On Sunday, during training with Portland Fit, we ran 21 miles – our longest training run before the Portland Marathon. Most of it followed the marathon’s route, to give us a preview. These are the things I learned:
1. Runners do not respect other runners who stop to take selfies. But you should go ahead anyway. If anyone hangs around long enough to give you side-eye, crop them right out.
2. The St. Johns bridge is a notorious part of the Portland Marathon course, but not for the reason I expected. It’s NOT because of the hill!* It’s because it’s actually a mirage. You spend a loooong, boring stretch just hoping it will come into view. Then you finally see its towers in the distance, and for a billion more hours you try to reach it, and it refuses to get any closer. When you finally chase down that damn bridge, you are convinced it has backed away from you about 30 miles.
*Okay, it might also be the hill.
3. Smashing through “The Wall” is a feat of toughness. Mostly gastro-intestinal toughness, due to all the energy gels, gummies, chews or pretzels you have to eat.
4. Sometime during the last half of every long run, I reach a point when I feel AMAZING, and my thoughts start occurring to me IN ALL CAPS. This is the phase when I should definitely not be allowed to tweet.
. . . That feeling is temporary. But oh, so wonderful.
5. Fast runners are only faster than you until they get hurt.
6. The beautiful young women you see trotting along the esplanade in fresh fashions for their little two-mile runs become annoying objects after Mile 19.
(I think the rule is you’re allowed to secretly wish them ill, but you’re not actually allowed to trip them, yelling “YOU’RE NOT A RUNNER UNTIL YOUR SHOES ARE DIRTY AND YOUR PONYTAIL IS SWEATY, SISTER.” Not that I’ve put any thought into this.)
7. Seeing a corgi on your run is good luck! I’ve always felt so, since their smiley, stumpy-legged little selves give me a happy feeling, but on this run it was confirmed: We saw a corgi at mile three, and a woman running near me stopped for a second to greet the dog. A few blocks later, she found a $5 bill on the sidewalk!
8. When you’re very near the end, and looking for a distraction to take your mind off the fatigue, a bike carnival works nicely. Or any other institution that’s serious about Keeping Portland Weird.
9. During the run, I always imagine I will want a tall, frosty pint of adult beverage when it’s over. But when I get done all I really want is a shower, a sammich, and a nap. In that order.
10. There is nothing that cracks up my husband more than watching me haul my sore self out of the car and walk painfully, inching from the car to the house like an ancient, creaky crab. His happiness is only increased by asking me impertinent questions like “Is this fun? Are you enjoying your hobby right now, honey? Why are you walking like that? Walk normally!”
I secretly plan to outrun him in the event that we are ever attacked by lions. Or zombies. Or zombie lions. Either way, he’s toast.
What have you learned while putting miles under your feet? Let us know in the comments!