Friday, May 3, 2013

2013 Eugene Marathon Race Report

Quick look at the stats:

Eugene Marathon, Eugene, OR  
April 28, 2013
Overall: 996/2564
Division Place: 348/1222
Age Group Place:  (30-34) 74/223
Official Time:  3:50:32

Now for the rest of the story, also known as the (very, very, very) long version (seriously, it's long, get comfortable):

I'm not trying to dwell on the negative, but I still haven't quite figured out where it all went wrong.  It was no secret that I set some pretty lofty goals for myself with this race.  I wanted to get a Boston Qualifying time and I wanted a pretty significant PR.  I honestly thought that both were pretty easily attainable.  Not as in it would be "easy" to do it, but that it was well within my capabilities.  I'm not willing to admit that I was wrong, I still think I'm capable, but I think I must need to go about it differently and with a bit more caution.  Anyway...

So, race week...  
Leona came down with a fever on Tuesday and a really nasty cold.  

I kept my distance and cleaned and sanitized like crazy.  I also took us to the beach on Wednesday for some cleansing salt air and water...
buuuuut,  by Thursday morning, both Euan and Jonathan were sick.  I continued to be vigilant but there is only so much one can do about avoiding the germs of a needy 11 month old.  Thursday night, I don't think Dan or I got any sleep.  I was constantly up with Euan and Dan got stuck with Jonny duty, which ended up being him sleeping downstairs on the couch and Euan taking over our bed.  On top of this Dan's parents came into town for the weekend (which was great (It really was, I'm not complaining Yvonne, we loved having you!)but just added more people into the mix).  Friday was spent wiping snotty noses, washing my hands and remaining positive.  Friday night sleep was a little bit better.  Saturday morning I woke up stuffy and with a sore throat but tried to ignore it.  Trying not to feel anxious about the race Euan and I went with Emmeline to her last track meet.  It was warm and windy but a beautiful day for track.  Emme took 2nd in the 400 and 3rd in the 800 as well as 3rd in softball throw with PRs in everything... it was a great way to end the season.
this is the first lap of the 800, she ended up passing that girl shortly after this picture
Euan and I hung out in the shade of the stands until Nana & Papa came with Leona and Jonny and then we joined them in the sunshine.  (Dan and Calvin were at soccer.)
Finally the track meet was over, by the end of it, I was getting pretty antsy and tired of holding this little guy:
he was out cold
We rushed home, I finished packing, Dan made me a sandwich and a really sweet note, I kissed the kids, said goodbye to the inlaws and headed to Eugene.  A quick drive (just under 2 hours, maybe I drove a bit too quickly) and I was ready to check into my motel... which at almost 4pm, was surprisingly not ready for me.  I met my dad and we headed off to the expo to meet Heather, who wasn't running, but wanted to check out the goods.  

Unfortunately the expo was pretty dead.  I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that is was after 4pm on Saturday.  I found my name on the big board:
signed the Eugene for Boston sign:
took a picture of the recyclable water cups and stations (Eugene prides itself on being a green marathon, which even virtual race goodies):
and made quick work of scoring, what appeared to be, the last bag of pancake mix with my super awesome bean bag tossing skills... although I think my 2nd "goal" was questionable:
Then my dad pointed out this awesome marathon shirt that he thought Dan needed:
from One More Mile
and the expo was over.

We parted ways with Heather and headed off to make ready for the race.  I grabbed some salt tabs at REI, we finally checked into the motel, then grabbed some groceries, stopped off to say hello to some Eugene friends and had dinner before retiring for the evening.  By this point I had a killer headache and wanted nothing more than to go to sleep.   Before bed, I laid out my outfit
and painted my fingernails a bright Boston blue.  Heather stopped by to wish me luck and drop off an awesome shirt that said "Life shrinks or expands in relation to one's courage" and it was off to bed.
I slept well, waking at 1 and 3 and 4 before finally getting up at 5.  I thought it was pouring down rain, but it must have just been the freeway noise.  I felt calm and rested and ready to go.  I took a shower (no bath tub at our lovely motel) and got ready to go.  When I came out, my dad had decorated the room:

And before I knew it, it was time for the pre race photos and to head out the door.
feeling tough in my awesome Goodwill toss away sweatshirt, which subsequently,
 I ended up tossing to my dad so I can wear it another race
Things went well at the start.  I had a bit of trouble finding the place to check my bag and then had to stand in line FOREVER to actually check it but that was the only hold up for the morning.  I easily found my way to the front of corral C and listened to "Sweet Caroline" over the speakers during the moment of silence and throughout the national anthem... maybe they didn't realize it was still playing?!

Corral A and B started off and then we moved up to go.  It was kind of cool the way they did it with corrals this year.  I enjoyed being at the front of the start with nothing but open road in front of me.  There was a quick countdown and we were off too.  The one goal I had was to not go out too fast.  Well, so much for that... first mile:  7:39.  I felt great though.  I knew I needed to slow down a bit, but as long as I was feeling strong and confident, I didn't see any reason why running in the 7:40s instead of even 8s would be a bad thing.  Hmmm, I think I know where I went wrong!

