My 26.2 Experience

Life To Do List:

Run a Marathon – Completed 10/7/2012 (Portland, OR) | PR: 4 Hours, 51 Minutes

I did it! I have completed the longest distance I have ever run, which also turns out to be the longest distance I ever plan to run!

October 7th was a day to remember for me as I finished the Portland Marathon in 4 Hours and 51 Minutes.

The way that I calculated my splits was every 6 miles, it seemed like an easy increment to track and spread out the race into 4 segments with a mini 2.2 mile victory shuffle jog at the end.

This is also how I will tell the tale – it all seems like a blur but this is how I remember it!

The first 6 miles (57:03)

I was in starting corral E, which means that my pace group was projected between 4 and 5 hours to finish. I arrived downtown at 6:30am which was plenty of time to make one last stop at the porta-potty’s and get my music set up for what I wanted to start my journey with. As we started to file into the starting gates, we heard the groups before us being sent on their way. By the time I actually started, it was 7:13 and I couldn’t be more anxious to get moving!

I kept the 4:10 pacer in my sight which did wonders for my confidence when I was passing people who looked like they were much more athletic and better prepared with their gels and water bottle belts, etc. The first 6 was all about finding the pace I was comfortable with and not getting caught up with trying to outdo myself just to satisfy my ego.

The second 6 miles (59:16)

Miles 6-12 are along an industrial stretch where you’re witnessing those who are in groups an hour ahead of you on their way back (and 3-4 miles ahead of you) which was a little intimidating. I kept my eyes on the 4:10 group and found a pace that grooved with my music and my body. It was easy to spot out people who I could comfortably follow along with so that I was more like a rabbit chasing a carrot rather than counting the streetlights on a fairly uninspiring stretch of road. At the 8.5 mile turn-around it was a run dead into the sun for a little over two miles. I think that my eyes were fixated on the ground for the majority of this stretch!

The third 6 miles (1:06)

After escaping the long down and back on Front Ave, we ran through the NW neighborhoods and down onto St. Helens Road where I had run my second leg of Hood to Coast back in August. Surprisingly this run for the marathon was easier than my experience during Hood to Coast, but it may have had a lot to do with the number of people out on the road as well as the reduced traffic on a Sunday morning compared with a Friday evening. At the 16th mile is where the course took a turn for me as I encountered the hill up to the St. John’s bridge. I’d been given warning about this hill which some call “the great equalizer”, but no matter how mentally sound I was it stole my energy and proved to be a challenging moment in the race.

I scaled the mountain and faded as the 4:25 pacers passed me in the crossing of the bridge. I knew that I had lost valuable time that I wouldn’t be able to recover over the next 10 miles of the race and felt the wind knock out of my sails. Then, when I remembered that I didn’t really care what time I finished in as long as I finished, it gave me the will to carry on!

The fourth 6 miles (1:19)

Miles 18-24 were hot and full of spectators! I took advantage of as many Aid stations as I could and often put back 2-3 cups of water in the 50 foot stretch of tables and volunteers. Unfortunately I didn’t perfect the art of drinking the water while running, so these stations also turned into a mini 30 second walk break for me (oops) which made it hard to start back up. My courage and pride were still in tact and propelled me back into a confident jog knowing that I only had about an hour left in the longest run of my life.

I also had a huge grin on my face when I’d see families out on the course waiting for their loved ones as I’d think “ha-Yes! I’m faster than your person!” It kept me going. Sorry I’m not sorry.

The final 2.2 miles (28:48)

I was SO elated to cross the Broadway bridge, knowing that this was the home stretch and that there was light at the end of the tunnel. I could feel the energy in the runners around me as well, which made it all that much easier. Coming through downtown with all of the spectators and families cheering on strangers was an energy boost and gave me everything I needed to run the final stretch. It even put a smile on my face, but mostly just so that I wouldn’t be caught on camera with my when-will-this-be-over look. Dan was there at the corner of 3rd and Salmon which was the final turn of the course and where the finish line was yards away. I crossed the finish line, tilted my head back and took in a fresh breath of victory. I was presented with my finisher’s medal and went to replenish with some chocolate milk, bananas, orange slices and more water.

THANK YOU to everyone who cheered me on, sent me texts, wished me luck and thought of me yesterday during my race! I sincerely couldn’t have done it without the support and love from friends and family.

I’d say until the next one, but that ain’t happening! Training for my second Tough Mudder in 2013 begins Wednesday!

❤ JE


6 thoughts on “My 26.2 Experience

  1. I can’t believe I didn’t send one text or message, because I was cheering you on mentally! You GO, girl! You deserve 10,000 parking spaces for that one!

  2. Pingback: October Summary | JESSI EVEN

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