Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Portland Squared

A year ago, a bunch of us decided to make the Maine Marathon our 2017 adventure.  There were five of us who all agreed to train together then fly to Portland, Maine to run a marathon.

A year ago, Sarah, one of the five, discovered that the Portland, Oregon Marathon is the week after Portland, Maine.  She wondered who from our group she could talk into lengthening the adventure to include a second marathon in a Portland across the country from the first....

Oh yes.  Jamie.  The rest of the group is much too smart to go along with something like this.

A few months ago, I looked at a map and realized how close Portland, Oregon is to the Washington state border (never having lived in or visited Oregon, I'm not familiar with the geography).  It was only logical that we rent a car, drive across the border and run a 5K in Washington.  Three races, three states, one week.

It was looking to be quite the adventure.

I've been home from said adventure for a week now.  I needed time to process it all and now I'm ready to tell the story.  Most parts were awesome, some parts were ugly.  This was, by far, the biggest running adventure I've ever been on.  While I'm not in a hurry to run 2 marathons in a week again, it's not completely out of the question for the future.


On Friday, September 29, 2017 we got on a plane headed to the east coast.  The expo was Saturday and the Maine Marathon was Sunday, October 1st.

Lyndsey, me, Shannon, Sarah, Megan

We had gorgeous weather on Sunday.  The course was incredible.  The views, the trees......the hills.  Oh my word, the hills.

Y'all.  We don't have hills like this in Columbus.  My quads were trashed but I smiled for 26 miles in Maine.  I loved this course and highly recommend it.  Train on hills.

I made a bunch of friends on this course.  All five of us from Columbus started together but eventually, we were all separated.  I went back and forth between listening to music and chatting with the runners nearby.

The first time marathoners had yellow bibs, the regular marathon bibs were blue, so it was easy to pick out the first timers and cheer them on.  That was a nice touch.

Another nice touch: free downloads for the race pictures.

Seriously.  Smiled the whole time!
Photo from Maine Marathon

Marathon Number 6!
Photo from Maine Marathon

The bling.
Finish time 4:44
All of our friends went back to Columbus on Monday or Tuesday but Sarah and I stayed in Maine until Wednesday before flying alllllll the way to Portland, Oregon.

Highlights of Maine
After three airplanes and 12 hours of flying time, we finally made it.

Farewell, Maine
On Thursday and Friday, Sarah and I did some sight seeing in Portland, Oregon.

The view of Mount Hood was from our hotel window.  Watching the sunrise was amazing.  We went to VooDoo Donuts, I wasn't super impressed.  The statue of Portlandia was cool.  She's the second largest copper statue in the US.  Second to Lady Liberty.

Sunrise behind Mt. Hood.  See that star above?  That's not a star.  That's Venus.  I sent this picture to my co-teacher so she could show our preschool class and I sent it to my mother in law to show my girls.  You can take the teacher out of the classroom, but you can't take the teacher out of the girl.

On Saturday, October 7th, we drove to Longview, Washington for the Harvest Classic 5K.

Are you thinking, "Longview?  Like the Green Day song?"  I thought the same thing so I looked it up.  Yes!  Green Day performed that song first in Longview, Washington and named the song after the town.  Like I said, you can take the teacher out of the classroom....

At the start
Photo from Harvest Classic 5K

At the finish
Photo from Harvest Classic 5K

Finish time 29:12

This was a teeny tiny 5K.  It was well-run, great loop course and there were raffle prizes after the race!  Sarah won a prize, but it was too big to pack in her suitcase so she asked them to choose another winner.  We left the race intending to head to Mt. St. Helens.  We were in the Starbucks drive through line when I checked the race website for official finish times.  There were a few excited four letter words exclaimed when I discovered that Sarah won her age group and we had to go back to the race for awards!  We giggled the whole way back.

We drove up Mt. St. Helens.  It was 20 degrees colder at the top of the mountain and the views were spectacular.  I love mountains.  They're novel since we have none here in Central Ohio.

Sunday morning, October 8th, was the Portland Marathon.  Really, I had no expectations for this race.  I've never run a marathon a week after running a marathon.  I usually run one marathon a year!  It was pretty early on (mile 5) when we started feeling the fatigue in our legs.  Only 21 miles to go.  No problem.  Ha.

