Sunday, April 28, 2013

Eugene Half Marathon

Half Marathon that is.  :-)

This was another early morning race.  Race time was at 7:00 a.m.  We woke up around 4:30 a.m. and headed out the door by 5:00 a.m.  We parked at the Lane County Fairgrounds, the race organizers had several spots around town that people could park and then be shuttled to the starting area.  We were in line around 6:25 a.m. for a bus but we think they only had one that was going out to the start and coming back.  We didn't fit on the bus that showed up after we got in line and it took over 15 minutes for it to come back.  

Waiting to get on the shuttle to the start.  It was a little cold.  

We got to the starting area only 5 minutes before race time.  That was a bit stressful!  They lined us up in corrals according to our pace that we had entered when we registered.  Joe was in the C corral.  I was in the E corral.  :-) 

I'm always amazed when I see people I know at these things.  There are thousands of people and yet I find friends.  One of my newest friends is Betsy who is a huge inspiration to me.  She has lost a ton of weight through running and biking.  She has been getting off of all the medications that she was on for various issues that come with being heavy.  She did a full marathon last December in Hawaii.  I basically want to be her when I grow up.  The best part is that she always has a smile on her face and a great attitude.  Every time I see her I feel encouraged and that I can do this.  :-)   She found me before the race started so we got this fun picture.

Betsy and Me!  Pre-Race smiles :-)
I was much slower when I registered so I was back with the walkers.  Next year maybe I will get to start sooner.   They had staggered starts so it took awhile for our turn to get going.   We finally crossed the start line at 7:15 a.m.

Waiting for our turn to start.
The first couple of miles were tough.  The back of my thighs were hurting, especially on my left leg, all the way up to my behind.  I really wanted to walk.  I mean I REALLY wanted to walk.  I pushed through because I just knew that if I started walking in mile 2 this race would be as miserable as last year.   I was not going to have that again.  The leg started feeling better after mile 2 so I'm glad I pushed through.  I walked at all the water stations but other than that I kept a pretty steady pace.  I did well with my Shot Bloks and used my inhaler at mile 8 because there was a significant hill for about 3/4 of a mile.    I got really tired after mile 10 and really had to push to keep going.  My pace was still pretty solid so that was good.  

Another thing I love about this race is the supporters.  There are people sitting in their yards with cow bells (and beers!)  People that had made signs for their friends and families and then brought out signs to cheer on the rest of us.  Little kids who wanted to get high fives as the runners go by.  Around mile 5 there was a school that had a whole bunch of parents and kids cheering on the runners.  One of the boys had a sign that said, "You have to be half-crazy to run 13.1 miles."  I told them I was all the way crazy because I am a Middle School Teacher.  The teachers that were standing there laughed big time.  Stuff like that just jazzes me up and makes it a little easier to keep going.  Thank you to all those wonderful people that stood out there and cheered on complete strangers for hours!  You rock!

Mile 12 was where I started having problems.  They had one last water station at mile 12, just a little over one more mile to go.  I walked like I had at every water station throughout the race.  When I started up again I could feel a spot on my left foot that was hurting.  I knew I had a blister.  It was on the inside of my foot and it hurt!  How do I go from just feeling tired to feeling like someone is sticking a pin in my foot in the blink of an eye?  I walked for a bit and adjusted my sock and got going again.  Then suddenly my calves started getting really tight.  I ended up walk/running the last mile.  Not the way I wanted to end but I also didn't want to get injured.  I knew I had been on track to beating my Corvallis Half time but now I wasn't sure.  

Here's how my splits ended up:

Quite a few negative splits and nothing over 13'30" even with having to walk/run the last mile!
I love coming into the end of this race.  There are a ton of people standing on either side of the route going into the track.  Then you hit the track and there are people all along the corner and the stands are full of people.  All those wonderful people who have come to watch their loved ones do this crazy thing.  All of the runners who had already finished and were watching for their friends so they could cheer them on.  I always run the end, no matter how crappy I feel.  Today was no different.  Managed to suck it up and get back to my good pace for the trip around the track.  What a great feeling.  I was pretty sure I was going to PR again and even with the 15 minute difference on the course clock I knew I had PR'd again.  My friend Faylene said she was watching on the live video feed and that I had a big ole smile as I crossed the finish.  :-)  Imagine that.  

Joe was waiting for me in the finisher's area.  He just wrapped his arms around me and asked, "Well?" I started to cry and said that I was pretty sure that I had PR'd again and he just hugged me tighter.  I am very blessed to have such a wonderful and supportive husband.  He NEVER makes me feel like my accomplishments in running are not important.  He can run circles around me and yet he is always proud of me when I make another goal.  I love being married to my best friend!

Yet another finisher medal, another PR and another happy smile.  :-)
Me and my best friend/hubby.  Post-race smiles. :-)
So here are the stats for the last three years of my Eugene Half marathons:

2011 - 3:03:48 with a 14'02" average pace.  (Also, my very first Half Marathon)
2012 - 3:10:23 with a 14'32" average pace.  (Struggled with an upset stomach)
2013 - 2:51:22 with a 13'05" average pace.  (Best time EVER for any Half Marathon!!)

Wasn't able to run the entire thing but came pretty close.  Wasn't able to get a 12'any second average pace but came pretty close.  I've got some goals for next year!

Can't wait to see what I can accomplish next year!

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