"...In the end, people either have excuses or experiences; reasons or results; buts or
brilliance. They either have what they wanted or they have a detailed list of all the rational reasons why not."

~ Anonymous
(taken from Matt Erbele's, It Takes Time to Get Good)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Seriously Belated Race Report: Portland Marathon - October 9, 2011


Total Distance: 26.85 miles (lot's of bobbing and weaving early on. Totally my fault, but I will get to that)
Total time: 5:42: whatever...like the seconds matter at that point. (Not a personal worst and I did not actually barf up a lung, so we are taking it as a 'win')
Total text messages sent from the course: 10 or 12 (there may have also been an email or two outlining the numerous reasons why this marathon was a remarkably BAD idea, how this would be the last motherfucking one of these things I do, and finally to whom to distribute my meager belongings as I certainly would not survive this, quote, "Goddamn sufferfest.")

*short for 'statistics', which this information really does not qualify as since 'statistics' implies there is some sort of analysis of the numerical data. Alrighty then,  for the statistical purists out there, here's some analysis: if you take the total time this run took and divide it by the total distance I traveled, you get a really, really fucking slow ass pace. Voila! Statistics!


Originally when I signed up to do the Portland Marathon my Run Buddy (whom I have not run with for over 3 years) said she was going to train for and run it with me. However, not super surprisingly, she decided pretty early on in the training that a marathon is, indeed, a very, long fucking way and that she did not want to do that. What can I say? I am drawn to smart people.

Then LA Run Buddy, fresh off the endorphin rush of a 41 hour labor, said that she and her son, who would be at that point  five months old, would come up to Portland with me (For the record, I knew that was INSANE and that she was not going to be able to make it. I just let her say it. It is both cruel and futile to argue reality with a woman that just spent 41 hours of grueling labor to only end up being slashed open from stem to stern to remove the baby that obviously had NO intentions of coming out his own.)

Gratuitous picture of MQ aka the cutest baby on the planet!

Needless to say I headed up to Portland without any of my peeps. I was thinking, "This is not my first rodeo. I can run a damn marathon by myself." I was not super right about that, but fortunately I had a last minute pinch hitter that came out from Minnesota to cheer me on. That proved to be very much appreciated as this marathon has been renamed by me from the Portland Marathon to the Piss and Moan Marathon.

The Run 

The organizers of the Portland Marathon deemed that anyone that was going to take 6 hours or more to complete their course was a "Walker," which honestly I think is kind of bullshit because other than race walkers I dare anyone to walk a full marathon in 6-6:30 hours. Whatever.

Race day morning, I walked to what I am certain was Northern Seattle to join my peeps in corral W (FYI: The other corrals were labeled  A, B, C, D, and E. The  'W ' label seemed somewhat punitive and just to MAKE SURE that everyone knew you were  NOT, in the esteemed opinion of the Portland Marathon, a runner. Yeah, fuck you too, Portland) 

Helpful Marathon Tip: If you are a runner (albeit a slower than sloth snot runner) and you have been placed in the corral with the ALL of the walkers for a HUGE marathon, get your ass up to the front of the corral. I am so used to seeding myself in the back of the pack that I automatically did so and I spent at least  the first 4 miles weaving through and around bands of walkers stretched 5-6 people across, seemingly arm in arm.  *sigh* And really, I had no one to blame but myself. I was in their wave and had self-seeded in the very back.

Miles 0-5

Once our corral got in position for them to start us, it took me almost an additional 30 minutes to walk from my place in the corral to the start line. This should have been a clue to me that I was not positioned correctly in this wave, but I milled along in bovine-like bliss until I finally crossed the mat and then spent the next hour or so cursing all of humanity and internally screaming disparaging things about the size of people's asses in front of me that would have, and should have, gotten my very own fat ass summarily kicked had they been uttered aloud.

What I did not know is that this would probably be the most enjoyable part of my run.

Miles 6-11


Like, stab yourself in the pancreas to break the monotony type "Yawn."

Seriously, Portland, change this part of the course.  I hate to be critical of a race course, but I have to believe there are more interesting ways to carve out 26.2 miles in Portland. The HAS to be.

 This bus was stuck out in the middle of nowhere playing music trying to cheer runners up. Doesn't the man looking up stock quotes on his iPhone look "cheered" up? 

Miles 12-16

This section of the run, while not actually the most miserable, was definitely where there was the highest likelihood of  my quitting this run.

 Race walker that dropped me like a used condom at mile 14. Yeah, it stung a bit. 

I have yet to walk off a course, but I will tell you that out on the stretch between miles 13 and 16 I was texting my friend asking "Jesus Christ on a pony, I am only halfway? Just what the fuck do I have to prove? I have run 12 of these damn things!" And telling her I was almost at the point of offering passing motorists sexual favors for a ride back to the finish if she did not come get me.

