I’ve been meaning to write up a race report for the Portland Marathon for a while now. This was my first marathon. I ran it on October 5, 2014. It was the hottest Portland Marathon on record. I came in with the hope of finishing in 4:20:00 or less. I wound up finishing the race in 4:12:34 with a pace of 9:37/mile.
The entire event was a great experience. The signup, expo, and organization were all top notch. At no point was I confused about where to go or what to do. My wife was able to meet me at my starting corral before the race for last minute nutrition and clothing discards. I was nervous as I approached the starting line, but I settled myself down with the mental reminder that I was about to enjoy four solid hours of running. I get excited for a nice, long run. I can’t be the only one, right?
One of the early highlights for me was running through Chinatown. The drummers and dragons put on a great display and the sights and sounds charged me up. I felt like I was cruising and not crowded at all in the first mile or two. In fact, my only problem was my attire. I had lost a considerable amount of weight during my marathon training and my shorts were much too baggy. I took 10 Gu gels with me and it took all of 100 feet for me to realize that my pockets weren’t going to support my nutrition. I wound up holding several of the gels in each hand for much of the race. I have since purchased new shorts.
My proudest, if not smartest, achievement of the race is that I never walked. The lead up to the St. John’s Bridge around mile 15 is a tough hill and nearly everyone else was walking it. I probably should have saved the energy, but I made an agreement with myself before the race to run the entire thing. Part of me feels that walking at least part of that hill briskly could have saved me from the wall I hit a few miles later. By mile 18, I was struggling and my pace was falling off with each minute. Despite the wonderful cheer squads and Widmer Bros. beer crew pushing me on, I was fading fast. The sun was beating down by this time and I found myself bouncing from one side of the street to the other, trying to find shady spots on the road. In the end, I wandered around so much and took so many corners poorly, I ran a half mile more than the expected 26.2. Lesson learned. Run straight and watch those tangents on the corners.
With each of the last few turns coming back through downtown, I expected to see the finish line. I had my heart broken again and again. By the time I finally saw the finish line, I didn’t have the energy for a big final push and I stammered across the finish line exhausted, but elated.
My wife and friends kept tabs on me throughout the race and met me at the finish line. I used Nike+ during the race to track my progress. I also paired Nike+ with Facebook so my friends and family could cheer me on during the race. Nike+ doesn’t always get rave reviews, but I appreciated the cheering feature very much as the surprise crowd noise and cowbells got me through some dark moments. I used my wife’s photos and videos to put together a video of the event below. All things considered, I’m thrilled with this race and highly recommend the Portland Marathon to first timers and veterans alike.