Friday, May 3, 2013

Eugene Marathon

Welcome to my Eugene Marathon Race Report! This race was an awesome experience for many reasons:
  • I ran my first marathon ever!
  • My kids all got to run their own races so this was a family affair
  • The events were held at The University of Oregon-Go Ducks!
  • The weather was perfect and made for an awesome, sunny weekend!
Friday: We started off the weekend by packing up our travel trailer and heading out on Friday. We arrived at Deerwood RV Park near Goshen (just S of Eugene) at about 3pm. I love being a trailer-ite! I love that we get to sleep in the comfort and familiarity of our own space. We also save a lot of money. For example, the entire weekend stay cost us just $96 as opposed to say Valley River Inn (one of the main race hotels) which would have cost us as much as $500!! We also saved a bundle on food because we prepped in advance and brought easy food to grill or heat in the oven.

As soon as we arrived I had a huge smile on my face because not only was it warm and sunny but the air smelled of the sweetness of the trees all around us. We had booked a premium spot which basically just meant we were on the outer rim of the RV park, as opposed to being smack dab in the middle. This meant we were just a little bit more secluded. Yes, I will get to the rest of the weekend, but I wanted to write a short review in case there are other running trailer-ites like us :) I highly recommend Deerwood RV Park if you plan on running any big races in Eugene.

On to the weekend...

On the agenda for our first evening was the Health and Fitness Expo!

The Expo was located at the Lane County Fairgrounds this year, at the Lane County Events Center. We got turned around a bit in the downtown one-way streets but finally made it with about an hour and a half to spare before it closed.
My littlest man
A nice volunteer at the entrance welcomed us and gave us directions...Packet Pick-Up then Expo!

I found my name and bib number among the huge banner of racers
 We all picked up our bibs and our race bags and proceeded into the Expo Hall. The race bags were nice reusable bags donated by Safeway. Inside we got our free Jamba Juice coupon and a Clif Shot Gel (Chocolate Cherry). Every one of our bags got a Clif Gel which meant Mama got to stock up since the boys aren't allowed to eat them with the caffeine they contain ;) The rest of the goodie bags were in a virtual form with coupons mostly. I ended up using one coupon and got $5 off my registration for the Helvetia Half Marathon in June.

To be honest, I was disappointed that there wasn't more at the Expo. On the top of my list was to find a K-Tape booth and get my L ankle taped. Ben wanted to see if there was anyone there fitting folks for running shoes. There weren't any women's-focused apparel, and only one booth with about a million headbands that I just wasn't interested. Unfortunately it was just a 'meh' kind of Expo :(

On the good side, there was a nice assortment of race apparel, Oregon Track Club was represented, Tiger Tail, The Stick, Gu gels and Clif Shot Blocks, Biofreeze (Yes!), and a few more booths. There were quite a few other booths where you could sign up for other races or buy marathon-themed car decals and apparel. Each booth was offering its own discount if you registered, but I wasn't very impressed. Only $5 off coupons. When registrations are easily at least $75 for half marathons and more for fulls or special races (such as Rock n Roll), $5 doesn't even cover your surcharge at The Clif Pacers were there to chat with runners and hand out bracelets with paces on them. We stopped at the Biofreeze booth and purchased a bottle of gel and a roll-on (so cool and convenient!) at a slight discount. Way to go Biofreeze, you offered a home run, because I knew I was going to be glad I got those! Krusteaz was there with a game booth where if you threw the beanbag into the hole (cornhole game), you won a free box of baking mix. All of our boys tried it and our youngest won a chocolate cookie mix. You could also create your own pancake mix, but we skipped it.