The first 9 1/2 miles were awesome.  I was running through my old neighborhood on all my old running routes and it felt great.  I saw my dad shortly after the start, saw some friends just before mile 2,  more friends before mile 4, and even more friends around miles 7 and 8.
I was happy and feeling amazing!  Thanks Michelle for  the pic.
My pace was faster than I had planned but I was honestly feeling great so I went with it.  In the back of my mind, I was having an argument about slowing down... I was afraid that I would crash later, but at the same time I was telling myself that if a 3:30 finish was great then a sub 3:30 would be even better (not to mention give me a bigger chance of getting into Boston) and I was feeling really, really good so I went with it.  Honestly I was feeling too good... almost hyper.  I was giving out high fives to kids and joking with spectators, giving the two handed wave to everyone who called my name... I knew better, I should've known I was going to crash.

Shortly before mile 10, I started to feel that I was in trouble.  I saw an unexpected friend at about the same time, so I put on a brave face for her, but out of nowhere I suddenly felt extreme fear for my ability to finish and extreme fatigue.  In case you didn't know, that is not something one wants to feel at mile 10 of a 26 mile race!  I was able to hang on for a few more miles, keeping the average pace on my watch under 8 minute pace, but I knew it wasn't going to be long before I couldn't maintain that.  Here's a look at my first 11 miles:
As we headed off into Springfield (my least favorite portion of the race) it was a huge battle for me.  The spectators were sparse as was the scenery.  I was battling big time in my head, telling myself to trust my training and to not give up.  I however, just couldn't seem to make myself go.  At the water stop just before the half, I grabbed my water and walked a bit with it before stretching out my hamstrings and continuing on.  It didn't really help.  Around my 14 the aid station was handing out bandaids and Vaseline.  My dumb tank was chafing like crazy where my cleavage would be if I didn't look like a 12 year old boy, so I took some Vaseline and lubed up.  It helped a lot.  I felt like I rebounded a bit when we headed past Autzen stadium (the happiest place on Earth) but I really didn't have much left.  Around mile 16, I stopped completely for the first time to drink my water and then took off with renewed hope.  I knew that I'd see my dad at Valley River Center and I focused on that to propel me along.

Between miles 17 and 18 the 3:35 pace group caught up to me.  The pacer was super upbeat and commented on my socks and skirt.  I told him I wasn't please that they were passing me.  He urged me to run with them.  I did for as long as I could but eventually they chewed me up and spit me out behind them.  That was the last time I saw any splits in the 8 range.  I tried not to let them passing me hurt, but I knew as they pulled further and further away that any hope of a BQ was gone.

Just before 19, I came to my dad.  He took some pictures (which I'm sure are amazing, ha!), pointed out the awesome sign he had made and attached to a tree, "Run Happy, Laurie", handed me some gum and let me know that the 3:35 group was just ahead of me and that I could still catch them.  I on the other hand, stopped, smiled at his sign, took the gum (which I ended up spitting out less than 400 yards down the path, my tummy was just not feeling it), fought back tears and told him I didn't even want to finish.  Then I was off.

After my little self pity party, I told myself to suck it up and work towards that PR at least.  I tried to do the math, but couldn't figure out what I needed to do, so my goal was to stay in front of the 3:45 pace group.  My previous PR of 3:49:32, at 9 weeks pregnant on a much tougher course shouldn't be too hard to beat.  When they passed me around mile 22, my goal was to keep them in sight.  When I lost sight of them, my goal was simply to finish.

At the EWEB plaza, between miles 24 and 25 I saw Raina and her boys.  It was great to see a friendly face but at the same time I was super embarrassed for her to see me, because I knew I looked defeated.  She offered me water or fuel I think and definitely encouragement.  I said thanks but that I was good.  I grabbed some water at the next water stop and walked up the hill drinking it, vowing for that to be my last walking in the race.  I think I must have walked (or maybe stood still for a loooooong time) because  Mile 25 was the slowest of my race, clocking in at a whopping 11:05.  After that, I finally pulled it together enough to realize that if I could make it to the finish in something slightly faster than a crawl I still might be able to PR, although it was going to be close.  At about mile 25.5 there was a runner down with firetrucks and paramedics which is never good to see, but made me realize that I really had nothing to feel sorry for myself about.

Finally I saw the 26 mile marker and knew that Hayward was just around the corner.  I gave it everything I had left but came up just short of my PR.  Final, official finish time 3:50:32.  1 minute exactly off my PR, 15:32 slower than my BQ standard and 20:32 slower than my goal time.

