Thursday, October 14, 2010

Portland Recap

Thank goodness it is over. 

portland marathon sign portland  marathon sign

I wanted it to be over when I got out of bed at 5:20 AM on 10/10/10.   I didn’t really sleep very well at all the night before, well for the 4 nights leading up to the marathon actually.  I was not prepared for this race. Period.

I think this race started off bad beginning with the week prior.  My taper was all wrong, I only got in one 3 mile run.  Then the stress of packing up everything and being on my feet all day Thursday and Friday was not good. I was an emotional wreck too. 

But I crawled out of bed Sunday morning and it was pouring rain. I stared out the window for a few minutes and willed it to stop. It didn’t work. I drank some chocolate milk (fueling mistake #1), half a chocolate muffin (fueling mistake #2), ate a half of a peanut butter and honey sandwich (fueling mistake #3) and took my vitamin B12 Complex, glucosamine and my multi vitamin (mistake #4).  I didn’t have my usual toast or bagel with coffee. 

Then I got dressed and we all rushed out the door to head downtown.  Once in the car I was getting my iPod situated and realized that one of my Yurbuds had fallen off my earbud headphones, which means I would only be able to have music in one ear. Ear buds don’t stay in my ear, but the Yurbuds are AWESOME (review coming soon). Just great. The Hubs was to drop me off at RED’s hotel. We made a wrong turn and by the time we made it down town the closest I could get to her hotel was 15 blocks. It was still POURING buckets. I texted her and called her and decided to head to Corral C. The Hubs snapped a quick picture and we went our separate ways.

Oct 2010 001

I have no idea what I am doing here…probably trying to stay dry or out of the rain.






I headed to Corral C to look for RED and wandered around. I headed toward the Honey Buckets and stood in line for about 10 minutes then decided that if I was going to start by myself I would just go to Corral B and start there. I stood under an awning for about 10 minutes with pretty much everyone else in Corral B. When the wheelchairs went and then Corral A went all of the  B-er’s made their way to the street and moved forward. I could not sense much excitement around me, more dread than anything. My shoes were already drenched, my hat dripping, my shirt was getting heavier by the minute. I was starting 26.2 miles soaking wet. A lot of people kept running in their trash bags. I threw mine aside just as I crossed the start. Some people were actually still wearing the trash bags across the finish line.  I thought this was weird since it wasn’t really the wet arms and body that bothered me, it was my wet feet.

In the first 200 yards after the start there was an awesome drum beat going on. It was much like a death march, like I imagined I would hear in if were a soldier in the civil war with my rifle and bayonets pointed out in front of me…heading toward certain death. That is where my head was 200 yards in to the marathon. Not a good sign.

I wasn’t sure where or when I would see anyone I knew. I had gotten a text from Mel-Tall Mom saying she would be between mile 4 and 12.  So I had that to look forward to! I wasn’t sure if the Hubs, LB and Lazy Dog would make it all. After all it was pouring rain and I didn’t want to be out there. Pretty sure they wouldn’t want to.

My first few miles felt good. I tried to keep my pace under control but I also had decided that I wouldn’t really look at my Garmin aside from occasionally and to check out the overall elapsed time. I spent a lot of time looking down and puddle jumping.  My right foot was soaked, I could feel the water sloshing in my shoe.  My left foot was wet but not soppy.  It is hard puddle jumping.  Around mile 3 my iPod straight up died. No sound was coming from it. Great, 23 miles of no music. I had spent hours getting the PERFECT run fast and happy songs for this marathon.

I finally looked up from the rivers running down the street and spotted the familiar Running Skirt with butterflies!!! It was Mel and Jill!!!  HOORAY!!!  They hollered and I waved!  I shouted, “When will I see you again?” “Mile 12!”


So I only had to make it a bit further and I would see them again! My first 4 miles were:

1) 9:12    2)  9:17    3)  9:46   4)  8:50

This is about normal for my pace. Not too fast. I headed out on the out and back and new that once I turned at the end I was sure to see RED. So I ran and was between the 3:50 pace group and the 4:00 pace group.  Around mile 8 the 4 hour pace group passed me as I got a drink at the water stop. I just didn’t have the fight in me to stay with them.  Plus I still had the 4:15 pace group behind me. I decided I would stay in front of them. I got to the end of the out and back and headed back the way I came from. I had my eyes peeled for RED and sure enough there she was, not 100 yards behind me. I slowed down so she could catch me and we were united at around mile 9. We stuck together for a little bit of time, until I wanted to die. RED was doing well but I was fighting a serious mental battle and the wetness of the day was starting to melt my brain, I think. I was mentally defeated at mile 10.