Pictures from the Expo:
Oregon Track Club photo op!
 There was a huge banner for all of us to sign to send to The Boston Running Club

On the way out the last stop was to pick up your race t-shirt. The little boys' shirts were grey cotton with a nice logo and sponsers on the back and Caleb and I both got dark gray tech shirts of the same design. Mine was women's medium and is a little bit tight but I'm still going to run in it. Um, you'd better believe it!
All of us with our bibs! My husband ran as a chaperone for the two littles
Along with our bibs, we were given these black ribbons to wear in honor of Boston.
So the Expo was not the best...but that was actually ok with the kids. They wanted all of the free samples, pamphlets, candy, etc that they could fit in their bags and by the time we reached the end (which really didn't take long), I was ready to go.

After the Expo we headed back to our home away from home for dinner. I snapped a few pictures
Notice the Clif pacing bracelets? I was feeling very ambitious!
This bib is definitely one of my favorite!
We ate a carb-o-licious dinner of baked spaghetti, steak and whatever else we brought (um...who forgot the veggies?) then we hit the hay around 9, a decent hour. 

Saturday:  I woke up around 6am and got the coffee on as everyone took their own time getting up. The kids' races were at 8:00 and 8:30, so we left the trailer around 7:15 to get to the U of O campus in time to figure out where the starting line was. Packets were available for pick-up Saturday morning but the great thing was that by picking up our packets and bibs the night before, we did not have to worry about it! Same-day packet pick-up is nerve-wrecking!

My husband and 9-year-old and 7-year-old at the start of the 1K Duck Dash
The sun was shining, the temperatures were chilly but warming up quickly and we were ready to have some fun! The 1K started precisely at 8:00 and they were off! Not just a few minutes after they started, kids started arriving at Hayward Field, so we ran to get a spot to watch their finish!

Ben and Aaron ended up running together the whole way while Samuel took off ahead. In fact, Sam ran so far ahead I did not even see him coming nor get a picture of him at the end. He ran a 5:45 1K-not bad! All of the boys loved finishing on Hayward Field. They all felt like rockstars!
Home Stretch!
The Duck was there to cheer everyone on!
Sam had not picked up his medal quite yet, but here they are all done
I had to get a photo with my favorite mascot!
The family reunion area was great. They had some games set up for the kids, water and Gatorade, bagels, bananas, oranges, chips, fruit snacks, etc. They also had a nice pancake breakfast going on (sponsored by Krusteaz)
Cute boys and their medals!
Next was our 13-year-old's race. He was running the 5K. He did so awesome! He ran it in 20:50/6:45 min/mile...a spectacular time! He got 5th in his age group. 

Here is a video of Caleb coming down the finish:

The Rockstar after his race!
After Caleb's race, we hung out and perused the booths and things and enjoyed the sunshine. Then it was time to walk back to our car. We passed The Duck Store and had to go in. I ended up buying the "Stop Pre" shirt that I've wanted for some time. I could seriously drop some dough at The Duck Store!

Once we got back to the trailer, we grabbed a few things and headed for an hour drive to visit with my grandparents, parents, uncle, and brother's family. It was a great way to spend the day. I got to hang out with loved ones and it really took my mind off of the race. The sun was shining though and it was quite warm. I wanted more than ever to sit and bake in it all day (it felt so good!) but I sucked down water and paced myself with sunshine instead. 

Saturday night everyone got to bed early so Mom could get a good-night's rest! My family has become quite accustomed to what is expected at these race weekends. I laid out my clothes and goods so I would be all ready. I slept better than usual, and I didn't have the "I missed the start" nightmare! 

Among my arsenal...Shot Blocks, Clif Shot Gel, iPhone arm band and ear buds, Alba sunscreen, NutriGrain Bar, Banana, BodyGlide, Hat, little black gloves...and my bib and ribbon were pinned and ready!
Another great banner on the backside of the stadium...

Which is a great segway to my marathon story! 


Sunday I got up around 5:20am (no biggie for me since I've been doing it for nursing school since September). I had a nice cup of coffee and ate something. I can't remember what it was because I had zero appetite, but I ate something anyway. I got dressed and all wired up and actually remembered every single thing I needed. What a relief!

