Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Eugene Marathon 2010: Race recap, part 2

And now we're on to.....


Warning:  This is long.

As I said in part 1 of the recap, I had nine hours in which to sleep before we had to get up to head back into Eugene for the race.  This was important because of the Ambien I took:  "Do not take Ambien unless you can devote a full eight hours to sleep."  And they are really, truly not kidding.  Because.....  I found out after the race that I was not truly awake until somewhere around maybe mile five of the race.

After the race, my mom and I were talking about the shuttle buses they had.  There was some sort of miscommunication between the race people and the bus drivers, and the bus drivers weren't going to let non-racers on the buses at all -- they were supposed to be for racers only until 9:30 and then open to racers and spectators after that until 3:30.  So somehow we get on the topic of how they're the yellow school buses and I say something like, oh I haven't been on a bus like that in years.  And my mom says, well except for the shuttle bus you took this morning.  And I answer, what shuttle bus?  Turns out I have almost no recollection whatsoever of leaving the hotel and driving to the Hilton, of my mom getting me onto the shuttle bus, of my getting to the race, none of it.  I only know from Tall Mom's race report that they did the national anthem before the start.  I only know from seeing it on the news that there was an actual starter gun that went off at the start.  I was still sleeping.

Moral of the story:  I need less pharmaceuticals in my life.

I do remember looking at the start for Tall Mom and Ann-Marie, but since I was asleep I'm thinking that left my observational skills less than sharp.  I did get interviewed by the news for about five minutes, although I couldn't really tell you at all what I said.  At least, I think it was the news.  I hope it was the news; it could have been some weird guy with a fetish for videotaping runners.  I wandered over to look down at Hayward Field (not terribly impressive, but I was asleep).  I hit the portapotties twice and then got into my corral at the very back of the pack.  Everyone started to move forwards and we were off. 

I loved seeing the clothing fly at the beginning.  I've never been in a race where I've seen that.  I amused myself through the rest of the race spotting discarded clothing, and I seriously considered grabbing someone's discarded Moeben sleeves around mile 18. ( They were really nice sleeves, but I was lacking in fine muscle coordination by that time so I didn't risk taking a header into the pavement.)

By the time the race started, I had to pee again so in the first few miles I have a vague recollection of just looking for bathrooms.  (I was still asleep.)  Not long after the first water stop there was an actual bathroom at a park, so I dodged off the course along with several other ladies where we took over the men's room.  Muwahahahahahaha!!  It was one of those where it had stalls but no doors on the men's side so just in we went.  As I was coming out there was this poor guy in line with all the women; I told him not to worry, we weren't peeking but that he still had to suffer with sharing.

At mile five I checked with Chip and I was just after the hour mark; given that I'd made a pit stop and was walking through all of the aid stations to hydrate I was a few minutes ahead of where I had expected to be.  I would have taken my first Gu somewhere in there as well; I took one around every four miles or so.  My race recollections are more in focus after five miles.

Somewhere between miles five and eight I found myself exactly pacing another runner and we struck up a conversation.  Her name was Ellen and she was running the half.  We ended up running together for the most part (she had a cramp and dropped back, I took another pit stop later on and we ended up reconnecting later on) until the course split off between the half and the full. 

From the parts where I was awake, I thought the course was really pretty except for that industrial kind of area between miles 10 and 12 or so.  I asked a volunteer where the heck I was at one point (downtown Springfield), and gave a few high fives to kids along the course through there.  The spectators were great throughout, although my part of the race had a lot less people once we went through the course where it passed back along Hayward Field -- where the half folks were already finishing and probably the leaders of the marathon as well.  There were still quite a few people throughout the course.  My favorite part was when we ran past the mall.  Several groups of folks had basically set up tailgating parties.  One had a table set up and everything with all this food.  I called out "not fair!" and they invited me up to have anything I wanted or needed.  I thought that was very nice of them.  (I more wanted a chair than food.)

