Yesterday morning I ran the Portland Marathon. Yesterday night I read the Portland Marathon Official Souvenir Program. I wish I had done those things in reverse; it would have cleared a lot of things up. Sidebar: since finishing middle school, I’ve forgotten the proper use of semi-colons. Now I just throw them in every once in a while when it feels right. Looking up how to do it for real sounds hard.
The thing about the marathon that I was most confused about, was the random medallion thrown in the goodie bag that says 39th Portland Marathon 2010 Finisher. You can’t just go around giving these things to people who haven’t actually run the marathon yet. After reading the Program, I now know that it’s actually supposed to be a Challenge Coin, which has something to do with the military. Basically I get to carry it around and if we have drinks together and I put it on the table, you have to pay. Or I can put it in a wall display box or a coffee table made especially for the purpose of displaying my Challenge Coin.
I also got a little necklace with a rose pendant on it. This too was confusing, because it’s kind of ugly and I don’t want it. But then the Program taught me that I’m supposed to wear it regularly because it commemorates my marathon achievement (if I were a man, I would want to give it to someone special in my life). They also put it on an ugly cord on purpose, because they know that we’ll want to hang it from our favorite neck chain anyway. I was glad to have figured these things out, because before I had no idea why they would give them to me.
The Marathon Program also had a fair amount of pre-race tips that might have been helpful. Not totally necessary, since I’ve run a marathon before so I know pretty much everything about them now, but some of the reminders would have been good. I really regret not reading the page entitled Strange but True! 10-10-10 Coincidences of the Portland Marathon as told by the participants themselves! Plus: Other stories THAT MUST BE TOLD… (that aren’t really coincidental, but make for great reading!) Thinking of these touching stories and spooky coincidences surely would have helped me along the way. As the very long title implies, soon-to-be Portland Marathoners took time out of their day to write important e-mails to the Marathon organizers, such as the following:
The 10-10-10 Portland Marathon will be my 10th marathon – six of which have been Portland! This year, my bib will proclaim POWROF10!
I hate to waste your time, but I realized today that your race starts at 7:00 am on 10/10/10. Since I am male and will be 30 years old that day, my qualifying time for Boston will need to be 3:10, which would put me at the finish line at 10:10 on 10/10/10. That was just a lot of coincidence and I thought it was neat to point out. Looking forward to the race!
Clearly nobody thought that was a waste of their time, since they went ahead and put it in the program. I’m a bit more skeptical about how time-worthy that story is. A lot of the other stories are equally irrelevant to everyone in the world except the person who submit it, but they’re too long to make it worth-while to post it just to make fun of it.
The worst part of reading the Program after the marathon, is that I missed the whole section on bandit runners (runners who did not register). I had no idea that it was custom to “chant and yell loudly at bandits to let them know they are not welcome.” If I had I would have had been on the look-out for such runners the whole time so I could have somebody to yell at. I also learned that I’m supposed to be really angry at them because they might eat some of the pretzels along the course that I didn’t even want, but that I paid for and were intended for me! The Program includes ridiculous excuses that people have used in the past, upon being caught. Some of them are stupid:
- I am from California.
- I just had a baby.
Others weren’t ridiculous excuses at all, and I was upset that they were put in the ridiculous excuse section:
- My sister registered, got sick and called me to run for her.
- I was passing through town and thought no one would know.
These sound like very normal, honest excuses to me. I’m applying to be the editor for the 2011 Portland Marathon Official Souvenir Program so stupid shit like this doesn’t happen again.
I suppose I should say something about the actual marathon, even though the Program is much more interesting. I guess the most surprising thing about it was that I actually did it, and pretty much ran the whole thing. Here’s a quick breakdown.
- Miles 1-2: I tried out the run-walk thing. Ran until the next mile mark, then walked for a minute or so.
- Mile 3: Used the porta-pottie, because the line before the race was way too long. Near the end of the mile, I noticed that the four hour pacer was right behind me. I decided to skip the walking thing and try to run the marathon under four hours.
- Mile 7: Realized that this was the longest I had run without stopping since the last marathon I did, four months ago. This thought made me slightly nervous for the 19 miles to come.
- Miles 8-9: Ran down Naito Parkway and then doubled back on the same road, so you could see people on the opposite side running ahead of you, and then behind you. I looked for familiar faces and Kamran and Hannah claimed to have seen me, but only my friend Rachel from soccer made a point of smiling and waving close enough for me to notice.
- Mile 10: Saw Hannah’s boyfriend and her mom cheering on the side. This was exciting because I didn’t think my own parents would make it to see me, because I was unable to give them any idea whatsoever of how fast I would be running, or if I would be walking, or passed out on the side at mile 4 or something.
- Mile 13: Started feeling very tired. Still in front of the four hour pacer though.
- Mile 16: Saw Cassandra from massage school and started crossing the St. John’s Bridge with her until she pulled ahead.
- Mile 17: Remembered that I ran about 17 miles during Hood to Coast. Not consecutive running, but close enough. And the last part of that was extremely painful. Again nervous about the last 9 miles, but excited that there are only 9 left.
- Mile 19-20: No longer humanly possible for me to stay in front of the four hour pacer. This made me feel sad, but pain and fatigue outweighed the sadness.
- Mile 20: Upset because I thought the hashers were going to be giving out beer here. They were not.
- Mile 21: Reaching mile 21 was also upsetting, because earlier somebody had put up a big cardboard sign that said 21 on it. I had assumed that the real sign had been ruined or lost so they made a cardboard one. Instead it was just a big horrible trick.
- Mile 22-23: Found a guy wearing spandex shorts that I had been running near in the beginning, who was kind of walk/jogging. Took out my headphones and chatted with him a while to try to distract myself from the pain. He had pulled his hamstring around mile 16 and was sad. I was sad because my legs hurt so bad, so we got along well.
- Mile 24-26: People kept yelling, “Just two more miles!” like it was a good thing. It turns out that after running 24 miles, two more miles sounds like the worst thing that could ever happen. I was barely running at this point, and getting especially angry at people who were stopping to walk because it made me want to stop and walk even more.
- Mile 26-26.2: No matter how bad things are going, I’m pretty much always able to give the last stretch a pretty good kick when I’m bringing it in. This was not the case yesterday, but I did speed things up to a slow run as opposed to the barely-jogging pace I had been finishing at.
- Finish: Total time ended up being 4:18:59. Not great, but I did average a pace of around 9:20 until the last six miles when things significantly deteriorated. But pleased that I was able to run a marathon with almost no training only three minutes slower than the one that I did train for (although Timberline was a much harder course).
Then I went home and fell asleep in the bathtub and my mom made me chocolate chip pancakes and put big bandaids on my armpit chaffing.
PS. 14 running skirts, for a percentage of almost zero.
Miles run this week: 26.2
Miles run in 2010: 510.2