Sunday, October 07, 2007

Portland marathon 2007

I went into this race just wanting to go out there and have fun. No expectations. Part of that goal was to be flexible and try new things. So in my mind, it would all be good and nothing that could happen out on the course could be viewed in a negative way whatsoever.

On Saturday night we met up for dinner with Michelle, Eric, Jenny and others from WA at Jenny's parents' house (Thanks Jenny!). It was a fun, laid back evening. On Saturday I saw the same crew for a bit and then met up with some other maniacs, Bret, Gail and Rick. We started together and ended up running not too far from each other. The new starting area was a little chaotic and it looked like the porta potty lines were a lot longer (we got in line early and missed the long lines.) But the start itself went smoothly and with the new wave start, the first mile seemed a lot less crowded. As usual the Last Regiment drummers were out at the first mile and as usual, I had goose bumps. They are my favorite musical group of the marathon and a great way to start off the race.

I didn't bring a pace chart with me. Despite starting my watch, I vowed not to look at it too much. I did look at the first mile (10:14) which seemed slow for how I was feeling. I checked again at the half (2:08) which didn't surprise me since I knew I was somewhere between the 4:15 and 4:30 pace groups. The first half seemed a little forced. But I recalled Eugene where I felt I was going too fast in the beginning but was able to hold on and even go on for a negative split. So I decided I would try to keep the pace and not worry about what might happen in the second half.

Along the flat portion from mile 13 to 16.5, my legs started to feel tired and stiff. I downed a gel and that helped. I thought I might walk the hill up to the St. John's Bridge. I've never run it all the way before. But once I got there, I decided to try running it. It actually felt good to run and helped loosen up my legs. As I neared the top I said hello to Forest Park and thanked the trails for helping me get strong enough to run this hill. As I reached the top, the marimba band started playing its cheerful song and I just burst out in smiling happiness! Running across the St. John's bridge was magnificent. Looking back to downtown Portland, the city was aglow in sunbeams bursting through the gray clouds. Speaking of clouds, I was on cloud 9 as I ran down the other side of the bridge through the cheering crowds of the St. Johns neighborhood.

The course on the east side of the Willamette is one of my favorite areas. It goes through residential neighborhoods on the left with the river on the right. Lots of crowd support and parties are along this section. The course goes by the University of Portland, where the Red Bull station was. Earlier I had vowed that I was going to try the Red Bull this year, despite having never tasted it. I grabbed an ice cold can and took a gulp. It was Good! Fizzy and Refreshing. Actually better than any of the warmish sports drink served at the aid stations. And I'm sure my body appreciated the boost.

There is a significant downhill at mile 22 that lasts about a mile. In some years past my legs have been too thrashed to enjoy this downhill. But today, it was a welcome rest, as I had run the whole course except for aid station stops. I hadn't walked at all and it would turn out that I would run the whole thing for the very first time. In addition to promising myself I'd try the Red Bull, I had also pledged to take the beer at the unofficial beer station just after mile 24. True to my word, I accepted the offer of ice cold beer from the 20-something hipster. Like the Red Bull, the icy effervescence was very refreshing!

With the hills and a strong headwind for the last 8 miles, I knew that I wasn't on pr pace. But I kept chugging away for the last two miles. As usual, the last .2 are exciting with the crowds lining the street cheering. Just before the turn to the finish I saw Jenny, Patch and Sonia. (I saw Eric a few times on the course as he was supporting Michelle). Their cheers gave me the boost to kick in the final yards. Finish time: 4:22 That's a course pr by 10 minutes and exactly one hour faster than my first marathon six years ago.

In the finish area I saw Bret and a bunch of other maniacs, including Hippo and Rob. Portland has the best finish area. There's a variety of food (fruit, ice cream, chips, cookies, cheese, bagels, etc.) and they don't rush you through. So you can hang out noshing and visiting for as long as you'd like. I think I stayed about 45 minutes. As I was walking back to my car it started to rain lightly....I had timed it right!

It was a fun day, I tried new things and managed a course record in the process.

Mission Accomplished!


Sarah Elaine said...

A course PR is a beautiful thing! Sounds like you had a lot of fun, too.

I can't imagine drinking Red Bull on the run, but if it works, hey, it works!


Joe said...

Great report, Sarah!! Congrats on an enjoyable run! I would have been right with you, as I did a 4:21 last year!

