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Portland 2011: Why I Have a Double Chin, or Stuffing Your Face with Beer, Whiskey and Mussels is a Bad Idea

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Post  Jack_Scaff on Tue Oct 11, 2011 5:05 pm

Here’s the short version: I ran my fourth Portland Marathon, 14th overall this weekend, with my wife and brother and we all finished together in 4:57:20, besting the wife’s goal of 5:15, but an hour-plus slower than my dusty, old, wrinkly PR of several years ago.

Here’s the long, boring version: Sunday marked the 40th running of the Portland Marathon, and some months ago my wife Julie and I decided to enter, knowing it was a milestone for the run, and that my dad would be there as part of the Race Directors College. It was especially exciting as we were able to offload the kids for a mini-vacation and have a multi-day adult (mind out of gutter, people) vacation for the first time.

While I did my share of training, it was far below cycles of past, and whether it is my age, my laziness or a combination of all of my vices, not as solid. I started thinking of excuses months ago and settled on “I’ll run with Julie at a comfortable pace and that will be why I have a sub-par race”. When all else fails, blame someone else. It was to be our second couples’ marathon, but she was not all that enthused with the plan. As a wonderful, accommodating woman she eventually relented and we agreed that would probably be our plan.

We flew into Portland on Thursday and took a train from the airport to downtown to check into our hotel. The whole “OCCUPY WALL STREET” movement had spread to Portland, and there were concerns that trains would be shut down – we made it to the hotel before the protests began. Concern was brewing that they would mess with the start, though, as their encampment was right in the middle of Start/Finish area.

We checked into our The Nines, a luxurious hotel per many people (more on this later also) and ventured out into the city for some beers and bites at Deschutes, then some meandering about town. This was my fourth race here, and I am very fond of Portland. Fellow 365-er Mark B. pinged me to drill down our plans for the next day. Julie and I putzed around, had a snack at the hotel (she had a dessert and wine, I had scotch) and actually went to bed at a decent hour.

So being frugal, I found a great deal on the hotel. I guess you get a deal by getting a loud room. Our room was loud, and I got up at something like 6 AM. Got coffee, some food for the room, and once Julie work up, we wend to the fitness center for a short run. I made the mistake of weighing myself afterwards – I’m a 194 lb lardass! Whoops! We did more putzing and then had a bite with Mark at a wonderful Thai place, but only after I grabbed a stout at Rogue Brewing.

If you ever are lucky enough to visit Portland, make sure you see Mark. He was kind enough to offer a pass to the Nike Employee Store and went so far as printing train directions. Mark, thanks again for your hospitality.

We walked back to downtown and off I went for more beer, this time with my dad. OK, it was beer and scotch, once again at Rogue. We stopped at Deschutes as well on the way to his hotel, and parted ways. Julie and I reconnected and she grabbed a burger, I had a slice of pizza, and then it we dropped in for desert at a French restaurant. Well, actually, she had dessert and I had more scotch. Off to bed.

Another early morning in our loud room was followed shortly by a hearty breakfast on Saturday. I stuffed my face with corned beef hash and eggs, with a biscuit and a side of gravy. We took the train to the Nike Employee store and proceeded to spend more than the zero dollars we had planned pre-trip. But we got great stuff at a great price. Back to the room to lounge for a bit, then off for an early dinner at the French place for happy hour. Julie had a sensible Mac-N-Cheese and salad, while I gorged on a bowl of mussels in broth and croque de madam (basically a French Egg McMuffin with gravy on it). By then it was comedic (or sad) that I was proud of my pre-race hedonism. I literally rolled back to the hotel, and waited for my brother to arrive from Washington. He and I grabbed some beers at a bar, I stopped at Rite Aid for some Pepto because I was a fat slob, then met with my father and his wife for yet another beer or two before heading off to bed at 10:30 or so.

