Usually when I run a marathon, I run in honor of someone. For Portland, it was my friend, Guy, who was moving to Fresno over the weekend. I was using Portland as a training run for the Marine Corps in Washington, D.C., this month; and Lance and Emmett set breaking their PRs as their goals.
When we arrived in Portland Friday night, you could smell the fresh air, and our hotel had a beautiful view of the Willamette River. We tried to find a bar to have a Welcome-to-Portland drink, but we ended up at Paddy’s, an Irish bar. I guess we missed Limerick’s. We discovered that Oregon doesn’t have California’s “No Smoking” laws. Yuck!
Saturday, Lance and I got up early and went for a short run with Glenn and Christine (Lance’s father and stepmother), and then stuffed ourselves at the breakfast buffet (and stole yogurt, bananas, cereal and muffins for tomorrow morning). At about 10, we set off for the Expo. Naturally, when we arrived, we could not find my number, because they had misspelled it as “Laura Charles!” Emmett signed up with the Clydesdale organization (or as he calls it, “Fat Runners”) and made friends with the Oregon Running and Racing Club (ORRC). Lance bought a new watch and new shoes. The expo was a bit sparse, so we decided to see a bit of Portland. We went down via the free tram to the Saturday Market, which is full of Oregon-made arts and crafts. It was a bit hot, so we trundled off to another bar for a pitcher of Widmer’s unfiltered Hefeweizen and to watch Barry Bonds’ 69th home run. At about 3, we were exhausted, so we went back to the room for a quick nap.
In the evening, we went to the Pasta Feed, while Glenn and Christine went out for a fancy dinner. We walked along the river, and watched the drawbridges accomodate a pair of paddleboats. The food was so-so, but was a fundraiser for Diabetes, and Emmett and Lance posed for a picture indicating which marathon this was for them. After dinner, we walked around a bit, but I was exhausted, so I went to bed, while Lance and Emmett walked around a bit more.
Laura, Lance and I struggled to get ready in the morning. Neither of them ate their stolen foods for breakfast, but I knocked back an English muffin with margarine, so I had a little something in my stomach to counteract the Advil. Lance decided to wear his new shoes, because the tread was peeling off the pair he had brung. We met Christine and Glenn in the lobby, and I handed off two bottles of Coke to pick up from her later on the course (Christine is recovering from an injury from last year - a vertical meniscus tear).
By the time we got to the marathon start, we had to struggle to get our bag to the bag area, because the streets were VERY crowded. The hashers running the bag area told us there would be NO beer check! Laura and I stood together in the 8-minute pace area, but could not find Lance. When the race was finally underway, I lost sight of Laura as well.
I tried to maintain an even pace in the beginning, because everyone tends to go out too fast, and by mile 3, I was doing 8:15s. After a long hill, between 3 and 5, I went along on the flats for about 10 miles. Lance caught me just before the turnaround at mile 10 (7:50 pace), and Laura was about 6 minutes behind us. She later reported that at the turnaround, a runner next to her slipped on a gummibear! By mile 12, I had lost sight of Lance, and I began my trek on an undulating set of hills, culminating with a hill equivalent to 2 miles up the 2nd Street Bridge, when I finally had to walk. By this time, the external temperature was about 75 degrees. I continued to run/walk through occasional foot and calf cramps until mile 26, when I powered my way in. I have to say that this was one of my favorites, because I ran a PR, drank some good beer, and had a great time with my running friends!