Great running weather!

My husband and I left the RV Park around 6am and were at the race start by 6:15. We were getting good at this! I walked a block or so and immediately used a port-a-potty before the lines got crazy long. It was chilly so I had brought my Race For the Roses shoe bag so I could check my coat and anything else I didn't feel like carrying for 26.2 miles. 
I wrote this on my arm on race day
Racers were assigned corrals for the first time this year. I was placed in Corral D which I was thinking might be kind of slow for me. The only bummer was that I was pretty far back and couldn't really hear anything going on at the starting line! I chatted with other friendly runners until it was our turn to start. It was inspiring to see all of the runners wearing clothes, ribbons and writing on their bodies to honor Boston. I didn't take many pictures because with the low light they would have been pretty lame.

7am Corral A started, then they started each following corral maybe 30 seconds staggered. We didn't wait long at all. Upon crossing the starting line, We Won't Be Shaken by Building 429 came on. I teared up. I was there, I was now officially running a marathon! And best of all, I was doing it with all of these other runners, determined to show we could not be shaken by jerks who try to terrorize and bully. We were there to show the world that runners are strong and will never give up. 

Here are the highlights (it's hard to remember specifics over 26.2 miles!)

Miles 1-10: I felt like a fricken rockstar. 

5K:  28:15/9:06 min/mile

Around Mile 5 my left ankle started to ache. Uh oh. Thankfully the road banked up to the L a lot here and seemed to take the pressure off. Before I reached the 10K point I had forgotten about it and it had gone away. There were a few mild hills during the first few miles of this race, one in particular around mile 8 that I remember from running the half marathon in 2010. I remember back then feeling like those hills were SO hard. This time I barely felt them! Right from the start, I utilized the water stops and got something every stop. I also used some of the Shot Gel that I had brought (Clif Citrus flavor-low caffeine). I don't love the Shot Gel, but I think the little bit of caffeine really helps! 

Between Mile 7-8 they had bananas at the water station and I went ahead and ate one along with some water, even though I'd never tried it in training. It went down fine. 

Around Mile 9 I found myself also thinking back to the half marathon thinking how badly I had started to hurt at this point. But this day I felt great!

Mile 11: I specifically remember this is where the course split from half marathon and marathon runners. I remember thinking to myself, "Ok, this is it! No turning back now!" There was a great point where the course crossed the Willamette River here too, which was spectacular!

Half Marathon: Half: 2:05:09/9:34 min/mile

At this point I was still feeling pretty strong, but I was beginning to feel it. I had to push the thought out of my mind that the longest I had ever run had been 16 miles...especially when that distance came and went and the pain began. See, around mile 13 I got a terrible side stitch in my RLQ that pretty much hung out for what felt like forever. I tried different methods of breathing that would work for a little bit then wear off and it would return. I hate side stitches, they are very discouraging. 

Mile 15: The course curved around Autzen Stadium and I saw my family! It was great! 
Here I am plugging along!
Miles 16-18: I started hurting.  My feet were hurting and my side was killing. I started letting myself do more walking here which at first was a big bummer but after a while just became part of survival mode. 

Mile 20:  20 Mile: 3:28:21/10:26 min/mile

I wasn't as excited to hit mile 20 as I thought I would be. I had officially hit the point where I just wanted it to be over! I do have to say upon looking back on the experience, that had I not been in pain, I would have been able to notice how great a course it was. It followed the river, had lots of woodsy cover, and was a really pretty course. 

Mile 21: I crossed the Owosso Bridge where there was the BEST CHEER SECTION EVER!! I don't know what it was about this particular group but they were so encouraging! I noticed at this point in the race people would cheer for me by name more than before. My name was on my bib and runners were really spread out.
My awesome husband was cheering for me the whole way!