Mile 5-13

5)  9:09     6)  9:19    7) 9:30      8)    9:15      9) 9:48      10) 9:30      11) 9:45      12) 10:56      13) 10:08

RED went on her way just before mile 12 and I slowed. I came to a corner and all the runners took a left hand turn. I saw two angels standing right in front of me, Mel and Jill!

mile 12


I could not make my self turn. I went straight toward them. In the picture I was running but I think I was straightening my arms out to shake them up a bit. I could see the funny looks on the faces of the crowd around Mel and Jill so I said, “Oh, am I supposed to turn here?” Truly, I wanted to quit. Mel and Jill were awesome, they offered to let me get in the car, end it right then, to just be done, to go get a cup of coffee.  In a sick and twisted way it was like offering me a loaded gun…but I said, “No, I’ll finish. It may not be pretty but I’ll finish.” As I was about to be on my way they asked if I needed anything, “A casket.” and I was on my way. Not 25 yards after that I saw the Hubs, LB and Lazy Dog!!! What a sight for sore eyes feet!

off to the last half

I was so happy to see them AND to to have an excuse to stop again. So mile 12 was a little slow from all the socializing. =) 



I hit the half way point at about 2:03. I felt good about that time and thought  could possibly still have a respectable time, under 4:15.  But then again I didn’t really care. I wanted to finish. I wanted it to be over with. Mile 13 through 17 were pretty ho hum. I don’t remember much. It was raining and I was completely withdrawn and inside my own head.  As I headed up the hill that lead to the St. Johns Bridge I talked to a man wearing a shirt from a cross country skiing event. I asked him if it was better or worse than a marathon. It was his first marathon so he said he didn’t know yet. I moved on thinking how great it was that I wasn’t in the snow, that would have been worse. But wet was BAD too.  I got up to the bridge and it was beautiful but then I had a sick thought about how dangerous it was to have thousands of people running a marathon in the pouring rain across this bridge, jumping off crossed my mind. I know, I told you it was sick. Of course I would never jump off but I wondered how far down it was… the thought crossed my mind. I didn’t jump and no one else did. As far as I know.

I came off the bridge and was looking for Mel and Jill.  But along the way I must have lost my thoughts and once again was in my own world, seemingly all alone….Until I heard my name. I had been hearing my name all along, our names were on our bibs. This was different. Mile 18 I looked to my left and saw Mel and Jill yelling my name and it scared/startled me to death. I jumped and screamed. The guy next to me said, “I’ve never seen anyone get scared in public before!” It was kind of funny but it really just showed how much of a zone I was in. Mel took off and in a flinch she was beside me. She talked to me for the next two miles. I tried to get out of my own head and not focus on how wet my feet were. I wiggled my toes and tried to will them dry. It didn’t work.  I was so happy to have Mel beside me, even for a couple of miles.  She joked about not blending in, she was too dry. She gave me the encouragement I needed to get through and mile 20 came too quick.  She jumped out and I was worried to be on my own again.

portland mile 20 with mel



This is me and Mel at mile 20! You can barely see us…




I was only alone for about 20 step when I came up on The Hubs, LB and Lazy Dog again! The Hubs yelled, “RED is only about 10 feet ahead! Go get her!”  My family jogged beside me as I tried to catch RED.  I yelled, “CARRIE!” She turned and saw me and I yelled, “I’m coming!” The crowd on the side of the street got a laugh. Was that funny? I caught up with her and waved by to my family. RED and I were glad to have the last 6.2 miles together. She was having a hard time getting into a groove after making a Honey Bucket stop.   We were quite the pair. We ran along in silence, I think. Except when I begged to walk. She obliged, she just wanted to finish and finish together. Thank goodness. I was fighting for my life, I felt.

Mile 14-20

14) 10:42  15) 10:32  16) 10:54  17) 12:08    18) 10:20  18)  10:20  19) 10:34     20) 10:50

I could not get my brain to stop beating me up. I wanted to quit or at least to be done. It felt like 36 miles. It felt like I had been running forever. It felt like I was a soaked rat. Around  mile 22 I saw my family running down the stairs by the University (I think that is where it was). I yelled and waved at The Hubs and LB. Lazy Dog pulled his leash and wanted so bad to run with me. He does not do well when one of his pack is not right there with him.  RED and I kept going. We walked through the water stops and each time gave our selves a place to run again-at that light, when we get to that sign, we’ll run…

I think it was around mile 24 that there was a beer stop. They were handing out small cups of beer. RED wanted some, I was worried to try it. My stomach had been queasy the entire morning.  But on the other hand I needed something to give me a little more oomph. I had nothing. My tank was empty. I could not eat any more chomps. I didn’t even use one pack of my Chomps. I did not fuel properly during this marathon. So I decided that a tiny shot of beer might just give me some carbs and the energy to push the last 2 miles. We had a quick Cheers and downed our sweet nectar. It actually tasted pretty good.  I waited for the adverse affect. It never came.

