Portland Marathon Recap, 3 Minutes from Boston

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I approached the start line of the Portland Marathon Sunday morning feeling rested, fueled, and very uncertain of what the race had in store for me. I have been training steady since the 50 miler but haven’t incorporated any speed work and have backed off about 15 miles a week. I had no idea what my body would be ready to do. Trails are certainly different than the road.

I began in Corral B with the 3:40 pace group but started dreaming big and moved up to the 3:35’s (my Boston Qualifying time) early on in the race. Pace leaders in the Portland Marathon pace you by effort. Some miles are a little faster than others so that when you reach the big hill at St. Johns bridge (mile 17ish) you can slow it down some, even out your effort and pick up speed on the downhills. The group carried me at a solid 8:07 pace until just after the bridge, but I felt myself slowing little by little as they maintained and picked up speed.

You finish… what you start,” some homeless man yelled at me from the sideline.

Even though I was getting further away from the group I was determined to keep them in sight. At mile 22 I still had time to finish in 3:35. It was going to take everything I had left but it was certainly doable. That hope lasted about a mile. Just after I hit 23 I realized I was slowing even more. I kept doing the math and while my pace needed to increase for me to make it, my legs were slowing. I wanted it so badly.

So, I tried. I pushed myself extremely hard the last 2 miles. Up over the Broadway Bridge and through downtown. I made the turn onto Nato Parkway and 800 yards from the finish line my Garmin hit 3:35. Just like that my goal of qualifying slipped right through my fingers. I was fast, faster than I have ever been in a marathon, but simply not fast enough for a BQ.

3 minutes. 180 seconds. 800 yards from accomplishing one of my biggest goals.

While I am extremely proud of my 11 minute PR and I am overjoyed with breaking 3:40, there’s a tiny bit of sadness and disappointment I can’t seem to shake. My efforts on Sunday were so big. My discipline has been so finite. I have worked so unbelievably hard. I know what it takes for an “everyday, average runner” like me to get there. I started this journey to Boston years ago and this is the closest I have gotten.

I guess it’s circumstances like this one that make you want something even more. It’s going to take another race or two or three but I am even more determined to get there now. 3 minutes. 180 seconds. Those last 800 yards…

You finish… what you start. I intend to do just that.

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Lately…

Oh my stars, I am so sorry I haven’t updated you in weeks. We have been trucking along, enjoying Portland in its thriving months of summer!

We had our last Hulu Lulu run on Tuesday night. Scott is taking off to Germany and Katy is passing the torch so we did one final lap around the waterfront and then headed to Rouge Brewery in our Hawaiian shirts for one last hurrah. I don’t think we have ever stayed that late on a Tuesday night. I am so thankful for such a strong running community and even better friendships through that run. Just because it won’t be organized doesn’t mean you won’t find us circling the waterfront on a random Tuesday night anyways.

Lulu Run

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Great group of ladies!

On Saturday I had the best treat I could have ever asked for! Anna, my college roommate and very good friend, had been on an Alaskan cruise that docked in and out of Seattle. I found a spot on the Bolt Bus and made a day trip up to have lunch with her and Ben. I love that I haven’t seen her since December of 2011 but we can still pick right back up as if we were in the same city all along. I am beyond excited that she will be standing up there with me on my big day. I couldn’t ask for a better friend!

Lunch Seattle

Engagement toast and shopping at Pike Place Market for the day.

Just because I haven’t been running 70 miles a week doesn’t mean I have lost my appetite. I currently cannot get enough fruit, especially peaches right now. So, I made my first peach cake last night!

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Ina Garten’s Peach Cake – I added a touch of cinnamon to my batter, the house smelled delicious!

I am currently in “goal mode.” In September I am going down to Ashland to pace a friend from Alabama that is running Pine to Palm, a 100 mile endurance run. I’ll hop in around mile 74 and run him in. Running from 11pm to 6am will give me a better feel for what a 100 miler might be like. My wheels are turning.

Today I decided that I cannot let my friends run the Portland Marathon without me, so with the help of a very generous sponsor (ahem, dad) I bit the bullet and signed up! Another marathon on October 6th, this time with a few of my favorites pictured above.

In other exciting news, we have a new runner among us… JOHN! I’d like to think I might have had something to do with his recent enthusiasm (that or he has just been really anxious to finish his current audiobook). I asked very nicely one evening if he wanted to try and run a half marathon with me in November and he said yes. So, at 8am sharp I signed us up for the Silver Falls Half Marathon -which sold out 600 spots in 10 minutes! He likes to tell me everyday just how many days we have left. I think we’re around 86, he’s adorable. November 2nd, send up some prayers that I don’t get upset when he beats me.

All of these goals are helping me stay on track, right up until May 24, 2014… oh yeah, we have officially set a date! My mom is coming to visit this week and wedding dress shopping commences on Friday, I am so excited!

Life is so good,

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