Portland Marathon
Portland, Oregon
United States
65F / 18C

Run - Marathon
Total Time =
Overall Rank = 4332/7705
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 280/658

Pre-race routine:

We woke up bright and early and jumped into race gear. Since we'd taken a train we had to catch the MAX. I know how public transportation can be the day of a marathon, so there was no way I was waiting until an hour before gun time! I ate a breakfast cookie and did some good deep stretching, applied Bio-freeze to my knees, back, and ankle, said a prayer and headed out to Max.

Event warmup:

When we got there it was busy! We walked from the Max to the start line and hit the potties a few times. I found a pace group of 4:30 because that was my "dream time". I didn't think I'd make it, but sometimes you just don't know how well the day will go until you're out there, so I figured "Why not?"

I was calmer before this marathon than previous ones, which was odd. I had spent the last two weeks not sleeping well, stressing, hating my runs...all because I injured myself on a half marathon four weeks out. I had so many stresses and fears going into this that it had been a long time since I'd actually enjoyed running. Every run had been this constant inner-monologue "Okay does that hurt? Is it bad? Should I stop? Damn, why does THAT hurt? Am I going to be able to do this? Of course I am! I hope I am."



I made a lot of mistakes leading up to this marathon. I have run five marathons in two years. I cheaped out on shoes and suffered an injury four weeks out. Rather than take it easy, I'd take short breaks and then push it. I missed my last long run, but rather than give it up and trust my training, I ran a long run just two weeks before the marathon. I finally grew a brain and took a true taper the last two weeks. Unfortunately it was too little too late. But you know what? Lesson learned! I paid for it with a painful run, but that didn't take the joy out of the race.

What would you do differently?

Grow a brain earlier.


The run starts in downtown Portland in the dark. The sky was an inky black punctuated with streaks of light clouds and one bright moon. The start was somewhat underwhelming--no National Anthem or "On your mark" just a guy saying "Don't worry, your time doesn't start until you reach the mat. Take it easy" and an airhorn.

When people started moving forward I wasn't sure if we were just filling or actually starting. We were starting! I kissed Roy goodbye and told him I'd see him in a few miles, and took off walking like the wind! I crossed the mat and turned on my Garmin. We were off!

The first five miles is nice and flat. We ran right away next to a drumline that really got the blood pumping. I put in a nice easy going pace, feeling out ankles, knees, and back. No problems so far!

Before the end of mile one we entered Chinatown and I paused to take a picture of the Torii Gate. Beautiful!! I heard a noise to my right and there running down the street were two dragons dancing! Awesome! I clapped and laughed and ran on.

At about mile 2.5 suddenly we hit a standstill. Part of the route narrowed due to construction and you should have heard the murmuring and complaining. Hey whatever! I slowed to a walk and counted it as my walk on that mile.

I was wearing my tank that on the front says "Runner Girl" and on the back says "100 pounds lost, 1000 blessings gained". At mile 8 a woman ran up behind me and asked about it. She works with morbidly obese people who are working on losing weight due to health crises. We had a very interesting talk! It was great!

Mile nine someone ran up behind and me grabbed my shoulders yelling "Tory!" It was Linda! Now imagine in over 4000 runners, she happens to find me. Linda is the Assistant Director at school and we have wonderful long talks about running. Her first marathon was the Vancouver Marathon the year before my first marathon, also Vancouver. This was her second. She was going GREAT guns! We ran together and talked for quite awhile, but then she outpaced me!

After Linda and I parted, I met another group of ladies who had just joined Weight Watchers. I said "Well it sure looks like you've got the exercise thing under control!" We had a good chat too. It helped take the boredom off the fact that we were running through a not very attractive industrial area.

Mile 12 started with a "kiss break." Roy met me with shoes, socks, and something to drink. Because I'd been injured in my "new" shoes on the half marathon, I decided to go back to my stability shoes for the marathon. Unfortunately both of my pairs had too many miles on them, so I switched at mile twelve. It felt like running on new legs!

Unfortunately my new legs had bad knees! At about 12.5 my knees REALLY started hurting. Blessedly I'd worn an IT band brace, which I was able to tighten to relieve some of the pressure. I knew that the last 14 miles were going to depend on whether I made good decisions at the onset of this pain. I had been running with hip adductor pain since mile five. It wasn't anything I couldn't run through (I suspect that it was due to changing my gait to keep from hurting my back). But the knee pain I knew would be a challenge. I started the marathon with a goal of 4:30, but right then knew that wasn't going to happen. I adjusted hoping to hit 5:30. I slowed right down and let my knees dictate when I walked and when I ran. I set my alarm on my watch to go off every four minutes and decided to try to run 4 minutes with a 1 minute break. If I was feeling good at four, I'd try another four. Breaking it down into small bites seemed to make it easier and take my mind off the pain.

