a blog about running fast with style
And now we race? Right?
Okay, so I was a bit hesitant entering this race weekend and had mixed/complicated feelings about racing in general. On the one had I’d had about 4 weeks of solid training but on the other had I’d blown-up in almost every tempo run. Still my track work was solid and I had decent long runs so that has to count toward something?
Just get to the start line.
I’d managed to ignore the course map most of the week. Being from Eugene I had a pretty (okay very) good idea of the course. But come Saturday night I had to borrow a map from my roomies and cram.
The break down of the half course is really nice. The first mile runs by Hayward (and is part of my old warm-up route) a quick turn on 24th and a quick loop in the College Hill Neighborhood and then out to the Amazon stretch. Miles 2 through about 4.5 are out by Rexius trail. Miles 4.5-7 run on the other side of the trail around Amazon and then over towards the hill. Mile 8 everyone’s favorite up 19th. Mile 9 is at Hayward and then a quick little 4 mile loop out to River trail and back to the stadium. Easy right?
I liked the break down of the course and planned on taking it out in about 7:00-6:50s to be conservative. At mile 4.5 I figured I’d open things up until the hill on 8, steady up the hill and then get the gears shifting around between miles 9-10 depending on how the legs felt. and then run it in. Did I mention I haven’t had a good tempo run yet?
The day was prefect running weather. Nicely over cast and cool. I ran an easy 2 mile warm-up (my legs felt awful) stretched and was off to the start line. I’ve had many a bad warm-up so it didn’t bother me (much). I saw my old coach at the start, chatted for a minute and then found my way to the corral where I saw one of my favorites faces:
Yep that’s my running bestie Megha who’s back in Portland now. We stuck together for the first mile and then she took off (and might I add ran an excellent race).
The race started down Agate towards 24th and my goal was to NOT go out too fast. I wanted to run 6:50s but was going to be okay with 7:00s. As I passed Hayward Field, the warm-up fields and the neighborhoods I realized I might be in for a long day. My breathing was going just fine but my legs felt beat and I could tell my hamstrings were tight, like snap in two tight.
I can do this.
I’ve run on tired/tight legs a million times so this is no different and who knows anything could happen maybe they’ll open up (optimism is so cute).
Well spoiler alert: my legs didn’t find life and didn’t loosen up but I was determined to not let it get to me. I passed the first mile marker and on to 2. I knew miles 2 to 4.5 were going to feel a bit harder because they were slightly up hill but I also knew I could make it back from 4.5-7.
I hit the Amazon loop by Rexius Trail and I tried to stay relaxed. Now time for a quick (okay not so quick) round of “Random Eugene Facts That Everyone Should Know“. Rexius trail is named after the guy on right.
Okay that’s my dad (green shorts) on the left and Marv Rexius (black shorts- but he wouldn’t know that because he was color blind) is on the right. (I don’t think they wanted to have their picture taken but that clearly did not stop my mom). Let’s try this again:
Marv’s on the left (my dad is on the bed with the super sweet shorts) and that’s Guy in the blue. Okay one more (promise):
Marv’s in the purple shirt on the right (next to my dad). I think this might be a Hood to Coast finish?
My dad and Marv were running and real life besties. Marv’s not with us anymore and it’s still hard for me to talk about (so I won’t because I’ll cry). A few years ago the last mile in the Eugene Marathon was Marv’s mile. Marv was and still is a big part of the Eugene running family. He’s owns a forest by products company has helped bark most of Eugene’s trials, from Pre’s to Amazon to Rexius.
More importantly he was just a great guy. He had a wicked sense of humor and he’d always get this twinkle in his eye and you knew something mischievous was about to go down. He was truly about the nicest guy you’ve ever met (had you actually met him). I still miss him. I used to run with him and my dad and they were like two big kids and I knew that I wanted to be like them when I grew up.
Maybe that’s why I sign-up for races with random people I meet on the internet, like these girls (I think a few of them might be mischievous):
Meet my roomies: Kelli, Me, Kackelac, Lime, Meghan and Emily (you should read their blogs they are way better at capturing all the fun- and way more timely bloggers, well except for Ms. Kackelac who is bloggless.)
Okay, enough “Random Eugene Facts That Everyone Should Know“. As I made my way out to the turn around I couldn’t help but look over and see Marv’s trail. My legs were tired (I know it’s only like mile 3) but I pushed all my doubts aside and thought that Marv wouldn’t give-up at mile 3 and neither would I.
I stayed relaxed and settle into my pace. I was really happy with how things were unfolding. My first mile was 6:45, then 6:47, 6:48 and 6:50. All on track.
Then we hit the little hill and the turn around. My legs lacked any and all power and I lost contact with the group I’d been running with: 6:57. I did my best to try and catch the group but just couldn’t. My turnover was missing.
I was on the downhill at this point so I tried to open my stride up and relax. But my legs were stiff and wouldn’t turnover. I managed a 6:47 and 6:41 and saw my old coach again. We chatted and my breathing was still good but my legs and hips were tight.
And then the hill. Not horrible 6:53 and 7:05 but it took the life out of my legs. I tried to push it out of my mind grabbed some Nuun at mile 9 and carried it with me for a while managing to find a little turn over. By this point I’d ditched my cliff blocks because they were making me sick. (I actually felt sick to my stomach starting at mile 6 and it never really went away).
I knew it was time to pick it up. I planned on building speed on mile 10 and then really get the turnover going on 11, 12 and 13. I found 6:47 but it was hard and I was frustrated but there were lots of twists and turns so I just kept fighting. I still had time to get things going. 6:43, a little better. And then everything tightened up. Try as I might I could only muster a 6:51 and 6:50 and I was pushing it.
I’m usually good for 6:20s at the end of race/workout but not this go around. I hit Hayward for the finish and saw my time was under 1:30 and I was happy.
(Sorry for the 10 million race pics but I’m pretty excited about my new singlet :)).
I was happy to be done, happy it was a PR but still just a bit disappointed. Not so much disappointed with the time, it was a PR but I wanted the race to feel better. With that being said though I was pretty proud of myself for not giving up or crying on the curbside (don’t laugh it has happened) and for continuing to push.
It helped that I had so many friends there including peeps from Nuun and Oiselle. I saw a bunch of my dad’s old running group, college friends and friends from when I lived in Eugene and that made the whole experience amazing and yes just a little bit magical.
At the end of the day it might not have been the gigantic PR of my running dreams and it might have hurt more than I wanted but I raced and shared an amazing weekend with a pretty amazing running family.
And we all know I’m bad at conclusions… so,
run pretty run fast
p.s. They gave me this so that’s pretty cool too: