Sunday, November 21, 2010

EWEB half Race Report & Kamikazi Running Lesson: Take 1

Spoiler alert:
I have to admit it is my habit to skip right to the finish time when reading race reports...but I always go back and read the details, because I love a good story!

Overall winners:
1/462 John Ngigi 31 M 1/32  Glide OR 1:13:19 1:13:20 5:36
2 Timothy Pillow  19 M 1/13  Eugene OR 1:15:23 1:15:23 5:46
3 Leo Alapont 34 M 2/32  Eugene OR 1:16:22 1:16:23 5:50

1 (9 overall) Clare Taylor 40  1/28  Marcola OR 1:22:04 1:22:06 6:16
2 (17 overall)  Stephanie Snyder 41  2/28  Salem OR 1:24:48 1:24:49 6:29
3 (27 overall) Tonya Lutz 33  1/48  Salem OR 1:27:33 1:27:34 6:42

1 *Me*   1:31:XX 7:xx  
2 Gretchen Parker  1:41:31 7:45
3 Heather Leonard  1:48:48 8:19

Race apparel included gloves, paceband and shortie "geetah" straw.
It was pretty chilly when I rolled into Eugene at 8 am. The race was to start at 9 and that meant I had an hour to get ready. That could be an all-time record for race preparedness for me! I came wearing tights and long sleeves over a lycra tank. I also wore gloves and my trusty Brooks running hat, and kept on a down jacket until race time.

We were slated for cold rain, with a "real feel" of something in the mid 30's. We would be blessed with a break in all precipitation until almost noon, giving us cool weather with some clouds and even a few sun rays.
I met up with Kim, Laurie and FruitFly- a few other blogger runners. Such nice ladies!! And we all chatted, took photos with Kim's friend Ken, and then I went to get my packet. Total chaos.

Blogger meetup!!! It was so fun to meet Laurie and Kim!
And FruitFly...but where was she? In the line to get packets, where I should have been.
The packet pickup was a mess, even for those pre-registered.
Warning! They could work out some kinks there.

We were supposed to be silly here, or so I thought...
For some reason I was the only one. :] 

After the pre-race stuff was settled, I took my place in line for the porta-potties and while I waited I read an inspirational letter. My friend Cathy (an non-running musician) penned it. It helped me bring things into focus. I knew I was still sick, but had trained well. I would do my best, see how things went and adjust as necessary. Above all else, I would try to conduct myself with honor (not always natural to me!!) during and after the race.

When the gun fired, I quickly realized I had put myself in the wrong place for the start. I jockeyed around a few people and found a good position. I passed many people in the first mile and found myself comfortable running right behind a shorter woman in a black skirt and crazy knee socks. She must have twice the cadence I do! She was consistent and strong. We passed the first mile marker at around 7:10. A little fast- but close to my original 7:15 goal.

I am not sure what happened between miles 1-2. It felt fast, but good, and Crazy Socks and I passed many people. Things thinned out. I removed my long sleeve shirt and tied it to my waist.

I passed Crazy Socks and a few others just before mile 2 and when I checked my watch it had been a 6:29 mile! Maybe we really went that fast, but I heard someone behind me ask, "Was that in the right place?" I shouted back "I don't have a Garmin, but that last mile was 6:29 by my watch." I think that crazy socks and I were chatting with each other.

The third mile was finished in 7:29- so maybe the markers got back on track here -or we slowed down- but I decided to take my first gel on the way to mile 4. I washed down some water with my straw from a cup that I was handed, and put the straw back under my watch band. For the next mile or so, there were few runners to be seen.

Near mile 6, I felt my right quad start to burn a little.  I also heard footsteps and realized that someone was right behind me. It was crazy socks! She passed me near mile 7 and I tried to catch her. She kept an even pace and I tried and tried to catch back up with her. At this point I felt like I was starting to flag, so I took another gel and kept my eye open for the next water stop.

Near mile 8 or 9  there was a turn-around point and we watched as the lead women passed with some faster men, (my guess is that the lead men had already crossed the river). I got a nod from a few men and a gal too. Then it was over the last footbridge and back upriver. I noticed that I gained the most ground on Crazy Socks when we were going up bridges or hills, but just not enough.

One of my goals in this race was to try to run the tangents (making the course as short as possible, while staying on the course). I feel very successful in this effort! It was clear as I watched other runners that this is not what everyone focuses on. I passed another man near mile 10. Then I almost caught Crazy Socks when she stopped for water.

