The 2004 Newport Marathon was better than expected. The weather was perfect -- in the 50s and cloudy -- but only about 1 minute of rain during the race. The course started near the ocean, then went down to the bayfront and followed the water for the entire race. Beautiful.
Three of us had planned on this race together. This was the first marathon for two of us and the second marathon for the other. The goal -- "beat P.Diddy!" and his 4:14:54. Although, I really just wanted to finish.
We ran at about a 9:35 mile pace, which felt easy, but I was still nervous about what was ahead past the scary 20 mile mark. The marathon vet of our group apparently decided she had been "slow" in her first race, and she'd had enough of that. She left us in the dust at about 10 miles and ultimately finished over 20 minutes ahead of our goal. Our other friend fell back slightly. I just kept running past the table with the free oysters, and I still can't believe that some runners were stopping for several.
I felt pretty good until 24 miles, when it suddenly got very hard to keep moving. I was passed by our second friend with about a mile to go, but I still had "P. Diddy's 4:15" in sight. I straggled in last of the three of us, but 30 seconds ahead of our goal. We all did it!
The best part of the finish was unexpectedly seeing my wife and two kids cheering me to the finish line. I had been disappointed that they couldn't be there due to other commitments, but they found a way to be there after all.
The next best part of the finish was the Rogue Ales and clam chowder provided to finishers.
I had never been so tired or so proud. I knew I had to do more of this marathon thing.
I'm planning to run more marathons because I just love to run, and having a big goal to motivate me helps too. I have run two more marathons since this one, and plan to keep running them as long as I can. Each one has something to teach you about yourself.
Next up is the Eugene Half-Marathon in April 2007, and the Portland Marathon in October 2007.
My ultimate goal is to qualify for Boston. I still have a long way to go for that. I need to build my mental strength for when it really starts to hurt.