Saturday, December 3, 2016

Sisters run 26.2 miles

Did you hear? Eryn and I ran Portland Marathon in October!!!!!!!!

Like many runners, Eryn had for a long time "run a marathon" on her bucket list. She even started training a couple times, but her temperamental back had other plans, so the idea was wait listed. After lots of PT and strengthening, she decided this was the year!

After injury, she was basically starting from scratch, training with The Beginner's Guide: 
After months and months of training, it was time to run!

Saturday was packet pickup. But first, a stop for breakfast. Nerves took away Eryn's appetite, so we force fed her - MUST FUEL!
Personalized bibs are the best!
Free apples :)
After the expo, we stopped at Value Village and picked out these amazing robes for throw-away clothes. (Racers wear them to stay warm before the start and then strip and toss them right before the starting line. Then organizers collect the clothes and donate to the homeless. Win-win!) We couldn't resist the matchy-matchy :)
Race morning! It was drizzly, so we donned Dollar Tree ponchos over our toasty-warm robes:
Of course, Mom and Dad were there to cheer!
It wasn't super cold, and the rain let up as our starting time neared. So we handed our robes to Mom and Dad and parted ways. Now we wait...
Go time!
And, we're off!
Our No. 1 goal was finishing upright. Our No. 2 goal was 6 hours. Unfortunately, some illness and back pain caused Eryn to miss a couple key training weeks as we approached our peak mileage (20 miles). That meant that we squeezed in more longer runs in a shorter time, and Eryn ended up a bit over trained... manifesting in a very angry right IT band.

So, going in to the race, we planned to run as long as her IT band permitted, then walk as much as we had to.

A few miles in - still looking strong and feeling good!
Usually downhill feels great, but testy IT bands don't like it so much:
While we ran 26.2 miles around Portland, Mom, Dad and Brad followed us, cheering, taking pictures and handing off water and gear as needed. It's awesome to have a support team during a long race!
Eryn was starting to hurt on the Naito Parkway out-and-back. We took a few extra walks but kept going.
We were right on target for our 6-hour goal, but we knew her knee wasn't going to last. 

These photos look dry, but let me tell you, it was such a wet day. The industrial part on Naito was soaking - and straight into the wind. I kept trying to run in front of Eryn to block the cold.
The next time we saw Brad, I grabbed my jacket and gloves. And it's a good thing, because soon after, Eryn's knee called it quits.

We were killing it on pace until we got to the downhill section just past Montgomery Park. We walked it, knowing the IT band wouldn't like it. But when we started to run again, Eryn said she just couldn't. We were at exactly the halfway point - 13 miles.

SO... we walked, in the stormiest part of the day, straight in to the wind - all the way out Highway 30 to the St. Johns Bridge. Honestly, it was pretty brutal. We ran very short bits but mostly walked. I was OK with my jacket, but poor Eryn was freezing. And because the low clouds obscured the bridge, we had the extra mental challenge of not knowing how far we were going. I blocked the wind as much as possible.

When we finally reached the bridge, we actually ran up - because the up didn't hurt, and because we needed to get the blood flowing to keep from freezing!

As we crested the span and came down the other side, we spotted Mom, Dad, Brad and (surprise!) our grandparents. In all our years running, they've never seen us race, so it was super, duper cool to see them out there - especially given the crappy weather :)

Knowing the forecast, and knowing that we'd likely be walking a lot, we'd both packed extra clothes and rain jackets. Brad had my bag of goodies, and I stripped down in the middle of the street and put on a dry shirt. It felt amazing to be dry under my jacket.

Mom had Eryn's clothes a bit farther down the route, so I caught up and helped her get changed.

Then we were back on the course!
Running when we could:
I think I was singing here - obviously with hand motions :)
Coming to greet my personal photographer:
Making the best of it...
The Willamette Boulevard portion is very flat. Then came Greeley - a BIG downhill. We walked slow, slow, slow to keep away the pain. It was the longest mile of our lives :)

We chatted away the miles, enjoying the experience. I have to say, Eryn's attitude was excellent! She kept positive the whole time - and never once yelled at me (we both expected it would happen at some point!)

We rounded the corner off Naito, and I told her I would not allow her to walk the finish. I told her she'd be mad at me now, but she'd be mad at herself later if she didn't run across the line.

So we ran slowly up Salmon - to the loud cheers of family and strangers!
She was hurting bad, but she kept going:
Go, Eryn, go!!
The Portland Marathon finish line is very secure, so we rounded the corner and disappeared from their sight. Eryn hesitated for a minute, as her knee was screaming. But she picked it up, ran up the block, crossed the finish line and became a marathoner!!!!!!!!!!

We finished in 6:54. We ran a wonderful half marathon and then walked a second one - woohoo!!

Because it was getting late, the crowds were sparse. But there were still plenty of medals, jackets, food, roses, baby trees and T-shirts left for finishers. Portland has the best finish line!

We sat on the curb for a bit, collected our goodies and then hit the potties before emerging from the finish area to our adoring fans :)
Best support team ever!
Congrats, Eryn, on becoming a marathoner!!! Let me know when you're ready for No. 2 :)

1 comment:

  1. I finally got around to reading this and it got me a little teary. Such hard work, Eryn! Way to go! I love seeing your determination and your family support.