We left town on a stereotypical Fall afternoon. Jess, Krista and I headed down the road for what was the end of nearly nine months of waiting and over six months of training. The Portland Marathon loomed ahead of us, familiar, yet unknown. We knew we could do it, or at least we had a strong hope. Our longest run up to this point was 21 miles, and it wasn’t a performance that I’d like to repeat.
We picked up our friend Scott on the way. He was supposed to run with us, but was unfortunate to suffer an injury that made running the marathon out of the question. It was great having another friend with us. We continued to travel the road as the sun set over the horizon. We arrived at my parents place in Dufur, OR close to midnight, stayed up for a while talking about our weekend plans and eventually headed off to bed.
We arose Friday morning to the sound of various animals, namely sheep and chickens. We had ourselves breakfast and packed back into our car for a quick trip down to Portland. We stopped by my friend’s cafe, fueled ourselves with coffee and headed on our way. Once in Portland, we parked downtown near the racing expo, picked up our racing bibs and shirts, and spent the rest of the afternoon wandering downtown.
We had an enjoyable time walking through the shops, malls and boutiques. We had dinner plans with some of Krista’s friends so we decided to head up to the restaurant. On our way out of the North Face store, we happend upon my brother Brian, who we were going to stay with over the weekend, and his girlfriend Monica. This was completely by chance, and it was so much fun to spend a little time with them as they accompanied us to the restaurant. We had a great conversation and we were a little bummed to see them off.
The restaurant was called 50 Plates and had a wonderful U.S. map constructed of license plates, each state’s plate warped and manipulated to resemble the state’s shape. The atmosphere was warm and the lighting was low. We took a seat at a corner booth and were promptly greeted by our waiter. He was an energetic fellow, very talkative and very loud. For most of us, it was our first visit and we were at a loss as to what we should order. Scott decided to ask our waiter what he would recommend, a question he soon regretted as the waiter began a ten minute soliloquy describing his choices based on initial hunger. Even his light meal sounded filling, and as we glanced down the menu, expensive. After being delivered the final of three, four course meals, we decided on what we were ordering. Our dinner was good, perhaps a little expensive, but good nonetheless. We rounded out our dinner with conversation and eventually headed out. Krista’s friends walked with us along the long walk back to the parking garage as their parking spot was along the way. We arrived at my brother’s later that we intended and stayed up late talking with my brother.
The next morning we got ourselves out of bed to go out on a short run. The Pacific northwest morning was cool, calm and damp. There is always something that I enjoy about tranquility that mornings like this bring. Maybe it was the deficit in elevation, or just the environment, but I felt like I could breathe easier. We came back to my brother making some pancakes and eggs, as well as some freshly brewed coffee. We sat around the table for a while chatting about numerous topics. We eventually headed out to the Pumpkin Patch on Sauvie’s Island, primarily to see my sister, but also to see all the commotion at the Patch. We went through the corn maze, or “The Maize”, a surprisingly fun experience. Not only were we surrounded by friends and family (reason enough for the enjoyment), but they also had various trivia cards that guided you through the maze. There were about half a dozen versions of the cards with subjects like history or sports. Afterwards we had a wonderful meal at the McMenamins Kennedy School. The food was great as well as filling. We rounded out our day relaxing back at Brian’s.
The marathon was coming fast, we could no longer distract ourselves from the fact that come the next morning, we would be hitting the pavement, hopefully with good rest, lifted spirits and good weather. We settled in for bed early with anticipation. Would we sleep well? Did we set our alarm? Will we wake to record rainfall?
To be continued……….