To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
-Steve Prefontaine
Make it simple, but significant.
- Don Draper

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Eugene Half Marathon: 13.1 Miles with Pre

*Forgive me, it ended up long.*

Running in the Footsteps of Legends. The tag line of the Eugene Marathon. For me, I was running in the footsteps of the ONE Legend. Steve Prefontaine.

I registered for this race last September for one reason. I wanted to finish a race on Pre's track. I finished on the track he began running (Marshfield High) so it was only natural that I run and finish on the track where his too short career boomed and ended. Forget about the first 13 miles. All I wanted was that track. I visualized it during training runs, and finally I was there, outside Hayward Field, looking up at my idol, and ready to see what my legs could do.

I began the morning at 4am, getting up, dressing, watching Fire on the Track and just filling my mind with the awesomeness that Pre accomplished in his life. I guess in a way I wasn't even doing this run for myself as much as I wanted to run my best in his memory. I know I'm not a fast runner, but, as he said, "to give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift". I wasn't going to give anything less than my personal best.

We got to the start area early enough to be the very first ones in the potties - I hate being in there when it is still dark out! I walked around the start area just checking things out and trying to keep moving so I could warm up. Naturally I had to get some pre-race photos and make sure my lipstick was all in tact. I want to make sure it is still on 13 miles of sweat later after all! Soon enough I was in Corral B next to the 5 hour marathon pace group. After a 10 minute delay we were moving.

And then came the tears. I know, right? Does this girl just always cry? You see, as you go by the entrance to Hayward Field there he is. Pre is running and watching. As I do often during runs when it gets tough, I grabbed my "Love to Run" necklace (designed by Pre's sister!), looked up at Pre and said, "Let's do this!" Tears of joy and excitement - good tears!

Mile 1 - feeling on top of the world!
The race was awesome! I won't break it down turn by turn, but I'll just say that I was always enjoying myself. As corny as I am sure I sound, Pre really did help me out that day. At times when I'd rather walk, I kept running. I even ran through a water stop and just quickly walked while drinking and then ran again! Biker Boy was a great cheer squad! He left before the start, so I was able to see him at miles 1, 2 and 6.5. At mile 2 I tossed him my gloves and was shocked when I realized the lead runner was coming toward us. Those elites are so fast! It was impressive to watch and I wish I could have just stopped to cheer them all on. But I had a course to run and a PR to get!

I ran a 10K race PR, but I guess it doesn't count since it was during a bigger race. Still, it gave me a boost. At 6.5 when I saw Biker Boy I remember saying, "I'm totally kicking ass right now!" and then hurrying on my way. Oh how great it felt to just be feeling Great! I have no memory of 6.5 to mile 8. And up until mile 8 I was well ahead of the 5 hour pace group. Sweet! Then came the hill. And there went the pacer. Oops. At mile 9 I had half of a banana which I did just stop to eat. Mile 10 is where it went downhill a hair. I stopped to take off my arm sleeves, which meant removing my Garmin and putting it back on. So a minor delay. For that mile it was run/walk/run/walk. Ugh. Mile 11 was a little better, but my tummy started jostling. When the UofO band started playing their fight song by Autzen Stadium you can guarantee I covered my ears and hauled ass out of there, so that was indirectly a boost. Mile 12 my left side gave out. I was only mildly limping, and mostly trying to not throw up from the jostling of banana, PowerBar chewy things, Gatorade and water.


Then I was at mile 13. I could hear the crowd going crazy! I immediately got goosebumps and ripped out my ear buds. Coming through all the cheering spectators was unlike anything I've ever experienced ... and then I heard my name! I let out a "woo!" and threw my arm up and ran down to the track. (I learned later it was Kim yelling for me.Thanks!!!) The track was amazing. I loved the surface. I loved being there. I wish it would have lasted longer. Instead of going for my typical finishing kick, I maintained my pace and just looked at the stands and took in every last second of it. With 10 yards to go I literally bit my lip because I knew what was trying to happen. I kept smiling, heard my name as I ran through the finish, stopped my Garmin, took two steps and then it happened. No surprise here, I totally threw up on Pre's track. Immediately a volunteer had a bag in my hand and I was continuing to be sick in front of tons of people. It was awesome!!
Garmin stopped, arms out, ready to hurl!
The finishing area was really nice. A lot of food and drinks. I skipped most due to the fact that I just puked my guts out and wasn't really wanting more. But I did love the little bit of a milkshake I got. That hit the spot. Stacie found me, then Kim. I rarely know other runners at races, so it was great that at such an important one I was able to relax and just enjoy it all with people I know! I wanted to linger longer, but I had to hurry (I use that term loosely!) back to the hotel to shower and check out before noon.