Here's a look at what I consider the 2nd half of my race... the crappy part.
And here is a look at my overall stats:
I'm still not sure what went wrong.  It was the absolute perfect day, perfect weather, perfect course, perfect spectators, it just wasn't my day.  I have yet to read a race report of someone who didn't PR.  I don't think it was the lack of sleep.  I don't think it was the little bit of illness.  I don't think it was the fueling.  I had a clif shot about every 5 miles and took a salt cap at 7 and 17.  By the end I was extremely thirsty and think that I would've been better off had I carried water, but ultimately I don't think that made the difference.  Despite the salt caps, I still had issues with cramps in my right calf and my inner hamstrings but nothing that stopped me in my tracks.  When all was said and done, I guess I just went out too fast.  My hurt pride has healed enough that yesterday, Dan was brave enough to venture out with the "I told you so".  And he did... the one thing he said over and over again, was do. not. go. out. too. fast.  And I did just what I said I wasn't going to do, I went out too fast.  At the time though, I didn't feel that it was too fast.  I had run those splits during training runs and I felt that I could hang on to them or at least not fade too much.  I felt good and took a gamble that did not pay off.

I'm mostly sad because it left such a bitter taste in my mouth.  Sure I'm disappointed about missing out on a BQ and a PR, but more than that I'm sad that again, I let Eugene get the best of me.  For a race that I love so much, I have yet to love the race itself.  There is always next year though.  I am not defeated and I will finish Eugene with a smile on my face yet!


Katrina said...

Fighting a bug and fatigue could make a huge difference in your overall endurance. You still did awesome AND you did beat your previous Eugene Marathon time, so that's something. :)

Diana Martinez said...

I'm sorry you had such a lousy experience. I think it's amazing, though, that you kept fighting. I hope that next time, things will go your way.

Marci said...

You did such a great job writing up this report. You are now also my writing hero. I felt like I was right there with you.
It isn't easy to share those kinds of emotions, but you did it like a champ.
Every runner who has ever set a goal has had a race like this.
Don't give up on Eugene. A true friend will challenge you and push you to your greatest potential and that is what this race is doing for you.
And...that orange shirt is hilarious, and also your dad is the cutest for decorating your room.
I love you friend. We will Hippie Chick it up and you'll remember that you run for the joy of it.

Heather said...

Thanks for the race report Laurie. I can appreciate each stage you went through and what you were thinking and feeling. That's not an easy thing to process, or to divulge to others. It reminds me so much of my experience at St George last year...right down to the pacers passing with their signs and balloons and watching each of my goals slip away. But you WILL get your goals! You are the smartest runner I know! Looking forward to Newport--perhaps we should crack out the tu-tus??? And I'm so happy to know that the Cookie Monster hoodie lived to see another starting line! :)

Dick said...

I'm sorry that you didn't get your BQ, Laurie, and I'm REALLY sorry that you didn't PR. It doesn't make you any less awesome, and we're proud that we can claim you as one of our amazing kids!

You and Heather will absolutely ROCK Newport...wish we could be there to give you support (I have to work...your mom and Stephanie might make it). Love you.

IQ:3,000 said...

Marathons are crazy sorry this one didn't go the way you planned. I think it's even harder to swallow a marathon not going your way because it takes so long to prepare! Does it make you feel any better to know that I'm totally amazed and impressed at your first half? ;) And you looked fabulous, so that counts for something, right?

I did find one other race report of someone who had almost the exact same experience as you-it was just not her day either.

Next one is all yours!

Catey said...

Um, I have no idea why it says I'm someone else-^^that comment was from me, not some random weirdo!

Audrey Betenson said...

Amazing, totally inspiring! Can't wait for Newport!

Micha said...

I'm still blown away that you ran 26 miles period. Jim had a rough time of it too and ended up bailing and just doing the half. You are so amazing. You'll get your PR on the next one, I can feel it! Just don't let your kids out of the house for like the month before so no one can get sick :)

Raina said...

Well, Laurie. I know you have it in you. I can say from my own limited experience, that even going out 15 secs a mile too fast can have a big impact on the later stage of a race.. We are both still so new to racing marathons though. The fact that you have a PR on a tougher course (Trail right?) indicates you can do much much better. I know you will keep at it until satisfied!

Are you planning on running Newport? Just reading through the comments and saw something about that...

It could be a great race for you :)

BeePie Runs said...

I have been exactly in the same situation, feeling good, running well and then watching several different pace groups outrun me. I think that's why I keep coming back to the marathon, it's always a challenge and I have yet to have a race that felt perfect. You will meet your goals tho. Funny thing is, then you make new ones! :-). Good job on finishing and toughing it out!!

Jenna Lovell said...

Laurie, you are my hero! I'm sorry it's been hard to swallow how it all turned out, but just know that if nothing else, you are keeping me running. I love to see how much you love it. Thanks always for inspiring me!

Fruit Fly said...

I find you just completely awesome! This post alone has really inspired me to stop my mini running hiatus and get back out there. I forgot how good it feels to get outside and push and try your hardest.

Congratulations on a great race!