Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Eugene Marathon Race Recap

In case you missed the PRE-race festivities (Get it?! Like Prefontaine, but also like before the race - ha, I'm so punny!), make sure to check yesterday's post out here to get caught up!

I think I have been putting off this recap in my mind now since about mile 12 of the race itself... But let's not get ahead of ourselves ;)

Sunday I ran the Eugene Marathon. A while back I decided not to sign up for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon (or Pixie Dust Challenge), so this past weekend was WIDE OPEN on my calendar. When Shelby mentioned she was planning on running this race and said I would have a place to stay if I wanted to run it I started seriously considering it. I have only heard amazing things about Oregon and the race finished on Hayward Field... I mean COME ON!

A few weeks before the Phoenix Marathon I started freaking out... What if I don't hit my goals? What if I don't do as well as I would have hoped? What if all of my training doesn't come through? You know, all those thoughts that occasionally flood the minds of us "crazy" runners. Well, then I thought, why not add Eugene as a back-up race? That way, if Phoenix doesn't pan out, I could always have Eugene to fall back on (alleviating some of the stress for Phoenix).

Lo and behold, Phoenix went fine great. I hit my A Goal (3:4X finish time), ran with a friend for most of the race, had a BLAST at the PARTY-OF-THE-YEAR, and walked away with a big smile on my face (even though, in all reality I would have LOVED a 3:3X finish time once Michael planted that possibility into my head). I even had a HUGE new shiny PR after that weekend!

My hubby goes current events for his race signs ;)

Phoenix was at the end of February and Eugene was at the beginning of May. I had a couple races in-between, including my first Ragnar Relay Race (ULTRA STYLE) that I needed to fit in there. I "knew" I could get it done, so although I wasn't following a specific training plan (had to move some runs around to accommodate existing races and had an abbreviated training period to start with), I was still able to get in a couple 20 mile runs and keep my fitness level up.


So... Oregon... It's rainy... And cold... During training Shelby would send me pictures from her training runs soaking wet (I even got one where they were shoveling off the lacrosse field due to HAIL!). As any runner does, I was stalking the weather before the race (about a week out). It was originally calling for rain which made this wimpy Southern California runner shutter (I know I grew up in the frozen tundra which is Michigan, but since moving to SoCal in 2006 my blood has REALLY thinned out and I am now a bit of a weather snob). Oh yeah, and the temperatures in the morning were in the 30s. I think I had the chills just looking at my weather app. Thankfully the closer we got to race day, the less chance of rain there was (I promised Shelby I would pack as much sunshine and warmth in my two carry-on's as I could fit).

Race day was finally HERE! I was PLEASANTLY surprised when I looked at my weather app and didn't see a 3 in front of the temperature... And NO RAIN! WHOOOO HOOOO!!

I'll take overcast & 50s ALL DAY EVERY DAY for a race!

Like normal, I didn't get a great night's sleep. We went to bed by 9:30pm or so, but once 2am rolled around I was up every 10-20 minutes checking my phone to see what time it was and to make sure I didn't miss the start of the race. #FreakOutPartyOfOne We were planning on getting to the shuttles around 6am (the race started at 7), so I decided to set my alarms starting around 5. Obviously I didn't make it till then and was out of bed around 4:30 starting to get things together.

Brought a mustache for the race, but it was too big
for my upper lip... Not to mention the sweat would
have made it fall off within the first mile I'm sure...

Thankfully the shuttles were picking up less than a mile away from Shelby's apartment, so we didn't have to really deal with any stresses before the race. Both of us grabbed old runDisney Mylar blankets (even though it was in the high 40s we weren't sure how it would "feel" and I would rather ditch a layer if I needed than shiver until the start of the race) to wrap up in - hey, even if we couldn't be at the Tinker Bell races, we were still gonna show our support!

When we got over to the shuttle pick-up there was one already filled, but they told us we could get on if we wanted to stand. Sure, why not? Shelby and I were two of the last runners to get on. By the time we got over to the starting area we were sweating from our Mylar blankets so ended up stuffing them in our gear check bags to save for another day.

