Last week, I flew out to Portland, Oregon. What a great city! The people are very friendly, the food and beer are both delicious, and the scenery both in and outside of the city is fantastic. I may try to sneak in a couple of extra 'exploring' days just before the run starts in July....
Adam and I ran along the waterfront on Monday, doing our first team run since December. It was a beautiful day and it felt great to run after a long plane ride. After a gym workout the next day (note: the PSU facilities are awesome!), we drove up Mt. Hood to go showshoeing. That gave us a chance to check out our route for Days 2-4 on the trans-America run. Needless to say, there will be some ups and downs...
We did a very quick run through the Rose Garden on Thursday, and on Friday we did about 10 miles along the Leif Erikson trail in Forest Park. What a terrific place to run! We lucked out with some more nice weather and the trail was even reasonably dry. We decided during that run that we should attempt Day 1 of the trans-America run before I left. That meant we'd be running from downtown Portland to Boring, Oregon, a distance of about 26 miles if we ran along the Springwater Corridor. It was a pretty weird feeling to just 'haphazardly' plan to run a marathon in two days. We discussed our target average pace of around 12 min/mile, which meant the run would take just over 5 hours.
Saturday was a very fun day: we drove out to the coast! We ate brunch at Camp 18 before driving to Hugs Point, then backtracked to visit Seaside and Astoria. We had dinner at the Rogue brewery in Astoria and saw a gorgeous sunset over the water before heading back to Portland.
And then, Sunday Runday!
After a big healthy breakfast a la Chef Adam, we started running at 9:30am. After a few minor incidents (running into trees, being incapable of starting a pacing watch, etc), we hit the Springwater Corridor after about 3 miles. If we could run on that kind of trail all the way across the country we'd be set! We played with our pace, when and how much to eat (we opted to bring Clif bars, water, and Gatorade in our running backpacks), and when we needed a walking break. We actually made it to Boring in about 4.5 hours, well under our target pace. We even sped up considerably at the end of the run-as Adam had noticed earlier in the day, it actually felt great to go at an almost 'normal' pace once in a while.
Adam's Dad very kindly picked us up in Boring and we all had lunch at the Old Spaghetti Factory back in Portland. I happily ate some ravioli and drank chocolate milk! After a quick shower and change into wonderfully dry clothes, Adam and I ended the day at a Timbers soccer match. We more or less kept standing the whole match. For dinner, we had Escape from New York pizza and strawberry Tillamook ice cream.
I wasn't quite sure what to expect in terms of soreness on Monday. To my surprise and delight, I felt great! My knees were a bit sore, but nothing I haven't felt before (and nothing compared to after an actual 'race' marathon!). We did a gym workout that afternoon. I flew back to DC on Tuesday and even after the flight my body was feeling just fine. The big question is, of course, what would have happened if we did a long run on Monday. Those back-to-back long runs will be important to do as we train over the coming months, and we'll each have to pay very careful attention to what's hurting. For now, we're excited that we felt strong and had an absolute blast during the test run.