Sunday started out with a not so wonderful night of rest. I laid on the bed tossing and turning trying to get comfortable. My mind would not turn off from the excitement that was just hours away. While laying there, I could hear the rain pouring outside. I finally looked at the clock to see that is was only midnight. This gave me hope that the rain would not last the rest of the night. Still it was hard to fall asleep. Finally the moment came and I was asleep. The next thing I knew, the alarm went off. It was almost show time. We got up, grabbed some breakfast, and then slowly started getting ready for the race. We woke up with plenty of time for our food to digest. Plus, we needed to be in downtown Portland by around 6:00 am with a half of an hour drive. We got out the door a little early to find that the rain had stopped. As we drove down the road, we were driving along a few miles of the course we were about to run. I could see mile markers 15 and 16. This made me a little nervous but excited. We made it downtown a little early, but that just meant we had time to walk around and figure out exactly where we needed to be. We kept our warm clothes on for a few moments while we walked. We had gotten a close parking spot in a garage which made it a nice and easy morning. We went back to the car to shed some clothes. We put on our race bibs and timing chips. We thought that this might be a good idea to have these couple items on. Then we locked the car and headed out to our starting gate. With several minutes to spare, we decided to leave the gate and go for a warm up walk. This also helped with the nerves instead of standing in a group of people for another several minutes. It was getting closer to race time, so we headed back to the gate.
We stood there for a little while waiting for 7:00 am to come as this was the official starting time. We knew we would be minutes behind the start, but I still wanted to see that time on my watch. A crazy lady chatted with us for a little while. Although though she was crazy, it helped calm the nerves as well. Finally it was just before 7:00 and we could hear the national anthem start playing. Then some loud noises and the gun went off. We stood around for about another 10 minutes before they started moving our starting gate towards the starting line. As we were walking people were giving our group encouraging words. I was starting to get very emotional. We made it to the start and then the next thing we knew was that our gun went off and my race began. I had a few tears in my eyes. I looked over at Krista and told her to have fun, good luck, and we will see you at the finish. Then Brent and I went on our way together to run our first marathon.
We winded our way through downtown Portland amongst the other thousands of runners. Bands played along side or above us as we made our way towards the waterfront to where the streets were lined with spectators and their signs. As we passed by the onlookers through the next few miles, Brent had to stop and make his first of three bathroom breaks. “I’ll catch up,” he said as I ran off. Minutes later there he was behind me. He had just gotten out of the port-a-potty and there was Krista. They exchanged hellos and then he was off to catch back up with me. The first 2-3 miles were pretty slow as we were packed in on the road pretty tight with the other runners. We finally started making it up to our normal pace by the end of mile 3. From there, it was a nice straight stretch till mile 8. Through these miles, we had water, gummy bears, and Ultima (an electrolyte drink). We normally do our training runs with a pack so we carry our own water and gels. We did not want to haul them around for 26.2 miles. These three items turned out to be enough for us.
When we hit mile 8, it was a turn around. We then headed back the way we came but along the other side of the road. This was great because we knew we would get a chance to see Krista and cheer her on. Sure enough as I ran along the middle of the road there she was doing the same thing. We exchanged way to go’s and hi fives and continued along our paths. The next few miles were great as we finally split off from the half marathon pack. This lightened the streets. The next few miles before the half way point were great as people were along side the road cheering us on by name (our names were on our race bibs). Having strangers yell out your name was surprisingly motivational.
Suddenly, I found myself in a very familiar location. We were running near were I had done the 10k Go Girl Trail Run with my sister-in-law and my brother-in-law’s girlfriend. It was great knowing where I was. This also meant that we were getting really close to our 13.1 mile mark. We passed it at about 2:02 into the race. Not bad considering we still had at least another 2 hours to go. We were both feeling pretty good. Then we weaved our way out onto Highway 30 where we had seen the mile markers 15 and 16 on our way downtown for the start of the race. Continuing to eat gummy bears and drinking water and Ultima, we made our way to the base of our one and only hill up to St. Johns Bridge. Before that point there were only a few other ups and downs, but they were just bumps in the road. Brent and I powered up the hill while listening to a guy on the side of the road telling everyone, “This is not a hill. It is a state of mind!” It was pretty funny. The hill did not seem bad as it was gradual and not steep.
We made our way across the bridge which was a beautiful sight. When we were making our way off of the bridge, Brent needed to take one more bathroom break. This time he was unsure if he would be able to catch back up like the last two times as his left calf was starting to hurt a bit. We said our goodbyes and “See you at the finish!” We both went our separate ways. With 9 miles left, I could feeling my legs starting to get tight and sore. I knew I could make it and was excited to have already come this far. It was weird running the rest of the race without Brent as I enjoyed him next to me. It was a fun thing to do together. As the miles started creeping closer and closer to the finish, I kept on fueling my body. On this last stretch of miles, there were a few spectators that had bananas, apples, and even candy corn for the marathoners. I gladly took the bananas and apples, but passed on the candy corn. It was great to see all of these people out there cheering us on. Now it was only my name being called instead of Brent and Jessica, but it was a great motivator while running alone. I hope those people know how much they helped all of us runners out there.
With about 4 miles to go, I was debating to myself whether or not I wanted to take a bathroom break. After finally convincing myself, there was not a port-a-potty in site. I finally found one when I was just about 2 and a half miles away. I got out and promptly starting running my pace again. I did not want to waist too much time. I started cruising as much as I could until I got over the last bridge and back down on the street. I was feeling pretty good as I was about than 2 miles away from the finish. The next thing I knew, I was coming up on the train tracks as the train was rolling over the tracks in front of me. Most people were pretty good about it and found it a tad bit humorous. I did as well. Then….it happened again. It was only a little ways down the road from the last stop. This was a different train. Luckily they were both Amtrak trains which meant they were short. The bummer this is that they were coming into the station so they were moving pretty slow at this point. People dashed out in front of the train trying to pass as a race volunteer was blocking others from doing the same thing. People were furious. The lady was telling people to calm down. I do not think she knew we had already been stopped once before.
I crossed the track and made my way towards the 25 mile marker. I thought to myself only 1.2 miles to go. I was almost there. I did my best to kick my pace up a few more notches, but it was hard as my legs were tired and did not want to get going after those last few stops. I kept running forward waiting to see the second to last turn. There it was. Then I saw the last turn just blocks away from where I was. I knew I had done it! I knew I had completed my first full marathon! I came in crossing the finish line with so much emotion that I almost burst into tears. I held them in and waited there for Brent to come around the corner. I grabbed a space blanket as I knew that I would soon be feeling pretty cold. There he finally was just a couple minutes after me. I got as close to the finish line as I could and waited to yell out to him. I yelled out to him, but he could not hear me. I went and gave him a huge hug as we collected our medals together. Once again, I almost burst into tears. It was all so exciting. Then we paced around waiting for Krista to roll her way in. After a little while, we finally saw her come around the corner. She saw us and came in with a great big smile. It was over. We had all done it.
As we made our way through the finishers chute, we grabbed our rose, food and drinks, our coins and charm, then our finishers shirts, one last picture, and headed on our way to find our friend Scott, my brother-in-law, Brian, and his girlfriend, Monica. They all had smiling faces as they congratulated us. It was exciting to have people there to greet you after such an accomplishment. We were blessed to have them there. They walked with us to the car and then we headed off to go shower and get some chocolate milk. We are thankful that they were there for us. Click here to look at our race results.