Thursday, October 26, 2006

Boy, what are we in for??

ORN: Zero. Day two of Rest Week

Darrell pointed out
Dean Karnanzes running the Tecumseh Trail Marathon on Wednesday for his Indiana race. Darrell ran with Dean at St. Georges, I ran with Dean in Portland, my work colleage Jay ran Badwater with him in July. Yeah, we’re tight. Here is Dean’s take on the race Darrell and I will be running in about five weeks.

There were very few sections along this course that were flat. You were either climbing or descending the entire way. Most of the route was in thick foliage, making it sometimes difficult to see ahead, and the trail was covered in leaves, compounding the navigational complexities. We traversed countless switchbacks, some ascending and some descending, and skirted several creeks and ravines. At a number of points we got lost and had to retrace our steps to get back on the path.


Karno did the course in 4:45, validating the advice I had from others here to add 60 minutes or so to your regular marathon time on this course.

Now, some have nay-sayed Karno’s efforts and particularly his publicity efforts. But, hey, he’s doing what he said he would do.

And what a description.

I’m actually psyched. Doing this with Darrell will be a hoot. My knee is responding to the rest…hope I can ease it back into milage for this most interesting of possible “training runs.”


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

On the Sidelines for a Week

ORN: Tuesday: 3 miles, still some pain
Wednesday: zero

I did some research yesterday and decided to treat this knee pain as the so-called "runner's knee," an inflammation of the cartilage in and around the kneecap. The descriptions of it matched so well what I feel and the causes of it that I'm treating it as such.

So, I'm going to not run for seven days. Wow, will that be hard. But it is probably the best.

I'm going to be faithful on the ice and ibuprofin. I'll be consistent in stretching.

It looks like the move I made on the shoes also fits into a solution. The roll inward onto the forefoot lines up with the symptoms, as does the increased milage I put in leading up to the Portland Marathon.

Plus the breakthrough in my own mind was to now treat the upcoming Tecumseh Trail Marathon with Darrell as a long training run, not a race. Funny how that simple shift in emphasis helped me. Takes the pressure off for the long runs to preceed the race. Instead, it is "simply" a long run in iteself. And, hey, it may be a 20 mile run alongside Darrell and a 6.2 mile walk by myself in the woods, letting Darrell get the car warmed up. That will be OK as well.

So, that's the plan. And, since blogging does not strain cartilage, I'll be commenting here too.

Will be a different week. And we'll persevere.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Will the shoe fit??

ORN: 3 miles, 2.8 of them pain free

Frustrated over the lack of progress on my right knee pain, I had an idea yesterday, Sunday. I had to drive to Indianapolis to pick up the youngest son, returning from a conference in Washington, DC. Why not go by my favorite running store while in Indy to see if they could help me with my shoes??

So, off I went to, where they have helped me a lot. I took my current pair of Brooks Adreneline GTS6 with me. To my delight, John looked and looked and looked at the wear pattern on these shoes, now with about 350 miles on them. He observed something I've seen but I didn't know what to do with; while my heel strike seemed very normal, my forefoot wore over to the inside of the shoe, leaving virtually no wear at all on the outside of the shoe. I observed that this has been the very same wear pattern on my last six pairs of Brooks Adrenelines.

He scrunched up his face, "This just isn't right." So he went to work to find a shoe he felt would help this inward roll on the front foot.

We ended up with a pair of adidas Supernova. I ran in them on the sidewalk outside the store, they felt great, way better than several other pairs. I was cautions...I've never had good results with adidas, feeling they were much more a "mass consumer" shoe rather than a serious runner shoe. Shoot, don't all serious runners wear either Brooks or Asics? Yet, I took the advice of John who was knowledgable and had run a 2:35 marathon the day before.

This morning, I took them out. Ouch...the first 200m were wierd. A new shoe...felt funny. Yet, by my stretching point a third of a mile in, it felt OK. The planned 3 mile run went well and it was great to be out again.

But, with just .2 miles to go, I felt the twinges in my right knee. Good thing I was almost home.

In previous adventures like this, I know it takes a while for the pain to subside. I'm hoping that's the case here. We'll see.

Thanks for the concern from many of you. Stay tuned as I persevere with this.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

A few days off in Southern Illinois

ORN: Wednesday: 3 miles, no knee pain; 4 miles hiking
Thursday: 4+ miles, no knee pain
Friday: 3 miles, knee pain; 4 miles hiking
Saturday: no running; 3 miles rough terrain hiking

Gretchen and I took off for a few days off last week. We went to the far south of Illinois, an area we’d never visited and spent time in the hills and hollows of several state parks. Mostly, we didn’t rush anything. We read, hiked, sat, talked, slept, wrote, ate, didn’t eat. With no schedule. Genuinely refreshing.