She did not come get me.  

No motorists where propositioned. (To be fair, none stopped. I should have worn a cuter outfit. Lessons learned)

I kept running

well, running-ish.

Miles 17-23

Now, THIS this was the most miserable section of the run. There was a brief moment of happy at mile 17 as I got to run over a cool bridge, but for the most part this section was the type of misery most people associate with running marathons: It hurt, it was boring, I hated EVERYONE, and there was no end in sight.

 Cool bridge at Mile 17

At mile 19, there was the first on course food option. They had what appeared to be an 11 year old girl holding handfuls of pretzels out to runners. The poor little thing looked terrified as runner after starving runner practically gnawed off her fingers to get to the salty carbs.  For the record, I told her I loved her and that she was my favorite person in the universe. That did not creep her out AT ALL I assure you.

Some kind spectators (and I have to say that the neighborhoods the marathon ran through for miles 18-21 had some really kick ass spectators) were giving out candy corn. I usually hate candy corn, but at mile 18 of a miserable fucking marathon they were sweet, sweet ambrosia.

My only regret is that I had but a mere two hands with which to hold my cache of these tasty delights.

At mile 20, I texted my friend to say, "Sub 6 not going to happen. God help you if you do not have Starbuck's at the finish."

Aren't I a gem? She flew out from Minnesota for that kind of sweetness! 

Miles 23-26

If I keep moving forward eventually this damn thing will end.

At mile 25.5 ish I saw a Team in Training teammate who is possibly one of the most goodhearted people you would ever hope to meet. He had finished LONG before and was out cheering on people like my ungrateful ass.

My comment to him as he said, 'Looking strong. You are almost done..." or some such NOT helpful tripe:

"You! Standing there with your medal, all finished and shit, if you really want to help grab that balloon arch and move it closer! THAT would be helpful."

This was about the time when a, at the very least, 75 year old race walker (Yes, I said race walker. Fuckers haunted me at every turn at this damn race)  that I had been leap frogging with for the last 8 miles passed me for good. He said, "Gottcha, Girlie!" (It is not a well hidden secret that I am not above taunting and mocking people, young and old alike, in races . We had been bantering back and forth for miles now.)

I tipped my pink, Puma run hat to him and bid him adieu. There was no fight left in this dog. The septuagenarian had won. Possibly a new race low.

Wait, I was once beat by a one armed man in a triathlon swim... 75 year old race walker or one armed swimmer? Tough call.

Anyhoo.... I digress

Eventually, 5 hours and 42 minutes after I started this marathon I finally crossed the finish line. Once I was done. I was done.

 Finish line pic that a WAY bored MN Buddy took waiting FOREVER for me to finish. I think she was secretly convinced there was NO WAY it could take me more than 5 hours to finish and ended up waiting a long time. 

Usually after a marathon I feel pretty good. I am not really a "Leave it all out there on the course" kind of girl, so I was a little taken aback by the next course of events.

I kind of slept walked through the finishers corral with volunteers wrapping me in a mylar blanket, putting a medal on me, giving me a finishers shirt (nice touch), two additional medals in velvet pouches (WTF? Maybe nix the additional medal things and get some food on the course, just sayin'), I somehow had the wherewithal to grab some baby snickers off the food table (I really think that is an autonomic response for me, similar to breathing. See Snickers. Grab Snickers. Eat Snickers. No conscious control is needed) but as I meandered through the crowds I started to slow WAY down and feel somewhat not ok.

I called my Minnesota buddy and started whining about the location of my Starbucks. Then all of a sudden I had the overwhelming urge to sit down, which I did. On the curb. I was officially D.O.N.E with forward motion for a while. I realized I was bonking. Hard.

I ate the Snickers I had stuffed in my run bra. (Yes, I am the asshole that takes all the Snickers from a candy bowl leaving none for others. Sue me)

Then I felt all sparkly.

Then I was pretty sure I was going to throw up.

My buddy, getting worried, called me and I told her I was sitting on the curb at 3rd and Salmon and to please come get me (with the Starbucks of course). Fortunately, by the time she arrived I started feeling better and did not ask her to carry me back to the hotel, which frankly had crossed Princess RBR's mind. She did have coffee and I told her I loved her and asked her to marry me, which cracked up the lady who had also boycotted forward motion and was sitting next to me telling her husband on the phone where to come get her and that she would like a Starbucks. 

It was not my worst race time, nor was it the most undertrained I have gone into an event, but it was my worst attitude during a race and I was unhappy with myself about that.

I do this to have fun. I need to recapture the fun.

So what does one do after a particularly bad marathon? Well, if you are RBR,  you sign up for two more!

January 15, 2012 Redding Marathon

April 22, 2012 San Luis Obispo Marathon 

I have decided to end all posts with a Lola picture because she is fucking ADORABLE!