At this point, we were with the 4:40 pacers, keeping a 10:35ish pace.  Around mile 7, Sarah backed off.  I hung with the pacers until mile 12ish, then I started to lose my giveashit.  This part of the course was the out and back turnaround so on my way back (toward the finish, hallelujah) I saw Sarah.  We stopped for a minute to check in with each other.  I was somewhere around 16 and she was 12ish.

Our conversation went something like this: "How are you feeling?"  "This sucks."  "Whose idea was this, anyway?"  "See you at the finish."

And off we went.  At mile 9ish and 18, we ran across St. Johns Bridge.  At mile 9, I was still running with the pacers.  At 18?  Psh.  I took a walk break and some pictures.

St. Johns Bridge

St. Johns Bridge was the only cool part of the course.  Portland has some fantastic architecture but this course didn't showcase much of that.  The course itself was pretty boring, which didn't help me keep my mental and emotional stability during the second half of the race.  (There were perks at the finish line that made up for the boring course: grilled cheese from a food truck, chocolate milk, Twix (!!!) and finisher shirts!)

I knew I'd slowed down considerably and the tracking app for this event only used timing pads at miles 13, 17 and 21 on the second half so I pulled my phone out at mile 20 and sent a text to Randy so he wouldn't worry about me.  I was fine.  Not in pain.  Just slow.  Then I cranked my music up much louder than I normally listen to it, hoping it would drown out the voices in my head telling me to stop.  I'm glad I sent that text to Randy because my chip didn't read at mile 21 so to my friends and family tracking me from afar, it looked like I'd stopped at 21.

I'm pretty sure this photographer was at mile 21ish.  I was hating life right then but still moving forward.  This race had been a shit-show since mile 5.  I saw the photographer and gave him a scowl and a thumbs down and he started laughing at me.  My misery must have been funny.  But his laughing made me smile.

This photographer was at mile 26.  That may have been the only time I smiled.  Oh my gosh, I'm almost done!

Marathon Number 7!!

The bling!
Finish time 5:09

Holy crap, I did it.  Two marathons in a week.

Related: what the hell was I thinking?!

One week, three races, three states and two runners who ride that line between badass and dumbass.  This really was a great adventure.  I'm glad I did it and I'm glad it's over.


Special Thanks
To all of my running buddies: A lot of hours go into training for 2 marathons.  Thanks for the miles, the conversation and the whining.  It's great to have people suffering along side you while training through the hot and humid summer.  Misery really does love company.

To Sarah: There's a very short list of people I want to hang out with 24 hours a day for 11 days.  (I'm talking, we could count the people listed on one hand...)  I'm happy to have you on it.  Thank you for not locking me out of the hotel room with Drunkie.  I can't wait to see what shenanigans we come up with next....you know....a long time from now.

To my mother and father in law: Thank you for helping to keep the household schedule running smoothly while I was gone.

To the best husband on the planet, my favorite person in the world: There aren't enough words.  Your love and support are unwavering.  Thank you for being you and wanting me to be me.

About the Outfits
Psh, marathons....it's all about the clothes!

Maine Marathon: I wore the Lotta Breeze Capri in Sidewinder print with the Circuit tee.  I adore Sidewinder.

Harvest Classic 5K: Redemption Capri in Tantrum (my all time favorite print from a couple of years ago) and the Runner's Dream long sleeve shirt (my all time favorite long sleeved shirt, also from a couple of years ago), neither of which are currently in the store.

Portland Marathon: Ok, here's a funny story...I bought the new Hover Capri in Flyaway print a couple of weeks before these races but the weather has been really hot and I couldn't wear them.  On Marathon Morning, I took the tags off and put these pants on for the very first time.  And ran a marathon.  With any other clothing, I'd say that was risky, but this is Skirt Sports we're talking about!  I'm also wearing the black Circuit Tee (I may or may not have the Circuit Tee in three colors--the third color, I wore for the Bayshore Marathon last year).

I am a Skirt Sports Ambassador.  I receive compensation for promoting the brand.  That being said, if the company, quality and comfort weren't top notch, I wouldn't be wearing it for 26.2 miles.  Or promoting it.  All opinions are my own.