I had taken my last of 2 gels and had some water earlier, and felt no need. I couldn't believe I was staying right at or above the 1:32 pace I had optimistically written for a "lucky stars" scenario on the pace band --right next to the 1:34 paces I had projected, based on the McMillan Calculator, given my recent 5K. *(more on that later..)

Still, I wanted to catch Crazy Socks, whatever pace she was running, but she had paced herself well and I was running way faster than I thought capable. I just kept thinking..."How long can I hold this out?" as she got further and further ahead of me. And that's when it happened.

Somehow, in my intense focus and attempt to shear the course, I ran right into a garbage can! Not just a garbage can, a park garbage can with a wooden enclosure. A stationary object. It did not yield and I took maybe 4 or 6 very unbalanced steps and almost went skidding on my stomach! Some walker saw it and had a good laugh. I, on the other hand, was not amused. In fact a 4 letter word escaped my mouth. Then I remembered my goal- to be honorable. I let it go.

Surely Crazy Socks gained some ground during that debacle. I tried to regain the fastest possible pace with only a couple of short miles left. I knew I was right on for 1:32 and hoped to hold it. Past the rose gardens I was passed by a guy who had beefy legs.

He said to me "Dig deep!".

I said "Yeah, you too." ? But I was thinking, "I am digging as deep as I can buddy!" And, "If you have that much left in your legs, why didn't you use it earlier?" And..."Can I have some of your quad strength? I could really use it!"

A short while later, I could see the Alton Baker Park footbridge and knew we were getting close. I was very focused on the tangents- maybe too focused. There was a woman walking on the left side in my direction, and a man running also on her side. I thought to myself, "I can get right between them." to get my tangent...I got nearer and the guy stepped sideways.

We both apologized, but I kept running to go between him and the woman. He was indecisive and I was running right for my tangent! He moved the other way, and blam-O! We hit. A second later I was on my way again. I have no idea what he thinks right now, but I kind of feel a little bad.  I probably should have just gone around him. :/

Lesson learned: Run the tangents, but watch out for moving and stationary objects.

A few minutes later I could hear the finish line announcers and I rounded the last corner. It felt AWESOME to hear my name called out and also hear that the finishers for the half marathon coming in are running about a 7 minute pace!

I crossed the line in 1:31:XX, received my mug and had my chip taken off. Once off the mat I thanked God for my race and met with my parents. Then I saw Crazy Socks, congratulated her- Kristi- and introduced myself.

With my arms strategically placed to make it look like I am wearing a unitard/singlet, with shirt wrapped around waist!
Note: perhaps contrasting color for top next time might be a better choice. ha.

A little while later I found Laurie (who PRd) and Kim (who ran better than she had expected) and we went to see the results. They were kind enough to go to the awards ceremony with me and take photos (THANK YOU , ladies!)

Getting the AG medal. (I wore pigtails. I think they might make me faster.) 
All the medals look the same- without engraving. Still, they are cool!
And this photo is a good example of how BIG my feet are...
Not likely to blow over in a wind storm! He he.
All Cheese! Thanks for taking the photos, girls :)

It was a pretty good day! I went to mom and dad's where my dad had scheduled an athletic massage as my late birthday present. First time with a professional massage- I am sold!!

* Now...about the pace band. Someone said something about me sandbagging :) ...and I just have to say, that in my best case scenario I had expected a 1:34, but being that I was sick and it got worse for Thursday/Friday, I had no idea what to expect. Even meeting my old PR seemed like it might be far-fetched. You just never know! Always, always do your best. Sometimes things go your way, even if there might be a few things in the way.


  1. Nice AG win! You rock!

  2. This is so inspirational!!! I'm so glad I checked this before bed...what a great note to end my day. YOU ROCK!!!! I hope I can run a 1:31 again someday (my PR too). I can't believe you did all of this while sick, crashing in to trash cans, etc. :) What a great write up! Congrats!

  3. Outstanding run! I can't wait till N starts running with you. I want to be there the first time he is faster than his mom.

  4. You did awesome - but you already know that. Congrats and well done. I guess that my predicted pace was waaaaayyyyy off. Good for you!! Liked the report.

    Trash can?? Seriously? Glad that you did not get hurt.

  5. You people at the front of the pack are hard core, running into people AND trash cans! So that's how it's done, I must give it a try sometime! Great race report and congratulations again. I want to be there when you break 1:30!