The shuttle was a yellow school bus. Everything seemed to run smoothly with them (at least for us). As I mentioned, we didn't have to wait long, but I am not sure how quickly the next bus(es) arrived. While we were standing on the bus, I was eaves dropping on a couple conversations (what can I say, I get it from my bestie, Katrina ;)). One of the ladies in the seat next to where I was standing was talking to a kid (probably in his 20s). She ended up telling him that she runs this race annually to honor "HER FRIEND" Pre... Yup! She ended up talking about how she went to school with Steve Prefontaine (and how the movies got it "all wrong" because he was a super nice guy, down to earth and willing to chat with everyone. She even mentioned how they would joke about her being the only one who didn't care about his running career or times - mostly because she had no idea what any of it meant.).

Running friends are crazy ;)

Don't ask...

Once we got off the bus we made our way over to Hayward Field. Shelby and I called Lauren so we could meet up before the race. We dropped out bags at gear check (which was super easy by the way) and snapped a couple pictures. One of Shelby's friends was an RA at the dorm across the street so she let us into the building that way we could use REAL BATHROOMS (only runners would understand how amazing this is ;)).

Lauren looks scared of me... 

Bathroom seflies - DUH! 

PS How cute is this official picture? Lauren purchased it and was kind
enough to share it! #CrazyFaceCarlee 

Seeing as it wasn't too cold outside, we decided we didn't need to huddle in the building for warmth and made our way out to the corral area. First we HAD to grab a couple pictures in front of the entrance to Hayward Field (one was even featured on the Eugene Marathon's Facebook Page!).

Lauren, Shelby and I were all in different corrals, so once race time got closer we had to give hugs, wish one another luck and say our good-byes. OH CRAP - THIS IS GETTING REAL!

I swear, Lauren doesn't think we are too crazy ;)

Getting ready to split up and head to our corrals

Sparkly sistas!

The mustache may not be on my face, but it's coming with me!

A reminder to HAVE FUN... "This is something you enjoy doing!"

I'm not quite sure, but for some reason I was seeded in Corral C (with a previous marathon time of 3:46 and three under my belt at that point I would have assumed I would have been in Corral B). I noticed that the 3:30 and 3:40 pacers were up in Corral B, so I decided to hop up a corral so I could start with similar paced runners. (FYI: This is the first time I have ever started in a corral higher than the one listed on my bib. In the past I have moved back to run with friends in later corrals, but have never moved forward. I just wanted to let everyone know that this is NOT a habit I have or one that I would recommend {normally races try their hardest to seed folks correctly and to keep things moving in a safe and efficient way}. But, gotta keep it real and confess my sin.)

Someone sang the National Anthem and then we were OFF! (I have to say, it was a pretty lack-luster start. Obviously I wasn't expecting fireworks like runDisney races or anything, but you couldn't even hear the "gun" to start...)

I'm sure you read my overall goals for the race, but how I was planning on accomplishing them I didn't really go into. My thought was (which Brian reiterated the day before while we were texting) - start conservatively, get into a groove, hit my goal pace, and then kill it with everything I had left at the end.

Let's just say "You win some, you learn from some." This race was definitely one I LEARNED from. I learned I am TERRIBLE at pacing myself. I cannot reign myself in. Call it nerves, adrenaline, fresh legs, or maybe newbie-ness, but I cannot seem to start off slow...


The first mile or two was pretty congested (the full marathon and half marathon runners ran together for the first 12 or so miles, until the half course split off and made its way back to Hayward Field whereas the full course made its way towards Springfield {the town the Simpsons is modeled after!}). It wasn't like I was tripping over people, but there wasn't a lot of room to try and get around runners either. I wanted to start with the 3:40 pacer, find a groove, and then start picking up speed from there. Well, that lasted all of about a half mile.

Around the first mile I decided I would pass the 3:40 pacer (mostly because the crowds around the pacers tend to aggravate me... #SelfishRunner). I knew my overall pace for a BQ (Boston Qualifying) time would need to average around a 8:10/mile pace. The first couple miles I was right around that (or so said my watch... come to find out, my official time had me in the 7s). I knew I was probably going too fast, but thought that normally I have a way of sticking pretty consistent if I could get into a groove.

