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

Monday, December 23, 2013

Eugene Holiday Half Marathon - Take Tew

Last year I ran the inaugural Eugene Holiday Half Marathon in less than favorable conditions. I wore THREE shirts, pants, knee socks, ear warmers, gloves and a hat. This year would not be the same.

About a month before the race I registered for this race due to the appeal of a long sleeve, hooded tech shirt and a new out and back path that avoided the mud show that was the last tenth of the inaugural race.  By the time race day came I was having concerns. There had been so much snow and ice in Eugene, would the race be miserable? Would the path even be clear?

The night before the race I had everything set out ready to easily put on and be on my way. The race didn't start until 10am so I didn't have to wake up any earlier than I do normally. I was up, dressed, fixing my breakfast for the hour drive to the race. I felt ready and kind of excited. You see, the roads were dry! It wasn't freezing when I stepped outside. I had a new Garmin on my wrist and I was ready to have a good final race of 2013.  My friend was doing the 5K so we were texting the whole way up, and I shared my joy at clear, blue skies over the race area. Yay!!

We arrived at Applebee's with plenty of time to use the warm bathrooms and get our bibs and shirts. In the car we relaxed and added our layers.... or did we? Sure, Man Friend had all of his - but did I?? My 26th half marathon... a half marathon in December in Oregon ... and what did I NOT have? My long-sleeve tech shirt. Oh. My. Gosh. I frantically tore through my bag and realized I had the hot pink short sleeve for my base layer on, and then post-race pants. No shirt. My shirt was an hour away on my couch. Ugh... So that long-sleeve shirt I ran this race for? Yeah, I had to run the race IN it. 

Soon it was time for pre-race photos and we went to the start area. It was already much warmer than last year so I ditched the ear warmers and gloves, what a relief!  At 10am the gun went off and we were on a 13.1 mile journey through a flat bike path on the west side of Eugene.  In that first mile we settled in to our "back of the pack" spot. I planned on having a "good" race until the great freeze out happened and I couldn't do any of my long runs for a few weeks. Oh well, I knew I'd still just make the best of it. At mile 2 I decided to Galloway it and do my run/walk intervals. When I'm not mentally into it that really helps because it mentally makes the time go by faster if I am just making myself run a certain distance before a little breather.

Mile 9, feeling great!
The weather was perfect! I actually got a little hot! The water stations were adequately supplied this year and each stop had a variety of gels to offer - we went home with 16 I think? Score! *FYI, Ragnar team -- I'll probably be bringing this to share since I am a Clif girl!  The course had a few out and back spots to it which I actually did enjoy. I was able to see that while I was at the back I was the THE very back. As a matter of fact, we consistently kept passing people with each mile. Except for one....

One woman we passed at the start ended up passing us. Her strange style of running made me not want her to beat me. I was confident we would pass her again. I wasn't, however, expecting to have a terrible Meniere's attack mid-race. The last couple of miles were so difficult I was almost in tears. It helped having my friend at the finish line texting me. And it helped having Man Friend at my side to hold me up when I actually had to run with my eye closed for a while to try to help the vertigo. I was on the verge of throwing up for the last 5K and feeling absolutely miserable. I'm telling you, Jeff Galloway knows his stuff -- all those people that had passed me at the start? I was miserable but sticking to my intervals and I ended up passing a lot in those last 2 miles. I resigned myself to the fact that that one woman I would not beat. Oh well.

Then I got to the Applebee's parking lot. I saw my friend her mom, gave them a wave and then focused on the ground for the last hair-pin turn. After that turn I looked up and there was that lady. This was my chance! With no signal to MF to keep up, I took off! I practice finishing sprints with every run for a reason. I blew by the woman like she was just standing still. Childish goal achieved!! He even said later, "You went from about to throw up to bullet speed with absolutely no warning!"

We got our medals, met up with my friend and enjoyed some post-race water and bit of a bagel. With my medal around my neck I was pretty happy to put an end to a pretty lackluster 2013 race year - aside from my Goofy and Dumbo weekends of course! As far as a holiday race goes, the weather was just beautiful and the volunteers were very friendly and positive. I have no complaints!

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