Aside from lounging around in sweatpants and watching Sex & the City (because, after all, it’s our favorite pastime), Emily and I did manage to do some other exciting things in Portland. Since this was my fourth visit to Portland, it was less about hitting the must-see’s of the city and more about doing things that we love. So, we did just that.
Up first? The Portland Marathon.
No, not me. I sat this one out. It just happened to work out that I would be in town to see Emily run her first marathon and I was thrilled! Exactly two years earlier, I ran my first marathon in Chicago, and Emily’s husband bought her a plane ticket as an early birthday present to fly out and see me run. After it was over she told me she would never run a marathon. I knew it would just take some coaxing. So it was only fitting that I be there to support my best friend when she changed her mind and decided to run the Portland Marathon.
The morning of the race was quite stressful. We walked the three or so blocks to the MAX (the light rail) to take public transportation to the start of the race. But every time one came, it was completely packed with other runners and we realized we probably wouldn’t make it in time. So, Emily had to run home (literally) to get the car and then John and I dropped her off at the start. John and I made a plan to see her at the 5-mile marker, the halfway point, the 21-mile marker, and the finish. We conveniently had time to kill before we would see her at the first point, so we grabbed breakfast at a wonderful little place nearby.
She looked great throughout the race and we headed to the homestretch to meet her at the finish line. The Portland Marathon had the worst setup and there was a barricade that kept us getting anywhere near the finish. I stood up on a mini crane to see over the fence to see Emily cross the finish line, but we lost sight of her after that and it took us an hour to find each other. Tired and sore, we headed home for showers and naps.
Portland & Beer Go Hand in Hand
It’s no secret that I hate beer. Loathe it. But after all these years my dearest friends Emily and John simply can’t quite give up on me yet. So, we celebrated Emily’s stellar finish of the marathon by going for dinner at Widmer Brothers. They ordered a sampler of five beers, so that I could potentially find a type of beer that I actually liked. By the time I got to the darker beers and I couldn’t hide my distaste any longer. It was horrible.
Luckily, my friends love beer and they finished them off for me.
It was fortunate that my stay overlapped a couple of days with Emily’s sister’s first visit to Portland. Along with one of Emily’s coworkers, the four of us spent a day visiting vineyards just outside of Portland. I never would have guessed that Oregon had its own wine country. Unlike the places I have visited in Napa & Sonoma, the ones outside of Portland are smaller and provide for more intimate wine tastings. The weather held out for us, and despite getting hopelessly lost (which added to the adventure) we visited several beautiful vineyards.
As you can imagine, we had another great time in Portland together and it was sad to say goodbye to my bestest friends. Emily and her sister grabbed a train to Seattle my last morning there. I packed up my car and prepared to head to Bend to stay with a guy that Stella and I first met when camping on James Island and then subsequently met up with in New Orleans and Austin. John, being the protective brother I never had, made sure to put mace in my purse… just in case he happened to be a crazed serial killer. Of course it was completely unnecessary, but hey, you gotta love ’em.
Of course, as soon as I leave Portland, it’s always time to start planning my next visit! Hmm….