Eugene Marathon Race Report

My runs in the week leading up to this race left me feeling more discouraged than they should have. As per my watch (now old watch) I had trouble hitting my paces which were only 1-3km long. It was frustrating and left me questioning how I would perform during the race. If you’ve read any of my other recent posts, you know I was having some watch issues. Maybe it was the taper crazies or maybe I just got fed up, but that week, I bought myself a new watch because I couldn’t wrap my mind around running a marathon with a watch that doesn’t track distance accurately.

I went into this race with my primary intention being to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I also thought I would finish in about 3:28, not entirely sure where I got that number from, but for a while during the race I thought it was going to happen. Spoiler alert: I didn’t finish in 3:28, but I did BQ (!). If you just wanted the punchline then that’s that, but if you’re really interested in the nitty gritty details of my experience running my second 42.2 sit back relax and grab a coffee, cause that’s a lot of km to recap.

Jo and I wove our way through the start-line, seeding ourselves appropriately between the 3:25 and 3:35 pacer. Then, she took off weaving to the left not wanting our races to impact each other. The anthem finished, and off we went. It was a brisk morning, but the sun was out promising ideal conditions. I told myself not to start out too fast. My average pace for the first 5km was 4:54/km.

At km 6 the air filled with a sweet, smoky smell, pot, which caused a few laughs and comments from fellow runners. It was strong! For km 6-10 my pace increased a bit to 4:50/km and that continued from km 11-15 as well. I found myself with the 3:25 pacer for quarter or so of the race. From 16-20 I dropped a bit to 4:56, my stomach began to feel very full of water and bloated. I began to wonder whether I should stop to use a port-o-potty. I have never done this during a race, but during the final few km before the half-way point, I knew I couldn’t wait another 13 miles/21 km. As soon as I crossed the half-way timing mat, I darted into the port-o-potty, only wasting about 30 seconds. The second thing that happened at this point was, I became aware of my legs starting to feel tired. I had expected that to happen a bit later on, but it was more a mental than physical struggle I suppose.

Km 22-25 I felt better and averaged 4:55/km. I kept thinking, the race doesn’t start until 30km, and began counting down. The closer I got to the 30km mark, the more I wondered how I would feel when I got there. From 26-30 km I slowed a bit to 4:59/km. I did not enjoy the parts of the course along the river, and there was a lot of time spent there, not only was it monotonous, there was GPS interference and my pace would bounce around sometimes telling me I was running close to 6:00/km (which is hard to see), I knew I wasn’t and was thankful for keeping my KM pace notifications on, but it still annoyed me and brought my morale down a bit.

Km 31-35 were pretty brutal my pace plummeted to 5:13/km, it wasn’t fun. At some point in there I began counting down until the end of the race. There weren’t too many runners around nor spectators and I think it really would have helped if there were at this point. I heard heavy steps behind me and a man in an orange t-shirt said, “3:30, let’s go”. I was feeling pretty down at this point and mustered a “yeah”, but let him go on without me. I also knew, I could do a  3:30-31 even with this glacial pace, so long as I didn’t slow beyond 5:20, the perk of being able to do quick math even in that state. I am not sure if this constitutes “giving up” or if I really couldn’t have gone faster (in the moment I definitely would have said I couldn’t  go faster). I also think that since my goal was to BQ and I knew I was on pace for that, maybe I didn’t need to try and force myself to run faster that day.

Km 36-40 were still pretty slow, 5:11/km but I did end up passing orange shirt in this stretch. In the last 5km I ended up with 2 ladies who had lined up beside me at the start, they were playing music out of a cell-phone and reasoning that they could still hit  3:30, one even suggested they run/walk. No way was I doing that, so I carried on past them alone, as strong as I could. Finally, I was back in town, finished running along the mentally draining river. The crowd support returned, the finish line was quickly approaching, and I started to feel better. After a final boost from EVRC (East Van Run Crew), I rounded the bend for my half-lap of Hayward Field to the finish. Km 41 was 5:15 and 42 was 5:02 and that little “sprint” to the finish line was 4:45/km. Official time 3:31:06.

There are a few things I took away from this race:

  1. This was only my second ever marathon and my expectations were probably too high.
  2. I ran 4 minutes faster than my first marathon, and that is great.
  3. I got a BQ (which was my A goal).
  4. I ran for 3:31 with  no music (and it wasn’t bad).
  5. My legs didn’t feel like they were being ripped apart the day/week after, and I recovered so fast.
  6. Maybe I started out too fast?
  7. The marathon will likely always be a humbling race.

As soon as I crossed the line I felt faint, then I got my medal, some photos, my bag of goodies and some water and started to feel better. I had no idea where Jo was since I had not seen here since the start. I later found out we were only a minute apart during the first half of the race and she also had no idea where I was either. That is, until sometime in the last quarter where she saw one of my empty Endurance Tap gels on the ground and deducted that I must have passed that point already. We sat on the fake grass for a bit, put our names on the massage list and headed over to the Ninkasi tent for a hard-earned beer.

Sometime in the hour that followed, I started to plan my next marathon.

Taper Crazies

The taper crazies are pretty full blown over here! I have had back-to-back race dreams. The first was a good one, I ran a 2:55 marathon, that’s what dreams are for right? The second one was more of a nightmare, we were driving to the ferry to go to the USA and once we were there I realized I hadn’t packed any of my stuff and couldn’t go. Not cool. This morning I didn’t wake up remembering any dreams, but I did wake up an hour early, unable to go back to sleep (at 4am).

