The Running Man

After considerable soul-searching, I've been forced to reluctantly conclude that 1.1 miles is not 0.8 miles. The former is the distance the Rand McNally EasyFinder Map says is between the intersection of NE 15th Ave and NE Schuyler St and the intersection of NE 15th Ave and NE Fremont St. The latter distance was coughed up by MapQuest. Yahoo! Maps and Google Maps both say it's 0.9 miles and my car's trip meter (which Google failed to find a link for) weighed in at about 0.85 miles. Given the legal implications of car's odometers telling fibs, I felt that our shadowy masters in Detroit could be given the benefit of the doubt just this once.

Why the hell should I care? Well, I'm glad you asked. You see, I recently was foolish enough to admit in my journal that I wanted to run the Portland Marathon. Much to my dismay, this involves training and shit. Training and shit, in turn, involves knowing how far I've run and knowing how far I've run involves making stupid LiveJournal posts asking strangers how they solve this dilemma.

So, how do you solve this dilemma? How do you know how far you've run and where are good spots for running? I live just north of Lloyd Center and anything close to there would be lovely.
I never ran, but we used to 'speed walk'. We did two things - first, we drove our route. Then, we used a pedometer that gave steps, distance and calories, etc.
Re: the technogeek solution
I was going to suggest, if not that model, then a pedometer. I think I'm actually going to go get one tomorrow, since I have the same curiosity on how much ground I've covered.

Not that I think I could get myself in shape for a marathon, mind you.
Re: the technogeek solution
I want one of those!

Anyhow, I live in NE Portland too, a couple blocks north of 7th and Fremont, and I think that NE Portland is great for running because it's generally flat and a grid.
Most of my typical routes involve heading out south to Knott and then east to 15th, 21st or 33rd depending on my desire for distance. Then I head back north to Prescott and drop back down to 7th to complete the square.
There is also the track at Grant High/Park although that can get pretty over-run with various team sport folks.
In general, usually when I run outdoors I'm a little less obsessive about the exact distance. But just keep experimenting and you should be able to find some routes that you like that are in the right range for you.
For the particularly masochistic, there is a lovely device that has a handle attached to a wheel that you run with. The wheel has an odometer attached, so you can run/walk to whereever you like, and know exactly how far you've gone.

Those of us on the cross country team in my high school nicknamed this the Wonder Wheel. Our coach was a number cruncher, and was never, ever seen at a meet without one.

The other options presented sound far more plausible and enjoyable. I included the Wonder Wheel for sake of completeness ;) I'd love to get the Forerunner option myself.

good spots for running -- the ESE, Hawthorne Bridge, Tom McCall, Steel Bridge route ...

makes for a fantastic circle.
Use a pedometer or find a highshcool with a standard 400m track and run there (most accurate method aside from a treadmill).