Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Portland Marathon Recap

Good morning!  OK as promised my Portland Marathon Recap.  I am going to be long winded and I don't want to split it up so this is going to be a long post.  I would say I am sorry, but I am not : ) 

On Saturday night before the race Katie and I decided it would probably be the easiest for me to stay at her place (no kids, unless you count Bryan) so we could drive into downtown Portland together.  Plus we wouldn't have to wake up both husbands and drag 2 cranky toddlers with us during the dark hours of the morning.  For that everyone should be grateful.  I set my alarm for 4:00 am because I like to have plenty of time in the morning, but because I slept next to my alarm I unconsciously just turned it off and did not actually get up with it.  Katie came in at 4:30 to check on me and wake me up, thank goodness!  I had set everything out the night before, literally head to toe, so I just threw everything on fast.  

I had my bowl of cereal and little coffee on the way.  We got there before 6 and was able to find a spot to park easily, I was also able to purchase 4 parking passes for that spot! YAY!  Not.  I couldn't figure out the dang machine and ended up buying 4 parking passes, that was a bummer.  But I always say its cheaper than a parking ticket and we didn't have to walk far at all.  Oh I was also able to set off the car alarm in the process of all of this, such a winner!  Katie was so happy with her decision to have me spend the night I am sure.  We'll see if she offers that up again! 

I was worried I wouldn't be able to find the pace group I wanted to run with but after asking a couple people I was able to locate them really easily.  I was in Corral G and the pace leaders for that corral were the 5:00 hour pace group which was my initial goal time.  We were the 2nd to last corral to get to the starting line and our gun went off at 7:25 am, I almost started to cry right then and there.  We started off conservatively which was good because if I had been running on my own I would have shot out of the gate way to fast, they held me back which I know helped me in those final miles.  The sun was up by the time we were running and it was such a different experience to hear the bands playing and the people cheering.  The first 10 miles seemed to just tick off like nothing, I was so consumed with the crowd and talking with the pace leaders and other runners I didn't even notice those first few miles.  I knew coming into mile 11 I would probably be seeing Jess and the girls soon and as I rounded a corner for mile 12 there they were!  

I knew they would be somewhere around that mile marker but I didn't know Jess would make signs for me, that is so not his thing!  I stopped just for a minute to grab a kiss from all 3 of them and then had to take off to keep up with my pace group.  That was a boost and I was pretty emotional as I ran from them.  Running this marathon was pretty awesome, a big thing in my life, but being those girl's mother is the best thing I'll ever do in my lifetime.  Between 13-14 I saw them drive by and Jess slowed down to wave and as he kept driving I saw he painted the back window of my car with my blog name.  

At mile 16 I had to slow down from the pace group, I could tell I wouldn't be able to keep up for another 10 miles and it was important to me that I run this entire race.  I slowed down, plugged in my headphones and was able to keep running up the dreaded hill that leads you over the St. John's Bridge.  It felt pretty good to be one of the few people who was actually running up the hill, that was a boost of confidence I needed at that point.  As I was crossing the bridge I just wanted to get to mile 20, for some reason getting to mile 20 meant the marathon would finally start.  I had run 20 miles twice before I knew what that felt like, I needed to get past that and into those 6 miles.  Once I hit 20 I felt home free, what is another 6 miles?  I had already ran 20 and if I kept running that meant I would be to my family and Katie that much sooner so I just kept running.  At this point I was passing people, not because of my killer speed but because they were all walking.  I assume they just put to much into the beginning of the race and just ran out of reserves, so I was passing a lot of people walking and that was huge to me.  

I took 2 shot bloks at the start of the race and would continue to take 2 every 4 miles, towards the end of the race I would take one shot blok at every aid station with water.  I also probably ate 6 pretzels and 3 gummy bears throughout the race.  I never got any hunger pangs and would be thirsty but never uncomfortable, all of the aid stations seemed to be timed just right.  I went through 2 packages of shot bloks during the marathon and I think making a conscious effort to have them at ever aid station was smart.  At one point while running up the hill towards the bridge I said to myself you can walk right now if you want, just take a minute and walk.  Then I said to myself, did you train all those months to walk?  No.  So my mantra for the rest of the race was "You didn't train that long and hard to walk, keep running!"   

As I approached the Broadway Bridge and mile 24 I felt home free!  I had 2 more miles to go and they were  my best 2 miles.  I was running on pure adrenaline at this point, I knew I was almost done and I felt amazing.  I took off my headphones put them in my belt and just ran as hard as my legs could carry me.  I knew once I saw the fountain on Natio that I would be making that final right turn that would take me to the finish.  I just ran and looked for my family and there they were!  Jess was there with the girls and Katie and they just cheered and yelled for me.  I could hear Katie yelling "Keep Running!" over and over again and when I saw the finish I just cried.  Not from pain but from pure joy, I had done it, I had just ran a marathon.  

