50th State – Newport Marathon Race Report
Once it became clear that Oregon would be my 50th marathon state, I needed to decide which race to run in the state. Scot ran Portland Marathon in 2012 and I’d heard good things about it, but I didn’t want to wait until the fall to finish my states. I considered Eugene Marathon (too close in time to state #49), the Vineyards Marathon (it would have been OK, but I just wasn’t wowed by it), and Crater Lake Rim Runs (a tough course and I didn’t want there to be any doubt of my finishing). I settled on the 5/30/15 Newport Marathon because it was earlier in the year, but with enough time to recover from New Jersey, it was a reasonable drive from Portland, and it looked beautiful.
Scot and I left DC to drive to Philadelphia for a good airfare, but we had a flat tire before we even got out of DC. Thank goodness my car has a full size spare that was in good condition. Scot changed the tire and we were on our way, but then we were stuck in traffic and just barely got to the airport, parked and made it to our gate on time. Once in Portland later that night (with the 3 hour gain), we went straight to Lis and Doug’s house for the night. Can’t thank them enough for being such wonderful hosts.
Thursday was spent touring Portland with Lis. I had never been there, so it was all new to me. I thought it was a very pretty city with lots of green, great restaurants, good wine and beer, and lots of active people. After sight-seeing, we stopped at a nice wine bar where Lis and Doug are regulars, and later we had take-out Thai food. Then Scot and I drove to Olympia, Washington so we could wake up early and see the state house, then get on the road to Newport.
|Magenta the Road Trip Flamingo overlooks Portland|
|Lis took us to St. Honorie where we had awesome sandwiches and pastries|
On Friday we got our state house photos done early, then drove to Astoria, Oregon on the coast, where we would begin our trip down US 101. It was a long drive, and we knew we wanted to stop in a few places for photos. First, we enjoyed a coffee and a short break in Astoria, then we stopped to view Cannon Beach from Ecola State Park. We didn’t actually make it down to the beach, but got some great photos of the beach and its rock formations from up on the cliff. Next time I make it to the Oregon coast, I’ll need to spend some more time in this area.
|View from the waterfront in Astoria|
|Overlooking Cannon Beach|
Leaving Cannon Beach, we knew we had to make good time getting to Newport. We mostly drove without stopping, but caught glimpses of the Pacific Ocean and the coast as we drove along. Finally, we came into Newport and checked into our hotel, the Embarcadero Resort, which is where packet pick-up was located. We had just enough time to unload the car before heading to dinner.
I had scheduled a pre-race dinner at Rogue Ales Public House. I’d heard of Rogue beers and I think I’d tried one or two before. With this being a local brewery, I knew I’d be in for a treat dining here. I called ahead and reserved the special events room, which the good people at Rogue were willing to do without a fee or a guarantee of any specific number of diners. The room was decorated with a Navy and Coast Guard theme, and the tables were decorated with patriotic tablecloths. We had our own bathroom and sound system. It was a great room for my dinner.
|Rogue, as seen the next morning on the marathon course|
|The room set up for dinner at Rogue|
|My first sampler from Rogue; so many to choose from!|
I had a small but respectable showing of friends for dinner, and we had a great time. Thanks to Lis and Doug, Mike and Lori, Barb and Leon, and Shane and Julia (Julia joined us briefly by phone from New York), and of course Scot, for participating in my celebration! We also had a brief guest appearance from Marathon Maniacs president Steven Yee. We had some good pub food and excellent brews. Rogue even makes their own root beer and sodas (that night they had a cucumber soda). My favorite dish wasn’t even one I ordered, but I stole a few fried cheese curds from Barb. The curds were served with a jalapeño jelly – yum! Bradley was our server and took excellent care of us. I highly recommend Rogue, and this location in particular.
|Prez, Shane, Scot, Lis, me|
|At Rogue (note that awesome board of beers above us): Mike, Shane, Lori, Barb & Leon, Doug & Lis, me & Scot|
During dinner, Lis presented me with postcards from various states in which I’d run, and there was a big US map for my dinner guests to sign. Scot plotted all my first-circuit 50 states marathons on the map. Since most of us were going to be running the next morning, we had to show a little restraint with our alcohol consumption, and had to get to bed at a reasonable hour. We said our goodbyes and departed for our respective hotels.
The next morning the race logistics were incredibly easy. Since we stayed at the host hotel, we caught the bus right outside for the short ride to the race start near the Yaquina Bay Bridge. Our bus arrived just as they were starting to take Maniac group photos, so I was happy that we weren’t on the next bus. After several photos, we still had some time to wait until the race started. I was nervous, this being my 50th state. I flew all the way to Oregon, so I didn’t want anything to go wrong.
|Maniac pre-race pic|
And then, we were off. The sky was overcast, which was perfect for marathoning, and the temperature was perfect. Barb and I ran together and in the first few miles we saw lots of Maniacs as we looped around on city blocks. There were a couple glimpses of the ocean from this part of the course, but there was no true ocean-front leg of the course. At one point we looped back to the starting line and saw all the half marathoners who were getting ready to start their race soon.
