There is less than three weeks to the 2012 Portland Marathon starting line, so now is the time to get excited! Downtown Portland has been busy lately with the Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure this past weekend and the AIDS Walk Portland this coming Sunday, so while the blue Portland Marathon flags have been somewhat eclipsed by other activities, make no mistake that at this very moment they are flying high, heralding the coming of one of the sweetest marathons you will ever have the pleasure of experiencing. When those marathon jitters start to take hold of your gut, have no fear - there are plenty of reasons to channel that adrenaline boost into a celebration:
Portland is cooler than cool! The average temperature for the Portland Marathon is 55 degrees Fahrenheit, which is just about as good as it gets it terms of running temperature. You can expect light drizzle, an occasional downpour, and unfailing cloudy skies with nary a sunbeam in sight, which altogether make the 26.2 miles tolerably cool. Shiny camping blankets are provided at the finish line to prevent the chill from setting in, and if you are the kind of person who likes a warm, Epsom-salt-filled bath after pounding your muscles to a pulp, then October Portland weather provides just the right segue to that experience.
A flat course is a fast course! The Portland Marathon course is flat and runs fast. Mild, rolling hills break up the race and there's a short 'climb' to St. John's bridge that slows most runners, but in general the marathon runs smooth and allows for 'PR' breaking finishing times. The Portland Marathon is also certified for Boston Marathon qualification, so if you are looking to not only finish but finish fast, the Portland Marathon is the race for you.
Portlanders love their runners! Portland may have a weird, funky reputation, but its residents take immense pride in their marathon and come out in droves to support them, Starbucks coffee cups in hand. From the start of the race in the heart of downtown Portland, through the middle of the northwest industrial area, and back into downtown to finish, dread-locked, tie-dyed, half-dressed Portlanders line the streets to support their runners. Everyone who crosses the finish line receives a hug and a smile, heartfelt congratulations, and a mountain of goodies to usher them through the process of marathon completion.
You paid a lot of money to run 26.2 miles! Consider the money you spent to pay for your Portland Marathon experience: entrance fee, new running shoes, gas for the drive to your training runs, various sport gels and fluids … add up these numbers and you could afford the trimmings for a decent party. The money alone matters little, but combined with the time and effort you’ve put into valiantly training for this event and you’ve got a solid investment in your quality of life. Just as if you were the host of a birthday or retirement celebration, no one will criticize you for feeling worried and anxious about your performance, but you and everyone else wants to have a good time so make the most of your party and kick your fears to the curb.
Rock star status! Whatever crampy, nauseous, burning sensation you may experience while running the marathon will instantly disappear once you cross that finish line, replaced by a calming sense of having accomplished a feat that a large percentage of the population at any given moment will never know or understand. Cross that finish line and you will come as close to celebrity greatness as you may ever experience in your life, equipped with the knowledge and sensation that you are the envy of any and all who did not just run 26.2 miles. Savor this moment – it’s like a little slice of heaven!
The next few weeks will go by fast and before you know it the Portland Marathon Sports and Fitness Expo will beckon runners from around the world to pick up pre-race goodie bags. As you descend the escalator into the depths of the Portland Hilton, take a moment to breathe deeply. Inhale in your nose and exhale out your mouth. Look straight ahead, bring your shoulder blades back and down, pull in your navel to your spine, and soften your joints. Allow your chest to swell as oxygen flows to every cell in your body, releasing positive energy and soothing the stress response. With each life-giving breath you will feel less anxious, more secure, and you will realize that the ultimate party has just begun!