Newport Marathon Recap, Part 1: Pre-Race

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Several days have passed since the 2014 Newport Marathon and I have struggled to sit down to write a recap. I have a history of promising and then failing to deliver on them. See 2013 New York City Marathon; see also the 2013 Yukon Do It! Half Marathon. Not proud of it, and I’m working in it. When it comes to a personally momentous race like Saturday’s race in Newport, Oregon, there’s even added pressure.

I started writing the recap on my iPad during lunch on Tuesday, and the words were flowing from my fingertips. I was one with my keyboard. I had a theme, I had a direction to my post, and I was killing it! I ended up finishing about a third of a rough draft, saved it, and thought, “Wow. I think this is going to be my best ever blog post.” I began to think writing recaps maybe wasn’t so tough after all.

And then my iPad crashed Tuesday night and I lost everything on it. Everything.

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Apps, photos… and my heartfelt blog post: gone. I freaked.

After a trip on Wednesday to the Genius Bar at the local Apple store, I was back in business but starting from scratch.

I’m not going to try to recreate what I wrote in the swirl of ideas and inspiration that struck me on Tuesday, but I’ll do my best to capture my observations and experiences from the Newport Marathon. Because there’s a lot to report and I’m usually long-winded even on less significant subjects, I’m breaking my recap into 2 parts. (Sorry.)

Pre-Race:

We arrived in Newport on Friday afternoon and settled into our room at the Hallmark Resort. Our room had an expansive view of the beach and the Pacific Ocean. Hello, Gorgeous!

20140603-212419-77059101.jpgI was immediately relaxed. I don’t know what it was–if it was that view, the small-town atmosphere, the fact that I felt like I had stepped back in time to cozy memories of childhood trips to the Oregon Coast–but I was oddly relaxed for it being the day before the race. THE race: my goal race to qualify for the Boston Marathon, a feat that would require shaving 28+ minutes from my marathon PR.

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While the kids scampered and played on the beach, my running partner A and I drove over to the race “expo” at the nearby Embarcadero Resort.

20140603-212500-77100483.jpgIt wasn’t really an expo; it was more of a glorified bib pick-up. A and I picked up our bibs and I also picked up a bib for my friend and massage therapist extraordinaire, Heidi. In addition to the pick-up, there was a small booth set up by a Portland running store and a table displaying the race awards.

20140603-212549-77149355.jpgThose race awards happen to be the coolest ones I’ve ever seen.

In our huge Ripley’s Believe It Or Not swag bags was an array of items, like a Clif Bar (not surprising), some Clif Bloks (also not surprising), local saltwater taffy (makes sense), and a razor (hmmm… are you trying to tell me something, Mr. Race Director?). We didn’t receive our race shirts because they don’t give runners those until the finish. You know, some extra motivation to propel you 26.2 miles.

We ate dinner that night at the Rogue Public House and I ended up eating too much pasta and meatballs (stuffed with bleu cheese–seemed like a good idea at the time). I also caved and had a beer. I know, I know. I broke my promise to myself to abstain from alcohol until after the race. But I always have a pint of beer the night before an important race. It’s my lucky charm, if you will. And I also figured it would be bad luck not to raise a pint from a brewery that makes beers with names that start off with “Prefontaine” and “Track Town.”

20140603-212638-77198461.jpgDespite the festive setting, I was still uncharacteristically relaxed and quiet at dinner.

We returned to the hotel and my family fell asleep before I did as I puttered
around the room, preparing for the race the following morning. I carried out my race-eve ritual: took a shower (no, I didn’t use the swag bag razor, thankyouverymuch); pinned my bib to my tank top; stuffed my Gu packets in my race shorts; laid out my race outfit and shoes; and charged my Garmin and iPod Shuffles (2, for 2 different playlists because I am a total spaz and can’t flip between different playlists on a single Shuffle when I’m racing).

And then I did something different.

When I delivered her race bib that evening, Heidi gave me a gift: an inspirational temporary tattoo that I could look at to strengthen me during the race. I had a choice of 3, and I chose:

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I had no idea whether I would actually resort to looking at it during the race, and I was fairly dubious that I would derive any strength or motivation from it, but I was game. Plus Heidi is such a positive and inspiring force that I knew she was probably on to something.

I went to bed and had about 6 hours of sleep. Not terrible, but it could have been better considering I hadn’t slept enough the previous few nights, either. I woke up a couple of times during the night before my alarm roused me at 5:10 a.m.

I choked down my usual pre-race breakfast of apples and cinnamon oatmeal and a banana, and drank my Coach-Kris-mandated 12 ounces of water. I dressed quickly and put on my pace band.

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[Note: I downloaded the pace band from mymarathonpace.com, a website where you can purchase race-specific pace bands and spreadsheets that are adjusted according to the course terrain. I first came across it when I was training for the NYCM. The site also has generic pace bands, which is what I downloaded because Newport is advertised as a flat race.]

Outfit and pace band on and shoes laced, I bolted down to the hotel lobby to meet up with A and Heidi at 6:10 a.m. for the shuttle bus to the 7:00 a.m. start. As we waited there with several other runners and chatted amongst ourselves, it still didn’t feel real. I didn’t feel the same nervous excitement I normally do before a race. Usually I feel electric before a race, but I felt flat that morning. It was very strange. And it certainly didn’t feel like what I expected the morning of my goal race to feel like.

We decided to walk rather than wait for the shuttle, and I’m glad we did because we were only about 5 blocks from the race start. Those hotel guests who took the shuttle ended up going for a 2 block ride and walked the remaining 3 with us. Seriously.

The Newport Marathon starts at the Yaquina Bay State Park, perched high above the intersection of the Pacific Ocean and Yaquina Bay. Once there, we ran into Kris and her sweet husband John, who was wearing his Boston Marathon jacket and hat for inspiration. A, Heidi, and I touched the unicorn logo for power. Wonder Trio, activate! Kris then took a picture of us runners.

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She also gave us some last-minute advice, which I don’t remember and honestly don’t think I even heard at that time. I was so inwardly focused, so weirdly dull, that I wasn’t in the moment.

Everything moved really fast once we arrived at the start, because before I knew it Kris and John had to take off to get to Mile 4, where they would wait for us to give us water. (Seriously–how awesome that we had our own water support team.) We stood around some more, and I was still filled with that odd dullness. I ate my pre-race Gu and drank enough water to wash it down. A, H and I had started to discuss where we should enter the start chute when all of sudden an air-horn sounded and men started running across the start line.

What?! You mean we’re here to run a race?!

Stay tuned for Part 2…

2 thoughts on “Newport Marathon Recap, Part 1: Pre-Race

  1. Great temporary tattoo. I’ve been using them for decoration and inspiration in a few recent races. I love the ability to express myself without committing to permanent ink.

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