Race Recap: 2015 Eugene Marathon

Gorgeous river walk. Perfect weather. Flat course. Lots of curves. Low key. College town. Easy logistics. Nailed our splits. Worked together. Zero hydration/nutrition issues. Hitting The Wall at mile 20 (in a big way). The pain cave (in a big way). Entering Historic Hayward Field. Sprinting down the home stretch and channeling my inner Pre. 

May 10th, 2015. A memory I won’t soon forget.

The “Athlete’s Village” had this huge banner (above) that had the names of all the runners registered for the race. That was a really personal touch that I loved.

Eugene, OR is home to the University of Oregon. Track Town USA. A total college town, filled with Duck pride, greens and yellows, and a vibe that put me almost back in Boulder. Race morning started super early (because we drove the 2hrs, day-of) but the race was small enough (~2500 runners) that logistics were a breeze.

The starting line was chill. Weez was pumped because he was about to chase down a massive PR. I was over the moon because 1. I’m the luckiest wife in the world, with a husband who only loves running as much as I do and 2. we were just 3.5hrs shy of Hayward Field.

Time to race!

Our strategy for the first 5 miles was to run by feel. I was feeling pretty sluggish the weeks before the race (and our 20 milers were relatively slow // ~9 min pace), so you can imagine my surprise when we hit the 1st mile in 7:15.

We put on the breaks, but somehow came through the Mile 2 in 7:30. So then, I was telling myself to REALLY slow it down, to the point that I thought I was completely botching the race (was it going to be 8:30s? 9s?).

And came through Mile 3 in 7:40. Mile 4 in 7:40. Mile 5 in 7:40. 

At that point, my confidence started to soar and I decided to lock into the pace and forget the watch. 7:40 felt comfortable, light, fresh.

Mile 10 comes and goes, with another 7:40 and I even said to Weez, “We’re running our dream marathon!

I was on cloud 9.
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When we crossed the 13.1 timing matt, I thought first about my parents – cheering us on from afar – and my mama in law, and siblings, friends, and all you guys whose love and support make me feel like a million bucks.

I doubled our 13.1 split, had a moment of nervous excitement, and realized we both had a shot at PRs.

We weren’t chatting much. We were pretty focused on the task at hand. Which, at that point, was now sub 3:20.
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Dr. Weez was crushing it.
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He was either a stride or two ahead of me through Mile 17. All I wanted to do was stay with him so I was pretty mentally shattered when he pulled off for a pit stop at mile 18.

I (admittedly) started tearing up a bit. The crowd was really sweet and I got lots of “hang in there!”‘s because here I was, this ridiculous girl, running through the most lovely, curvy, riverwalk/bike path with spectators holding “CHAFING THE DREAM” signs, crying my eyes out.

Classic Efo.

Miles 18-20 were a happy blur of “maybe Weez will catch me?” “no! don’t let him catch you!”.
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Then Mile 20 hit.

Hello, Wall. 

They say a marathon is a 20 mile warm up, followed by a 10K race. Well I’m here to tell you, I was in no shape to race a 10K. My feet started screaming at me. My hamies were trashed. It was going downhill quickly.

I ran the numbers and while I was bummed I wasn’t going to hit my PR, I was still on track for my (previously lofty) A-Goal: Sub 3:25!

Mile 21 saw it’s first 8:0X split. Followed by another at 22, and another at 23. Ouch ouch ouch.

I played every game in the book to pull myself forward. I repeated quotes in my head. I thought about my mom and sister a ton. It was mother’s day and I wanted to dedicate every step to them, because they are the most dedicated, loving, supportive women I’ll ever know. They are my rock stars.

But I was in the pain cave. It hurt. It hurt bad. I grit my teeth, and by some miracle, I made it to Mile 25 without a mile over 8:10.

And then all the sudden, there was the University of Oregon up ahead! Spectators were lining the streets again and I remembered I was about to run into Hayward Field!

I made the turn, ran through the green gates, and started sprinting with everything I had left.
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What an honor it was, to be invited to sprint down that legendary finishing stretch. I thought about Pre and the Olympic Trials and how running changed forever when U of O’s coach Bill Bowerman started this little company called Nike.

And then there was the clock, up ahead. Oh that sweet sweet finish line! I did it! Sub 3:25!

