To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
-Steve Prefontaine
Stepping outside the comfort zone is the price I pay to find out how good I can be. If I planned on backing off every time running got difficult I would hang up my shoes and take up knitting.
-Desiree Davila

Monday, December 24, 2012

Eugene Holiday Half Marathon

Longest bus ride Ever!
It was with great relief and concern that I arrived for the Eugene Holiday Half Marathon.  The relief came from knowing this was the last race before Goofy weekend. It was my nineteenth half marathon, and had the potential to be the coldest and wettest, hence the concern.

I arrived at the finish area with plenty of time to catch the bus back to the start area. The bus ride seemed to take forever, raising my concern about a) the distance and b) surviving the weather. I was pretty confident that this race was only a half marathon, but you know inaugurals go - sometimes there are kinks. I was hoping their big snafu wasn't making us run 20 miles instead of 13.1.  Eventually we arrived with all of our layers in hand at an Applebee's for check-in.  It was nice that we were able to hang out inside until start time. It actually got toasty in there, causing me to only put on 2/3 of my layers until the very last minute.  The negative of hanging out at an Applebee's at 9am is that you can't exactly order yourself some spinach and artichoke dip and a nice adult beverage. But the warmth was appreciated!

Just before 10am I walked out the door, applying another layer, as well as hat, ear warmers and gloves. The weather had been so nasty that I was prepared for all the weather ... all the bad weather that is. Before the start I found myself butting into a nearby conversation about Disney races. I couldn't help it, I've got Goofy Fever!! I also met a blog reader ... Hi Wendy! Before long we were on our way, and for me that meant staying off to the side so that all of the other runners could easily pass me.

My plan for this was to treat it just as it is planned to be, a slow, long training run. I had to just set my ego aside and watch others go by and not let it bother me. I have to admit it was hard, but soon I was happy everyone else was ahead and I could just relax, enjoy conversation with Man Friend and be thankful that the weather was great! I ended up ditching my gloves and nearly took off one of my three shirts!

The flat was so flat that when there were some hills I didn't even flinch and just continued on my way. I stuck to a run/walk ratio since that's the plan for Goofy. Also, MF is on doctor's orders to continue with light running and walk breaks so as to not injure his spine anymore, but keeping up with the moving to help him out. So on with our intervals we went, and how excited were we at the first water stop when we saw not only was there water, but also Gatorade, oranges and Clif Shot Blocks! I grabbed MF and I each a pack of shots, a cup of water and continued on my way.  

It was at the second water stop that we discovered this inaugural's mandatory snafu. Water, or shall I say lack there of. I was handed a very small cup of water and told it was the LAST cup. MF didn't get any, and the bit I got barely wet my mouth. Bummer. But you know what we DID get? More Clif Shot Blocks!

Shortly after that stop I was on this very long straight stretch along a two-lane highway. With no shoulder to speak of I had to make sure to not let myself slide into the ditch or drift into the road. I closed the gap on a couple of runners, but did get passed. I was pretty certain I was dead freaking last at that point!

The next stop had water. Hallelujah!! AND Shot blocks!!

Return of the bloody shoe, damn fat toe!
At mile 8.2 that my foot felt funny. My sock was strange. I knew that feeling. I looked down and my hot pink shoes were now RED and hot pink. Well hello there, fresh blood stain! Oh well, I must continue along!  When we got to the next water stop we learned we weren't dead last ... there was a walker somewhere way in the back. Dammit. I actually had visions of coming in the very final runner. Oh well, I must continue along! But I didn't continue before getting ample orange Gatorade, water to wash down the vanilla Clif shot I had taken and a gingerbread man cookie. Did you know if you mix all of those things together and then burp it tastes like a creamsicle? Now you know!

So much for the blood, hello mud!
Imagine my surprise when I actually caught up with runners and started passing people! I was continuing along at a steady pace, but I flat out stopped and socialized at two water stops and let MF take a potty break. All of that I was now passing?? Crazy! I'm telling you, Jeff Galloway knows his schtuff! 

My leg started bugging me so I did back off a hair, but not all that much. My goal is to not get injured before Goofy, so more walk breaks were fine by me. At the final mile marker is when the rain started. Not even real rain by Oregon standards, just a mist in the air really. I was happy to almost be done. We crested the final hill and dropped down to the park at the reservoir where the finish line was. I saw a volunteer directing us off the path and got the direction to follow the flags. 

Um, yeah ... we followed the flags that would be in nice grass if it were summer, but this is December - it was a mud fest. Now I just wanted to get through the last tenth without falling or breaking anything. It was a sloppy finish filled with laughter, but I did it! 

I saw pizza, bread, oranges and beer at the finish. All I wanted was to get some photos with my cool blue glass medal, get to the Jeep, change clothes and head into town for warm food in a dry location... so that's what we did! It was a really fun time, we lucked out and honestly, considering the slacking off I did my finish time wasn't horrible for me ... and I beat 11 people!!! Woo hoo! Oh - and those Shot Blocks? Our ultimate race goal that we created mid-race was to accumulate 13 ... one for each mile. And by golly, we did it!

Half Marathon #19!

7 comments:

  1. Being able to wait in a warm area before a race? So awesome!! Except I probably would have succumbed to the temptation and had an adult beverage! Ouch - bloody shoes are not fun. Congrats on another half!! I can't believe you've done 19!!

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    1. Warm was nice.... Then it got HOT in there!

      Are you doing Dumbo??

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    2. So doing Dumbo!!! I'm hoping to sign up at TInk, assuming there are still spots left!! :)

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    3. Awesome!!! 2013 is going to be an awesome runDisney year for us!

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  2. Those Clif Shots are so yum! That's insane they had them at every stop. Love it!

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    1. They spoiled us! We created a diversion at the last stop so the volunteers looked elsewhere and Shawn grabbed three to get us to 13!

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  3. I have the same Under Armour shirt. It's one of my favorites!

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