* Rick and the kids were up at 5:45am to drop me off downtown. I jumped out of the car at a stop light and joined the crowd walking towards the start line.
* I had butterflies in my tummy standing with the masses at the 5:00 pacing group. I stayed calm by listening to others talk around me. I really wasn't sure at that point if I (or my foot) would be able to complete the whole thing.
* Although it would have been fun to run the marathon with someone I knew, I think mentally I was stronger only having myself to rely on.
* I knew about 5 miles into the course that I was going to be able to finish and finish happy. I found a consistent pace (around 11:20ish) and never felt the urge or need to push to go faster. I will save that for future marathons...
* I want to give a special thank you to the makers of Gu, Nip Guards, Vaseline, Gummi Bears, iPods, and Ultima for making the experience a little better than it could have been!
* I couldn't bring myself to throw the cups on the ground at the aid stations, so I found a garbage bag whenever I could. I also walked through each aid station, taking time to drink one cup of Ultima (the Gatorade-like drink offered) and one cup of water at every one.
* Following some good advice, I spent the first half of the marathon soaking in the scenery, enjoying the thoughts in my head and NOT listening to music... I put on my headphones between miles 14 and 24, then removed them again so I could really take in the last two miles. It was perfect!
* Around mile 5, I passed the 5 hour pacer and felt pretty good being in front of that pace... until mile 21 when she passed me and I couldn't bring myself to keep up with her. I spent the next half mile upset with myself, then realized I was still going to finish and who cares if I didn't do it in under 5 hours.
* When I crossed the 13.1 mark, I sent a text to Rick with one word, "Halfway". It was all I could do while running because my right hand/arm was numb from the cold and not relaxing it. I sent another one as I was crossing the Broadway Bridge, to let him know I was getting close to the finish.
* I was secretly a little jealous of all the runners who had supporters along the way cheering them on. I imagined how emotional and excited I would have been to see Rick and the kids on the sidewalk with hugs and some food for motivation... maybe next year!
* Registration is already open for next year's Portland Marathon and a part of me wants to register to see what a low bib number I could get... it would be pretty weird to be running with the number 1 pinned to my shirt. It's also taking place on 10-10-10, which is fun... I also believe they may be adding a half marathon for the first time next year. Great news for all of you out there who would like to participate, but not do a full marathon!
* Although I'm happy with choosing to put "Thames13" on my bib to personalize it, next time I will simply put "Brooke". I think it was too hard for people to read and I only got a few shout outs from spectators, where as the two Johns, Courtney, Emily, Cliff and other easy to read names around me got MANY.
* I wish I would have run to the fence where Rick was standing near the finish and given him a kiss before making the last few yards up the hill and crossing the finish line.
* I also pulled out my iPhone when I reached the beginning of the St. John's Bridge, it was such an amazing view!
I LOVE RUNNING!