The Portland Marathon: RLAM Intern Weighs In



Sarah at mile 19, about to qualify for Boston Marathon!


Oh hi! I’m Jessie Hethcoat, RLAM intern, editorial assistant, and “mothers’ helper.” For those of you that don’t know already, Sarah and Dimity got so busy this summer and fall that they needed some extra help – which brought me, college student, into the picture. I’m a junior English major at University of Portland, and I enjoy doing things that Sarah likes to make fun of me for, like reading Real Simple magazine and leaving Golden Girls DVDs at her house (long story, but I'm a big Betty White fan). I exercise only casually because of sports-induced asthma, but I’m feeling an inevitable push towards a more demanding regimen. Being surrounded by all these mother-runners is getting a little too inspiring.

But that’s enough about me. Let’s talk about the Portland Marathon and the awesome picture I got of Sarah. I set up camp on Willamette Blvd, across the street from my campus and mile 18-19 of the big 26.2’er. To me, a non-runner, this sounds like a good point in the race to crawl into a ball and start crying, especially when you consider it poured the whole time, but I saw nothing of the sort, either from the spectators, who were sporting umbrellas and heavy duty rain coats, or the athletes. The runners powered through the race while drenched from the weather. Still, I'll be honest: Running 26.2 miles in the Portland rain sounded to me about as appetizing to me as brussel sprouts do to your 7-year-old.

Until I saw it.

I joined a crowd of students across from the water/gummy bear station and joined the cheering. I saw all kinds of runners, including a father with a jogging stroller paced at 3:10 (!), barefoot people, people in faerie costumes, and so forth. While I was watching, camera in hand looking for Sarah, someone in the crowd asked me if I was watching for someone. “My… um… boss,” I said. “Oh… that’s nice of you I guess,” she said. So looking like a total schmoozer, I waited to see the purple shirted Sarah in a whole new light.

I was starting to zone out on the mobs of running champs zooming by me, when there she was – Champy, in the flesh, beaming. She whooshed by me, but I managed to get her picture and a “WOOO SARAH!” in. I got emotional after seeing her make it look so easy. There’s something very evocative about marathons, and the emotion is even stronger when you spot someone you know and care about putting their body to the ultimate test – and succeeding.

And she has THREE kids! Mamas, you are amazing! It was a very visceral experience to see how triumphant a moment it was for each runner. I congratulate Sarah and all of you mother-runners that got out there and ran the 26.2 today. You are all truly badass.

Sarah's official time was 3:59:54, meaning she qualified for Boston. She tells me she's "jazzed." What about you gals? How'd your runs go today?

39 responses to “The Portland Marathon: RLAM Intern Weighs In

  1. I’m so late coming to this…but I just needed to jump up and cheer with the rest of them. WOOHOO! See you in Boston 2011 Sara and RLAM!!!

    OH! It just gives me chills….Yay!

  2. Wait- the new chick isn’t even a mom? I feel so invaded by an outsider. OK, I kid (hehehehe, unintentional pun- I love when that happens). Congrats Sarah, welcome new chick.

    1. Rebecca~ just wait until the day she is a RLAM with her own bambino and then we’ll all feel so proud~ like we had anything to do with it! The RLAM community will say things like “Our Jessie is finally officially one of us!” We mothers are like that 🙂

      p.s. Welcome to the family, Jessie!

  3. Kisses from your children at mile 11, friends and hubby and twins cheering yoiu on @ miles 19 and 20 something and everywhere in between… seeing how strong YOU were at 26…what an incredible day for you Sarah…you were right, it takes a village, BUT YOU made it all happen – YOU ran the distance (this was a uber long 26.2 with the weather) and YOU now have a BQ time…We believed in you, but YOU believed in yourself – your words after 26 miles mark through the ‘gate’ “I’m going to do it!” And you did! Boston is fortunate to have you in it’s ranks! Jo.

  4. I hope guys can post too! I love hearing the stories from yesterday! I finished less than a minute behind, just missing my 4 hour goal at 4:00:41…Darn that Honeybucket stop! I blogged about my experience too. Congrats, and thanks for sharing your perspective on a memorable day!

  5. Welcome, Jessie!! So glad you got to experience the emotion of a marathon first hand. Thanks for braving it out for your ‘boss’. HA!! Congrats to Sarah and all marathon finishers this weekend!! My race was bittersweet. I had a great time and did the best I possibly could. Not exactly the desired outcome, but a sweet finish for sure. It affirmed to me, again, that I LOVE marathons!!! Congrats, everybody. Keep pressing on to that finish line!!!

  6. Great job Sarah! I just got your book on Friday and read almost half of it before my half-marathon yesterda morning. It was very inspirational and a book I’m certainly going to share with other mamas. I can’t believe how strongly I relate to both you and Dimity and really never felt like there were others out there who felt the way I do about running. I knew people DO it of course…but I didn’t know they had the same sentiment and the same necessity for it, as I do. You go girls…thanks for inspiring us. The written word is the most powerful weapon, and I’m glad you shared it with us.

  7. Congrats Sarah!!

    Great update…I love the comment about “crawling into a ball and crying” because sometimes in my long runs I DO feel like that.

  8. Sarah – CONGRATULATIONS on your hard-earned BQ!! You are such an inspiration – when I find myself fading on hard workouts, I inevitably end up thinking about how hard you push yourself to reach your goals, and it makes me strive harder too. I’m so happy for you. You deserve this – you EARNED it. CONGRATULATIONS!! Can’t wait for the race report!

  9. This is an awesome article. You know I think the thing that touches me the most is we are doing something to inspire the younger generation to make themselves better. That is one of the reasons I run, for my girls. I want them to take care of themselves and see their mom make it a priority in her life. To hear a college student say that attending a race made her feel this way gives me hope that I can inspire my girls (and their friends) to make a difference in their own lives. Thank you so much for the article. And congrats on the BQ Sarah!

  10. Good Job Sarah, you are an inspirations to all of us. Maybe one day… Cheers! I hope everyone gives you the pampering that you deserve and that you remember to give yourself a nice ice bath! cheers momma 🙂

  11. I agree with Meredith…Sarah, you looked so fantastic! I too, was among the emotional watching the amazing, but soaked, runners, pushing for a strong finish! Way to BQ Sarah!!

  12. Thanks for your article Jessie. It was flattering and inspiring to to me and probably many more RLAMs! CONGRATS SBS for rockin’ the race and achieving something many of us only dream of – running it in under 4 hrs and becoming a Boston qualifier. Enjoy your well-deserved rest and cross another thing off your bucket list!

    1. Oh, and hey Sarah, can you PLEASE blog your marathon experience sometime soon. What really worked for you this time, suggestions, food, gear, etc? Your awe-struck followers, like me, would love to know!

  13. Congrats on the qualification! Very emotional today. Running, today, for my father in law who passed away two weeks ago from cancer!

  14. You rock, Sarah! I was thinking about you today while running (and finishing!!) Chicago. 🙂 I’m so happy for you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Congratulations to Sarah! Thanks for the update, Jessie! I just finished my 10th marathon in 11 years and finished in 4:38:34, almost the same time as my first marathon. I’m pleased as punch about that. And it didn’t rain here in Victoria! We got so lucky with clouds and then full on sunshine!

  16. it’s very emotional. i tried to run 26.2 last Sunday but after mile 15 my mind was sick of all the running and I started the walk/jog business. I have no idea what happened but I was feeling fun, it just took a little longer to get to the finish line. maybe next time?!?

  17. I can agree, nothing but emotional here!! Loved cheering for Champy and my amazing friends out on the course. Sarah was looking strong at the last bend!! Way to go Sarah!!

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