Barb and I continued to run together. I was undertrained, as I knew going in. And she was trying not to go too hard on her quadriceps injury, so the pace wasn’t super fast, but it wasn’t too slow either. Unfortunately, I knew I wouldn’t be able to sustain it for all 26.2 miles. After running down to the bay front, we passed Rogue and some marinas. We made it to the Embarcadero, and then from there we would do a long out and back along the bay. We would be able to see all the other runners on that out and back section, whether they were faster or slower than us. It was a beautiful course.
|With Barb and Roger and the ocean in the background|
|Runners on the small section of boardwalk along the bay|
|Selfie with Barb and Lis|
|Selfie with Diana; I hadn't seen her since Tinker Bell 2012!|
Just like in New Jersey, I started feeling my lack of training around the halfway mark. I had to take more frequent walk breaks. Barb was awesome and did my pace with me, even though she could have gone faster. It’s always nice to run with a friend, so I appreciated her company and her occasional silly singing. After the turn-around, we still had miles to go, but mentally it was nice to know that we were now running back to the Embarcadero, to the finish line. Nearing Mile 17, I knew that I was going to slow down even more, and I encouraged Barb to run ahead of me. I was in good spirits, and it was a beautiful day. I simply needed to walk more, and part of the reason was tummy troubles. Traveling sometimes messes with my G.I. tract, and while I didn’t have any port-o-potty emergencies, the motion of running was very uncomfortable. After a certain point, I knew that I would still finish the race under the time limit, and I accepted the fact that my body felt better walking rather than running. My only goal was to finish, and with an official time. I was committed to improving my training this summer so I’d perform better at my fall races, but that was not the goal of this day.
|Bay view with Barb and Lori|
|With Scot at the turnaround for the out & back section, some point after Mile 15, so it was more than halfway|
|Loved how they have permanent signs as marathon mile markers|
|This boat was called Marathon|
In the late miles, I walked a little with Diana, whom I had met at 2012 Tinker Bell Half Marathon and had not seen since. She had run a 100K the previous weekend and was nursing an injury. But Diana’s walk was faster than mine and eventually I was alone. I really don’t mind being alone during a race as long as I’m in good spirits, and I still was. In the last couple miles I crossed paths with another runner named Meg (I think) and we chatted for a while before she moved on, as she was still doing a run/walk while I was only walking. I kept walking until I reached the top of the hill after 25.5, when I knew the finish was all downhill. Barb met me at the top of the hill, and other friends were waiting at the bottom. The finish chute took a sharp right turn, so I didn’t see Scot until just a few paces before my finish, but there he was, waiting with his camera, a hug, and my 50 States MarathonClub finisher shirt.
|Finishing my 50th state - Oregon!|
|With friends after I put on my 50 States Marathon Club Finisher shirt and we grabbed some beer: Lis, Roger, Scot, me, Lori, Mike, Annette|
At this race, the t-shirts were finisher shirts and I was afraid of not getting one since I finished so close to the back of the pack. My mind may have been single-tracked on getting to the building to collect my shirt, and then out to the beer tent. If it appears that I ignored any of my friends after my finish, I sincerely apologize. Once I had a shirt and a beer, I started looking around for people, realizing that the finish line had been a blur. I did spend some time socializing with Lis and Doug, Annette and Diana. And then Scot gathered several of us together for a couple pics on the water before everyone had to leave.
|That's 50 states, not 50 years old (not that there's anything wrong with that)|
The sun had come out late in the race, and was still shining after the finish. Scot wanted to take advantage of the nice weather and get some finish photos. He took a few of me at a couple points on the bay, then we went up to the bridge, and finally to the ocean. I was growing weary of photography because the wind had picked up. It was chilly on the beach and I had exposed legs and no jacket. We grabbed take-out from Rogue and went back to the hotel, where we crashed pretty early, our bodies still on East Coast time.
|Scot's medal pic; it was a nice glass medal stamped with the marathon logo; the location and date were on the ribbon|
|A 50 states finish couple! With Magenta!|
On Sunday, our last day, we took it easy in the morning and got on the road shortly before noon. We drove inland to Salem to get a photo of the Oregon state house. We were in no hurry, and spent a lot more time there than expected. I didn’t see much of Salem, but the parks and fountains around the state house were pretty and peaceful. We grabbed some late lunch and I had a beer sampler at Ram Restaurant and Brewery, which was a chain, but had decent brews for a chain. Then we drove to Portland to catch our flight home.
|Our feet with the famous PDX carpet. Yikes! The line of demarcation where the old carpet is being removed.|
As with all race weekends, even though this was an extra-long weekend, it was not enough. There are always so many things to do and see when you are visiting a place for the first time. I think I had a good introduction to western Oregon, and I liked what I saw. I’d like to return and see more. Lis and Doug were excellent hosts. It was also great to see Barb, Mike and Lori (who finished their 49th state at Newport) and Shane, as well as all the other Maniacs and 50 Staters I crossed paths with on race day. It’s still sinking in that I’m a 50 state finisher. I never imagined I would run a marathon in all 50 states, and it’s still hard to comprehend that I have done it. I wrote another blog post a couple days ago acknowledging and thanking all the people who supported me in some way over the course of this journey. Thank you all, again, for everything. I could not have completed this journey without you. Now, I will do as I said and improve my training for the next adventure.