When we came to mile 25 I was in a BAD way. I wished for death. I wished for a lightening strike, something…anything! RED kept telling me we were almost there. I knew she was right but I couldn’t do it. I was literally begging my feet to take each step. We had one final walk break at about 25.4 miles. We walked for a less than a minute and then ran on. There were so many people lining the streets. My pride prevented me from walking any more but I wanted to slip into the crowd and take my shoes and socks off. That is all I could think of, taking off my shoes and socks. I imagined taking my shoes off at the finish line and walking to the car barefoot. I even imagined taking them off right then and finishing with bare feet. I kept telling RED, “I’ve got nothing. I’ve got nothing.” I had nothing left. I had no kick. I had nothing in me to push me faster to the line. RED told me we would finish together.  I wanted to finish with her but I wanted her to have a good run too. I didn’t want to hold her back. I was like a stinking anchor she was dragging to the finish line. I was dead weight. 

Where IS it?” I said with desperation when the finish line seemed to NEVER come. She said, “It’s close.” I kept saying, “I’ve got nothing.”  Finally we made a turn and saw the arch of balloons. I looked to the side and saw Mel and Jill!  I didn’t have the energy to wave and I’m not sure if they knew I saw them.  RED grabbed my arm and said, “We are going to finish together and we are going to throw our arms up! We are going to finish our last run together!” And we did. We grabbed hands and ran to the finish….

RED looks great! She is smiling and waving…I was about to die.

We crossed the finish line and one of the aid ladies came and put her arm around me. I wanted to stop and sit down and take my shoes off. RED kept telling me to walk. It sounded like I was in a tunnel. I heard her talking but it didn’t register. The aid lady let me go in the care of RED and we stumbled, or I stumbled, to the tables of stuff laid out for the finishers. I got my blanket but I wasn’t really cold. I was wet. I needed a dryer.

We made it to the rendezvous point to find our families. My family was wet wet and hungry and braving the crowds. I was delirious. I had to use the Honey Bucket but each one I opened was not acceptable…disgusting. So I gave up trying.  I think the rain had slowed a bit by this point, to a sprinkle. I just wanted to get dry and sit down. I was in pain. I couldn’t feel my whole left leg and my feet were sloshy. My back hurt. My neck hurt. Everything hurt. This was my worst and most painful run EVER. If I never experience this type of run again then the rest of my runs will be awesome.

Mile 21-26.2 (Garmin read 26.42)

21)    11:22     22) 11:05      23)  11:28      24) 11:38       25) 11:07     26) 11:08    .42) 4.28

Total time: 4:32.53/10:18 pace

I was done. I was alive. I was in pain. My feet were destroyed….

soggy feet

We walked to the car and I new I probably wouldn’t see my friends again…for a while. We discussed meeting up with RED and her Hubs for dinner but I was tired. I wanted to collapse on my stiff, uncomfortable bed and prepare for our move across the country.  I was sad to not see Mel and Jill but my memory of them during this race brings a smile to my face. I think it is much easier to look back and remember saying bye to Mel at mile 20 …I hate goodbyes. It is too hard…but really it is not so much Goodbye as it is “See you later”. Mel and Jill saved me on Sunday. They were awesome supporters and I am pretty sure I would have not made it without them.  I wish I could have seen Stacie and Tressa, Harmony and Jessica too and all the other bloggy runners.  But I needed to get out of there, get dry and lay down and eat some food. 

Now, 7.5 weeks until marathon #3.  I’m not sure how I feel about that right now….


  1. You are a survivor!

  2. I do not know you but I follow your blog. Your perseverance through your marathon really touched me- I'm in tears! You totally exemplified what it means to be a runner with heart. You didn't give up.
    You may have had a crappy run, but YOU were awesome. :)

  3. what a fighter! the conditions were brutal! you never gave up and you are such an inspiration. Relax and love on yourself for awhile! I think you deserve it! HUGS!!

  4. So glad to have played even a SMALL role in helping you through such a TOUGH TOUGH Marathon.. I felt guilty being warm and dry when all of my pals were out there in the YUCK..

    Hugs!! Miss you! Have fun in Vegas, Marathons for fun with friends are GREAT!

  5. It was a miserable day and you were in a miserable place but you did it, you persevered and FINISHED! The next time you have a bad run or a bad day just remember it could be worse, you could be slogging your way through the Portland Marathon and maybe, just maybe you'll laugh at the whole thing! Congrats on #2 and may #3 be everything this wasn't; FUN!

  6. Ahhhh I'm so sorry it was so miserable for you. I just signed up for the Seattle Marathon and I have to admit that this race report has scared me for what could potentially happen on race day. Way to power through and not quit.

