Well after almost a year of various injuries my Portland Marathon race date was fast approaching. It was about 14 weeks out when I started my 7 Minute Work-Outs as described in this post. 4 weeks later I was able to run more than the 2 miles I had been able to run without stopping.
Here’s my pre-race summary 1 week before the race. “9 week marathon training preparation done, next week is the Portland Marathon. Hoping for a 3:55 time, not sure my legs will hold up. Last 9 weeks total miles 30, 36, 37, 23, 4, 39, 35, 32, 27. Prior 30 weeks total was 350 miles, 11.5 miles/week. The 4 and 23 above were due to my bike injury when I hurt my ribs. I’ve come a long way in 9 weeks, hopefully I will finish injury free and can continue my comeback.”
I did 2, 6 mile runs the week leading up to the race, keeping my heart rate around 123 for Zone 2 training. 2 days before I ran 2 miles with my dog and I was hoping to run a couple of miles when we landed in Portland the day before the race but it didn’t happen as we ran out of time. That night for dinner rather than my usual carb loading pasts dinner I had a low carb high fat (Ketosis) dinner of Prime Rib. Race day morning I didn’t have anything to eat, just a bottle of water, I was going to run my first race fasted and hoped my short training time and method would carry me through the race.
We walked down to the race start area and I did a short warm up. Weather was perfect, around 45 degrees at the start and would only climb to mid 50’s by the end of the race. Although my bib was for Coral A which had pacers up to the 3:30 marathon time, I knew I wasn’t in that shape and decided to go out in the B coral. I was thinking of going out with the 3:40 pace group to see how I did, knowing that I would probably tire and be closer to my 3:55 estimate. However the front of the coral was 3:35 so I decided to go out with them so I wouldn’t be behind any runners. The gun went off and I settled in with the group as we headed out passing various bands playing along the road side. We hit the first mile at 8:05 and I felt great. By the end of the second mile at 7:54 I felt like I was running faster than the group so decided to run by feel and not worry about where the pacer was. My next mile was 7:34, then 7:23 and 7:38. By the end of the 6th mile at 7:34 I had caught up to the 3:30 pace group. I decided to run with them, still at this time believing that I would only be able to hold this for a while and if everything was perfect maybe I wouldn’t be too far behind the 3:40 group by the end of the race.
The next several miles were all around the 7:51 pace and I still felt great, at each aid station I was taking either water or Ultima which is an Electrolyte keto-friendly drink. I did buy 2 snack bars at the expo the day before but didn’t feel like I needed them at this time. Around mile 10 we came to the infamous St. John’s Bridge climb but still clocked 8:09 and then back to the 7:51 pace. I actually thought about leaving this pace group and just running free as I felt great and was now leading this pack, but I decided to hold off as the crowd support for the “3:30 pace group” was great. I decided if I could hold on to this it was way better than I could imagine and therefore not worth pushing on. We had a smaller climb coming back over the bridge at mile 18 at an 8:21 pace and then settled back to a 7:57 pace.
We were now at mile 19, 2 hours 21 minutes in to the race and still no carbohydrates but I could feel myself tiring and started to drift a few yards behind the 3:30 pace group. At this time I decided to eat my Will’s snack bar, the highest fat, lowest carb bar on sale at the expo. To be honest I’m not sure how much it helped me as I still felt tired the last 6 plus miles and didn’t get a boost from it, but it certainly didn’t hurt and after that long without calories was probably a good thing. Mile 20 was 8:01, then it was 8:10, 8:19 and 8:32 for mile 23. My chance of a sub 3:30 marathon was quickly disappearing but I wanted to give it everything to try so dug deep and managed a 8:06 mile 24. My energy dipped again for mile 25 and came in at 8:19, now I had to push hard to be able to beat 3:30. I targeted a couple of runners I could see ahead of me and did everything I could to chase them down. The course was a reading a little long with every mile the mile marker was a few yards further out so by the time I hit mile marker 26 my watch read 26.2. Somehow I managed a 7:49 mile 26 and now just had the final .2 mile push with about 3 minutes left on the clock. I just ran on empty and could now see the finish line and the time ticking down. After I crossed the line I stopped my watch and looked down, my watch read 3:30:02 but wasn’t sure how quick I stopped it.
The good news was my hip didn’t feel too bad, yes I could feel it and I had a slight limp but overall I would give it a B rating. My calf’s now started to tighten and they were screaming at me as I walked through the finish area to meet my wife. I was in pain but happy with my time even though I though I had missed the 3:30 cut-off. When I met Judy she showed me the unofficial results and that also read 3:30:02, my mind thinking I could have pushed a little harder to beat it, but in reality I pushed as hard as I could. I couldn’t have hoped for any better time given my abbreviated training schedule and my short time following the ketosis lifestyle and running my first race fasted. We went back to the hotel and I jumped in the jacuzzi and felt much better after that. Now it was time to Stan, meet a fellow Hip Runner who lives locally and is someone I’ve watched through Strava, as he’s a very fast runner and also works out a lot like me.
We had a great time chatting about our hip replacement, sharing scars, and I learned a lot about Stan. He’s way faster than I ever imagined and is a top notch runner at all distances from 5K to 100K. I hope that Stan, Tom and I, and hopefully anyone else reading this, will have the opportunity to race against each other some day. I know it would be a great event and it would bring the best out of me as these are 2 top class runners. We had a great time, it felt like we were long time friends that hadn’t seen each other for a while.
When we got back to the hotel the official race results were in, my time was 3:29:59, I was so pleased. We immediately went down to the hotel bar and celebrated with a few cocktails and some more fatty foods. We were vacationing in Welches, near Mt Hood for the rest of the week. I took 1 day off but then ran 5 of the next 6 days around 5 miles each day and I feel great. I’m really listening to my body and researching a lot to keep me injury free and hopefully running faster.