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

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Prefontaine Memorial 2 Miler

When I began running in 2009 my biggest inspiration was Steve Prefontaine.  A "local" runner that was the best of his time with so much promise before his life was cut too short. In 2010 I did my first Prefontaine Memorial run. Five years in a row I did that 10K course, experiencing rain, heat, spontaneous vomit, a 10K PR, a fun costume and a lot of ups and downs .... no really, the course -- Up and Down, Up and Down. That first year I loved it so much and why we were all there in Coos Bay running and I vowed I will always do it. Rain or shine, I could have a broken foot or be pregnant and I would still do it.

Well, as fate would have it, here I am pregnant and ready to run the Prefontaine Memorial Run! Seeing as I am still not allowed to "run" I realized I better be smart and not put myself under a time crunch on the hardest course I know. So this year I happily registered to be part of the 2 mile fun walk. And it WAS fun!!

Naturally with 5 minutes until I wanted to be on the road I had some morning sickness at home. Of course, I mean why wouldn't that happen on an important day?? But I'm a pro at that now and was on the road only 4 minutes late! The drive in the new mom car (which will be shown later in the baby blogs) was really nice. I sang Broadway to my little passenger and taught him/her all about Steve Prefontaine and why "we" were going to the coast. Good thing I didn't encounter other cars, I probably looked really silly talking to my tummy!

I arrived at the church to pick up my packet and had great conversation with the woman allowing me to switch shirt sizes so I could accommodate my little race partner. I was able to get one of the last parking space at Marshfield High School by the finish line, and took my time getting myself ready. It was such a strange feeling to not be the least bit nervous, although this was my 6th year so I shouldn't be nervous anyway! 

Around 9:30 "we" walked to downtown Coos Bay and the start line. The church bathroom still had an incredibly long line so I skipped it and went to the museum where I knew it would be empty. I made a beeline for upstairs to the Prefontaine room. As I got to the door I almost ran right into a man. We both caught ourselves and turned sideways to get through the door. I hope my jaw didn't drop while I smiled and nodded my head during our passing. It was none other than Frank Shorter, Steve Prefontaine's friend and the last person to see him alive. I had met Frank in 2011, but still this was pretty darn exciting and got me ready for the race!

Naturally I felt this was the perfect time for some pre-race photos. First up, the baby bump with Frank Shorter and Pre in the background. I know next year this little baby will be at the race in the stroller, so why not get the first race photo in now?!?  While I'd rather look at the bump, I did pause to get myself too. A quick potty trip followed, then back down to the warm sunshine in the street of the start area.

I mingled around trying to find other green bibs, knowing they were also doing the 2 mile walk. I did find some ladies that I struck up conversation with and stayed close to until the gun went off and we were .... walking. It was soooo hard to not run. But it felt great to be back in my setting of runners and music and excitement. I've really missed it! This year I chose to have no music. I wanted to just enjoy this time in the perfect weather, seeing some new places by doing a different course, and just take care of myself and the little baby I was taking along for the ride. I had to laugh, even walking I was still passing so many people. This is normal though. On any given race I can walk up a hill faster than people that are trying to run it. In the photo to the right, I passed all of those people walking near me. That huge cluster of people scaling up the first hill? Yeah, that's supposed to be me. It was very strange to NOT be going that way. Shortly before that hill I would see my sign telling me to make my first turn.

The ladies I started with assured me that there would be plenty of signs on the course for us to follow, and thank goodness they were right. From this point on I pretty much never had a person to follow. I was in such a quick rhythm that I was all alone! We had a couple hills, the last being very steep. It was at this point I had to force myself to slow down, which allowed a couple of men to catch up. We all talked to each other for a while before I took off again at my quick pace. Soon I was at the top of the Marshfield High School campus and heading back down the hill. Zigging and zagging through the school buildings was fun and not the norm for a race course!

With .45 to go two women who were walking/running the course caught up to me. The three of us stayed together for a while before one took off running. The other woman was lovely. She came from Washington with her daughter and had recently had eye surgery. We figured we were a great pair to finish together since we were both trying to be careful. We talked about so many things in that last stretch and once we hit the track she said those magic words... "What do you think? Should we go for a nice jog on the track? We can take it easy and run it in to the end?"  YES!!!

So there we were, two strangers taking care of each other and enjoying the track to ourselves. At the last turn she wished me well as I said I had to go in for my final kick to the finish. I could have passed our 3rd lady but didn't want to be a jerk, so I backed off a bit and finished with a huge smile. After the timing mat I couldn't help but grab my tummy and yell "We did it!"  My baby and I are officially a new race team and we were awesome!  I know a lot of the people ahead of me started out running, which is why I never saw anyone else. I signed up to walk, so that's what I did, and I was 4th in my division. Go us!!

We 3 ladies all shared high 5's at the end, and stood around chatting for a while. When the 10K winner crossed in 31 minutes I realized I better head over to the grandstands. My sole goal for this race was to finish in time to see Frank Shorter cross the finish line. Goal complete! And at 1:00:46 there came Frank in his Prefontaine singlet through the finish line!

It was the perfect day for a race! I wouldn't have changed a single thing. While it was different to race all by myself, I never feel alone anymore, and I fully admit I talked to the baby on the course. Gotta teach this one how it's done at an early age after all!

So until this baby comes out, this is it for my racing. Good thing I have that jogger stroller already put together, I'm ready to get back out there like the old days!

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