By mile 18, the pack had thinned down to a couple of power walkers, the walking wounded, those who had completely slowed down to a walk, and then the slower runners like me.  It was more men who were the walking wounded.  I passed one guy who asked if I had any icy hot he could use.  I was still feeling great, although the heat was getting to me.  I had worn a base layer shirt, black and long-sleeved.  By that point, it was getting up to 65 degrees and I was started to overheat.  The course had less and less shade and I was drinking my own water more and more. 

Then at mile 20, I had a surprise.  Can you guess?  It was DUN DUN DUN lady with the cane!!!!!  I am not making this up.  I come around a corner just pass mile 20 and there she is, 50 feet in front of me.  I was pacing with one of the Team in Training racers and I told her that I had just spotted my arch nemesis.  She said, "You go get her!" and I just kicked it.  I went zooming past lady with the cane, checking as I went past that it was in fact my lady with the cane (she has an unusual cane).  I actually saw her on the news coverage the next morning and looked up her results; she finished 20 minutes after I did.  I kicked the lady with the cane's ass!

This is a good time to tell you all about my racing mantra.  The experts tell you to find a mantra, some phrase you can tell yourself to keep yourself going throughout the race.  I never really had one, until about a week before the race.  Hopefully I can tell the story well.

I am a big fan of Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden series.  The latest book just came out and I was reading it last week.  Now, in the series there is a great character named Butters.  Butters is a medical examiner.  His backstory is that he autopsied the bodies after one of Harry's big fights and told his superiors that the bodies were humanoid but not human (they were vampires, which in these books this flavor of vampire is no longer human in physical structure).  So that gets Butters a 90 day stay in a mental ward, until to keep his job he recants his story.  He gets his job, but he's shunted off to the night shift and gets all the crap assignments.  Butters doesn't actually believe in the supernatural, despite these weird bodies he saw.

Later, in one of the books in the middle of the series, Butters is rather abruptly confronted with the fact that vampires and wizards (like Harry) and such actually are real.  It's when zombies, including someone he works with who was alive minutes before, try to kill him. 

Now, Butters has a passion for polka.  As Harry and he are trying to get away from the zombies and the necromander, Butters insists on taking his one-man polka band suit with him.  All kinds of things happen, and long story short Butters knows he's basically cannon fodder here.  He understands his limitations.  In the normal world, he's not all that and in the supernatural world he's going to get himself killed.  In essence, he's freaking out about all of this for good reason.  To calm him down, Harry tells him:  Polka will never die.  It brings Butters back to himself and he actually ends up saving Harry's life and then helps save all of Chicago and basically the world by the end of the book.  I relate to Butters because while it's nice to think that you'd be all cool if it was you in that world, deep down you know you'd lose it too.  Polka will never die.

In the latest book, Butters freaks out and Harry tells him:  Polka will never die.  And that became my mantra for the marathon.  When I started to get tired, polka will never die.  It worked like nothing else I had tried had.

I felt great until mile 23, and then I started slow down.  The heat was starting to do me in.  If I had to do anything different in this race, I would have worn a light colored short sleeved shirt.  Those last 3.2 miles were in full sun and the longest ever.  I thought my legs were still doing well until I sped up on a downhill and my knees told me they might not hold me if I tried that again.  I kept on though, because Chip was telling me that I was much closer to six hours than it turned out I was.  I'm guessing that was because I had paused Chip during bathroom breaks and the two water stops where I had them fill up my water bottle.  I also vaguely remembering forgetting to unpause Chip for several minutes after the first bathroom break.

