Place: 139 out of 2352 overall, 42 out of 190 M30-34
Heart Rate: 188 Average
I will admit that normally I try to make my race reports as short, punchy and
Of course, the irony of this post is that it is probably the longest that I've went before writing a race report. But, just like a fine wine or brewing beer, hopefully time only made it less likely to remember your name and more likely to hit on the dude at the end of the bar.
Before my wife, son and I got to Eugene (Track Town USA), I asked around to find out exactly what there was do to in the city. The answers that I received? They were all NOT in Eugene. Everything was "well, if you have a car, you could drive 60 miles to something fun". Or, "Well, Eugene is a college town, so there are lots of bars!". Or, "there are a bunch of good hiking trails". Hmmm, so either drive far away, punish my already battered liver, or use my precious legs. Bummer - pass on all. Soooo, my wife and I essentially did whatever we could in a college town with a 17 month old in tow. Read: not a lot.
Probably one of the most important things that we did was check out Pre's trail. Steve Prefontaine is a local track legend who met an untimely death. At one time he held all of the USA records from 1M to 10K. Anywhoo, his trail was going to be the highlight of the trip (from a tourist perspective). Turns out if you're trying to save your legs for a marathon.... It's just a normal trail that takes about 2 min to see. Bummer:
Pre's trail. Mustache not included
Since we arrived into town a full three days early (you know, to see all there is to see in Eugene), I went to the expo on Friday to try to avoid the large crowds. The expo was pretty decent sized, but was a bit strange. It was in a hotel, but wandered along the main floor hallways, in and out of conference rooms. It was similar to an IKEA store, but with fewer meatballs, no assembly required, and everything cost a lot more. Now, I am not saying that I am the smartest runner out there, but honestly, it was all a bit confusing - to the point that I could NOT find the race shirt to pick up. I actually had to go back on Saturday because I realized that I missed it entirely on Friday! Why they didn't have the shirts near the bib pick up is beyond me.
Conference room 1 of.... 5? Maybe? Lord knows
What else did you expect me to wear to the expo?
Nerdy yet funny print shirt just like I wore 90% of the time in highschool? Check.
One thing that we did actually do in Eugene was browse a hippy flea market. I guess there are a lot of hippies in Eugene? It essentially had everything that you'd expect a market to have: Mushrooms, knit hats,
un-bra'd bosoms, bongo drums, beaded necklaces, and more dread locks than a medical marijuana convention. But, soon enough my legs were starting to feel tired so it was back to the hotel. Afterall, I had a race to run!
Please do not feed the hippies
Unless you have extra Doritos or some beef jerky
Sooo, like I said, we spent lots of time hanging in the hotel. Which, with a young kid is just fine by me! 10x easier than trying to keep him away from the old lady w/ the big hair in the restaurant booth behind us.
Maxing and relaxing in the hotel on the couch
Hanging out WalMart style - no shoes, no shirt, and just a diaper. Classy
Maybe we should throw the diaper in the parking lot to round out the role-play?
Who needs toys!? I've got drawers and a mini fridge!
The last thing we did (and honestly, this is quite literally a complete listing of the things we did in Eugene) was goto a few good microbrew pubs. I suppose that is certainly a benefit of getting to a race location really early - no pressure to not drink! The best part was that one of the more popular ones (Hop Valley) was literally across the street from our hotel. I can't think of anything better after a long travel day with a toddler than to drink 9, 4oz beers. Note: While I am very serious about my training, I fully believe that you have to live your life and not let a hobby completely rule what you do 24/7. Yes, I did have a bit too much to drink during race week. Turns out I did just fine...
Mmmmm, carb loading
I swear I don't remember this photo being blurry
With all of the sights (Pre's trail), smells (hippies, hippy oils), and tastes (micro brewed beer) all out of the way, it was time to race. The day started early, but with all of the early morning miles that I'd been logging, not that much earlier than a normal long run. However, because of some hotel shuttle issues, I got to the start of the race EARLY. Like, so early that they were still setting up the "born to run" music, the port o pots hadn't yet been violated, and they were still finishing up with the finish line setup.
The good part about virgin port o pots? They don't smell like ass.
The bad part? Blue water splashback. I wish I were kidding.
The bad part? Blue water splashback. I wish I were kidding.
The entrance into Hayward Field @ mile 26.1.
I don't remember this part of the race
As I was sitting on a step looking like a hobo in my sweats
We chatted each other up about how awesome Pre was, her race goals, and how it was nearly the perfect day for a run. Read about her PR race here!
Blurry pictures taken by friendly strangers suck.
He was probably shaking at how awesome we look?
