Eugene Marathon Recap

Yes, I killed the race.  

Yes, there was some pain.  My knee piped up several times, but it never passed that precipice where you know something is wrong.  Just some dull pain that I tried to shake out and get past.

3:08:17.  160th overall, 31st woman, 10th in my age group (very competitive field!!).  7:12 pace.

Let's divide this recap up into pre-race, during the race, and post race.


It's hard to explain how excited/un-excited I was for this race.  I was SO soooo freaking SICK of tapering.  This was the least physical two weeks of my adult life, and I was literally getting depressed.  I just wanted to freaking get out and RUN A MARATHON.

On the other hand, I was more morose about my knee than I really let on in my prior posts.  There were moments in the two days before the race when it just plain HURT while WALKING, and I had high, high doubts that I would last through 26.2.  As Nelly guessed, I think it is my IT band.

Without too much pomp, I woke up at 6:00 a.m. (thanks to the squealing girls in our hotel...god they were cheery and loud at that hour).

I ate 4 pieces of caffeinated Gu chomps, a banana, a cup of Cherry Juice (helps with inflammation and I don't take NSAIDS anymore after a really bad marathon experience with them), half a caffeinated Gu, and headed out our hotel door at 6:42.  The marathon start time was 7:00.

6:48 or so, doing something weird with my jacket, heading to the front of Corral A

It was cold, so I dug my way to the middle of the A corral and shivered while wishing Panini would come hug me to keep me warm.  I was calm, despite the caffeine.

I didn't warm up or stretch much.  I was just zenning out.


We started a little late, and were off.

The first stretch of road was narrow but the crowd was THICK, so I had no choice but to run the pace of the pack surrounding me.  I felt like we were slowly shuffling, and that the crowd was holding me back -- which was partly frustrating, but I was happy for it because I knew it was forcing me not to go out too fast.

Turns out the first mile was 6:51.  GEEEEEZ.  I truly felt like we were going in slow motion.

The first 4 miles were cold and brisk (40 degrees-ish), very comfortable and easy, and surprisingly fast.  I tried to restrain myself and get to a 7:10 pace, but the 6:50 range felt very natural so I let it happen.

Mile 1: 6:51
Mile 2: 6:55
Mile 3: 6:53
Mile 4: 6:55

Crowd support was off the hook.  Hilarious signs everywhere.  I liked this one: "Chuck Norris never ran a marathon."

I was grabbing water at every stop, and nervously checking on my knee.  All felt perfect through mile 7.

We went up a couple nice-sized hills, which I really liked because they warmed up my glutes and all those other good muscles.  As we headed towards mile 8, I noticed my IT band on that knee was feeling a little dull.  I was having SO much fun, feeling SO good, and just hoping with all hope that my knee would last.

Mile 5: 7:01
Mile 6: 6:54
Mile 7: 6:51
Mile 8: 6:57
Mile 9: 7:09 (hill?)

I saw Panini at mile 8/9, tossed him my gloves, and carried on.

Mile 9, Panini gets the backside as usual

I love how easy to spot that shirt is

We split from the halfers around mile 10, and I immediately shed 90% of the runners around me.

Knowing we were now lonelier -- both in terms of runners and crowd support -- I whipped out my ipod, and literally spent half a mile trying to untangle it while not running into trees.  I thought this would slow me down considerably, but that mile ended up being right around 7:00.

We ran through a beautiful bike trail for a couple miles, and as we neared mile 13.1 I had two thoughts:

1) anyone tracking me at home is going to piss themselves when they see that I ran the first half at 1:31:50, and
2) crap, I can feel a couple angry body parts.

Mile 10: 7:01
Mile 11: 7:06
Mile 12: 7:09
Mile 13:  7:12

That half felt extremely comfortable -- It's crazy how easy the 1:31:50 felt.

But right after it was the point when my IT band began to flare up slightly, and I began noticing problems with my shin splint, and a blister on the pad of my foot.  Nothing even close to prohibitive -- just a little concerning, given that it was only the halfway point.

