but the street was lined with people. A lot of people were shouting my name and cheering us all on! I was waving back and having fun. I saw Zach again, and right after that saw a big group of friends- Alisa, Justin, Amy, Brad, and Lisa. Yay! Alisa had a water bottle for me but I didn't need it. I still had the last one from Zach and was planning on using the water stops for the rest of the race. I high fived them and waved! Right after that, I saw Emily and Anne again! Emily jumped in and ran with me for a block or two, it was so fun. Zach took a couple pictures of us and then I was on my own again.

This whole stretch after the 18 mile mark was super flat and continued through the neighborhood. You could see the river and the city down the bluff to the right also. I was really having fun at this point- I was still running (no walk breaks), my foot felt better, and I was really enjoying the crowd support. I had slowed down though, and it seemed like my goals were passing me by. But I was ok with that. I wasn't even really hurting at all, or all that tired. I just didn't have the speed. The runners around me were starting to fade- I started to see lots of people walking or stretching out cramped muscles. I felt strong and was really proud of myself for that!

Mile 16: 9:19
Mile 17: 9:57 (Bridge!)
Mile 18: 9:17 (average)
Mile 19: 9:17 (average)
Mile 20: 9:48

Miles 21-26.2

The last stretch I was on my own. All my spectating friends had headed to the finish to post up and watch everyone come through. I definitely missed them but I knew I was almost done. I was still feeling very good and continued to run strong as others around me were fading. My pace had slowed after the bridge but it plateaued- I wasn't really slowing down any more. I tried picking up the pace, but after a while I would look down and my pace was barely lower, so it didn't seem worth it. I hadn't walked at all yet and with a few miles to go I made it my goal to run every step of the entire marathon. I think I've only ever done that 3 times before.

Around mile 23 or so I think, there was a table that said "Beer Stop!" and had an aid station set up with little cups of beer. I hesitated and then thought, "Why not??" I've always wanted to do that, it seems so crazy. So I ran up and said "Don't mind if I do!" and downed the beer in two swallows as I kept running. Hehe! Thankfully it didn't bother my stomach at all.

We enjoyed (?) a long downhill in the final miles but I could see it wasn't agreeing with everyone. Several people were pulled off to the side. Finally we hit the bottom of the hill and had a little incline up and over the Broadway Bridge. I still felt good, but again any effort to speed up was a total bust. As we came off the bridge we were right in my old neighborhood- in fact, this was my old daily running route! It was so neat to truly be on home turf. There were pretty good crowds as we neared the finish and I was waving and smiling and just loving it. I've never really been in that position- usually I'm gutting out those last few miles to hit a PR or a certain time. I have always really left it all out on the course. Somehow that just wasn't really the case this time. I couldn't bring myself to run faster, but I had quite a bit of energy for smiling and waving. I was really working the crowd too- I yelled "Make some noise!" and did the classic "make some noise" arm movement. I was running the show.

Right off the waterfront onto Salmon, and the crowds were thick. I saw Alisa and everyone else and they all yelled and cheered! A final left turn and sprint to the finish!

Mile 21: 9:47 (average)
Mile 22: 9:47 (average)
Mile 23: 9:57
Mile 24: 9:44
Mile 25: 9:55
Mile 26: 9:34
Last 0.2: 2:00 (8:40 pace)

Official Finish Time: 4:02:27 (9:15 pace)

First Half: 1:56:50 (8:55 pace)
Second Half: 2:05:37 (9:35 pace)

Post Race

I got my medal and a space blanket and caught my breath. I was suddenly overwhelmed with emotion and needed a moment... so I walked over to the side, wrapped my blanket over my face and cried. I didn't want anyone to think I was hurt or anything so I pulled it together and headed back into the crowd. I quickly ran into Brant, who had finished right ahead of me, and Emily who was right behind us. Hugs and congratulations all around. They did so great. We all made our way through the long finishers area, getting water, juice, fruit, candy, a popsicle! We got a rose, a douglas fir seedling, commemorative coins, and finisher's shirts. They really should have given us a bag for all this stuff! We tried to stick together, but decided just to meet at the place we'd discussed that morning. I got there first and there was Deana and Emily, and Zach! Laura and Colin were there already too- She finished in 3:35:16- an incredible time for a first marathon!! But missed BQ by a few seconds. She'll obviously get it next time. Colin ran 3:41. So amazing! Brant and Emily came over and we got a few pics and talked about the race. He finished in 3:54 and she ran 3:57. We were getting cold and still had to walk over a mile back to the apartment, so we began our slow, hobbling journey.

We all went out to Deschutes for beer and food and then took a soak in the hot tub (boy I miss that hot tub). It was fun to sit around talking about it and just marinate in the day. Zach and I hurried back to the house and got ready for softball. Yep, softball! I felt fine- better than I had for many of the games this year (after the relay, after my 31 miler, etc) and was looking forward to seeing everyone. We went out for dinner and drinks after and just had a blast. We got home and I was in bed by 8:30.


I missed my goals, all of them. I set a new PW and for the first time, finished in over 4 hours. I knew there was a chance that this would happen and I was really worried how I would feel. But you know what, I actually AM ok with it! I think honestly this went just about as well as it could have. After a summer of endurance-focused trail running and only a few weeks of road training, I think I pulled out a pretty good time. Looking at my final pace of 9:15, I am pretty amazed.