We stayed at a delightful B&B that Gretchen found on-line, The Davie School Inn in the small town of Anna, Illinois. A converted old schoolhouse, we had the 4th grade classroom (the Brown room) as our home for three days! We were spontaneous in finding places to eat, making one marvelous find and one that was not.

On Saturday, we visited Vulture Fest. I am not making this up…it celebrates the return of the migratory turkey vultures to the area after their summer in Canada. It actually had nothing to do with vultures, much more a hippie/new age flea market. Gretchen really wanted a T Shirt, but alas, none for sale, only sun catchers. (Sorry, links don't seem to work today...if you want to find Vulture Fest, try Google!)

One of the fun parts of running while traveling is heading out the door each day and just running in one direction to see what one can see. This trip was no exception. I ballparked the distance from my watch (my Garmin is on the fritz) and that was plenty good enough.

On Friday, however, came a not-fun part of running; the right knee pain came back after a mere three miles. I do have this feeling of slipping into serious mileage deficit for the upcoming trail marathon. Until I do some long weekend runs, I won’t settle this gnawing concern. Yet, I resolve to remind myself I’m running for the long term (and I have a specific goal for this I’ll mention sometime) and won’t injure myself further in the short term.

Back in the saddle this week. Persevering.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

A BQ, Two Things New and Race Plans

ORN: 3 miles, 29:09

So much to report, from big to banal…

BQ for The Running Chick! Blogging buddy Dianna, a.k.a. the
Running Chick with the Orange Hat, qualified for Boston today in only her third marathon, setting a PR by over 20 minutes and beating the BQ limit by 10 minutes. Read her prerace comments and then the blow-by-blow race report. She’ll likely add her own comments in a day or two. Di is one of the best running writers in the blogosphere, you’ll enjoy it.

I did two new running-related things today.

Cross Country Excellence This morning, the second round of the Indiana state High School Cross Country competion went off about 4 miles from my house. Never having been to a cross country meet before, I decided to go and see it. Many thoughts, but the most striking was the start of both the boys and girls race. I watched it from about 100 yards down course. On a spectacular, crisp fall morning, the starting line was 100 feet long and about four or five runners deep. At the gun, a hundred lean, young runners broke quickly, instantly. It was beautiful. Not even thinking, I said this out loud. One of the attending Moms was next to me and we smiled at the amazing nature of it.

Surging into the 21st Century And then, for the first time, I ran with an MP3 player today. A gift from my recent birthday, I’ve never run with “sound” before. In fact, I’ve been a little critical of it. I’m still not sure. But since the unit has an FM radio built in, I used it to listen to Purdue play Northwestern in football (an epic stuggle between the movable force and the resistable object). We’ll see how much I use it…but it was a first.

The run itself wasn’t much. But I did run, not run/walk, three miles. My right knee felt better but not great. I cut it off at 3 and we’ll see if we can ease back into more enjoyable runs. Note to self: Probably not a good idea to run a hard 5 mile race six days after a marathon. Next time, I take a week off and then ease back into it.

Which brings me to my

Next Marathon Plans Man, I enjoy running. And blogging adds a communal nature to it that spans geography (witness the connection above). And here’s a cool illustration of same. Blogging pal
Darrell and I have discovered a lot in common over the year. He’s actively trying to run marathons in all 50 states. Serendipitously, he expressed interest in the Tecumseh Trail Marathon in Bloomington, Indiana on December 2. After I wrote about A Hike up Pikes Peak in July with my son David, all of this started to gel, I got to thinking about trail races more. Long story short, I offered to host Darrell in his effort to knock Indiana off his list.

So, that’s what we’re going to do!! He’ll fly in, I’ll pick him up, we’ll head to southern Indiana and run for five or six hours through the woods! Neither of us has any major time objectives; indeed, I’ve talked with three local marathoners in the last few weeks who have run the race. They smile and say “Yeah, just add 90 to 120 minutes to your regular marathon time and plan accordingly!” We only have three real marathons in Indiana each year and this is hands-down the most unique. So why not have an interesting marathon to run in a far away state, eh Darrell??