Your course description was wonderful, I could visualize all of it, fully. That pull up to the St John Bridge is is the wonderful run through the neighborhoods afterwards.

Plus, I really liked the way they don't rush you thorugh the finish area, just as you said!

Glad you enjoyed the run! Another medal for the collection!!

sherri said...

WTG Sarah! Your glowing report almost makes me want to start running. Nah. ;) Glad you enjoyed your home town race so much.


Jamie said...

Congrats on the course PR! Sounds like a neat race. Glad you had fun. Rest well!

Backofpack said...

We really enjoyed your company Saturday night - your little guy is so cute!

Jenny and I think they should put a Starbucks Doubleshot station just about where the Red Bull station is - now that would be nummy.

Congrats on a great time - you smoked it!

rick said...

What a run and a PR to boot! Did you really use "effervescence" in your post. Mmmm yummy effervescence. The first two times I've used Red Bull was to get me to a marathon and back from it.

Good run Sarah.

psbowe said...

Congratulation on the PR! It was a better experience this time around for me as well. I'm sure we crossed paths at some point in the race and didn't even know it. :) Enjoy your recovery.

Darrell said...

Now that's the way to run a race, no stress on yourself and a PR too.

The new secret weapons are Red Bull and a beer, who knew?

Congrats to you!

onesillymama said...

Awesome! Good for you Sarah! I love the idea of you runnig those last miles fueled by Red Bull and beer... LOL!

olga said...

There is a reason Karl Meltzer drinks Red Bull...way to go on beer though!!! Congrats on a great run!

Ben, aka BadBen said...

What a good PR performance!

I love the Portland Marathon, and I'll do it again someday, even though I swore-off of paved runs.


robtherunner said...

Well done out there and good for you for experimenting with the Red Bull and the beer. I did the same and enjoyed them both. I hope to see you at Autumn Leaves.

Journey to a Centum said...

You looked very consistent at every point I saw you in the marathon. We have lot's of pictures of you. I'll have Michelle send you the photos on our Kodak Gallery.

Wow! You crushed your course pr. Nice work, must have been the pre-race dinner.

I've tried drinking beer on the run but I think Red Bull would probably end up foaming out of my nose or something.

Nice work! Michelle and I are signed up for Autumn Leaves 50K.

christine said...

holy bull and beers...all before the are a rockstar sarah! awesome awesome job:) enjoy your pr and recovery!

wendy said...

Congrats on the course PR, and it's pretty close to your PR too. =) An hour faster than your first, wow, you rock!

I'm totally bummed I missed out on all the fun this weekend. Maybe next time. Or you could schedule something up this way. ;-)

Congrats again, and well done on your report, it was fantastic!

matt said...

your recap makes me want to add this one to my list. it seems like all of your hard training allows you to go in with a relaxed mindset and still accomplish a nice pr.

way to go, sarah! maybe I will see you there next year :)

Addy said...

wohoo!!!! A huge congrats on the course record and the awesome time :)

I love your comment about bursting into "smiling happiness" about the marimba. Marimbas are one of my favorite instruments (i"m played percussion in high school) and I'm glad it made you so happy!

Congrats too on running the whole thing. That's huge!!!

And that finish line area sounds amazing. Ice cream? Perhaps I should do this event next year :)

angie's pink fuzzy said...

your recap has left me with a gigantic smile on my face; it sounds incredibly awesomely fizzingly refreshingly delicious.

Carrie said...

What a great race, Sarah! And isn't it amazing how much better we can get when we just keep going for a long period of time? Way to become a speedster!

Bob Gentile said...

WOWOWWWWWWOOOOOWWWWWW Geesh I thought I stopped by here this week already? ahhhhhhh soooo many blogs so little time :-( I been doing that worky thingy for a little bit more this month-lol I try not to work tooo hard but everyonce in a while I turn it up a bit!!

anywaysssssssssssssssss Let talk Portland Marathon...SWEEEEEEEEEET

Friggin 4:22 rocks !!

way to pull out a PR ...Well Done Sarah, that a very good pace!! Big FL Congrats!!!

Bret said...

Sarah, great race, great weather and you had a great time. Congrats! It was a blast to meet before hand and all run together for a bit. What's next for you? Come join us for 50 at Champoeg. See ya soon.

Jack said...

Congratulations on the PR, sounds like you had a fun race in a great location!