Mile 17 was WICKED! It was the one major hill on the route. Knees don't like hills. I tried to run, but then did the math: 26-17=way too many miles to kill my knees off now! I briskly walked up the hill onto the St. John's Bridge. What a GORGEOUS view!

That bridge alone was worth all the pain, all the effort. I stopped mid span and snapped a picture. I wanted to preserve that moment forever. After that the rest of the course was pretty flat and much more scenic.

My knees responded well to the run/walk cycle so I was able to run for longer periods of time. About mile 22 I discovered if I modified my gait my hip adductors would hurt again, but it was WAY easier to deal with than the searing knee pain. At one point I did have this thought, "Why do I do this to myself when it hurts?" All I could think was "Because I can. Because pain is temporary. Marathons hurt, so shut up and run."

So I did.

Miles 22-25 were awesome! We ran through neighborhoods with LOTS of music and cheering. People called out "Go Tory" and "Way to go Runner Girl" over and over again. It was incredible. I barely noticed the knee pain and was able to surrender to the feeling of just being out there in the sun having a wonderful time.

Mile 23 I ran into another "loser". She had lost 125 pounds and this was her fourth marathon! She's a Weight Watchers Leader now and I bet her clients love her. She was full of life. We had an awesome talk!

Mile 25 the best looking man in the world greeted me! I got another kiss break and then he joined me to "tow me in!" It was glorious! I love running. I love running marathons. I love running with my man the MOST! We talked and I grinned...I sure wish they'd gotten a picture of the two of us because I cherish our pics from the Disneyworld Marathon. He was one of many loved ones who joined their runners for the last mile. In fact, it was even set up for that. Right after the mile 26 sign, there was someone leading non-registered runners off the course. I told him I loved him. He told me he loved me. I ran forward, he ran to the right. I was ready for the kick when WHAMMO my knees woke up and said "Hey Tory, remember...we hurt!" Oh yeah...that's right. My damn knees hurt! I limp/ran..."Okay knees, c'mon, don't fail me now, don't do it, you can do it, c'mon knees." Off to the right I hear this screaming "Tory! Woooo! Tory! Tory! WOOOOOOOOOOOO!" It was Beth! She was jumping up and down and screaming my name! What a shot in the arm! (Too bad it wasn't a shot in the knee.) It was SO neat to see her!

Just 1/10 a mile to go and I limp/ran towards the finish with a big grin on my face. I turned a corner and there was this 20 foot high cartoon of a big "fat lady" opera singer. Opera music was blasting on the speakers. The sign said "It's almost over!" I threw my head back and laughed, grabbed my camera and snapped a picture (so much for the kick), and then limped on in.

Oh I felt GOOD! Yes, I was in pain. Yes it was, by far, the most painful marathon I have ever run. But I felt GOOD! I went into this marathon with so many fears and doubts, but I overcame them and I DID IT! Thank you God for giving me this imperfect body that carries me, even if it doesn't always do EXACTLY what I want, it carries me.

Post race

Warm down:

The fat lady sang me in and I jetted on over to have my chip removed. Someone put a medal over my head and as I was thanking her, someone else put a heat blanket on my shoulders and congratulated me. I had tears in my eyes as I made my way towards the food. I grabbed some food and made my way to a table covered in roses. A beautiful lady handed me the most AMAZING rose. I turned a corner juggling rose, blanket, and food and someone else said to me "Do you want a tree?" Well who wouldn't want a tree after running 26...I mean 26.2 miles? I know I'm not one to turn down a free tree! I grabbed my tree and then saw this darling little guy handing out goodie bags. I said "You are just the man I'm looking for!" and took one with a big thank you. I stood in line to get my picture taken (which for some reason, didn't turn out) and then limped out to find that handsome man waiting for me in the family area!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I made too many mistakes!

Event comments:

This was an INCREDIBLE race. It was well organized, fun, and full of entertainment. I never ONCE waited for water at a water station. The gummi bear stations were a BIG plus! The volunteers were everywhere! The course has only one big hill, but the rest is flat and if I had grown a brain earlier, I know I would have hit 4:30. The scenery was very nice for a "city marathon" and running across not one, but two really distinctive bridges was a plus.

If I weren't doing my 50 states thing, I'd definitely do Portland again. Heck, I still might do it again! But next time, I shall engage my brain earlier and go into it in top condition!


04:56:59 | 26.199 miles | 11m 20s min/mile

Age Group:0/658