So this morning I ran with the Portland Marathon Clinic. I have not run with them this year. They were running mile 6 through 26 on the Portland Marathon course. I ran with the 3:45 pace group and it was pretty slow the first 10 miles, probably running between 10:15 and 11:00 minute pace. They did pick it up the last half of the course though.
It has been awhile since I have ran that long on pavement, probably early summer? I had a good time and felt pretty strong most the run. I had some great chats with some of the group. Over time it comes out in conversation how many marathons you have run. It still is hard for me to say "twenty five". Seems like just recently I was the rookie with only a few under my belt.
I was soon being asked for advice on everything from pacing to knee pain to what I eat during and after a race? (Gels during, hamburgers, pizza or KFC after!!!) But it was fun to chat and it made the time go by so much faster. I also feel old, as one young woman I talked to told me her dad was doing the Canadian Iron Man today. I was waiting for her to say "he's about your age." Most of the folks had run a few marathons before with Eugene and Portland being the most talked about.
Another thing I noticed was that no one seemed to drink as much as they probably should have. Maybe half had water belts and no one hand carried. For me every year I drink more and more. I still feel that is one of the weakest areas of the marathoner. When I started I hardly drank at all, maybe a couple of bottles over 4 hours, and yes I did bonk hard many times. Every year I seem to drink more and more. I know you can over drink but I sure don't see that very often.
The last mile or so I overheard a woman talking about how she "was so done." The guy she was running with said he was going to "speed up and take it on home." So I gently eased up next to her and started some small talk. She verified that she was tired and that she had just come off an injury and this was not fun the last few miles. She had run previous marathons so was not a rookie. Well I started talking as Bret can do and slowed my pace to match hers. The rest of the group just kind of took off. She was planning on walking in but by talking with her she ran to the finish with me. She thanked me for running and chatting with her.
It felt good to help out some folks today whether it was with some advice or pacing. I kept thinking about the Ultra community and how it has this bond or closeness, and everyone always helps everyone out if needed. You don't see that as much in the Marathon crowd, it seems more competitive. But it is where I have come from. I felt so good after this run, yeah my legs were tired but the rest of me felt really good. I have taken for years as I have grown as a runner, maybe today was my time to start giving back? Thanks fellow Ultra runners, maybe you are rubbing off on me.