I’m excited, despite how my knees feel and how his calves are doing, one week after he PRed in
the Saint George Marathon. So, stay tuned as we blog about our preparation and the get together!

And, I guarantee you, we will both persevere.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

On the Usefulness of a Running Log

ORN: Tuesday: 0.3 miles, left knee pain
Wednesday: 3 miles, run/walk, right knee pain
Thursday: 4 miles, run/walk, right knee pain

So, here in week two following The Most Recent Marathon, I'm hobbled slightly. What gives? And after I did OK in a race last Saturday? I was wondering.

Then I flipped back on my running log to the three weeks following the St Louis Marathon in April. Ahaaaaaa, I say. Week one felt good, though the quads were sore. Week two showed knee pain, alternating back and forth. Week three showed improvement. Week four was back to normal.

I relaxed. I'm on a normal pattern. This will resolve. No biggie.

Yeah, persevere.

PS. I've culled my log down to a very simple small sheet that covers 8 weeks at a time. Keep it taped to a cabinet right next to our shower. If you'd like a copy of this simple Excel spreadsheet, email me and I'll send it to you

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Race Report: Mel Henry Memorial 5 Mile Race

ORN: 8 miles total for the day, including 5.0, 42:36, 8:31/mile

What a week!! Running the Portland Marathon on Sunday, then a small local race here on Saturday. I wondered what it would be like..and now I know! Here are the similarities and differences for a different style of race report!

Portland Marathon: Nationally known and publicized.
Mel Henry Run: Very local run, with just a few fliers handed out, plus word of mouth

P: 7,000 runners, 3,000 walkers
M: 45 runners, 1 walker

P: Carbo-loaded the night before with new friends from Seattle and middle son Nathan in Italian restaurant.
M: Meat-loaded the night before at a family gathering at my house celebrating youngest son Matt’s 18th birthday. Matt likes pot roast and he got to pick the menu…

P: Paid $85 entry fee
M: Paid $12 entry fee

P: A spectacular fall morning to run.
M: A spectacular fall morning to run.

P: Traveled across the country at much expense.
M: Backed out of the garage at 7:15am for the 8:00am start and still had 15 minutes to kill.

P: Had no space or time to warm up.
M: Left the house at 6am and ran three miles early just to get loose before changing and heading to the race.

P: Had busy and full expo and registration set up in hotel ballrooms.
M: Had one person at a card table set up outdoors to handle registration.

P: Took public transport downtown and walked seven blocks to the start.
M: Parked own car 30 yards from the start.

P: Ran through a major city, seeing business, industrial and residential areas.
M: Ran on rural roads, seeing a village and lots of soybean fields.

P: Knew nobody in the crowd.
M: Knew or recognized nearly a third of the runners.

P: Had thousands of volunteers to help.
M: Pretty much run by one guy, with a couple others pitching in on race day.

P: Had a cool, large bib number with advertising and my name.
M: Got a Popsicle stick at the finish line to figure the awards.

P: Had mile markers labeled with large balloons and someone calling out the times.
M: Had mile markers spray painted on the asphalt and I looked at my own watch for the time.

P: Ran without pain for 26 miles.
M: Ran with a good bit of pain in the right knee, which subsided as I continued.

P: Ran consistent splits for 15 miles, then gradually slowed.
M: Ran negative split. Mile times were 9 13, 8 58, 8 52, 8 18 and 7 12. I’ve never run a race before where each mile was faster than the previous mile. This was assisted somewhat by the course layout that was uphill to the turnaround point.

P: Got a space blanket for warmth after crossing the finish line.
M: Walked to car to get my nylon shell for warmth after crossing finish line.

P: Got a cool long-sleeve t shirt.
M: Got a cool long-sleeve t shirt.

P: Didn’t bother to go to awards ceremony.
M: Awards happened just after the last finisher crossed the line, as we all stood in a semi circle around the registration card table.

P: Preregistered and got emails from the organizers.
M: Preregistered and all 22 of us who did so won a door prize. I now have new cool, heavy-duty maglite flashlight.

P: Did not allow dogs or jogging strollers.
M: Did allow dogs and strollers. And the dog beat me. The collie Maggie paced my early-morning running pal Lu all the way and beat me by about 3 minutes. Alas, I did come in ahead of the couple with a five and a two year old in a jog stroller.