It was a GREAT race. I did the best I could do on that day. I pushed myself physically and mentally and got a new PR by nearly 7 minutes. Finish time was 2:37:07 and I couldn't be any happier!

20 comments:

  1. Yay!!!! I'm so happy for you - sounds like you had a GREAT time, and you ran a fantastic race!

    Congratulations :D

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  2. Great job! Happy to hear you had a fun time. And awesome to meet Pre's sister!!!

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  3. So that's how it all went down! Nice job, let's do it all over again Sunday at Hippie Chick, except the getting sick part.

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  4. You are awesome, and kick so much ass. But I'm sad there's no picture of you throwing up.

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  5. Loving the guy behind you in the mile 1 picture running in the short sleeved button down shirt and khaki shorts. Did he wake up and decide to run?

    Glad you got to experience the whole running on the track/crowds of cheering people thing. It wasn't a big selling point on the race for me -- part of why I didn't run Eugene this year -- because by the time I got there, there were maybe five people in the stands (one of which was my mom). And NO food left. I think I managed to get a quarter of a bagel; no pancakes left, bananas all gone. Did they do the post-race massages again? I forced them to give me mine, they were shutting down even though there was still 30+ minutes left in the race. The woes of being slow! ;)

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  6. OMG...... that guy you noticed is Jeff! How do I know this? I talked to him for nearly 10 minutes before the race. I saw him and thought "Is he going to Jimmy Buffett's concert? Or is he racing?" Too funny!


    They DID have massages. I didn't get one. I was busy trying to throw away my bag o' vomit and find a napkin to clean myself up with.

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  7. Yeah! Rose has a point. Tons of people saw you puke on Pre's track and no photos for us? What's up with that? :) Kidding aside, GREAT JOB!! Also it looks like you had great form approaching the finish line - very good considering it's at the end of the race and most would be leaning forward more.

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  8. Sounds like a dream race, except for the getting sick part. Congrats on the new PR!

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  9. Bike BoyMay 03, 2011

    Jeff rocked it...I saw him finish and he still looked good. Kicked hard for the line even.

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  10. That is soooo awesome! Congrats on the PR! :)

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  11. You look so cute and strong in your photos! Great outfit! Too bad you got sick at the end. Congrats on your PR!

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  12. You look so stinkin' cute in that outfit!
    Love your PR! Congrats!
    You certainly gave your best. :)
    You even left evidence of it!

    P.S.: Love your braid! I love running with a braided ponytail, especially during the warmer months. Hate hair sticking to my body.

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  13. I love that you puke after races. It doesn't get more hardcore than that. You really need to get a picture of it some time. I can picture the smirk on PRE's face while you lost your lunch at the finish. He would probably be a little annoyed that somebody showed him up in his own house, because you know his coach would be scowling at him asking "why aren't you throwing up too?"

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  14. You did SO great!!! Biker Boy got some great pictures, too!!!! You looked way too cute :-)

    Sorry you felt yucky at the end...but wasn't it a GREAT DAY??!!!

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  15. WOW!!! I am so happy for you!! What a race!! Congrats!!

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  16. Great PR! I just found your blog thru small town runner! Love it! You got sick and still managed to look like a rockstar after!

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  17. Great job! Sounds like the weekend was a lot of fun! Congrats on the PR!

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  18. CONGRATS on finishing and setting a PR...you have to always celebrate that! Love the skirt - I need to try one someday - you rocked it!

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  19. You do know how proud I am that you waited to finish before puking, right???

    I keep forgetting to tell you that at the race this past Sunday, the chick who was in the lead up until the last tenth of a mile lost her guts... THREE times before finishing. She led the whole way, but ended up in fourth... got passed by one person everytime she puked. See???? Must wait until the end. Must. ;-)

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  20. So happy for you - meeting Pre's sister, running and hurling on his track, and setting a PR!

    Congrats lady!!!

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