Portland Marathon Wrap Up

Somewhere around mile 14, the Malamute asked, “Why do we do these again?” That was his way of saying, “Starting to feel it.” I was not feeling particularly clever or witty and offered a superficial, forgettable answer. 

Now, seven hours post-race, I’m ready to offer a bit more thoughtful response. I can’t answer for anyone else, but I do them every once in awhile for several reasons including: 1) the mostly mental challenge of trying to run an even pace; 2) the immediacy that comes with testing my physical limits; and 3) the primitiveness and purity of long distance running more generally. 

The Malamute probably would have planted his elbow in my rib cage if I had offered something like that mid-course.

Instead of a segment-by-segment, port-a-pit by port-a-pit recap, I’m going to elaborate on point three.

Before doing that though, here’s a brief race summary.

Excellent weather, overcast, low/mid 50’s, light rain from about mile 9 to the end.

Ran decently. It was nice running the middle half with two good friends. Granted, we weren’t too talkative, but misery loves company. I felt shelled after the long descent between 21 and 22. Legs tightened and the mental battle was on. My finishing time was decent (3:25:35), but I was most proud of gutting out the last four.

Somehow I ignored what one expert friend refers to as the “whimp ass voice” within. The “voice” was coming in loud and clear. “Hey Ron, come on, you’ve run a long ways already. You’re trashed. If you just walk a little, the pain in your legs will subside, and you’ll feel tons better.”

That tape kept repeating. Reminded me of Thursday night when I went to bed with “the surge” and “Maverick” echoing in my ears.

My paced slowed a bit, but somehow I gutted out the last four miles.

Back to the primitiveness and purity of long distance running. Compared to other athletic activities, it’s wonderfully low-tech and it goes back a ways. There are no hieroglyphs with time trial bikes, but there are plenty of people chasing game and trying to set new personal records.

Also, the clock is la ultima in objective assessment. I like to think of myself as a 3:15-20 marathoner, but I’m not. Eighteen months ago I ran a 3:26+. The clock demands that I face the facts, I’m a 3:25-3:26 marathoner. . . or slower if and when I run another.

A digression. That discrepancy, between the way I like to think of myself and the clock’s verdict, parallels a reality in the social world. Our self understanding is a slippery thing. It’s inevitable that what we think of ourselves and what those who interact with us regularly think of us imperfectly overlap. It’s unrealistic to escape our subjectivity and completely eliminate the gap, but I think there’s value in trying to reduce it.

That might be an idea worth exploring in more depth sometime soon.

Thanks to all those who offered such excellent race support including the fam, Mike, the Malamute, Double S, Dave, and Travis.

And thanks for continuing to visit my humble blog. There’s 4.2 million WordPress blogs overall and counting and 110 million overall and counting.  I appreciate your stopping by mine on occasion.

Yours Truly, Double S, and the Malamute

Yours Truly, Double S, and the Malamute

1 thought on “Portland Marathon Wrap Up

  1. You sound as if you have resigned yourself to being a lowly 3:25 marathoner. Thrown in the towel. Waived the white flag.

    Stop it!

    Wake up and embrace the gift of health, strength of body and mind which I know you enjoy. That’s the true measure of the long distance runner. Took a prolonged absence from being able to do it myself to realize how special that gift is. Can be snatched away tomorrow.

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