P: Wore a fluorescent green shirt to allow son Nathan to spot me in the midst of the crowd.
M: Wore official US Army PT gear to honor oldest son David who deployed this morning for his second 12 month tour in Iraq. As my knee bugged me in mile one and I thought about bagging it and walking back, I looked down at the Army shirt and realized neither David nor any of his colleagues would quit due to just a bit of discomfort. I could do no less if I wanted to honor him. The knee pain eased up and I carried on.

P: Enjoyed the race immensely.
M: Enjoyed the race immensely.

In flipping back through my race log, one other interesting thing pops out. I ran this race two years ago at the start of this era of my running life. I trained for it, focused for it and ran it in 45:50, a 9:10 pace. And my knees and legs hurt terribly afterwards. Today, I ran it 6 days after a marathon in 42:36, with no lasting discomfort. Looking at the numbers like this is encouraging…I guess all the miles and work has paid off.

Hope you enjoyed this, I sure did.

Persevere. In Oregon and Indiana.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Send Some Love to Darrell

It is fall race season and every weekend brings good times for someone. Here’s a shout out for blogging buddy Darrell who is running the St. George Marathon on Saturday morning. It took a lottery just to get into this popular race. He’s been fighting some hip pain but has persevered and is hoping to bust a fantastic time.

Go get ‘em, Darrell!! We look forward to your report!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Creaking Back to Action

ORN: 3 miles, no watch, felt good

In the four days since the marathon, I was not too sore, really sore, not too sore and pretty good. On Wednesday evenign, Gretchen and I went for about a 2 mile walk. It felt good and she had to keep bugging me to not walk so fast.

Thursday morning, I was back out on my favorite route for a 3 mile "does it all still work" run. It all worked. Felt really good to stretch as usual after 0.3 miles and the run was great. On the way back home, I saw morning running buddies Lu and Tony and swapped stories about their half and full-marathon weekends. How cool to stand in the dark and gab about The Wall and How We Hit It!

Another 3 tomorrow and then a local 5 mile race on Saturday. Great to be moving again.


Monday, October 02, 2006

Race Report: Portland Marathon, Oct 1,2006

ORN: 26.2 miles, 4:21:01, 9:58/mile

Short Summary

On a perfect day for running, my second marathon of the current era went very well for 24 miles and decent overall, with an 8+ minute PR. I enjoyed it, learned much and am ready for more.

The Long Gory Details

The run-up to the run

I realized I’d never flown to a race before while I was driving to the airport on Friday. I don’t know why that hit me, but it made the race seem a little “bigger.” On the flight to Portland, I met several fellow marathoners; what fun to compare notes. They ranged from an injured runner who was walking, to a runner who was happy she had only done one 13 mile run in training, to a semi-elite runner/triathlete. For me, a guy who runs by himself almost all the time, just being able to talk to folks who love running is a treat.

Friday afternoon was a treat…my son Nathan had some necessary work to do, so he set me up with an internet connection at an empty desk in his office. What fun to “see” him do his professional thing while I pecked away at the Web in the corner. He took me downtown Friday evening and I picked up my bib and goodie bag while he waited with the car…well organized and I breezed through!

On Saturday, I played disc golf with Nathan and friends in the morning then settled in to watch our beloved Purdue Boilermakers lose to Notre Dame. Around 5pm, I joined Rob, Michelle, Sara and about 16 other runners for a great pasta dinner. Again, it was fun to meet face-to-face people I had only blogged and commented with before. The conversation was lively and animated. Yeah, we were all pumped.

Race-day—pre race

I actually slept pretty well, other than a dream I got lost on the course around mile 11. I hopped on the rapid transit train around 5:20am, heading downtown, picking up more runners at every stop. The few sleepy non-runners on the train marveled at this odd collection of people wearing shorts on a chilly morning.

The train deposited us in the pre-dawn darkness of downtown Portland, where we were swept along with a river of people walking to the start area five blocks away. Which took us to the only real negative of the day; the significant disorganization of the start.

I don’t have the most experience, but I’ve run a few large races, especially the Indianapolis Mini-marathon, with 35,000 starters. And I think the race had some problems with the start. The most glaring was the almost-complete lack of audible directions about lining up, the complete absence of signage for pace and a major breakdown of the bag-drop process.

All of which led to one of the major lessons of the day: be prepared. For anything. It would have been easy to get rattled by all of this, especially for me, a fairly organized guy. But, in the midst of it, I pointed out to a fellow bag drop linestander that a) we had chip timing, so even if we were late, we’d still get a real time and b) it really didn’t make a big difference.