  7. You really had a hell of a week(s) leading up to this - lots of physical & emotional stress with moving and not to mention stress of an upcoming marathon! The weather certainly didn't help. I think the fact that you even decided to go ahead and run it with all you had going on shows a lot of strength and finishing further demonstrates your fortitude! You are one tough cookie. I hope the rest of our trip back east is safe and that you can get settled and rested before your next marathon. I hope the next one makes up for all bad in Portland.

  8. It is so refreshing to finally see an honest race report that doesn't include crap like, "I was smiling and farting rainbows the entire 26.2 miles..." hahaha It's gonna hurt! I know it's gonna hurt! So somebody tell me how much it hurts!!!

    Your poor feet... :( I can't imagine running in wet socks for that long.

    Here's to Vegas! COOL, DRY VEGAS!!!

  9. Congrats, Amanda!! You told it like it was. I so feel your pain. I think it took me two days to get my feet to un-shrivel. Major props for not getting in the car with Mel and Jill. I probably would have. :) Good luck in your new home!

  10. You did it! That's all that matters! CONGRATS!

  11. Ack your poor feets! Sounds like a doozie of a race all around, but at least it's over and you did it! I have no idea how you managed to run that far in wet socks and shoes. Amazing.

  12. I've known from your previous posts that you are a running rockstar. You are amazing! Seeing the pics of your feet. WOW! I am even more amazed!

  13. You are so tough in so many ways! Pushing the way you did, heck just being there, would have been totally overwhelming for me. You FINISHED A MARATHON! I think you deserve a little Ben & Jerry's Half-Baked now! Sorry I didn't get to say "See ya later" either, but that's what planes are for right?

  14. wow! What a tough, miserable day!! So proud of you for pushing on cuz that weather sucks! I have yet to run in rain and snow so i guess im in for a real treat eh?! ;)

  15. Amanda, I'm so glad that I was able to meet you and hang out a few times. I'm bummed I never saw you on Sunday either but considering what we all experienced, I'm just happy we survived. I think you are amazing. I also had the worst marathon experience that day. I wish all of you would have been able to experience Portland in nice weather. What a huge difference the rain made. I've unfortunately experienced 2 of the 3 rain days in 39 years of the race. Last Sunday was the worst. My compression socks saved my feet. Even though they were soaked from the beginning I didn't even get a blister. Maybe you can come back and experience Portland with me again when the weather cooperates. I wish I could come run Vegas with you. Goodbyes do suck but know that I miss you anyway :)

  16. That really sucks that you had to run in the rain! Your poor feet! I don't know if I would have been able to finish it! But, you did it! You pushed through and finished! Yay!

  17. Any marathon completion is a JOB WELL DONE! Congrats, Amanda! I don't even know what I would've done with that rain... you kept going on got marathon #2 under your belt! YAY!

  18. That was one tough race. Congratulations on your finish!

  19. Whew - I'm not so sure I could have finished in the pouring rain. Way to go on getting it done!!

  20. I'm running the Philly 1/2 Marathon. Have you ever ran this race? If so, do you have any tips for me?

  21. Yikes! I can't imagine running 26.2 in those conditions. You are amazing.

  22. Aw man, you made me cry... way to push through girl. And despite feeling miserable, needing a casket, and wanting to jump off the bridge (sorry, but that part cracked me up), you still had a great time... and it sounds like you had an amazing support network. Congrats!

  23. What a tough 26.2. Way to tough it out and FINISH!! Congrats!

  24. Your race report neearly brought me to tears. I could feel the pain with every word. You will always know if you could finish that one, you can do anything. And I do mean ANYTHING! I don't know how any of you finished that. I can't stand to run 1 mile with soggy feet, much less 26.42! What an emotional week/month/year you've had. Here's to sunnier days and happier runs! You ROCK!

  25. ohh man what a day. I'm sorry it was a tough one mentally...but maybe in a few days you'll feel mentally recharged for the next one knwing that you can do it in less than ideal circumstances!

  26. I'm amazed you fit it in this marathon with the stress of moving across country, congrats! I just moved this summer and know how hard tiring it can be, physically and mentally. I'm really impressed.

  27. Followed you over here from Cilley Girl... ;-)

    I, too, ran Portland (click on link for my recap) and I imagine the only real difference between your experience and mine was the fact that since I was out on the course for nearly 3 full hours longer, I was actually more or less dry by the time I got to the finish! LOL

    I ended up with blisters from the wet...and yes, the wet certainly sucked a lot - but I will take wet over hot any day of the week.

    Way to go!! ;-)

  28. what an awesome post! good job!

  29. You had a great finish, congrats! You are really tough. I admire you! More power and Good luck on future races! :)

  30. Wow, way to finish in spite of some crappy conditions. way to go.

    on to marathon #3!

  31. great race report! you're right, it did feel like we were soaked rats out there and the finish line seemed to take forever to find, but congrats on pushing to the finish!


You're pretty much awesome!!


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