Around Mile 23 guess who caught up to me? The Clif 4:30 pacer group! For a split second I was really encouraged! At this point with the walking and slow jogging I was capable of, I thought I was WAY behind my original goal. 4:30 was not bad! I kept up with them for a little while, but I just couldn't cut it with the pain I was in. I fell back and slogged along. At this point my quote of the day was literally, "Keep Moving Forward"

The final 5K was just the worst. I could not get it over quickly enough. I pushed and pushed and just kept moving. Every step was excruciating. Walking hurt just as bad as the shuffle I had degressed to. The course snaked through a park at some point, and past some baseball fields at another point.

The Mile 25 marker was like a choir of angels. I had completely missed the Mile 24 marker somehow and when I saw 25 I knew I was really going to do it, I was really going to finish this race! I somehow managed to pick up the pace for that last stretch, and before I knew it I had Hayward Field back in my view. I gave every last drop that I had, and trudged toward those gates! I had taken my earbuds out in preparation of this much anticipated moment. 

My husband and kids were standing just inside the gates and the University of Oregon band were just outside. As I approached I heard them playing "The Fight Song" and I could not help but grin from ear to ear. I stood up a little straighter and my feet hit that blessed bright orange track. I saw my family and gave a quick half-wave as I entered the stadium. 

The final 200M wasn't too painful. I was too excited. I passed this girl who looked like she was going to loose her lunch and for a split second almost stopped. But I knew I was barely making it myself so there was no way I was going to be able to help her. 

As I approached The Finish Line, I was nearly alone for the last 100M. For those 20 seconds or so of straightstretch I had my glory moment. The announcer called my name and before I knew it I had crossed the finish. I was most proud that I remembered to put my hand over my heart in honor of Boston. 

I found some race photos on the website of both myself and Caleb. I'm thinking I might have to order some of these! They are pretty great (well most of them)!

I show up at 2:23:45 on this race video:

So as soon as I crossed the finish, I got my medal, space blanket and posed for a picture. Then I headed straight for the med tent for some Biofreeze! I literally had her slather it all over every inch of my legs that was accessible. I didn't sit for long because I didn't want my legs to seize and cramp up. I texted Ben right away and started making my way to where they were. I grabbed a cup of Gatorade first, and a bottle of chocolate milk. Before I crossed over to the family reunion area Ben told me to turn back and grab anything I needed food-wise because once you crossed over to the side where the band and who know's what else was, you could not go back into the post-race area. I can't remember anything but the band. I was so ready to get out of there. I was hurting! 

I hugged my husband and just about collapsed into his arms crying. I think my exact words were, "I would have rather given birth!" LOL But my weepiness didn't last long. I hugged my boys and told them I was ready to go and didn't want to stay. I really never stay for post-race festivities. I am usually too tired. Bummer thing was that I forgot about my checked bag! So I now am less an Eddie Bauer jacket, a Nike headband and a pair of CEP compression socks (the last one hurts the most).

So while Ben went to get the truck, the little boys and I sat near the curb and just hung out. I ate oranges and a bagel while waiting. Once he pulled up, I requested that he take a few pictures before we left and forgot.

This was probably 20-30 minutes post-race and I was already starting to feel least good enough to smile!

Gotta represent the 'O'!!
We headed straight for the RV park as I recounted my race and received my atta-girls from my awesome family. My husband was so proud!!

Once we got to the trailer it was just about check-out time so the boys started packing up and I hit the showers. Man that felt great!! I discovered some sports bra-related chafing, and a HUGE blister on my L little toe. My legs were pretty crampy and tired so I took some ibuprofen. Other than that and feeling quite hungry, I was doing alright! After my shower, I actually felt refreshed enough to lend a hand and help pack up the trailer.

 That's really the end of the exciting part of the trip because after that we headed home! It had been a weekend of epic proportions for sure. I posted the news on Facebook almost right away but it literally took me days for it to sink in that it had really happened...I was really a marathoner!

I will finish off this post with some sweet race bling!!

Half marathoners got a green ribbon, Full wore Yellow

I did it!

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