It ended up that despite getting to the start area over an hour early, I had only 5 minutes to get into the pack, try to stretch and slowly work up to a reasonable spot with people who were running, not walking, as near as I could tell. It never was really clear when the race started but the pack started moving, so off we went, and crossed the timing mats to start the race.

The Race

Part 2 of the “be prepared” theme became apparent now: the GPS unit in my Garmin was completely ineffective in downtown Portland, surrounded by high-rise buildings, allowing no angle to any satellite. And so I had to quickly decide to simply use the Garmin as a stopwatch and I would use the list of split times in large fonts I had prepared last Saturday. Funny, given my navel-gazing over marathon-pace and Garmin offsets, it all went back to the basics; check the splits every mile and adjust accordingly.

Miles 1-2 were quite clogged as we tried to find our pace moving through downtown Portland. The most significant thing holding up progress was a point at about .75 miles at which the entire field had to fit through a 15 foot-wide gate between concrete barriers at a road construction site. We all slowed to a walk as the field worked thorough the bottleneck. From there, we tried to find our pace, with the expected passing and being passed given the unorganized line up. No rhythm yet and my first two spits were 10:15 and 11:08.

Miles 3-6 saw the flow and the enjoyment start to happen and the race became most enjoyable. We made a gentle climb back south of downtown with wide streets, no traffic and the human congestion of the start sorting itself out. The miles clicked by at 8:23, 8:59, 8:32 and 9:20. By mile six I was back on pace for a 4:15 finish.

Miles 7-11 were on a very flat out-and-back run through an industrial area. I backed off the pace a bit, as my trusty split chart showed me I was two minutes ahead of my desired pace. So I got into some enjoyable conversation and sang along with one of the bands along the route. Splits here were 9:21, 9:22, 9:32, 9:29, and 9:42.

A treat here was seeing my son Nathan! He knows this area of Portland well from his work activities and was able to find a route in despite the many blocked streets. As many of us know, the sight of a smiling friend or relative is often all we need. He had a bag with some Gatorade and a dry towel, which he dispensed with as easily as his big smile. Seeing him twice on this out-and-back section was a real boost.

An unfortunate thing happened as we approached the turnaround and the road clogged with runners in both directions. A big guy just ahead and to my right caught his toe as he ran near the curb and went down, hard. I swerved over to block off runners behind him and then helped him up. He had abrasions on his hands and shoulder and was rattled. I walked with him a bit and got him up to some nearby volunteers who could help out. Ouch…it could happen to any of us.

Miles 12-16 pushed us farther north, through a residential area then along the base of a large bluff. Splits stayed consistent at 9:48, 9:47, 10:11, 9:39 and 9:45. Nathan circled around the blocked streets to magically find me again around mile 14.5. The dry towel was a treat. My half-marathon time was 2:04:18, a 9:29 pace. I was quite pleased with that; hey that time beat my last half marathon by 2 minutes!!

Miles 17 and 18 provided the major challenge of the course. We had to climb up a road to a bridge at the top of the bluff. Nathan drove up this ramp with me the day before so I had an idea about it but such climbs are a lot easier in a car than on foot. As we turned onto the climb, four of us glommed together and settled into a steady, resolute, mile-long push to the center of the bridge. It worked well and the splits were 9 45 and 10:26.

We were rewarded with a spectacular view back to the south of downtown Portland in the bright morning sun. It was truly beautiful and one of the views that makes running worthwhile.

One of my climbing buddies was Phil and we stuck together for the next seven miles. This was his first marathon and he was amazed and excited about how good he felt as we came off the bridge and headed back south. He asked “Should we pick it up a bit?? You’ve done marathons…whaddya think?” “No.” “But I’m really feeling strong!” “No. We won’t make any ‘move’ until mile 23.” “Mile 23?” “Yeah, mile 23. Funny things will happen between now and then. Stay cool.”

This settled, we moved into miles 19-22. Phil and I enjoyed conversation of the kind that is also one of the best parts of running. As a local, he was a great tour guide of our wonderful views, the residential areas, the University of Portland and other sights. The crowds really picked up in this area of homes and education. Along this section, we were entertained by a group of belly-dancers. I’ll simply say those ladies really put the “belly” into belly-dancing with their sizable girths.

I do think the conversation caused me to lose focus a bit on this stretch as splits fell off to 10:07, 10:21, 10:06 and 10:33. Fatigue may also have contributed but I simply wasn’t paying attention to pace in the midst of the conversation and scenery. Yet, Phil and I barreled thorough 20 mile marker still feeling good. This was new territory for him, but I still managed to persuade him to hold off running fast, yet. Perhaps I was subconsciously covering for my own onset of fatigue.