Race day was another loud AM – would have liked another hour of sleep but oh well. Had my morning breakfast and coffee, did my disgusting post-gorging, pre-race business, and Julie and I connected with my brother before the start. We all agreed to run together, even though my brother is quite possibly the only person dumber than me, training-wise. He ran the Seattle RnR Marathon some months ago, did a total of 24 miles training before Portland (all in one week) and decided to enter the race 3 days before the event.

Somehow, I was assigned to the walkers’ corral which was irritating at first, but we made the best of it – it worked out quite well in hindsight as we did not have too much or a crowd to fight through. The run was wet, but uneventful. We were on pace to get Julie in for a PR up until the St. Johns Bridge at mile 16. We even passed the 5 hour group which started in the wave before us, probably 10 minutes or so before us. I was acting as a thoughtful pacer by walking later in the race (when in actuality I was SORE and TIRED). We meandered through the rest of the course, running on either side of a mile before I “included” a recovery walk “for those I was pacing”. Julie and I finished with a 4:57:20, and my jerk brother beat us by a second. A-hole.

We sat with my dad at the finish line and chatted with some other race director types for a bit. We showered up, hopped in a van with some of my dad’s group and went to the Lucky Labrador for more beer and a nice post-race dinner. We met the RD of two of the Scotia Bank marathons in Canada, so now another seed has been planted! And while Julie said before the race this was probably her last marathon, she is already talking about running Napa. Back to the hotel for some soup and, you guessed it, drinks, then it was off to pass out after a long day of drinking, with a marathon thrown in as a diversion.

As for me, it should be obvious that this was more of an event than a race. Crossing the line with my wife and my brother at the same time was extremely gratifying. And I know for a fact that it was a great moment for my dad as well. I’ve sort of pre-committed myself to running Napa in March as I bumped in to the RD and told him I already booked my hotel room – me an my big mouth. But if Julie and I do decide to run it together, that is something to look forward to always.

Good Lord – sorry for the length of this post, thanks for the read. Cheers.
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Post  Mark B on Tue Oct 11, 2011 5:39 pm

Hey! Why is the part with me in it "the boring part"? Hmph!

(Good meeting you and Julie. And good job pacing her to a sub-5. Though, I have to admit, I find it interesting that your report offers more detail on eating than running. Wink )
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Post  healdgator on Tue Oct 11, 2011 6:16 pm

Great report! Too bad you wasted some valuable drinking time by running/walking a marathon.
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Post  Jeff F on Tue Oct 11, 2011 9:44 pm

Sounds like my way of enjoying a marathon...wish I would have been there to enjoy the food, the beers and the scotch. Thanks for sharing your experience!
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Post  fostever on Tue Oct 11, 2011 11:58 pm

Sounds like a fun time, congrats on the finish and comraderie!
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Post  Alex Kubacki on Wed Oct 12, 2011 7:34 am

It appears you had fun and that's what matters. 26.2 is still 26.2 no matter how it gets done so congrats.
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Post  Seth Harrison on Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:17 am

Lot of beer, some good food, great socializing and adult time together...throw in a marathon. What a great getaway!
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Post  jon c on Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:59 am

Glad that you had a successful race with your family members Jack! Sounds like you all had a great time together. As my wife Connie is not a runner and does not desire to be (and it's OK), you are fortunate to be able to share this with your wife. Hope that in the future you will be able to look back on times like these with great fondness.
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Post  Glenn on Wed Oct 12, 2011 10:04 am

I've been to that Rogue in Portland (plus the brewery and the brew-pub in Newport...and the one at the airport), so in Portland, I would have trouble staying focused on race weekend. I remember your Cow Town report a couple of years ago. Your less-than-peak-performance race reports are extremely entertaining! You may be conditioning us to root for the 4:30ish marathons from you!
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Post  Jerry on Wed Oct 12, 2011 10:52 am

Good job, Jack!
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Post  Dave-O on Mon Oct 17, 2011 4:10 pm

@Jack_Scaff wrote:
As for me, it should be obvious that this was more of an event than a race. Crossing the line with my wife and my brother at the same time was extremely gratifying. And I know for a fact that it was a great moment for my dad as well.

This! Very cool experience. Congrats
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