WARNING: This post is going to be very long. But there will be pictures. Many, many pictures.
The big day started very early. (It’s weird to not be the one with pre-race jitters. You sleep much better, but getting up at 0:dark:thirty is much harder… ) Susan was meeting at our hotel at 5:30, so we needed to be up at 5. We had prepped coffee in the room and had oatmeal fixings for breakfast. Susan and T made fun of my desire to document the pre-race experience, so I’m posting this silly picture of them. (Don’t poke the blogger!)
T went about his normal pre-run routine: eating, stretching, what-not. He seemed to have the nerves under control in the room, but all of us started to feel the pre-race energy as we walked downtown. More and more runners joined us on the sidewalk and we passed the start line:
Then what felt like fourteen other corrals (really it was closer to five.) I made us take a pre-race picture before we dropped T off at his corral:
Then it was good-bye to the Boy and off to stake out a spot toward the start line. There was a crazy amount of energy in the air as we waited for the start. Before too long, the wheelchair guys came flying by. Followed by the group that holds the marathon winners.
Then the 3-ish hour crowd:
We were nervous that T would be on the other side of the road and we wouldn’t be able to see him, but we lucked out and here he was:
And off we went! We had about 40-45 minutes to grab some coffee and walk over to the 4.5 mile mark a few blocks away. Luckily, Stumptown’s crappy customer service ate up a bunch of that time for us! 😦 We did still have time to go to Voodoo donuts again. (There was a small line of marathon spectators, which I found hilarious.) By this point, we had to hustle down to the race course, but I was relieved to see one of the faster pace groups pass us. (Side note: munching on a donut while watching other people exert themselves is awesome.) As we waited, we’d occasionally see a spectating friend run alongside their marathoner. I teased Susan that she should do that to T, holding her donut. So, of course, she did! (Much to the amusement of the man standing next to us.) She ran alongside T, offering him a bite of donut. He declined and told her “Shoo! Get away!” which got big laughs.
Here’s Susan and the donut, posing in front of the course. (I love the “WTF?” look from the racers behind her… )
From here, our spectating duties got a bit more hard-core. We went back to the room, picked up our bikes and headed off to mile 12-ish. There was a nice big cheering section, so we locked up our bikes and joined it. T had estimated a time that he’d be coming through, but he was slightly ahead of his projection, so I didn’t manage to get a picture of him. He looked good, but I was worried that he’d taken the first section too fast and that the second half was going to be rough.
A combo of bike and the MAX light rail got us out to Mile 21. The train ran alongside the later miles of the race course, so we got to see the faster folks suffering. Even though there was no way it was possible, I was worried that we’d somehow miss T. (This spectating stuff is hard work!) As we found a good spot to cheer from, people were looking really rough. I was very worried that T was going to be one of them, but he came through looking awesome:
From here, we had one hour to get back to the finish line. I was hoping that we could drop our bikes off at the hotel first, so we had to hustle. Luckily, there was a nice straight route with a good bike lane, so we were able to make it to our hotel in just under half an hour. We then hurried over to the finish area, which turned out to be way more confusing than expected (even with the map provided in the race program.) We ended up squeezing through a fence and going around some barricades and were getting very stressed that we were going to miss him. Finally, we made it to a good spot near the finish line. It was crazy exciting. M and I were texting back and forth and I couldn’t wait to see him finish. Finally, Susan spotted him and I raised my camera to get a picture of him coming down the line:
Only to find that I’d hit the front camera button in my haste. <sad trombone> This is why M is our official race photographer. Luckily, the interwebz have me covered:
The only real complaint that I have about the race is how the finish area is designed. Both racers and spectators had a long walk to be able to meet up. (I’m fine with the long walk on my end, not so much for folks that have just run a marathon.) It wasn’t really clear where their area ended and the “reunion area” began. I didn’t want to miss T and we’d agreed to meet up in the reunion area, so we stood next to our lettered section waiting for him. Finally, we saw him hobbling in our direction, looking shell-shocked and overwhelmed. (I’m all too familiar with that feeling post-race.) But we gave him big sweaty hugs and tried to use confetti popper things that Susan had brought.
We picked up his bag and got him some water. Then made him take some finisher photos:
Susan offered to take some of T and I. There were a few technical difficulties:
(I can’t really throw stones… ) But I really liked this one:
But she got a good one eventually, which I promptly posted on Facebook:
We then parked T on a chair outside the Chipotle and got some lunch. I made him eat some tortilla chips and refilled his water. Then we hobbled the next block and a half to wait for the MAX again. When we finally made it back to the hotel, I filled one of our expo bags from the ice machine for the a post-race ice bath:
And since I have pictures of me and M in our post-race ice baths, I thought it only fair to include T:
We hung out in the room and had some lunch. Poor T wasn’t eating much, but he was drinking a protein shake and some water. Susan headed home and I prodded the boy into a little walk to keep him legs from getting too stiff. I got him a giant fountain Gatorade, some frozen yogurt and a sunny bench to sit on:
We had a few hours to relax before we met up with Luke for some dinner. Our room had a cute button on the phone that you could use to order pillows or pints of ice cream:
Unfortunately, they didn’t seem to have any new legs for T. 😉 But he was a trooper. We’d run into two guys in the lobby who were rocking their finisher shirts and medals, so I urged T to wear his to dinner. Which he did:
We got Luke to
wait for an hour to eat at Screen Door, so T could celebrate his race with some guilt-free fried chicken:
There were also many cocktails. It was fun to catch up with Luke. The food (and cocktails) were delicious as always. It was a great way to end an epic day. It was tiring, but I’m so glad I got to sherpa T for his big race and pay back some of the support he’s given me over the years. He, M and J have set some pretty high standards for spectating and I didn’t even come close to their levels of awesomeness. Maybe by the time he qualifies for Boston… Mwuahahaha!