I did overhear one conversation by some spectators as I ran this stretch:

“Gee, that guy doesn’t seem to run too smoothly.”
“Nope. But his shoelaces sure are sparkly white!”

Nathan amazingly appeared once again in the midst of this stretch. What a great kid!! And the towel was still dry

Mile 23 was a turning point. It was mostly downhill as we came off the top of the bluff back towards downtown. The split was nice at 9:25, coupled with a run through the large offices of adidas. Their workers were out in full force, all in adidas gear of course and it was a boost.

Mile 24 was where it got tough for me. At this point I wished Phil well and he worked on ahead, quickly getting out of sight. He really could go quickly. My legs, however, were running out of gas. My split was 10:28 and while I felt fine mentally and had no nausea or other problems, I simply couldn’t keep the legs turning over at the same rate. I realized I would not make a 4:15 finish at this point and so resolved to simply run the rest of the way and not walk.

Mile 25 saw us cross the river back into downtown and afforded what I found to be the funniest moment of the race for me. As we approached the bridge, I saw a group of cheerleaders from a local high school lined up and, rather than the usual just random cheering and bouncing, they were getting set to do a real organized cheer, which they started just as I approached. Here’s how it went:

Glycogen makes the leeeeeeegs go.
Both legs (clap) Both legs (clap, clap) [Repeat]

I’m so glad I heard this. First off, has the essential fuel for muscle movement ever been immortalized in a chant by identically dressed bouncing high school girls with matching hair bows?? And second, since my glycogen was nearly shot, at least the cheerleaders could urge me to keep my legs going. Both legs. Clap. Clap. I laughed all the way across the bridge. Which I needed at this point.

I crossed the river and curled back through the same construction bottleneck we saw at mile .75, this time moving through with no restriction. The split was 11:16 and I was finally heading for home.

Mile 26 was tough too. My objective remained “Don’t Walk.” And my legs, now a glycogen-free-zone, just wouldn’t cooperate. I had to relent. I picked out a landmark about 100 yards ahead and I allowed myself to walk to it. That helped. This was also the first time I played the dreaded mental game of “Why are you doing this, you fool?? Do your half marathons and avoid this!!” I tried to fight back that gargoyle and kept moving.

Over this last mile, the streets of downtown were fully lined with spectators and the encouragement was palpable. I was getting passed by a lot of folks, yet I was also passing folks in worse shape than I. I didn’t walk again, knowing I was nearly done. At the 26 mile marker, a group had put up a 30 foot poster of an cartoon-like operatic “Fat Lady” with loud opera music piped in behind her. Knowing that since the proverbial Fat Lady was singing, I had to be near the end. Mile 26 was my slowest of the day, at 12:33. Yet, I broke into a huge smile, knowing another marathon was in the books. One more left turn, 70 yards of running and it was done.

Post Race

What was really cool was that the post-race set up was as well organized as the prerace had been disorganized. This was about as good as it gets. Even though I came across the finish line with a lot of other people, the set up encouraged steady movement by already-tired legs without the “keep moving” barking that happens at other races. I quickly was de-chipped, medaled and wrapped with a space blanket that really felt good. I picked up a banana, some fluids, two trees (really…they gave away pine saplings…”so Portland” as one of Nathan’s friends observed) and a very nice finisher’s T shirt. I picked up the bag I had left at the start and found Nathan at the family meet-up area. What a hug we gave each other. It was huge to share the event with him.

I found a sheltered spot to sit down and change into a dry shirt and dry socks, one of the wonderful little pleasures after any race. Nathan and I laughed and yacked for about 30 minutes as I got my legs back under me. It was huge fun. The gargoyle went away. I was also pleased that I had little of the foot cramping and none of the wooziness that I experienced following the St. Louis marathon last April.

I caught a very early flight out of Portland on Monday morning and sat next to a fellow resident of Indiana who was wearing his finisher’s t shirt on the trip home, just as I was. Next to us was a veteran marathoner who had been at the race but couldn’t run himself due a bout with tendonitis. The three of us talked extensively on the flight to Dallas and swapped experiences of Portland and many other races. Thanks, Larry and Vern, for a nice trip.

So, that’s it. I’ll try to post photos later in the week. Thanks for hanging with this long post, I hope you enjoyed it.

Persevere. On race day and on every other day.