Custom made cheering shirt from SUAR
Miles 1-5: Ease into the pace like you're squeezing the toothpaste out of the tube. Don't karate chop it
(7:13, 7:11, 7:14, 7:07, 7:04)
Like I said in my preview post, I wanted to run around 7:30s and then ease into marathon pace of 7:00. As part of my modified Pfitz 18/70 plan (18 weeks long, peak at 70 miles per week) I consistently ran negative splits so I knew that I could do it in the race itself as long as I didn't get stupid. (so, maybe like 50/50 chance). I figured if I ran at a pretty easy pace until the first real hill I'd be home free.
Of course, when I said 7:30 pace, I knew I'd run faster than that....but I still wanted to hold it to 7:15s. I suppose I SORT OF did that through the first 4 miles or so. Kind of. ;)
The first 5 miles started out good. There was a bit of a crowd, but because I start up towards the front it spreads out rather quickly. I've turned into one of those runners that's a lot like the Jeff Foxworthy bit...... "In the bedroom, men are like a firecracker.... short fuse, quick explosion. But women are like a diesel engine.... get 'em warmed up and they'll go all night long!" So, once I get warmed up, I can go for a while.
Mile 2.5ish. I'd guess 60% of these people were half marathoners shooting for a 1:35ish finish
Miles 6-10: Oh crap, did I catch up to the 3:05 pacer? Bring on the bonk any second.
(6:56, 7:00, 6:49, 7:07, 6:56)
Honestly, these miles sort of just chugged along. I wanted to be running 7:00 pace by this time, so when I saw a bit of a fast mile I'd slow down a bit and when I saw a slower mile I sped up a bit. So, I had a few zig zaggy miles in there. Not a TON back and forth, but enough to keep it interesting.
All the while as I was running I saw the 3:05 pacer. Honestly? It scared the shit out of me. I knew that I could run that fast but the thought that I was actually executing on a fast race freaked me out. Sort of like when you find a $100 bill on the ground. You pick it up, sure. But you kind of look around to see if you're getting a prank pulled on you. Well, my good feelings were not a prank.
Miles 11-15: G-l-a-m-o-r-o-u-s. Flying first classssss, up in the sky.... (and other random thoughts)
(7:09, 7:03, 7:01, 6:48, 6:51)
So, around mile 10 or 11, I caught up with the 3:05 pacer. The issue? There were ~20 people running with him!! It was like a 7:05 pace log jam. So, I decided that I would run with him at least through the half, because the route weaved onto a bike path and I could pass the throng anyway.
As I'm running with the masses I honestly had my first chance to think of how I was feeling. I felt GOOD. I went through the half in 1:32:50 and didn't feel a bit tired. When we did go through the half and the pacer saw that he was a few seconds behind, he immediately picked up the pace - and I stuck with him.
Mile 14.5. Still had enough energy to wave!
Miles 16-20: FINE, I'll go for the Boston Qualifier. Jeeze, get off my back!
(6:42, 6:52, 6:52, 7:05, 7:01)
Around mile 15.5, we went up a slight hill and I was sick and tired of following the massive group of people. I'm not a follower, I'm a leader! So, I took the chance and held pace and passed them all. They dropped back to a "normal" pace of 7:05 and I continued to speed up. In, fact, I actually threw a 6:40 in there for good measure.
Which, in hindsight might not have been a good idea. I really started to feel the miles on my legs around mile 18. I'll admit, I braced for the bonk/wall/shit coming out of my pants.
Also, somewhere in here I tried refilling my Clean Water bottle while running at full speed. Yeah, that worked about as well as you'd expect. I spilled water ALL over my phone and actually spilled what little water was left in it. Lovely. The headphones didn't work right for the rest of the race.
(7:01, 7:11, 6:59, 7:02)
Sooooooo, here is when the miles start to get fuzzy. I remember the following things:
- I forgot to eat my last gel at mile 20
- Around mile 22 I started to let myself think that I had a chance at a Boston Qualifier
- I ran out of energy at mile 21. Everything else after that mile was TOUGH
Miles 24-26.2: Boston Boston Boston Boston Boston Boston!!!!!!!!!!
(6:56, 7:13, 7:17, 6:35 - last .2)
My heart rate was 195 for ALL of these miles. My lips were tingling and it took every ounce of energy that I had to continue to push forward without walking. But, I did, and I finished in record time (TWSS).
Last 100 meters
Thumbs up if you feel like you're going to die!
(and actually look like it)
.....and then proceed to ACTUALLY die
Ok fine. Not dead, but close. Very very close.
When I finished I was ROUGH. Like, people asked me if I was OK for 30 minutes after the race ended. But, what did I care? I left it out on the racecourse!!
Boston Victory, 12 oz at a time.
In an effort to get this post out, I'll save my final thoughts for another post. It was an amazing day and a great exclamation point on an amazing training cycle.