As you may have seen from various blog entries from folks here in the PNW, the Portland Marathon was yesterday, 10/10/10. There were many events yesterday, 10/10/10 being rather auspicious, but the Portland Marathon was right in my back yard (not literally of course, we don't have THAT much room!) how could I not participate?
Well, I didn't know about the 10K noncompetitive Mayor's Walk until my friend Molly (4My2Kidz) told me about it. She was the one who introduced me to Spark People back in May, and this would be the first time we could do something together, fitness-wise!
I think I registered for the walk the very day Molly told me about it, I was that excited. I mean I was pumped. Hood to Coast was coming up at that time, and I'd just learned that there was a SparkPeople team participating in it - go Sparkin' Hood to Coast!
I picked up my packet on Friday, and it consisted of a 10K Family Fun Walk (really? Fun? Had they seen the forecast for Sunday??) tshirt, a Portland Marathon magnet, and a handy-dandy lil bag. Oh, and my number. I was number 44.
Yea, I ordered a tshirt, daily calendar for 2011, and a keychain recently from SP. I HAD to have the shirt for the 10K walk, and rounded out my order with the other things.
I was up before the alarm, set for 5:30, went off. I knew what I needed to pull together (note to self - pull together the Night Before, not the morning of) and how long it would take. I also knew that I needed to try and eat -something- even though I figured my nerves and/or natural inclination to wait to eat breakfast would make it difficult. I start every day with 2 cups of water, right off the bat. I had that, tried to drink my coffee, and tried to eat my cream'o'wheat wtih banana and peanut butter - my favorite breakfast. I may have taken two or three bites, but couldn't stand still long enough to eat even half LOL
I got myself dressed by some miracle, and was ready to go!
Well, almost ready. I had to take my pants off to pin on my number - duh! That's when I took out of my pocket the one thing I wanted to be sure I had - lip balm! I managed to remember everything else, though, so that's not too bad.
Bill went through the same questions again - are you sure you don't want to wear a rain suit?
Are you sure you don't want to carry a golf umbrella?
The only thing he didn't ask was whether or not I was sure I wanted to do this crazy thing in the rain. As he put it, I paid for it, by god I'm walking in it, rain or no! LOL
Off we went, heading down town by 6:50. I was to meet Molly by 7:30 at the shuttle bus pickup area, so I didn't want to be late. MinaMuro was also walking the 10K, so I was anxious to finally meet her in person. GayeMC was going to be seeing KEakman off for her marathon run (way to go Kate!) and would walk up to the shuttle bus area to see us off, if there was time.
There was time LOL Poor Molly did a little pre-gaming the night before, for the walk, and ran a bit late that morning. I rounded the corner to the shuttle bus area, and right there - really, Right There! - was Mina. Yay! It's always so good to put a real face and great smile, to a name and words on a screen.
Mina and I huddled by the building, waiting for Molly, and watching people arrive, board the bus, then take off for their walk. Gaye arrived not long after, and it was great to see her again! I asked one of the volunteers to snap a picture of us while we waited. Hoo-ah!
Gaye was smart, and dry, under her umbrella. We were mostly protected under tree branches and the side of the building, but still managed to get a bit wet. Little did we know... LOL
Molly arrived, introductions were made, and on the bus we went. I had to admit at one point, I had no idea where we were, but figured the drive knew where they were going and I could attempt to sit back and enjoy the ride. I don't think I did, though.
We reached the starting point for the walk, and filtered off the bus. All the nerves and energy and anticipation built up to that point, and then we were finally off! The rain, for the most part, didn't seem that bad. I can say for Molly or Mina, but I didn't really seem to feel the cold, or the wet, until the last mile, mile and a half or so. The view from the bluff was hazy and gray, but still'n'all, it was great. The air was cool but not cold, everything seemed to be muted - until we came upon various musical entertainment along the route.
No, I'll never think of "Eye of the Tiger" the same again LOL
The first person from the Marathon proper to pass us came along within our first half hour of walking. It was a man who went flying by in a racing wheelchair. It rocked me back on my heels a bit, having never seen a wheelchair racer in person. He really was, simply, flying. It dawned on me if he could do that, train and work and fly the way he was, in a Marathon no less, I had no room for talking myself out of walking one evening because I'm tired. Geez-o-pete!
I have a tendency to get lost when I'm walking. Not literally, I don't wander off the beaten path, but I'm looking at everything, taking it all in, and just moving. I'd realize that I had walked off from Mina and Molly by a few feet and fall back in with them, although the closer to town we got, the more narrow the way became. I always figure my hips are too big and broad, and I should be out of the way for people to pass most of the time LOL so I tried to stick tight to the right side.
Runners flew by us as well. First, one young man, by himself, then another quite some time later, then the slow trickle became more of a flow, became more of a rush by the time we hit the Broadway bridge.
We'd mostly been on our own, not really in with a crowd or a pack, until we came off the Broadway bridge and joined marathoners and half-marathoners on Front/Nato. Then, the rush became a crush and it was incredible to see all the people running and walking. Ladies older than ourselves cruised by us, doing a speed walk, some struggling, some sailing. I watched one young man limp along, falter, and stop to rub out a cramp. He kept on going though, and I lost him in the crowd far ahead of us. There were people with their heads up, their eyes fixed, and their bodies moving by rote. They were running, and they were going to finish, no matter what. There were other runners who made it look effortless as they passed us and others by.
All in all, it was amazing to be in that crowd. And yes, I still tried to hug the right side of the road to stay out of the way. There were people there, on that right side - fans, supporters, etc. On the left side, too. And they were cheering the runners on. And us, too. I was chagrined, as if I needed to protest "Yes, thanks very much for cheering, but all I'm doing is walking, and not that far really. Ignore me here, save the cheers for the runners, they are Amazing!" but I did appreciate the hoots and hollars and cheers.
Finally, we rounded the bend for the finish, and I just had this grin on my face. So many sights, and sounds, such an experience, and it was all about to be over, and we could be dry again. Yes, it rained every step of the way - sometime a nice soft rain, other times quite a hard pour. Didn't matter though. We'd walked 6.2 miles together. I'd introduced my good Spark friend Mina to my good life friend Molly. I'd gotten to see Gaye again, although I missed Kate taking off and finishing. I'd walked in an event bigger than anything I'd ever done before. I had a great time, it was fun, it really was FUN, and I'll do it all again next chance I get.
The only regret? That Bill didn't do it with me/us. He's been there all along with me, from the start of my Spark adventure, and it was odd not to have him there. It was also kind of.. neat. It was for me, and for my friends, and we'd finished our walk in 2 hours and 4 minutes. Not bad, considering each of us was slogging along an extra 5-10 lbs in water weight? LOL
That's the end of my 10K walking adventure, but it's just the start of my Next adventure. I joined the C25K team this evening, and did W1D1 tonight. I've had this quiet little voice inside me since going to Exchange 13 for Hood to Coast, saying "Stop saying you're not a runner. You want to do it. You -can- do it. So do it!"
I'm going to have to figure out how to balance things again. I don't want to give up walking with KBearsMama on Monday and Wed/Thurs evenings. I do want to stick with C25K on Mon/Wed/Fri or Tues/Thur/Sat. We'll see. I'll figure it out. I have to. I'm doing this.
I'm. Doing. This!