When I run a race “for fun” I am not planning on setting a personal best. Instead, a fun race is about soaking up the event, swinging wide on the course to high five the kids, taking photos of the runaway goats, and stopping for a selfie on a beautiful bridge. I call this being a race tourist and so it is from that perspective that I share my 2015 Portland Marathon experience with you.
As a “race tourist”, I thankfully take whatever candy or fruit little kids on the sidewalk are offering to runners, even if I don’t plan on eating it, so they keep learning how good it feels to give. I talk with any runner who wants too, encouraging those who look beat and giving thumbs-up to anyone with a rad costume, cosmic cat t-shirt, or “in honor/memory” sign pinned to their back. Of course I stop for a good selfie opportunity or even to take a photo for someone else. Some may say this back-of-the-pack behavior makes light of a serious sporting event. I say,
Of course, I don’t normally pay $125 to run 26.2 miles “for fun”, but getting pregnant and sleeping through the high point in my training cycle forced me to change my race plans. I wasn’t ready to RUN the Portland Marathon, but I felt good about finishing it as a walk-jogging race tourist. Which I did, in 5:45. Woof! One day I’ll be closer to the business end of a marathon, but not this year.
Shoutout to my favorite run fueling brands. I always eat Coach’s Oats for breakfast before a long run or big race. A little honey and cinnamon and a splash of milk. Yum! It keeps me fueled but it’s really gentle for my race-morning tummy. Also, I take an Island Boost about 5 minutes before I start running. Valor (chocolate) is my favorite flavor. It’s an easy-to-swallow liquid that acts fast (in about 20 minutes) and gets me started strong.
Fun On Course
Pirates, bubbles, belly dancers, drums, beer, runaway goats…could you ask for more?
Even on the “marathon only” section that went north and around the industrial part of the city, there were still cheer squads and at least a DJ or two. The bands were as eclectic as I would expect them to be for Portland and I saw good community support. This race also served gummy bears and pretzels at certain aid stations.
I may have had that theme song stuck in my head from miles 7 to 13. I only saw pretzels once, though, but the gummies were all over the course. Literally. Rest assured, I never dropped a single one! Doing my duty to save the planet, one gummy bear at a time.
Quick Mileage Breakdown:
- Miles 1 to 3 – 11:34 Avg Pace. Forcing myself to take walk breaks. Between race brain and pregnancy brain, I ended the run on my Garmin at the 5K point and had to restart it. Lame.
- Miles 4 to 9 – 12:30 Avg Pace. Having fun. Pirates and bubbles. Realized my intervals weren’t beeping to tell me when to run. Boo.
- Miles 10 to 17 – 12:30 Avg Pace. Hip to knee pain set in strong. Stretch stops. Running faster on the run but increasing the walk break frequency. Only the legs hurt, but pain wasn’t getting worse.
- Miles 18 to 24 – 14 Avg Pace. Downhill hurts so bad! Lots of walking and chatting.
- Miles 25 to Finish – J kept me shuffling toward the finish line. So glad to be done. What a day!
Fabulous Finish Goodies
This is what they tell you participants of the Portland Marathon will receive and what I think about it now that I’ve received mine:
- Long-Sleeve Finisher Shirt – The bomb. Wearing it.
- Award-Winner Finisher Medal – It is really crazy good looking.
- Collectible two-sided coin – I got the half marathon one!? Meh.
- Pendant (mini of the medal) – Saving this for marathon baby!
- Collectible Event Poster – Maybe something to decorate the nursery?
- A Portland Rose – Pretty but it didn’t smell like anything. Wah wah.
- A Tree Seedling to plant – It was a red fern and I think we killed it already.
- Disposable Cover Up Jacket – Maybe I can use it at the start of another race?
- Participant Bag – These kind of bags should be retired.
- On-Course Tracking – Didn’t use it.
- Tons of Finish Food – YES! It was a good spread with all kinds of fruit, juice, chocolate milk, candy, bagels, chips, cookies, etc. Just no bottles of water.
- Graphical Results Analysis – Pretty cool visual stats of your race.
Thank you to the cool people I talked to at the race. To the man in his 80’s running his 36th marathon. To Jen from Boston for getting me up on to St John’s Bridge. To Jeanna for taking my photo. To the dude who saw me near the finish and said, “Hey! Want to try some hummus?” To Truitt Family Foods for basically sponsoring me and for making really awesome hummus. To Portland for a great event, beautiful weather, and keeping it weird.
New Post-Race Ritual
I’ve started a new post-race ritual: the foot spa. Ashiyu Wellness & Foot Spa is a hidden little gem in Portland. I’ve mentioned it before but realize that after a marathon, a little jet action foot soak and reflexology does wonders for getting your feet and body back to normal. Seriously, schedule an appointment and ask for Joe.
Did you run the Portland Marathon or Half? How was it?