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Official Results
3:24:21 (7:48 pace)
15th AG (of 118) // 50th female (of 724) // 247th overall (of 1,474)

I didn’t even have time to start whimpering in pain when I heard the announcer scream, “From Portland, Oregon… here comes Brian Why-Zen-Hour!” (it’s pronounced WE-zen-hour).
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Like a BOSS, this guy DESTROYED his previous PR and came in at 3:25. So ridiculously proud of him. I love this guy.
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Major thanks to The Eugene Marathon, the volunteers, and all the amazing spectators and kiddos that lined the course and added a huge personal touch the the day. Thank YOU guys for all the love and texts and tweets. I will always and forever adore the running community.

I absolutely love being a Runner.

A Marathoner :)

Here we go, marathon #9!

I’m sitting here next to a tall glass of water, in my running shorts and tank, having completed my last shake out run before the Eugene Marathon tomorrow.

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4 months of training came and went just like that, didn’t it? Hilarious that my last post was about registering for Eugene, and now this post is the Pre Race one. But here we go!

I want to recap my training a little, because this cycle was different than years prior and here’s why:

1. The Running Streak lives! I completed my 495th day of running-in-a-row, today. I am beyond grateful for this gift. I so appreciate that I can lift both legs off the ground every day to hit the trails/pavement/treadmill: injury free, happy, healthy, mobile. This streak is more meaningful to me than the miles. My body lets me play outside every day. I really am lucky.

2. Quality > Quantity. Now you’d think the above bullet point would mean it’s all about the quantity, but that it is not, my friends. Weez and I toned down the mileage and just listened to our legs. This cycle followed the usual build up to 2 20-milers thing, but the week day runs were light and deliberate.

3. More Sleep. We rearranged our running routine (thanks to the HUGE benefit of both working at Intel) to meet over lunch, instead of waking up at 4:30AM like we did in 2014. This meant way more sleep, happier legs, and a much needed improvement to the relationship with work/life balance.

4. Mild winter. Sorry midwest friends, but the PNW had such a wonderfully mild winter/spring. It’s been in the mid 50s or warmer since February. It’s always more fun to run when weather is on your side.
2014-09-6 HikeMtHood (52 of 63)

5. Weight. Be it as it is, I weigh more today than I did a year ago. Race weight is not a thing I tried to achieve this year, but the demon still rides my back. I fight the battle with myself all too often but try to keep reminding myself that I am healthy and that’s as good as race weight skinny.

As for realistic race day goals?

A. Sub 3:25
B. Sub 3:30
C. Enjoy Track Town USA and the massive, massive treat of sprinting down historic, legendary, iconic Hayward Field into the finish line. I almost want to bring my phone during the race, just for that moment.

You can track us (Weez is racing, too! He’s going for a big PR/anything sub 3:40) by clicking HERE or set up race day tracking HERE.

See you at the finish line, Marathon #9! Here we go!

PS. Happy Mother’s Day to all the incredibly strong women out there that are MOMS. Especially, to my mama :)

The Next Big Thing

It doesn’t take long post-race to get the itch back. That, “when’s the next race?”, bug. The next big thing. Fortunately for us, we live in Oregon, a state known for its plethora of gorgeous, competitive races.

Our next Big Thing criteria were:
1. Marathon. Weez and I are both excited to get after those longer, long runs (LRs) and chase after some serious distance again.

2. Local. We’re tying to save vacation days and benjamins for the next big travel thing, so we wanted to keep a race low cost and no days off work.

3. Sweet venue. Gotta be somewhere cool. New and different outside our usual trails and city limits.

4. Fast. I’m a sucker for a good, hard training cycle with tons of speed work and sweat-in-your-eyeball kinds of workouts. My PR is 3:20 (can we see teens?). We wanted a race we could really turn on the heat and crank out some fast miles.

5. Spring race. We’re ready to start training now.

It didn’t take 5 minutes on the internet before a clear winner came to view.

Enter, the Eugene Marathon.
Eugene Marathon

May 10, 2015.

The race literally ends on the home stretch of the historic, infamous Hayward Field. Home to the University of Oregon track program, Prefonaine Classic, and many USATF Championships and Olympic Trials. Legends have raced there. PRE raced there. I mean, no biggie or anything.

So here’s to a healthy, dedicated training cycle ahead!

18 weeks, baby!

Who wants to join us?!?
What’s on deck for you? 
Anyone run Eugene before?