a six mile jaunt and a surprise PR

I arrived in Portland Saturday afternoon the morning of watching the man cyclocross it at the pumpkin patch, just in time to meet a few of the high school girls (and their significant others) for lunch at the Hopworks Urban Brewery. I selected the black bean burger, which was topped with pepperjack cheese, roasted bell peppers, tomato, lettuce, etc and a side salad! Definitely hit the spot. Forgot my ID, so no beer for me.

J, husband S, and I headed back to their house for a mellow pre marathon evening of television, chatting and chicken and pasta with salad. J, I'll remind you is the friend who first convinced me to start running back in high school. She and I just happen to run approx. the same pace so I offered to come cheer her on at the Portland Marathon and run with her those final six painful miles. Because last May when those hills and constant wind were killing me at Whidbey Island Marathon, J hopped in and helped me home for the last three miles. It was a life saver!

We went to sleep around 10 and woke up at 530AM to drop her off downtown in the dark by 630. All went as planned. Husband S, their puggle Chester, and I headed to mile 2 to watch her run by. Apparently she was in the port o potty when the gun went off, but all was good. Thank goodness for chip time!

Next we saw her at mile 11 and she was still looking strong, pulling an 8:20 pace. Her goal is to qualify for Boston, but she wasn't so sure she'd make it today. Next we headed to the grocery store for a quick breakfast before making our way to mile marker 20 where I would pick her up. When she arrived, she was tired but happy to see me. She was upset with her slowing 9-9:30 pace, but I just tried to keep chatting away and telling her she was doing great.

For me, those miles felt easy peasy, but for her I'm sure they hurt like hell. In my chipper state, I sampled gummy bears and even some Halloween candy out on the course! I snagged two REDS in the Starburst package I picked up. Oh yeah, that made my day. Anyway, the downhills were faster and the uphill across the final bridge was a bit slower, but I just tried to keep her positive. At this point she was sure she wasn't making Boston or a PR. As we turned on to the home stretch I said "you decide when we pick it up to finish it hard" to which she replied, "I'm not sure I can." Well, we picked it up and I dropped her off with .2 mi left to run.

And guess what? She PRed! 3:49...about a minute faster than her last PR (and the same marathon PR as yours truly). Not too shabby. She really appreciated my pacing and encouragement and I was happy to get a fun six mile run in with a great friend and thousands of fans screaming for us. I mean, how often does your Sunday run include cheering? This pacing thing...I could get used to it. As for pacing an entire marathon...um, I'll have to get back to you on that.


Amber said…
That's SOOO cool you did that! I haven't done the 26.2 distance yet but I'm SURE it would be nice to have someone to run that last 6.2 miles with!!

Fun stuff! And good for her with the PR!
Redhead Running said…
That is frigging awesome of you! You know I am actually debating whether or not I want B.o.B. to come pace me in or wait at the finish line and after reading this post I think I know what I want her to do... Thanks for sharing this story! Congrats to your friend!!!
That is so cool. I would love to pace someone some day!
Anonymous said…
This is awesome, Sass! I love that you guys have both done this for each other - makes me think about who I want running with me for the first 26.2 (or, rather, the last 6.2) :) interested in coming out to DC in march? haha

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