EUGENE MARATHON 2010:
- DAY BEFORE THE RACE-
Our hotel was less than 3 blocks from the race start...SCORE!! Much of the course is on a bike path so we did the best we could to drive from start to finish. Eventually we got to a stopping point and went to buy a Eugene Map so Muscle Man could create his spectator plan. Then it was time for dinner. I usually ate Spaghetti the night before long runs and did not want to deter. When we saw the "Marathon Discount" at a classy place near our hotel we stopped in. I had an AMAZING meal of chicken, rice and fresh veggies, paired with a salad and water... YUMMERS!! And I had a little take home box for later. We shopped for food and supplies then drove to scope out morning and post race parking. We settled in our room. I got my gear ready and went to SLEEP! I fell to sleep quickly, still not nervous at all. At 3:30am I had a NIGHTMARE that I missed the race and could not fall back to sleep before the 5:45am wake up call.
- RACE MORNING:
Got in line for the Honey Buckets, people who cut in line or make new lines (Amanda) drive me CRAZY!!! There are lines for a reason and if we all wait in them we will get through faster...OK off my soap box now. We took a pre-race photo, I took off my outer-layer and got in the start area about 20 minutes early. I felt calm, I was even yawning because I was so relaxed. I checked my chip, made sure my shoe was tight, got my Garmin ready and adjusted my Ipod in one ear. All set. I looked around for Jen as the Pacers came in the Corral. No Jen. The National Anthem echoed through the loud speakers as I stared at the side of Hayward Field, I knew I would be back and hoped it would be in less than 3:40 :)
- THE RACE:
- Chomp every 2-3 miles and Gu on the 5's. Gu had sent me their Performance Energy Sampler HERE which was PERFECT, I even tried a couple new flavors Lemon Sublime. YUMMERS! I know what it feels like to run out of fuel. Imagine a car out of gas, the trick in a Marathon is to fuel before you need it, once you are on fumes it is too late. This mental plan would prove to be very important in the later stages of the race. I had my handheld and drank whenever I wanted, I do not like water stops, I always spill :)
Mile 3 already and there was hubby, I cheesed for a photo, feet light as I glided past. A man introduced himself "I am Will and I will be in your photo forever" So funny, I love runners. The miles blended together as I enjoyed people watching and scenery. I paid close attention to my Garmin pace and the road. My plan was to stay on the level part of the road avoiding sloped areas that can cause pain in the legs. Many people were chatting happily, I would have enjoyed some company, but I knew I needed to conserve my energy.
Mile 6 there was hubby again with the camera. So amazing to see his smiling face. Soon after I also spotted Alisa, she did not see me so I yelled her name, think I startled her because she dropped her sign. I wonder what the sign said?? I waved and cruised on, I would see her a few more times during the race, always nice to see a familiar (well via Blog) face during a race.
Mile 8 was the big HILL, it was steep but not too long. I thought about the Mercer island Half Marathon and my 23.3 mile training run in Point Defiance, this was CAKE! Mental images of my training kept my mind sharp and my belief strong. Headed down there was Muscle Man again. I knew that he would be at mile 13 with my fuel belt, the plan was to swap the handheld for the fuel belt leaving my hands free for the second half. I followed the crowd into a BEAUTIFUL park. One thing I must say about the Eugene course is that it is very scenic, there is one section from 10-12ish that is GROSS and industrial, but it does not last long.
Mile 13.1 Once I hit the half way mark I realized I had banked around 5 minutes!!! What a boost of confidence. Quick swap with hubby and I was off again. I took my salt tab to avoid cramping. My legs were starting to feel heavy so I sped up, sounds funny but it helps me. The middleish miles of the race are a BLUR... -
- 14ish I high fived 2 little girls and later a few more kiddos, I thought about our little studs.
- I jockeyed back and forth with 3 women who seemed to be in my age group. A girl in all white with a bushy bouncy ponytail, a slim redhead, and a short haired tiny-pocket runner in black.
- Saw Muscle Man at mile 17 and was starting to FADE, so I took a Gu early and kept on. The photos from mile 17 are too HORRID, but you know me I will show you anyhow LOL!
