Portland Marathon 2014

by Joanne on October 5, 2014

From “The Oregon Distance Runner” Oregon Road Runners Club, September 2014 by Larry Axmaker.  Excerpts from his article…

“What is a Runner?  Runners are dreamers, eternal optimists and often out of touch with reality. No surprise here. So pushing yourself to the edge of death and destruction is normal, and, of course, will surely make you stronger and faster! And if this doesn’t work it’s because you didn’t try hard enough!”….”Non runners already know that nobody in their right mind would regularly subject body and mind to long, painful, hot, rugged, and dangerous runs.”

“How Do Runners Think (Assuming They Do)?  Example” (name changed from article,  and just so you know, completely NOT true…or is it?!!?):  Joanne’s “best marathon time is 3:44.  51 year old Joanne is ready for her 15th marathon.  She has practiced hard.  Realistically she hopes to break 4 hours, but deep in the recesses of her runner’s brain she imagines herself suddenly running 6-minute miles and miraculously finishing, to the cheers of her peers in 2:50!!!  It could happen.  She’ll just push a little harder and ignore the pain.  She could get a million views on YouTube! Joanne never lets cold, hard reality get in the way of her reality.   Example 2:  Joanne runs the same 3 mile loop nearly every day.  It’s close to home, relatively flat, safe and incredibly boring.  So her mind provides some excitement.  Jo imagines herself to be a semi-superhero in green spandex.  She sees headlines in her head, “Brave runner risks life to save cute puppy from raging fire”, or “Woman runs into heavy traffic to save older woman from certain death,” She finishes her runs with a burst of speed and a smile on her face.”

Ok, so I changed the name, colors, and few other minor details from Larry’s story but it’s pretty much word for word.  The best part is the end….

“Maybe pushing yourself to the edge of the envelope does more for your ego than your body.  Maybe you can still enjoy …running and those running fantasies and not risk life and limb.  …Maybe “that which does not kill you” does not make you stronger, or smarter, or faster.  …But sooner or later…”

And we go into race day. 

J T ready to run

The Portland Marathon 2014

starting line

Fun facts and why I chose THIS marathon to run with Ted:

  • More on-course entertainment than the Rock n Roll marathon series with more than 84 acts.
  • Views from the marathon course: Multiple parks, The Cascade Range which includes Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, and from mile 17 at St. Johns Bridge, Mt. Adams and top of Mt. Rainier.
  • If you run with music, it is one of the few distance running events that allows headsets, players and cellphones.
  • It has only rained on Portland Marathon twice in 29 years and weather averages 50 – 54 degrees at the start.
  • In the last 3 years, it was named Best Marathon in the Northwest. Best Race in October. Perfect First Time event and Most Walker Friendly Marathon in the Country.

This is our day…our perfect day, starting at 4:45 when we got up and ate half a bagel and banana.  We left the hotel for a 5 minute walk to our corral.

We started in the last “H” wave

crowd start H

There were a lot of walkers in our wave and the first mile was spent weaving around them.  After that initial mile, we settled into Ted’s pace which was a bit fast for him but I let him set us up for a comfortable run.  *Ted took in all his fuel and electrolytes.  I relied on one 5-hour energy taken after 1 hour of running then just the water and finally Ultima drink starting at mile 20.

We took in all the wonderful sights.  There were many bands playing music.

chinese dragon

China town

bridge band

One of the many bands playing overhead.

pirates at 10

Pirate sighting!

train stop

Stopped by a passing train.

St johns bridge

Up the hill to the St. John’s Bridge.

crossing st johns

Crossing St. John’s.  I think we saw Mt. St. Adams and the top of Rainier but my phone wouldn’t pick it up.

Ted at 19

Ted at about 19 miles, starting to fade on me a bit.

big band at 21

Big Band at University of Portland and  72 degrees at that point.


Belly Dancers


Pretzels.  There were gummie bears at almost every water station. There was also bananas and beer.



Around the 21 mile mark, we did the walk – run routine.  Ted was getting pretty hot and took to dumping water on his head. No ice cubes on the course but there were a couple of sprinklers.

So many spectators yelled Ted’s name (it was on his bib) “Go Ted!” In fact, the spectators were great and out in abundance. But then, it was a gorgeous day.

T J finish in 5

We crossed the finish line 45 minutes faster than in Chicago.  Great Day!

finish candy

Finish line candy along with Ultima (also offered along the course with the water), water, chocolate milk, orange juice, bananas, oranges, apples, grapes, cheese, yogurt, crackers.

The finish line swag was…

finish swag

Finishers hooded jacket, finishers shirt (size was on our bib), medal, double sided medallion, pendant to add a chain, roses, and a red wood seedling.

if it were a cold daythe rose the red wood and the jacket



shirt medal pendant

What a super race.  We really enjoyed all the music, support, organization.  The course couldn’t have been better. There were a couple of notable inclines but it seemed there were more, very long down hills that felt good to me, not so much for Ted with his bad knee.  Very walker friendly and we even saw one walker with a dog who had a bib on. 

100% excellent marathon to do for fun, for weather, for swag, for good course, and for crowd support.

Finishing my 14th marathon with this one, Ted’s 2nd, knocking a BIG 45 MINUTES OFF HIS FIRST MARATHON TIME!

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  • At 2014.10.06 06:52, misszippy1 said:

    Congrats to you both! Sounds like a perfect day…and you have my interest piqued for Portland!

    • At 2014.10.06 07:38, Heather said:

      Yay! Sounds like the PERFECT day! What a great experience for the both of you – now you get to recover together, too. 🙂

      • At 2014.10.07 08:34, Ali @ Peaches and Football said:

        You are crazy to have energy to be snapping pictures along the way! How do you do it?

        What a fun race and Ted’s time is crazy. Who knocks 45min off their previous marathon time??

        I love the finisher medals – they are beautiful. I’ll take a rose too. 🙂

        • At 2014.10.08 06:33, Choc Chip Uru said:

          You constantly amaze me my friend, a massively fantastic experience 😀
          Hope you rest with a foot massage!

          Choc Chip Uru

          • At 2014.10.08 14:18, Nancy Jean said:

            What a day, and what sights to see along the way! Great pics, and CONGRATS on finishing #14! Ted’s 45 ahead is truly amazing, especially with walk/run @ the end … WAY TO GO!! Nice swag w/hoodie & medallions, beautiful medals and I love the idea of the redwood seedlings. So glad it was such a wonderful all-round experience. Need to add Portland to our list, I’m thinkin’!

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