There was a baby hill around mile 4, but nothing too concerning. There was a guy near me who I chatted with for a while. We were shooting for a similar goal (both 3:30 somethings and both of our BQ times were 3:35), so we were trying to stick together. We kept the 3:30 pacer in sight (assuming I probably needed to finish around 3:32 to technically guarantee a spot at Boston).

I could tell by mile 6 that things were seeming harder than they should at that point. My pace on my watch was staying consistent, but I could tell that it seemed like I was exerting more energy (especially at the beginning of a race) than I probably should have been. [Technically, based on my official splits, I PR'ed my 10K time with a 49:02 which is NOT something I wanted to do during a full marathon... Guess that should have been an indication I was going too fast...]

Photo Credit: Shelby

Mile 9 had a pretty "fun" hill (but I EAT HILLS FOR BREAKFAST, or at least that's what I kept repeating in my head the whole time), but I was able to make up for the slower uphill time with some of the downhill.

By mile 10 I knew it... I knew I was NOT going to be able to keep up this pace for the entire race. At that point I started feeling a little defeated. I mean, I technically did it to myself. I knew I started out too fast, but for some reason thought I could keep it up instead of just pulling back when I first noticed it... (And if you look at my Garmin paces you can see this is where they started getting slower... much slower...)

When the half marathon runners split off I was sad. Mostly because I still had another 14 miles to run and knew I was going to fall short of my goal. I had been psyching myself up. Even though my brain was coming up with all kinds of reasons why I wouldn't be able to get a PR (or BQ) at this race, I decided NO EXCUSES and wanted to go for it. [My official half time was right around where I wanted it to be, too bad I just couldn't hold it for another 13 miles...]

Yep, I even broke out a new Momentum Jewelry wrap to remind myself
to not give in to the negative talk in my head!

By mile 15 the 3:40 pacer passed me. At that point I decided I wasn't going to let it get to me, I was going to enjoy this race. We PAY to do this, I better make every step count! Don't get me wrong, I was still gonna give it my all, but I also wanted it to be a race I remembered with a SMILE (not one that I cringed as I remembered the pain I caused my body or the steps I begrudgingly forced myself to take).

I stopped and snapped a couple pictures along the course (for a "serious" race I wouldn't have taken my phone out, but once I knew the BQ was out the window I figured I'd grab a couple shots).

It was like they painted this for ME!

There were probably 8-10 miles along the river - GORGEOUS! 

Hydration station!

It's a little shaky, but this was an action shot ;)

I also grabbed an orange slice from a sweet spectator and a third of a banana from a volunteer ape (they were dressed up like monkeys at the table ;)). At this point I wasn't really feeling my fuel and needed some "real" food.

Anything to keep my going... Even if I did end up with orange
pieces in my teeth for a few miles... 

Not too shabby of a view, right?!

I tried to say thank you to as many volunteers and spectators as possible and give out as many high fives as I could. I hit the "power up" signs for a little surge in energy and encouraged those around me to keep it up and fight the good fight.

At mile 22 the 3:45 pacer passed me and I knew my hopes for a PR were gone (at this point in the race I was playing mind games with myself just to get me to the next water stop which I would bargain with myself if I could get there I could walk through). Even though a personal record wouldn't be a possibility for the race, I knew my hubby and family were all watching the live feed and waiting for me to finish so I wanted to get there as fast as I could.

Around mile 25 one of the runners near me started chatting (which at this point was strange because most people are shutting down and focusing on the end goal - finishing). He wanted to thank me for all of the encouragement along the way. He mentioned he saw how kind I was to the volunteers and it meant a lot to him. I told him that we pay to run, they don't... They are doing this out of the kindness of their hearts, so we should be forever grateful that they want to make our race experience as awesome as it can be. I was really touched. Obviously I am never thanking the volunteers for recognition or acknowledgment, I am truly floored by their generosity (and know how few thanks they get, so want to try and do my part), but I was shocked someone mentioned it (and I'm sure at this point it was the delirium setting in which helped to get me extra emotional ;)).

