To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
-Steve Prefontaine
Make it simple, but significant.
- Don Draper

Monday, October 10, 2011

Portland Half Marathon - Pre Race

Apparently I don't know how to just relax in the days before a race. Friday morning I was up at 5:15am to get to swim class. I did try to back off a little on the leg exercises because I knew I wanted to run strong on Sunday. I did pretty good at just chilling out.  At 7:30pm I left my cottage to head north with Lady to Biker Boy's house. So around 11pm or later I am finally in my pajamas and sleeping. At 6am my alarm goes off up and I am up and starting yet another day.

Saturday morning we left Portland early to get to Corvallis for some tailgating with my family. Lady also came with me. This was her second time to OSU, but first football game. She was VERY popular and I think she knew it. I bought her a bandanna of her very own and that little girl was just strutting all over campus! Once the game started we left and went back to Portland so I could get to the Portland Marathon Expo. I was very excited to be at another big expo and possibly load up on free stuff!

At the expo we went down into a carpeted parking area - just like Disneyland Half - to get our bibs/timing chips. The official merchandise was there, but nothing I had to have. Besides, with my race fees I was already getting two shirts. A few vendors were downstairs, but mostly advertising other races that I'm already registered for. Down there a girl I graduated with recognized me. I couldn't believe it. I mean nobody ever recognizes me .... or so I thought. This will be continued in the race report!

Upstairs was where the regular vendors were. It was too hot. Too crowded. I think the expo should have been at the Convention Center and not the Hilton, but I am not a race coordinator. It was just too crowded to even look. Most of the regular vendors were there. I picked up some crazy loud arm sleeves that will be part of my Halloween costume in the next race, but that's it. We also got our goody bags and shirts. The half marathon runners got blue backpacks (yay!) and we all had the same shirt that was really pretty. Well done, Portland!

What I was mostly interested in was the lecture series - particularly the "Conversation with Jeff Galloway, Frank Shorter and Bill Rodgers". I grabbed a 3rd row seat and while looking at Jeff decided I had to go talk to him. So Biker Boy came with me as my photog and I got in line. I bought a training book of his (since I am now using his run/walk/run method) and he autographed it to me personally. Yay! I told him that I have just started his method and am already loving it and that I'd be using it in the race and predicted good things. We talked about it a bit and he told me to say Hi in Florida in January when I'm there for the other races. BFFs in the making!

I got to my seat and then kind of lost my breath a bit. Frank Shorter walked in. Frank was with Pre right before Pre's accident. It was just one person getting me closer to my idol. I was intimidated. That feeling didn't last long! Frank Shorter was really entertaining - popping in with one liners here and there to help out Jeff Galloway's stories!

They began talking about how the two of them met. From there it was a lot of memories. Funny stories of their lives and races together. One thing was said that really struck a chord with me, so much so that I had to write it down. Bill Rodgers was talking about how all the things they are sharing are the fun times when they were being silly and just having fun. He said those are the memories that stick out more than a race with a fast finish time. Those are the important memories. Team Jam!! All I thought of was Disneyland and how we had a record slow time, but we had a record about of fun and that was more important to me than negative splits or PRs. I'll always remember that fun day for sure!

I learned a lot from these guys. They all had very different, yet helpful, advice to share. I felt really excited to be a runner and was really feeling ready for the race and ready to ramp up my training.  We were able to ask questions - which ranged from how have shoes changed over the years to what was it like at the Munich Olympics (with the terrorists) to ... and my favorite question that I was too shy to ask .... "Can you tell us some of your favorite Steve Prefontaine stories?" That's how the hour long "conversation" ended. Frank Shorter shared his favorite Pre story, then Jeff talked about him more. The end was pretty much acknowledging that he inspires them, he inspires all of us and he is a big reason that so many people are running today... with a big collective thank you and big applause from the group. Go Pre!

Biker Boy knows me and knows I'm shy. He convinced me to linger and get a picture with Frank Shorter. Before that could happen I saw a woman wearing a shirt with Pre on it. Over the course of her talking she says that she is Pre's sister. *and my jaw drops* I had to do a double take. Sure enough I was standing there talking with his older sister, Neta! I told her how I had met Linda earlier this year, cried on her shoulder and still exchange e-mails with her. Neta was awesome! We were all talking forever, she even introduced me to her children. We talked about Pre and how she knows he's still around. I won't go into it all, but there was a lot of Steve talk and it was just exciting, and fun to hear stories about him and get to actually ask someone who KNOWS about him. She was a total blast, so very friendly and warm! We got a photo together, and one with Frank, then all left the expo area together. She told me to go out there and run and to remember that Pre WILL be running right along side me. (Holy cow, I still get watery eyes just typing it!) If you can't feel ready for a race after that then when can you??

Next up was dinner. We hit the Vita Cafe so I could get vegan mac & cheese (and French fries) that I knew wouldn't upset my tummy. By 8pm we were in bed. By 9pm the tv was off, lights off and we were old people sleeping .... ready for the next morning's 4am alarm!

......Stay tuned for the race recap coming next!


  1. Wahoo! Looking forward to reading more about your race! Was soooo wanting to do the PDX Half, however, when I went to sign up it was full! Guess that's what I get for waiting.


  2. Wow, that's so exciting... you got to meet Frank Shorter, Jeff Galloway, and Neta! A red-letter day, for sure! I can't wait to read about your PR race!

  3. It was AWESOME!! I was on such a high. I think I talked about the whole thing non-stop during dinner ... and then again when I woke up! Okay - and then at work today, too!

  4. I think she even talked about it during her nap. And I swear she some how worked it into quoting Titanic!

  5. That's awesome! I got goosebumps when I was ready the part about having fun and running. . that makes me happy.

    I saw Frank at the Philly Half. He was talking but I didn't stay. I was still a little freaked out by his article in runner's world.

    Super jealous of you meeting Jeff Galloway, you must introduce me to your new BFF in Orlando :-)

  6. Abby - I should have asked Jeff if he had any advice on doing the back to back races down there so we'd know what we can do to prepare. Oh well, we're going to be awesome little twinkies!

    I like the skirt idea. We should pick a shirt color so I can start shopping. That means I need to get coordinated for my lower half, too, since I am not going in just that skirt. My legs would freeze!


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