- At mile 18ish I planned to use some banked time. I let myself SLOW, not too far but I was OK with the pace, it chimed at 8:23, still at goal pace which was AWESOME. (Will review my Garmin stats once I can get them to upload)
- Along the was there were lots of GREAT people playing instruments, blasting music from their cars, spectating from their front lawns and cheering loudly, the crowd support was perfect. One lady had a small circular water bottle with no label...hmmmmm she was offering it to runners, I opted to pass on that one. WEIRD!!
- The weather was ideal, no wind, clowd cover and just under 60's. When the sun came out I was happy to be wearing my pink hat.
- I LOVE LOVE LOVE being in the woods, park, hiking, etc. Much of the course felt like a nice run across beautiful landscape. I could feel myself smiling for no reason, people probably though I was crazy.
- I spotted many many runners along the course in Boston gear, I smiled because I knew that I would be there.
- I had 4 spectators who would yell "Go Tall Mom" and "There is Tall Mom Again" every time I passed, made me smile.
- A VERY HAIRY man in a trench coat was stumbling along the path, not sure where he was headed but he was CLEARLY intoxicated at 10am.
- I saw Alisa with a sign that said something about "Walls have doors, smash through" and I yelled "What Wall?" She said "You look great!" and I felt it..
- In the Park there was a fence with 3 hearts shaped out of vines, VERY COOL!
At mile 21 I wished I had told Muscle Man to bring a water, my fuel belt had 2 bottles one with water and one with blue Gatorade. The Gatorade did not sound good and I had used my water to down the Gu. I had to use water stops the rest of the race, which probably cost me about 30 seconds, lesson learned :)
Miles 22-26.2 were the SLOWEST miles ever. I had not hit the wall, but I struggled to keep my pace up. I was glad that I had banked time. A woman passed me and said "You look strong," as she zoomed by, she must have saved her speed. The path was green and weaved through parks. Thin athletic looking men were dropping left and right, massaging calf cramps and stretching quads, made me sad for them and VERY BLESSED that my legs continued strong. I planned to kick up the pace the last 3.1 so I did. I started picking off people, including bushy ponytail girl who had been 100-200 yard ahead of me the whole race.
I never looked back during the race, not sure why, guess I was afraid the 3:40 pacer would catch me :) I saw a young woman in a Boston jacket at mile 23ish and said "I will be there next year," she smiled and yelled "Congrats you are doing GREAT!"
- LAST MILE OF A MARATHON IS F-O-R-E-V-E-R
My math skills were done, I could barely keep my eyes open, my mental capacity was nearly maxed, there was a tall woman in blue ahead, I focused on her and kept my arms moving. I passed a few men and hoped to see Hayward field, it was so far away and my legs were done...it was mental!! I was tired of being so focused, tired of shaking out my arms, Gu-ing on specific intervals and making sure to keep steady breathing and pace. My mind was more tired than my body. As I entered the field I thought about Zoe and her kick to the Finish Line, I knew she would be PROUD if I chicked a few guys, so I did :) There were timing mats, a photographer and a Jumbotron, I put my arms up and flexed, the crowd cheered.. I know it was a little boastful, but it was for my Muscle Man, it was my pose of strength. And I had just run 26.2 miles and qualified for Boston!!!!! I hope the pictures turned out good. Then I realized hmmm it was not the finish...UGH!! I probably could have gotten a sub 3:37 if I would have run strait through, Oh well. DONE. STOP. I DID IT!!!!!
The most beautiful and huge medal was draped around my neck as I hobbled to remove my timing chip. I smiled and yelled, I was so excited I could not contain my joy!! Grabbed a few things from the post-race grub, said a quick hello to Tiffany from Dailymile, got my official results and found Muscle Man. Recovery socks, chocolate milk, fishy crackers and a seat to watch others finish. Hubby texted a few family and friends, I had left my phone in the car, not realizing that the website tracking was not working.. UGH! I was so happy, felt so blessed, knew that everything had aligned and my training had paid off.
- This week I will have a few posts dedicated to Eugene, Photos, Stats, Lessons learned, and Thanks You's. We will be moving also, so bear with me as I am STILL absent from commenting. Signing off Tall Mom Mel the Boston Qualifier!!!
- For those of you participating in the Tall Mom 5K on 5/5 please bear with me, I am TRYING to pull it together..