Sunday, October 11, 2009

Guest Blog: The Portland Marathon 2009 Recap

This race report was graciously provided by my fellow Team Point Two teammate, Donna, who was the first of the group to complete her goal marathon on October 4th. 

Starting with the Oct 3rd race bib pickup, and Sports Expo, Portland Hilton

Drove with my family and to Parents in-law to drop off our children for the night, and my husband I and were off to Portland Oregon. We drove through Goldendale and saw lots of Indian reservations and the wild mustang horses, beautiful fall colors just starting. Then over Sates pass to the beautiful Columbia River Gorge, Dales Oregon.

The Gorge

We arrived in Portland at 6 pm and went straight to the Hilton Portland where we picked up my race bib and race chip barcode tag (new state of technology for me). We had about ½ hour to venture the sports expo before closing.


The biomechanic feedback station caught my eye, so I strolled over, put on a pair of their Nike racing flats on hopped on the a treadmill for a video analysis. The Physical Therapist studied my gait after playing it back in slow motion, she said I had a neutral foot plant with no signs of over pronation or ankles angling inward. She said, “Wow you have really strong feet”. “Thank you.” I replied, and chuckled under my breath.  Little does she know I train in racing flats and run barefoot in the sand and grass. So five stars for forefoot running, Chi running, and Vibram soles.

Race Day
Well, lets get to the Nitty Gritty of the race. Race morning Oct 4th came with a bang. We stayed at a La Quinta Hotel and they forgot to give us our 5 am wake up call. Thankfully I woke up at 5:35 screeching “Yikes, oh shit…. we gotta go” they never gave us a wake up call!” So 20 min. later, my husband and I drove to downtown Portland, a damp Dewey 40 degree morning perfect for racing. We found a parking garage for $5.00 a day. I put on sweats, earmuffs, and gloves, and then trotted in the parking lot while my husband Reidar put his Mt. Bike together.

Donna could've used one of these

We both started in the direction of 1st and Salmon Ave where the start was. We were amazed to see along the way how many runners were camping out inside Starbucks for their last minute caffeine fix.

Race started at 7 am and it was now 6:30. After finding where the runners with bibs could legally enter, I hung out with my husband until the final departure. We befriended a Father/daughter couple that was both very friendly. The daughter was 28 years old and was planning on qualifying for Boston by running a 3:40. Her father was there on his Mt. Bike as well in order to support her at various spots in the race. Hence, my husband Reidar had had a buddy to hang out with.

And they're off!

I kissed my husband and departed into the chute. I found my way in the cluster of wall-to-wall runners (believe me this was tough, since I’m so claustrophobic) to the 3:40 pace group. At 6:55 the National Anthem was sung by a retired Opera Singer, now running the marathon. The gun goes off at 7:00 am and the wheel chair marathoners are off, a minute goes by and we’re off. Lots of intense cheering, three miles into the race people are tossing this and that of various clothing to the sidelines. Gloves, hats, sweats, just a heaven for the homeless that roam the street afterwards. I was happy for them. 

Portland Marathon

The 9-mile mark was a turn around with bands playing. Felt amazingly well inside a pack of runners it was like being pulled along effortlessly. It reminded me of a long time ago back in the 80’s on the track running the 1500 meters and being boxed in. I never used my iPod, the entire marathon. I just soaked in the atmosphere.

An Unscheduled Stop

14, 15 miles? I was at the tail end of 3:45 pace group when a whistle blows! A freight train was coming. We had to be stopped as angry runners cry” This is insane! No way, not fair!” I was upset at first since it takes you off guard and off rhythm. So, we were told to stop our watches and account for the loss at the finish. I had a 2 min 23 sec. delay.

Example of a freight train

Pushing Through
At mile 16 I was feeling my right hamstring start nagging, right calf start twinging, then decided to wait it out. Sure enough it went away. Mile 17 was the famous ½ mile hill, up and over St Johns Bridge. I was starting to stiffen up a bit. By the 20 mile I knew the race was over for me. When I wanted to start to race and kick it in, it clearly was not going to happen. I was down to a 9 min pace, shuffling, and hanging on. I told myself if the pain is only this great and won’t get worse, then just maintain. I started to think of my teammates “TeamPointTwo.” I said now listen “D”, Susan, LJ, Chris, Jamie, Nicole, Tony and your coach John J. Ellis are pulling for you right now. So, come on girl, hang in there.

I took my first race GU from the aid table at mile 23, it was called liquid gold. It was an amazing!!!! Tasted like Amber Honey. It gave me an energy boost.

The last mile was definitely the longest and never seem to end, in fact my mantra at that point was, E.T. Phone home….. E.T. Phone home…. E.T. Phone home….

The Big Finish!

My finish was a blur muffled with cheering. My pained body hit the Finish Plate Sensor. The finished runners were guided through (what seemed to be eternity #2), wobbling another ¾ of a mile in order to get out. I asked myself, “So D would you do this again?” I answered…. Yep!

Finishing time without freight Train Adjustment: 3:59
With re-adjusted time: 3:56.23


Isela said...

Great job on your race!

Drusy said...

Donna, great race report - even the dastardly freight train. I still find it hard to believe that they routed the course over a train track! How hard that must have been to stand there and watch the time go by.

Congratulations on a great race, despite the train. I've certainly enjoyed following your dedicated training on Team Point Two - an inspiration to all of us lowly half marathoners. Great job!

Cheap Jordans said...

Thanks for posting, I really enjoyed your most recent post. I think you should post more often, you obviously have natural ability for blogging!