This really was one of the most fun marathons I've done. I am glad that I made the decision to MAKE that happen. I could have focused on the race, and maybe I could have pushed a little harder, but for what? What's the difference between a 3:58 or a 4:01 or a 4:02. That's ridiculous. I'm proud of my time and how I did. It was neat being able to cruise along feeling great 4 hours into the run. My endurance training really paid off.

To be honest, I wasn't thrilled to be the slowest person in our group. But I was proud of everyone. And really, part of what takes the "sting" out of a PW and a 4:xx finish is knowing that this is my 10th marathon, and that I've run a bunch of fast marathons in the past. Most people know that, and I'm not afraid to tell those that don't. My PR is 3:36. I've run Boston twice. I've done an Ironman. I'm awesome. It's going to take more than a 4:02 marathon to deflate my ego.

Oh, an update on my foot. Well, it didn't bother me for the rest of the race, or even that afternoon. I was fine and actually forgot about it at softball. But once I went to bed the soreness set in. When I got up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night it hurt BAD. I couldn't really put any weight on it. By morning it wasn't as bad but still super sore. I was really worried and made a pact with myself to take a nice long break from running to let it heal. Over the last two days it is much better, thankfully! I don't think there is anything seriously wrong, but I know I can't run anytime soon. Honestly though, it was worth it.

What's next? Well, even before my foot injury came up, I was planning on taking some time off running after this marathon. I trained straight through this whole year- Peterson Ridge Rumble 20 miler in April, Newport Marathon in June, Cascade Lakes Relay in August, 50k run in September, and then this! Whew. I need a break. I miss yoga! I miss climbing. I really had a great year but I'm looking forward to stepping back and going back to a more balanced routine.

Thanks so much to my super amazing friends for coming out to cheer me on. It meant so much to me. Also thank you all for reading, and for all your cheers and support! I was hoping a few of you were tracking me online. I know the tracking had a blip at one point, the 21.8 mile split was way off I think. Go figure! As far as I can tell that was the only problem on their end, it was a spectacular event. You should all run it next year! :)


Emily, Laura, Colin, Brant, and me, pre-race:

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These were all over downtown:


Mile 5.5 

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High-fiving Tommy and Madeleine around  mile 11:


Running with Emily along Hwy 30 around mile 13:


Running with Emily toward the St. John’s Bridge:


Cruising along the highway:

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  Socked-in view from the bridge:


Brant and I on the bridge at mile 17:

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Zoomed in- look how fun we are!

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Heading down the bridge toward the east side neighborhoods:

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Feeling strong a couple miles later (18.5 ish):

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My crew! Brad, Justin, Lisa, Alisa, and Amy. Love them!!


Blurry pic of Emily running with me around mile 20:


Emily and Anne:


Heading toward the finish- all smiles!!


Super strong!

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More crew around the finish line- Michael, Sarah, and T.C.:


Lisa, Sarah, and T.C.:


Deana and Emily waiting for me at the meeting place:


Colin and Laura- first time marathon finishers!! Congrats!!


There I am! Holding all my stuff from the finish area:

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Me and Embo:


The crew, After!


The crew at the brewery:


Gorgeous Medal:


And since we somehow didn’t get any pics of me and Zach together, here is one from the archives. Thanks baby!! I love you!!!


Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Marathon Goals and other stuff

It’s here! The Portland Marathon is this weekend.

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I’m excited to finally run the hometown marathon. It has happened 3 times since I moved here and every year couldn’t make it happen. This year, I’ll be out there! It will be my 10th marathon.

I’m excited to run a “big city” marathon –it’s been a while. I guess it’s been since Eugene in May 2010- I’ve done quite a few other races since then, but all trail runs or in small towns. This will be fun.

Zach will be out riding his bike along the course getting pictures and handing off water. It’ll be great to have a personal support crew. There are quite a few other friends in town spectating and running as well. I can’t wait to see them out there and celebrate with them after.

I haven’t really trained specifically for this race, but I feel pretty well trained. I built up a ton of endurance training for the 50k last month, and I’ve kind of tuned up over the past 4 weeks with speed work and lots of road runs. I’ve also done 2 trail races as part of the Portland Trail Series. Even though I’ve been running a lot, I still don’t know what to expect on race day.

I’d be very happy with a finish in the 3:45-3:55 range. My slowest marathon time is 3:55 and I’d like to not set a new PW. Not that I’m ashamed of that time at all, I mean it’s still really solid! And to be honest, I’d be happy with a sub-4 finish, PW or not.

So there it is! Pretty boring. I don’t know if I’m past the PR days forever but certainly for now I am. I really just want to have fun out there and run a solid race and not embarrass myself. :)

I’m currently sitting here on my couch watching the Simpsons and icing my foot. It’s been kind of sore since my last long run. It’s nothing major and only hurts after a run, not during. I’m sure it will be fine! Something always crops up in the taper. Especially since I haven’t really been tapering at all… I ran quite a bit the previous two weeks. So I’m taking some much-needed rest days, finally.

Well that is it for now. I’ve been meaning to post more but I come up blank every time. I have a lot of miscellaneous thoughts and worries floating around in my head but I can’t seem to find a way to express them. There are a lot of big things going on in my life and they are not all good. It’s overwhelming. I don’t know if my blog is the place for it anyway. I think what I DO need my blog for, and what I need running for, is an escape. Running is stress relief, it’s fun, and it’s something to focus on. I need all of that.

So I’m going to give this marathon my all and enjoy every minute of it. It’s going to be great. And I have a personal photographer out there so the race report will be spectacular. Good luck to everyone else racing this weekend!