Last Sunday, October 5, 2014, was the 43rd Portland Marathon. I registered for the full marathon many months ago but ended up not being able to train for it due to my hip injury this summer. In July I decided I would run just the half. Then, due to interruptions in my running last month due to illness, I decided to cut back to running only 8 miles of the race. And then I scaled it back even further to 6 miles because I’m a sloth.
Only a foodie would include info about her race-eve dinner in a race recap, right? Normally my pre-race dinners lack in spices and include menu items like pasta or mashed potatoes. But because I wasn’t going to run the 26.2 or even 13.1 at the Portland Marathon, I wasn’t worried about carb-loading at dinner time.
(I didn’t really drink out of the can.)
After a short sleep cycle, I woke up at 5:45 a.m. to quickly dress and get ready to meet up with my friend and fellow Oiselle Flock member Marilyn before the race so that we could start and run together for the first 6 miles. Marilyn was pretty relaxed about the race, as was I (uncharacteristically, but–hey–I wasn’t running the whole thing). I was so relaxed, in fact, that I even forgot to wear my Garmin.
The weather pre-race was perfect–slightly cool and a light breeze. I hoped for the sake of the runners that the weather wouldn’t heat up too quickly, as was forecast.
It was still dark when Marilyn and I met up, but the sun rose by the time the National Anthem started. And speaking of The Star-Spangled Banner, it sounded like the official singer forgot the words, as there were long, awkward spaces in between stanzas, and he eventually abandoned singing altogether about halfway through the song. Kinda weird, but the crowd filled in the gap and started singing for him.
Marilyn and I kept a conversational pace for the first couple of miles. Ashley, another Flock member from Seattle who was running the full, spotted us at about Mile 3 and ran with us for a bit before taking off. Marilyn and I hunkered down as we ran up the only hill in the first half of the marathon, consisting of a relatively steep hill sandwiched in between two gradual climbs (total elevation gain: about 100 feet). After that, we coasted downhill and along the riverfront towards the industrial side of downtown.
Finally, Marilyn and I passed the Mile 6 marker and it was time for me to drop out. She was running strong and I bid her good luck. I then ran back along the out-and-back course until I noted a few people yelling “Good job!” to me and cheering for me, and I realized that they thought I was the female front-runner for the half marathon… which is hilarious. I removed my bib and kept going (slowly, mind you), and people still cheered. I felt very awkward and didn’t want anyone to have the mistaken impression I was still in the race. At that point I stepped off the road and ran down the sidewalk, resolving that problem.
As I ran back along the course, I spotted Oiselle Volée team member Liz Anjos, who had organized Saturday’s meet-up and was my ride for that morning. She was in 2nd place for the half marathon at Mile 11 and running strong. Liz ended up placing 3rd and destroying her previous PR. So inspiring!
I finally turned off the course once I hit the Mile 12 marker so that I could run back through Old Town to my hotel. My feet felt light and I was running at a decent clip. As I left the course and ran back to the hotel, I felt significant regret that I hadn’t been able to train and run the Portland Marathon. While the conditions weren’t ideal (Sunday’s heat ended up being pretty brutal on several marathoners) and I probably wouldn’t have PRed, this was the first race I DNF’ed, and that’s disappointing.
Marilyn ended up racing well until much later in the race, when she ended up suffering and slowing down. She didn’t end up meeting her time goal, but she still had a great time for such unfavorable race conditions, or any conditions, really.
I’m proud of her for finishing the race despite the challenges she faced. She proved that she’s tough as nails and that she’s bound to nail her goal in her next marathon, which will hopefully take place with cooler weather.
So that’s my incomplete recap for my first DNF. I cannot wait to decide on next year’s spring marathon and start training. I need redemption.
Have you run the Portland Marathon? Have you ever DNF’ed a race?