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

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Portland Marathon

My mantra for my first marathon!
"I will never run a marathon." I said it. I admit it. I never wanted to run a full marathon because I thought the training would take up too much of my life. I love running but always wanted it to be a hobby, not a second full time job. Well clearly things change and I can now say, "I have run a marathon!" Preparing for it was exhausting. Long runs, very hot summer weekends sweating, behaving myself at parties. It was hard, not gonna lie! But once it was here I felt ready. We had our plan of keeping the race fun, we were stocked with gels, I had music in my belt just in case I needed a boost. This race was going to be a challenge, but a doable one!

Cilley Girl, as usual, took fabulous care of me, giving me advice and getting us to the start area with time to spare! My nerves were back so eating was hard, but much better than it used to be a year ago. MF and I were able to use a bathroom at the Hilton and avoid lines, plus got a bit of warmth while putting our numbers on our shirts. The bag drop line was crazy long, but really fast. Once we dropped our bags our corral was moving to the start. Both of us were excited, yet a little bit in disbelief that all of this work was about to pay off and soon we'd be able to say we were marathoners!


And soon we were off and beginning a 26.2 mile adventure filled with a complete range of emotions!  The plan was to loosely Galloway it and give ourselves walk breaks periodically, but not at any set intervals. We actually ran most of the first 5K, taking one short walk break up a steeper hill just so we could conserve for the remaining 23 miles. Every mile I'd look at the Garmin and Bam! Right on our goal target pace. Seems our training was paying off.

The time just flew by. We were talking, but not non-stop, and just soaking up everything happening around us. Giraffy gave me some great advice before the race, and I was doing my best to listen to her! The course had quite a few bands, some more mellow and sleepy than others. My favorite musicians were the pirates! We saw them on an out and back section in the first half of the race. On the way back I got a photo, high-fived a few of them, debated asking them for rum and was given a pirate medallion! Loved it!!


Hitting the marathon turn off point was exciting. We felt pretty damn legit at that point! I really enjoyed seeing new parts of Portland and all of the crowd support cheering us on. At the half way point we were shocked at how quickly it went by and how great we felt. Boom, boom, boom ... each mile was right on pace. Around 14.5 that changed.

A once quiet race course suddenly changed. I was now on a highway, a train was flying by as cars were racing in the opposite direction between us. Immediately it all swarmed and I was dizzy. I was determined to battle it and not let Meniere's Disease get the better of me. We walked a bit and calmed me down and soon we were running and I was staring ahead .... staring ahead at the frightening structure of the St. John's Bridge.  "The Titanic. It's as gigantic as the Titanic." I was filled with dread. Bridges and water trigger Meniere's attacks. My goal was to survive that bridge, which I was considering the half way point (although it finishes at mile 18).

I joked about somehow skipping the bridge, but I never give up, and I was ready to brave it. I chose to relax by taking a couple of pictures and pausing to take in the view down the Willamette River. At the crest of the bridge I said, "Okay, I've got this, let's run!" And so we did. That bit of running was awesome .... and then  my left leg hit funny and buckled under me. Soon it was my ankle and knee hurting because of the buckle. Favoring that side made the right side buckle. *This buckling also happened to me during Tower of Terror's last mile.*


For the last 8 miles I fought so hard. I wanted so badly to run. Mentally I was still in the zone. I had more in me. I am a runner. I love to race. I didn't want to be sidelined. I can't glamorize it ... I physically could not run. I kept trying and every time I did I was nearly in tears and would have to walk it off. I thought if I could get in a steady walking zone maybe then I would shake out the bugs and run. But then I'd try and no luck.  I DID run through the Adidas campus in my attempt to get them to notice my Adidas and instantly offer me a sponsorship. I'm sure they are planning to call me any day.

The latter part of the course I really enjoyed. I saw a lovely new neighborhood completely with a fabulous band of older men dressed and playing music that made me feel like I was back on Main Street USA. The cheering spectators were just wonderful! I had two different people ask me if my shirt was still true... "R0nda, do you feel the same? Do you still love to run?" Of course!! There was music at one point playing 2 Legit 2 Quit ... so I named us Team Tew Legit! (Trust me, it makes sense.)