Miles 13-16 I listened to music, tried to ignore the knee/shin/blister while also listening to the pain for signs I needed to stop, and sucking on a few Gu chomps.

This was my first time eating chomps while running, and I really enjoyed sucking on them -- but noticed that they gave me slight side-cramps.  After my forth Chomp (4 pieces total, not 4 bags of chomps) at mile 22, I never had anymore.  Sugar was sounding really gross by then.

Mile 14: 7:12
Mile 15: 7:12
Mile 16: 7:03

Then I got excited passing this Oprah stadium at mile 16 because I knew Panini was camped out there somewhere.

Eugene is obsessed with Oprah, her logo is on everrryything

And then at 16.5, I spotted him.  Hi Panini!!

Sup.  I'm the best running supporter ever

Seeing him always makes me smile

Surrounded by men. The dude at left was running in plaid.  A true Northwestern

Mile 17 through about 22 were nice.  I slowed things down a bit -- because I knew I could afford to and didn't want to aggravate my legs -- but was still feeling cheery.

All pains were kind of blurring into one general discomfort, but it wasn't very bad.  The last marathon I ran in March of 2010 was much more painful, so I was feeling relatively well, and beginning to believe my knee would last through the whole thing.  I got a little bit of a kick around mile 20 and passed a couple girls.

Mile 17: 7:17
Mile 18: 7:27
Mile 19: 7:13
Mile 20: 7:06
Mile 21: 7:20
Mile 22: 7:28

Miles 23-26.2 were a blur of absolute bliss.

I knew I was going to finish, and knew I could keep up a 7:30 pace (which was still considerably slower than the pace I started with) because I was still feeling strong and full of energy reserves.   I also knew the 3:10 pacer had been behind me since mile 1.5, and that he wasn't going to catch me.

Mile 23: 7:32
Mile 24: 7:29
Mile 25: 7:36
Mile 26: 7:27
Mile 0.28: 1:53 (6:47 pace)

Sprinting towards Hayward Field was glorious.  The crowd cheering at the gates as we entered made me smile ear to ear.  I meant to take off my headphones at this point, but I had picked up my speed and completely forgotten about them -- I don't remember hearing any music.

coolest finish stretch ever

Then I was floating down the straightaway of the track, and it was over.  I felt thirst, and utter joy -- just so thankful that things didn't go wrong and that I didn't have to drop out of the race.   Happy that the weather was so perfect, and the crowds were so fun.

I mentioned on the blog a while back, my goal was to get a PR and break 3:30.

Then I ran a 1/2 marathon in 1:30:00, and with the help of you guys, decided to reach a little higher and make my new marathon goal 3:15--3:20.

Two people -- and one online calculator -- thought I could smash 3:10.  A little voice in my head agreed that it was possible.  Thank you to Lesley and my Mom for  planting the seed in my mind that it was possible.


There was one major flaw with the race.  When you finish, you are directed out of the track towards the area with snacks and drinks.  HOWEVER, they do not allow ANY non-racers into this finishing area.  I had no idea.

So I floated around for about 45 minutes looking for Panini, clueless as to why he wasn't meeting me in the food area like we always do.  I was beginning to panic even -- I just wanted to find him, hug him, get some food and stretch!

Finally, I saw he was perched up on the exit gate yelling for me.  He had been there all along, and some guard was sitting there keeping all spectators out.  I think that is a BS policy -- who wants to eat food alone after finishing? We all want to find our support team and celebrate first, right???

So we ate some of the provided pancakes and I took a bath.  A WARM bath, sorry I will never ice bath.  Then we went out for pizza, and because it was only 1:00 and we had a full day ahead of us, and my legs felt surprisingly fine, we drove out to a mossy park (Greenriver) and did a light exploration hike.

This started with me trying to sign "PR".  It was hard, so I went with this instead

Nice race shirt, eh?

This is just about the the happiest thing for my eyes

I know a lot of people raced this weekend -- share your race results below!