Other than that, I am bored and feeling high energy. I have been watching way too much Netflix, normally between working at 6am and running I don’t have energy for much more. Bare in mind that this isn’t focused Netflix watching. It includes compulsive phone use ranging from checking the Eugene weather forecast, to race website to making notes about paces and equivalent finish times. To make things worse, I’m also laughing at silly comedies I know aren’t that funny and that I wouldn’t normally laugh at. Not running is a shock to the system, I tell ya.

There are still 5 more full days until this thing happens. Today I have a small workout, so I’m hoping that will help and then there are 2 more runs before race day. At least the taper still includes some running, otherwise I’m not sure what I’d do! 

How do you stay sane during a taper?

Training Recap April 24-30

Well, well, well…in a week I will be a 2 time marathon runner. Crazy. I don’t think I have fully realized what I have signed up to do next weekend. What I have realized is, how much free time I have on my hands and the excess of energy. I know the excess energy will likely increase as the week goes on and my mileage dwindles, but that’s taper life. I’ll be cutting back on caffeine to balance out the feeling of extra energy. Other than that, I plan to relax as much as possible after work and continue to eat well in preparation for next Sunday.

This week I didn’t do any NTC workouts and I won’t be doing any next week either. Tapering mileage also means tapering other physical activity. Here’s what I did this week:

Monday: OFF

Tuesday: 45′ easy, just a plain run home.

Wednesday: Group workout, we did 10′ easy, followed by 2 sets of: 3km@MP, 2km@HMP, 1km@10km, 10′ easy, this was about 16km and the final run/workout of this length.

Thursday: 40′ easy, another plain run home. 

Friday: 30′ easy, I decided to run to work and get it over with. This was so I could go shopping after work and purchase a new GPS watch that actually tracks distance/pace accurately. I was too fed up with my old one after the realization that it does not work properly and was not willing to run a marathon relying on it.

Saturday: Group workout, this was as short and sweet as they come. 10′ easy, 3km@MP, 3×90”@10km, 10′ easy. 

Sunday: 70′ easy, the rest of the runs will be super short from here on out! 

Total Weekly Mileage: 58.1km

Training Recap April 10-16

This weekend marked the end of the hard work until race day. We are still 3 weeks away from The Eugene Marathon and there is still running to be done, but the workouts will be shorter and less intense and the “long runs” won’t be so long. The mileage will be coming down so our bodies can rest before the race. It will definitely result in having more free time and I will be using it to plan out our road trip to Eugene. Specifically, where to eat, get the best coffee, have a celebratory post race dinner (and finally a beer) and all those little details to make the trip amazing. 

Here is how the week looked:

Monday: OFF.

Tuesday: 45′ easy, ran home from work and then did an NTC abs and arms workout.

Wednesday: Group workout: 20′ easy, 2×16 mins as 3’@HMP, 1′ float, 5’@MP, 1′ float, 1’@10km, 5’@MP, 15′ easy. This workout was fun and felt short and sweet for a total of 15km. 

Thursday: OFF.

Friday: 70′ easy, since it was Good Friday and we had no work, I went out for an easy run to the big with 2 teammates.’

Saturday: Group workout, 20′ easy, 2 x 5km @mp, 3x3km @5” faster thank mp, 15′ easy. This was 25.5km and the last long workout of this training cycle! I also did an NTC core workout.

Sunday: 3 hrs easy, this was 32 km through the galloping goose starting in Langford and going toward Metchosin, what a beautiful area! We ended up turning down a side street because we saw the ocean and once we got there we had the most spectacular mountain view. Unfortunately, we were running phoneless today and missed out on a couple amazing photo-ops, we were focused on finishing our last long run of the training cycle.

Total Weekly Mileage: 91km 

It’s taper time!

Training Recap April 3-9

I feel like the last few weeks before Eugene are going to fly by and before I know it I’ll be toeing the start-line. When I ran my first marathon in October, I realized that a great time to take a vacation is right after a marathon. There’s no running allowed, so you can really just enjoy being away and not have to worry about scheduling around your runs. I have not planned a vacation for after Eugene, but I am thinking I should, even if only for a few days. Anyway, this is what I did this week:

Monday: OFF. I did an NTC core workout.

Tuesday: 60′ easy, I ran towards Dallas rd and then back home. I also did an NTC leg workout (which was a mistake because I was super tight for the following days’ run, lesson learned).

Wednesday: Group workout: 30′ easy, 4 x 10′ @ 4:30-35, 3 x 1km @ 4:20, 20′ easy. For some reason the slower intervals felt hard, but the km repeats felt great and I felt that I could have done more. 

Thursday: 70′ easy, I did my regular route out to Dallas RD and then home. I also did an NTC Core Strength Workout.

Friday: 30′ easy, I ran to work, not a regular thing, but I knew I was bringing home a bunch of cold-pressed juices to share with my fellow runners the following day! 

Saturday: Group workout, 45′ easy, 20’@5:00, 20’@4:50, 15’@4:40, 5′ easy. This was an it challenging by the end, but we worked hard and definitely earned the team brunch we had afterwards. I also did an NTC Abs and Arms workout.

Sunday: 120′ easy, this felt short after last weekends long run, but I have a feeling next Sunday will be our final “long run” and probably 3 hours long.

Total Weekly Mileage: 89.5km