Photo credit: my very talented photographer, Dad

Training for and running a marathon is a lot like life. It requires a LOT of time, patience and perseverance. What I wasn’t prepared for was how much the journey would teach me about myself. The Portland Marathon was a family travel affair, traveling with kids to the city where my husband and I grew up. I ran the race with my husband and brother in law, and my family and kids were there to cheer me on. I ran it for my kids – for them to know that you can do anything you set your mind to, but mostly, I ran the race for myself. I ran to remind myself that indeed, anything is possible and that despite all of the responsibilities I have as a wife, mother, professional, business owner, blogger, and countless other roles I juggle each day – at the end of the day, it just me running this race and my story to write.

There were many parts of the run that were memorable – starting the race with my husband by my side, the pouring down rain, the run over the St. Johns bridge, seeing my family and kids cheering for me at mile 20 and turning the corner to the finish line to see my husband waiting for me with a rose in his hand.  There is a such a sense of accomplishment you feel from running that long and it is overwhelming. I can imagine it’s how you feel at the end of a life well lived – tired and happy.

Another thing that struck me are the crowds. If you have ever run a race, you know that when you are dragging, you can gain energy from the crowds cheering you on. All along the path, there were families and friends with signs of encouragement, positive cheering and lots of, “you can do it!” I thought to myself several times along the way – imagine what this world would be like if people were this positive and supportive off of the race track?

Here’s a quick glimpse of this mama’s marathon journey:

The Train: Because we knew that our legs and energy would be completely spent, we took the train from Seattle to Portland. It’s takes a little bit more time than to drive depending on the time of day, and the best part is there is no traffic and your kids can get up and walk around. The kids loved the train. We played at the table where we sat, snuggled under a blanket and watched a movie on the iPad, and took a break in the dining car for hot chocolate.

The Hotel: We stayed at Hotel Fifty, one of the few properties in Portland HipTravelMama has yet to stay. It was clean and comfortable and had nice modern decor. The best part is the hotel sits right on the marathon race course, so my kids could see us run by while having breakfast with grandma and grandpa in the restaurant. The onsite restaurant, H5O bistro & bar even had a special menu item the Portland Marathon Carbo Load which consisted of a delectable bow tie pasta in light white wine and garlic sauce, english peas, topped with grilled salmon. Director of Wine & Spirits, Kairos Cuilann des Rosiers also made our dinner fun and educational – unfortunately due to our big task in the morning, my parents were the only ones indulging in a little pre-race wine. The choice to have dinner on-site at the hotel was a wise one, as our 2 year old had a complete meltdown at dinner after the long train ride with no nap. That evening, my husband took one for the team and had his carb loaded dinner in a paperbox.

At the end of the day, the race is done and 26.2 miles are behind me. The accomplishment of a race well run is a great reminder when I start to put unnecessary roadblocks in my way, am afraid to push the envelope, when I feel like I can barely make it through the daily routine of carpooling and soccer practice, or I can’t handle one more tantrum. I remember that life is a marathon. Just keep running.

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