That was all I needed to hear. I decided it was time to charge home to the finish line! The spectator support during the last bit was great (there weren't too many folks cheering along the course). I gave out as many high-fives as possible and thanked people from the bottom of my heart for being out there. (It seemed like I would see the same spectators like 3 or 4 times throughout the race, so their runner must have been close to me - that last stretch of race I tried to make eye contact and really express my gratitude for them being out there all morning and cheering on strangers like me.)

And once Hayward Field came into view, it was OVER! I mean the tears! Can you just think for a moment about how many amazing runners have stepped foot on that track?! Honestly though, we were truly running in the footsteps of legends! And to finish there? MAGICAL! Obviously the crowd wasn't chanting "Car-Lee, Car-Lee" (I thought it would have sounded like the "Go Pre" chants from back in the day), but it was still fantastic!

Officially I came in at 3:48:46. It wasn't the 3:3X of my Goal A or the Sub-3:46:50 (my Phoenix PR) for my Goal B - but I did finish sub-4 to hit my Goal C and obviously finished with a big ol' smile on my face for Goal D!

Not sure if I believe this... I started in the 2nd corral, so I know
my chip time and gun time weren't the same, but oh well... 

Not quite sure how the official splits had my pace so much different...
I know I started my watch a little before I crossed the starting line, but nothing that would have thrown off my numbers by this much... 

Here is a video that Ryan took of the live feed from the website of me crossing the finish line (I was hoping the Eugene Marathon would have put it on YouTube or something, but I haven't seen it or heard back from them, so this is all you get for now ;)).

My name in the list of California runners!

After I finished I waited for Shelby to finish (who rocked it and got herself a 41+ minute PR!). (Of course I had to take a couple pictures while I "walked it out" and stretched a bit.)

TrackTown USA!!

Bill doesn't look too impressed with my bling...

Bill Bowerman statue... Looking at the finish line with stop clock in hand.

Complete with waffle makers - DUH!

Shelby KILLIN' it!!

#TeamSparkle and THE BLING!

WE DID IT! We finished and ROCKED Hayward Field!

Okay, so it wasn't my day. I didn't get the BQ time I was really hoping for, or even a PR, but I did finish my fourth marathon and that is something to be EXTREMELY proud of! Like Megan reminded me, Phoenix was my "goal race" - Eugene was thrown in as a back-up (a little added bonus, but not my original plan). I can't be mad at myself with how I finished because I FINISHED! And now the drive to hit that BQ time is so much stronger! Onwards and upwards!

How do you get over not hitting goals you have set for yourself?


Kara said...

I am so proud of you both for ROCKING this marathon. I may or may not of teared up while reading this. <3

Robin Runner said...

Am I a total cheeseball that I cried reading your post? I had a similar experience at my last marathon. It wasn't my day. I knew it and I ran trying to enjoy and thanking every policeman, volunteer and cheering person. You are so inspiring and I love your energy. Boston is coming your way lady. You are such a rockstar and I truly hope you know that! oxo

sara @ Runninginpink said...

Pretty kick ass race if you ask me! You could have kept pushing at 10 miles in until all the wheels fell off but you ran smart and adjusted your plan and managed to come within 2 minutes of your PR that's pretty epic in my book. Plus all your photos crack me up. Nice job!

Two Runners Travel said...

Congrats on your race Carlee. Every marathon teaches us so much about ourselves as runners and you stuck with it and finished strong. It is always difficult to have courage when the A goal is suddenly out of reach. There will be plenty more races for you and you will meet that BQ time.

Mark said...

Congratulations on your marathon finishes. You are closer than you think to your BQ. A little tweak here and another one there and you will make it with ease. I like your socks. Do you have another pair just like it?

Sally @ Sweat Out the Small Stuff said...

Always always remind yourself that the training that goes into running a marathon is the win really. Dedication and endurance is not just for that one day but for 12-16 weeks prior. You have a BQ in you for sure. Who knows. Maybe marathon 5 will be the day or marathon 6. But you love running and that's the thread that stiches all these races together. Congrats to you!