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.
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.
Dr. Weez was crushing it.
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.
Miles 18-20 were a happy blur of “maybe Weez will catch me?” “no! don’t let him catch you!”.
Then Mile 20 hit.
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.
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!
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).
Like a BOSS, this guy DESTROYED his previous PR and came in at 3:25. So ridiculously proud of him. I love this guy.
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 :)