Monday, October 06, 2014

Portland Marathon Review

It is a good marathon.  We three ran it nine years ago, and were delighted to find that it catered to runners and walkers of any speed.  That has not changed.  The course itself may not be the most picturesque, but the organization definitely makes up for it.

My Race:

With another marathon just a week from now, and some recent hamstring injuries, I didn't want to push very hard today.  I used a run/walk ratio of one to five, running just 30 footfalls for each 150 walking.  In training that had given me a pace of 12:30 to 13:00, plenty fast enough to finish a marathon in six hours.  It worked well enough in the race too, and in fact I deliberately slowed  in the last miles, finishing my 83rd marathon in 6:06:20, 13th of 28 in my age group.  This was a warm race and I had no need to hurry.

Because of injuries over the summer, and a bout of pneumonia, I had not been able to do a genuine long run since our last marathon in May, so I was concerned about being able to finish at all - sometimes my calves cramp up in the last miles.  Not today, though.  I took plenty of water and salt, and this time I even brought some magnesium capsules along in case of cramps, though I didn't use them.  All is well - bring on the Ottawa Marathon!

Portland Marathon Good Stuff:

  • Finish times are long enough that a marathoner can stroll the 26 miles, same with the half.
  • There WERE enough porta-potties along the way, even after the marathon split from the half.  That's rare.
  • Even at my 6:06 finish, there was plenty of food left.
  • It's a big race - note 28 ancient guys in just my 70-74 age group - but everyone got off and running within 20 minutes of the start.
  • With one exception there were plenty of water stops, all well supplied with water, ultima, and volunteers.
  • I loved the music!  We have run several Rock N Roll marathons, and this marathon beat them all hollow.  I heard "Blue Moon," and "Happy Wanderer," music with an actual tune in addition to a beat, and not so over-amplified that I had to cover my tender old ears.  By far the best music of any of my 83 marathons.  Go Portland!
  • At the finish, everyone gets a long-stemmed rose to enjoy and a tree to plant.

Other Stuff:

  • My sweeties were disappointed that the organizers actually ran out of half-marathon finishers' shirts.  The shirts will be mailed, but how does that happen when the half marathon reached its registration limit months ago?  Oops.
  • There was plenty of water on the course, but this was a warm race, approaching 80 degrees, and none of the water was cold, nor was there any ice.  There were a few sprinklers for marathoners, but sprinklers mean wet feet, possibly blisters, so I avoid them.
  • More than nine miles of the marathon, and at least five miles of the half marathon are in industrial areas, mostly manufacturing plants, warehouses, and railroads.  This was almost the same course that we ran nine years ago, so it probably won't be changing any time soon, but it certainly doesn't show Portland at its best.  I wish we could see more downtown, more waterfront, even more residential areas.

But never mind my complaining, I had a good time and enjoyed the marathon.  Organization is great, with legions of cheerful volunteers, and I would recommend the Portland Marathon to anyone, especially a first-timer.

Splits: 26:44 (2 mi), 13:43, 13:03, 29:02 (major nature break, 2 mi), 12:29, 38:17 (3 mi), 16:35 (another nature break), 11:53, 13:12, 13:30, 13:15, 13:40, 15:57 (uphill), 14:54 (nature break), 13:18, 14:03, 14:09, 28:01 (2 mi), 30:38 (2 mi), 19:53 (1.22 mi), total 6:06:20, pace 13:58.