Saturday, October 10, 2009

Portland Marathon in Pictures

ORN: 8.3 miles, 3/1, felt good, first run post-marathon

Whew, what a week! After flying back from Portland on Monday, work requirements consumed the full week and then some. Only today did I get some space to post photos, as promised. Hope you enjoy them.

The primary reason I went to Portland was to be with son Nathan. He has worked there for seven years now and is just a great pal. Numerous circumstances had intervened and we haven't seen him in person since last Thanksgiving. So, this proved to be good timing all around. I can't describe just what a quality time Nathan and I had. We hung out, played baseball, ate together, had marvelous conversations. Above, Nathan, another pal of his from Purdue and I found a sports bar Saturday morning displaying the Purdue-Northwestern game on a big screen. We may have been the only three guys in Portland watching that rather inconsequential game, but it was sure fun, despite the Boilers fumbling six times and losing.

I was able to meet up with Michelle and Eric on Saturday afternoon at the Expo. Thanks to Michelle's internal-Starbuck's-seeking-guidance system, we found a version of the java shop to sit and talk for close to an hour. Common interests, much wider than just running, allowed for a wonderful time together. Awesome.

Race day dawned and I accepted an invitation by Sarah to meet up with her and other Maniacs at a running store just two blocks from the start line. I had a great time meeting her, hubby Marc and their fine son. The little guy was quite happy to take my camera and shoot the above photo. A terrific conversation, just before the gun.

Nathan and I worked out several spots for him to meet me during the race. Here's a photo he took at one spot. We actually connected four times and it was a big boost each time. Fresh water, a dry towel, a change of shirts...he was there, with tons of support.

I also tried something for fun and carried a disposable camera with me for the race. So, when I heard someone yell "Hey, Joe" at mile 7, I could record the greetings from Jenny and Eric! They were on the course rooting on their pals and I was honored to be included among them! I saw them three times on the day, a nice treat to have friends so far from home. I was sorry to not have a chance to speak more with Jenny and hear more of her recovery from her attempt at a 100 mile race earlier this fall.

On the out and back section from miles 6 to 10, I saw Michelle and her pal Margaret, whom I had not met before. Three maniacs, looking slightly maniacal and loving it all.

I should add a note about my bib. When I registered for the race, I decided to see if I could have some fun by putting my alma mater on the bib rather than my name. Being an "average Joe" and all, why not do something different? It turned out better than I expected. Standing around in the starting grid, I met a lady who was a fellow engineer, graduating just a year after I did. She even lived in the same dorm where my wife lived when we first started dating. During the race, I got a lot of "Go Purdue!" greetings from folks. I even go one sharp rebuke from a lady who graduated from our arch-rival, Indiana University.

Somewhere around mile 20, I saw this sign, saluting someone with the same name as my wife. I had to stop and snap a photo. My wife rocks too!!

Ultimately, the race ended. I must say the last mile of this marathon was a fantastic experience. Having run the course before, I knew what to expect and where I was. My right knee was hurting, I was going slowly but decided to just absorb the atmosphere.

As I did, I noticed odd expressions on the faces of so many people. I couldn't quite figure it out, as I was smiling and having a great time. It finally hit me, though, what was going on; it was as if they were watching a train wreck. Interesting, yet a bit gruesome, yet something not to miss. So many people were struggling, it must have been tough to watch. So, as I came by, smiling and laughing, folks seemed relieved...someone was still alive on the train. It was pretty fascinating and I enjoyed it.

In the food area just past the finish line, a lady walked up and said "Thank you so much!" Turned out that as we crossed the Broadway Bridge just past mile 24, I had talked briefly with her and her friend. She was doing her first marathon and was struggling a bit at that point. I offered some encouragement and then moved on. She said as I pulled away, she and her pal decided to "hitch on" and stay with me the rest of the way and they did. She wanted to thank me for the help and the pal snapped this photo. Cool...I've ridden others' coattails before, I'm glad I was able to help her. And it was nice for her to say thanks!

I have one more story from the food area, with photos, but that'll be a post on its own.

And what a treat to work through the crush of people and find Nathan in the family reunion area. It was a great day and special to spend it with my son.

Hope you enjoyed the was fun to put together.



Backofpack said...

Great pictures Joe! You did have a fun trip - and you are smiling in every one of them. That's the way a race should be.

I noticed right away in the first photo that Nathan has Gretchen's smile. I love seeing those bits of Mom and/or Dad in the next generation. So cool!

Sarah said...

Great pictures and stories! You sure packed a lot of fun into one long weekend.

Darrell said...

It sure looks and sounds like you couldn't have had a better time. Way to go Purdue. Great pics, too.

The Purdue thing reminds me - on more than one occasion running in Huntington Beach I come across a guy out running in a grey Purdue t-shirt. I of course immediately think of you.

Wes said...

Great pics! Glad you brought the race to a close in fine style :-) So typical!! LOL...