I got to Eugene on Friday night after driving down from Portland with Anthony. We met up with SarahOual and Emily for some food and drinks.
|Super Flattering Photo Courtesy of OUAL|
The next day, we met up with Mason (of nuun) and his gorgeous family at Off The Waffle. I am not someone who is usually struck by breakfast food (it all kind of tastes the same to me), but HOLY CRAP y'all. These waffles are no joke. I got one with cheese, pears, and walnuts on it, but Anthony won this round. He got the waffle with egg, bacon, cheese, and extra special love because it was amazing. I've honestly been wondering how we can get back to Eugene just to eat more of them.
|Another stolen photo from Emily Sweats!|
|Also from OUAL. I'm sorry guys, I sucked at pictures this weekend.|
We woke up, got ready to some sort of pump me up music and Anthony drove us to the start. He kissed me goodbye and before I knew it, it was time to go.
SR had a plan to basically write up all the splits herself, and I would run without a Garmin. Actually, I was supposed to run without a watch at all. The plan was to try for a 3:25 and hope for better. In retrospect, this was probably too ambitious given that my legs were still noticeably sore from Ragnar 2 days before Eugene. But hindsight is 20 20, I suppose. This didn't really register with me at the time.
We set off the first few miles around a 7:50 pace. And it actually felt pretty good. SR was telling me things like "run the tangents" and getting me water or gatorade from the aid stations. It was actually pretty cute (and wonderful) how serious she was taking her job as a pacer.
At some point, we ran by Lauren Fleshman and SR yells "Lauren, I want to have your babies!" or something to that effect. Funniest part of the race, for sure!
Around mile 10, I was starting to feel not as good. And what felt even worse is that in a marathon, if you're starting to feel tired at mile 10, this doesn't bode well for the rest of the day. We went through the half around 1:42:40, which was right on pace. But I was already feeling hot and not relaxed. I told Sarah we were going to need to readjust goals. That today wasn't my day, and we should aim for a 3:30. I'm not sure if this was a mental defeat at this point, but I don't think so. I really don't think my body wasn't ready to book 20 miles at 7:50 and then race.
As the miles clicked on, I tried to take things one mile at a time. By around mile 17, Sarah was saying things like "Just 2 laps to make it to next mile marker. You're a great track runner, that's nothing." I was probably the worst running partner in the world because at that point, I was just grunting in response.
By around mile 21, I was getting really hot. It's weird...I really love racing in 40 degree weather, and anything hotter than that is tough for me. I also started looking at my watch. Sarah continued talking me up. "You put in the time training, now this is where you show it!". By around mile 22, I figured I could pull a 3:32, but almost definitely would not break 3:30. I just wanted it to be over.
Finally we saw the mile 26 marker. It was probably the most beautiful thing I've seen in a while.
As we rounded the corner into Hayward Field, I told myself to run this 200m like I was...well...racing the 200m. I sprinted in with all that I had, and as I crossed my legs collapsed underneath me. Dramatic flourish as always.
Sarah held me up, walked me to the finish area and got us some snacks. Some blog readers recognized her (as others did along the whole course!) and we talked with them for a moment. We then met up with Anthony (who had brought a picnic basket of booze for the girls, no joke) and then saw Emily, who ran a damn 3:08 (wow!) and SarahOual who ran a massive PR at 3:37.
|Another blatantly stolen photo|
Post Race Thoughts
The Bad: As I mentioned before, I didn't run anywhere near where I wanted to at this race. That said, marathons are weird (maybe that's what makes them kind of magical?) and I ran Ragnar Ultra the week before. I also didn't see great results during my training cycle.
This race was not a lot of fun for me. It was beautiful, and flat, but I just couldn't enjoy it. Burn out, I suppose. Nothing against Eugene, for sure. It's a beautiful town.
The Good: I did the best I could. I had an AWESOME and encouraging pacer/friend running with me the whole time.
I had great friends here and Anthony as well. This time was still a small PR and that's better than nothing.
What's Next : I am going to spend the next couple weeks taking it very easy. I'd love to run some shorter races and do a sprint tri this summer. I'd also like to take the time to recharge and get excited about running again. It might take a little bit of time, but I hope to come back strong and ready to go.