**I AM buying my photos, but was too antsy to post, so you get "proof"*

Dear Adidas ....I'm ready for your call!
We had a potty stop at 23.6. I realized runners are tired by then because a) the toilet seat had not a dribble on it and b) I didn't even try to hover, I planted my ass on the seat! Off and on MF would try to cheer me up and reassure me it was okay that we were walking, we were still finishing! "Look at everybody. We are like steerage passengers on Titanic. Everybody has that pathetic vibe and we are looking at each other wondering who is going to die first." Yeah, I was full of Titanic references. But it didn't stop there ... "this feels worse than all 3 of my kidney stones!" On the second bridge, after mile 24, we were on a final big downhill.... and I was flat out in tears of pain. MF said he'd carry me if he had to, he assured me that there was no way I'd get picked up or not finish. Through the tears I said, "No... I will do this all on my own, no matter what." Every single step was pure agony. I fake smiled my way through photo stops and thanked each music group as we passed by. At that point they were helping me more than they could know!

.3 to go and just dying!!
I could see the 26 mile marker. I was thrilled that soon I could get off of my now injured knees and bask in the glory of the hardest physical thing I've ever done. But I was feeling defeated. Then I heard it, "JUST KEEP SWIMMING!" I smiled and immediately looked up and there she was. The best sight of the day ... Cilley Girl! She knew I was hurting and her Finding Nemo advice was just what the doctor ordered! CG came and walked with me for a couple of blocks and sent me to the finish with great, positive energy telling me to go hear the fat lady sing (which I did)! I wanted to run it in, but knew I had to wait until the last turn so that I wouldn't be crying in pain too much.

And there it was, the last corner. I took a deep breath and forced a run. MF and I crossed together, smiling and actually enjoying what we had just done together! I did a freaking marathon!! Eight miles of excruciating pain couldn't stop me. That title of marathoner was now mine!!

My race goals:  don't puke and don't get carried to the med tent. Done and done! It was close on both of them, but I did it!! We got our space blankets, medals, roses, snacks, coins, pendants, shirts and finishers photos before meeting up with Cilley Girl again. Wow! What a freaking day!! We celebrated with food at our favorite post-race restaurant and then showers and a nap.

During the race I said, "2Fish, promise me this, promise me we will NEVER do this marathon again. No more marathons after Goofy!" And so now a week later, I hold to it. Goofy will be more of a success than Portland without a doubt, but really I'm just a big fan of the half marathon distance. I know I can do 26.2, but I'd rather back off, have a life outside of running, race when I want, not just training non-stop ... and you know, be Bridezilla! It was certainly a race I will never, ever forget. I do not regret it at all. It didn't go as planned after mile 17.5, but I did learn that I am a lot tougher than I ever thought!


18 comments:

  1. SO PROUD OF YOU!

    and so jealous. I'm ready for mine to be over with. . until January :)

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    1. Thank you! I can't believe yours is so soon!!!!

      Just think "Mile 20 Spectacular" as your motivation!

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  2. WTG! You are awesome. 26.2 is beyond freaking amazing!

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    1. Thanks, dear! --- Sure makes Pre feel like a walk in the park!

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  3. Replies
    1. Thanks ... I must confess in my huge collection of Portland Marathon photos -- a lot of fake smiles! But who wants photos of someone crying??

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  4. congrats! and yay for not puking!

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    1. Not puking is the way to go I think!

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  5. Great job! Sorry you were so miserable. It makes me a little scared... Eeeeek. After Goofy, I'm done, too. I like the half distance as well. I'm glad I'm doing 2 bucket list type races, but it's been a tough road and so, so time consuming!! Definitely need to meet up at WDW!!

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    1. Yeah, Goofy I think is going to be totally different! And we talk about it all the time. Compared to Portland, even though it will be 3 days of running in a row, we feel it HAS to trump any other racing. I predict major fun in our future at WDW!!

      And yes, we HAVE to meet up!!!

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  6. Great job pushing through and finishing strong! Congratulations on being a marathoner!

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    1. Wow .... it's still strange to read "being a marathoner!"

      THANK YOU!!!

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  7. Oh my gosh!! Congrats!! Way to push through that pain. So awesome - you are a rock star!

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    1. Rock Star -- I like it ... thank you!

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  8. Congratulations, marathoner! You totally rock and pushed through when it was the hardest. Very inspirational. I did the Portland Half, and have a similar picture of the pirates on my blog, but I didn't stop and now I'm bummed I missed out on a pirate medallion!

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    1. Now you know - if you ever make it back, pause for some pirate gold! ;)

      Congrats on your great race, and than you for your congrats!

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  9. You blog is inspiring. Thanks so much. by the way loads of women think about doing a triathlon but dont know where to start, try this book for kindle http://amzn.to/WmtjO8 Set a new challenge...

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  10. Congrats on your first marathon! Glad you were able to keep moving and push to the finish!

    You have many many years to improve..don't be in a hurry! Have fun, live healthy and KEEP RUNNING!

    -paul

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Thanks for reading my little blog, your comments rock my compression socks!! ºoº