It was hard, but it wasn't as hard as I thought.  I really thought I would be dying, I was really afraid of those 6 miles.  There was nothing to be afraid of, do not be afraid of the marathon.  I finished in 5:22:41, while it wasn't my goal time I did succeed in my other goal of not walking.  I don't know why not walking was so important to me, but it was and I am happy that I was able to accomplish that.  There is no way I could have done any of it without the support of my family and that includes Katie.  She has changed my life more than once, she means more to me then she'll ever know.  

Jess probably doesn't realize how much those little signs mean to me, I'll cherish those forever.  You can't run a marathon without the love and support of those closest to you and I am so grateful for Jess and those Saturdays he spent home alone with the girls.  He never complained, not once.  He never made me feel guilty, he just always pushed me forward.  If I had a bad run and didn't think the marathon was possible he would push me forward, tell me I could do it and I will do it.  We aren't perfect, we don't claim to be, but we are always there for each other for the highs and lows.  While its important to be there for the lows, this Sunday was a high for our family. 

Thank you to all of you who read my blog and leave comments and follow me on Facebook.  Its huge to me, HUGE.  I saw Geoff downtown and we took a picture together and while I would love to post it I need his permission, don't feel right putting it up without his OK.  It was awesome to see you that morning!  I want to hear about YOUR marathon! Marathon, wow.  Seemed like something other people did, not me.  Don't think that way, its amazing what we can do.  


  1. Amazing Dani...you made me cry! I know from my heart that if i saw Cole and my kids sitting out there with posters that would give me a boost like i never thought possible =) I'm lucky like you are...Cole is always willing to watch the kids,never complains and pushes me to be a better person. Congrats to you and Katie once again...that's HUGE!! I hope someday i can put a marathon under my belt =) Great accomplishment!

    1. Having support at home is key :) Now the junk food around here is another story...lol

  2. Congratulations on completing your first marathon, you did an amazing job and it has been a pleasure to follow your blog and watch your progress (you even have me contemplating starting my own). It was great to see you and Katie before the race and totally unexpected since I was just there to meet up with my running group. Yes, you have my permission to post the picture. I’m glad that you had an amazing experience (I thought everything was too), and that you were able to run the entire distance. You have a wonderful support crew, I like the pictures of your family and the signs – my wife was able to cheer me on at a few different locations and be there at the finish. I love the picture of you and Katie with the finisher’s shirts and medals – wear it with pride, I am going to wear my shirt everywhere! I also saw your recap on Run Oregon; you said you can count on running another… when’s your next one? Euguene, Vancouver USA, are you crazy enough for Seattle next month, or are do you have one of the bigger ones on your mind?

  3. My ultimate goal was simply to finish injury free and enjoy the experience. Mission accomplished! I ran most of the way with the group I trained with. We also started out conservatively (I get easily caught up in the excitement too). The music and all of the crowd support was great. St. John’s Bridge was amazing (I have never ran it or even been on it before), got a little emotional since I’ve heard that it was one of the toughest parts – the bridge itself is magnificent and a stunning view from it too. I think the steep descent after coming off the bridge was when I started feeling aches in my quads. I also started getting thirsty and couldn’t quite get enough to drink at the aid stations. But even at the final split I was still on a good pace to finish around 5:30:00. There was a slight incline at mile 23 where I had some bad cramps that momentarily stopped me in my tracks and almost had me ready to call it quits… it was a mental challenge but nothing was going to stop me from finishing. Slight disappointment that I had to walk most of the last three miles but my final time was 5:54:35 and I could still smile! Moving a little slow but still able to ride my bike to work, went for a walk yesterday and a swim today… tomorrow I am planning on going to my daughter’s school to be with her class for the jog-a-thon (of course I will be wearing my finishers shirt and bring the medal). A little more training, a few more pounds to lose and a slight adjustment to hydration… there might be another marathon in the (near-distant) future?

    1. Good for you Geoff! You gotta walk off those cramps don't even think twice about that, you finished! The bridge is incredible, it feels like such an achievement. You have a lot to be proud of, I am sure you wife and daughter think you are the most amazing dad right now (always). Wear that shirt everywhere! You deserve it!!!

  4. Wow! Congrats on your first marathon!!! What an amazing time, and amazing that you did not walk! That is a HUGE accomplishment! I love the signs your husband and girls made for you. It's such a huge boost to see family on course, and when they go the extra effort to make a sign for you, it's even better! :)

    (new commenter, found your blog through an old comment on SR's blog)

    1. Hi! Thanks for popping over, I love SR :) Thank you for the kind words, I am still pretty excited about the whole thing. I am glad you stopped by, maybe I can be interesting enough you'll stay! LOL!


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