Still, my iPod and bodybugg stats are much better than I thought I did.  Chip had me at 27.32 miles and an average 13:55 minute mile.  My average pace was very steady throughout the entire run, even through the last 3.2 miles which surprised me.  My running pace stayed the same throughout, but I think it was my walking pace that slowed down as I neared the end.  My bodybugg had this:
  • 7am - 8am:  5 minutes walking / 49 minutes running
  • 8am - 9am:  3 walking / 57 running
  • 9am - 10am:  15 / 45
  • 10am - 11am:  18 / 42
  • 11am - 12 pm:  19 / 41
  • 12pm - 1pm:  17 / 43
  • 1pm - 2pm:  22 / 18 -- I finished around 1:20 pm so this would include me walking after the race finished.
I never did get to see my mom on the course.  I had estimated when I would reach each five mile interval, and I was going a lot faster than I thought I would be.  My mom missed me by about 30 minutes at the mall, which was the main place we had planned for her to spectate.  She did get to see me finish, which was great.  I saw on the news the next day what they were talking about with all the noise of the spectators in the stands as you finished on Hayward Field; they were maybe only 30 people in the stands by the time I finished so at the time I didn't get it.  But the people who were there yelled and clapped for everyone who was finishing and I really appreciated that. 

Like most races, they started breaking down everything before people had finished which bothered me and particularly my mom (in case you wonder where I get it from, this is it).  She went to go get my bag at the bag check and they were getting ready to drive the truck away; they had just left the rest of the bags sitting out on the ground.  I did get a finisher's medal this time (I would have raised holy hell if they ran out of those for this race).  I have no idea what kind of food they had; I don't think they still had pancakes left, they had dry bagels but nothing for them, and bananas that were going very brown.  Lots of bottles of warm water though. 

All finishers were supposed to get a 15 minute massage, but no one told the massage people that meant they needed to be there past the two o'clock race finish time.  I was the last person to get a massage, and I told them that they were in fact going to give me a massage as I had paid the same fee as the guy who finished first.  My mom had gone back over to the finish to get me the printout of my split times for the race -- "Makes a wonderful souvenir" said the promo materials.  She came back very annoyed that those people had closed down a long time before, and that in fact one man had just finished three minutes past the cut off and they were already taking down the finish arch.  So, dear Eugene Marathon people:  When the race doesn't end until 2:00 pm, THE RACE DOESN'T END UNTIL 2:00 PM.  I know you're tired and want to go home, but deal with it.  The gal who was checking in the massage people told me as I was waiting for my massage how tired she was, since she'd ben there since sitting at that table since 8:00 am.  I smiled and said that I could beat that:  I started running at 7:00 am and just finished.  She was like, oh yeah.  I smiled again and said, yeah I'm going to win no matter what else you've done today. 

Don't mess with a marathoner, man.  We can get mean.

So, would I do this again?  Hmmm, maybe.  I would want to do things "the right way" if I did, though.  I would definitely do weight training and I'd want to do the speed, hill, and tempo training.  But since I don't really want to do the speed, hill, and tempo training......  I do get frustrated when they shut things down before the participants have finished.  I am in awe of the people who can run a two hour marathon but I am just in awe of those who need the seven hours.  We've done the same 26.2 miles, we deserve to get the same treatment.

Okay, I'm off my soapbox now.

My legs are much better today, although carrying a full laundry basket down a set of stairs was a huge challenge.  My quads are now just very stiff, nearly all of the pain of movement has gone away.  I've got a doctor's appointment in about an hour (regular checkup stuff) and I'm going to ask her about the hands swelling issue since that happened again on Sunday -- not as bad as at my half, but despite two packs of Endurolytes it still happened.  I'm also planning out what I'll be doing in terms of running and diet for the rest of the year, and how I want that to go.  I ended my marathon training at 192.0 lbs, for an overall gain of four pounds from when I began this in January.  I was really hoping to at least break even. 

Congrats to every one who ran and big thanks to everyone who sent words of encouragement and to my friends who made the trip to spectate.  Great job to all!

the CilleyGirl


  1. You finished you're a marathoner!

  2. I keep telling myself that! Today was the first day I'm not carrying my medal around everywhere; I feel kind of naked without it ;)

  3. Wow, AMAZING!! I am planning on doing this (a marathon) next year, it's great to see your report! Maybe now I will consider where I run it a little more....