  6. I just spit coffee all over my keyboard...Unitard-bahahaha!!

    Great race report! Loved it! The garbage can-too funny! I fell in a Halloween HM last October by tripping on myself (graceful) and a LOUD 4 letter word (actually several of them) came out of my mouth! How becoming!! Fortunately, the only person who heard them was a girl dressed up as a playboy bunny-ha!

    You really ran a great race! 1st in your AG-SO awesome and so fun to hear all about it!! Your next half you're gonna end up with an average in the 6's. Unbelievable! I hope you have some BIG goals for Boston! (I just realized I am excessive with exclamation points....) I have never thought of the straw idea-does that work well?

    Anyway, congrats again! Great pictures. You look JUST like a runner-a fast one at that! Hope your taking a little reverse taper here and relishing in your accomplishment! (one more exclamation point for good measure!)

    (I don't run outside when it's colder than -5. I've been able to get by with just smartwool socks-one pair and not have frostbite-a little cold but not too bad. I have Yaktrax but I don't really like them so I prefer to run on the center of a plowed road that they salt which keeps the ice off) Do you like my email comment-ha?)

  7. Heh heh. If it weren't for our friends poking and prodding us to greater and greater heights, would we sit and be satisfied with our own achievements? I told you you would do well, I just wish that I had bet C2 on the times...I'd have to split it with the garbage can though. So, no garbage cans and/or other runners, and this would have been a 1:30. Oh and Fudge is more than 4 letters. ;-)

    So, since you won't have a Pikermi in March that I would be forced to come down and run, are you going to come up in June for Sherwood's first Pikermi? It will be June 4th, they haven't set the map yet, or at least they haven't posted it yet. Might be fun, maybe we could get an Oregon BlogFest going.

  8. I really enjoyed your race report! And congrats on the AG win! I knew you could do it! And I think bumping into a garbage can might actually give you a surge of adrenaline that might have helped you! Nice job, sandbagger! =)

  9. That's crazy that you got intimate with a garbage can AND a man on the race! It seems like everybody was flying through the course that day. Maybe we all knew we wanted to not freeze so we just moved faster!

    I fully agree - getting the number, chip and shirt was bizarre... and slow! I'm glad I went when I did. When I left that area the line had grown so long. My nerves wouldn't have been able to handle that.

    And I will confess - some 4 letter words came out of my mouth, too. Mostly I think at myself when I started to slow down. And I remember actually yelling at myself once I could see the finish line. Not even sure what I said - I think I was yelling to get my a$$ moving and to go get my PR.

    It was great to meet you, too! I'm sure we'll run into each other again at another race now that we've met once. Congrats on your super speedy time and your medal!!

  10. Congrats on the fast race and 1st place AG win! I'll have to try pig-tails at my next race!

  11. AHHHH!! No joke, this made my day! Congratulations...that is so speedy and you took an age group 1st. Simply amazing. I am so happy for you. You have been sick and you killed that race?!?! Ha dig deep....when people tell me stuff like that when I am giving it everything I can I want to scream. I need to steal a man's quads too....think of the possibilities.
    I would love a professional massage after every race. Some day.
    You are amazing and I am so happy for you!

  12. Congratulations!! That's an amazing time!! Especially after being sick all week.

    I need to talk to you about gels and whatnot sometime.

  13. burrr, thats cold!! I am such a weenie in the cold. I need to get those gloves. they look warm!
    Congrats on taking first in your AG! Your one fast woman.

  14. what a GREAT race report!!!! i seriously felt like i was running the whole race with you step by step (and, that's probably the only way i could run any race with you mrs. speedy!!!). seriously! how you maintain that pace over that distance is unbelievable. i love that you had two goals and was able to beat your "stretch" goal! once i get a number in my head, sometimes i feel like i'd be willing to run through brick walls in order to make it happen....

    you inspire me!!!

  15. What an awesome awesome race report! Sorry about the garbage can encounter, but it totally made me giggle, SO something I would do =)
    Great job on your accomplishement, you are SPEEDY!!!!!!

  16. You do know that that garbage can will haunt you for a very very long time.

  17. Um...hello??? Was it not moi who predicted an AG win? Oh man, I can't even tell you how HAPPY I am for you!! Congratulations, girl - there's no end to what you can achieve!

  18. WAH!!!! You came FIRST in your AG! Ohhhhh my good gracious gravy! Congratulations. =)

    Oh wow, that letter was awesome.

    My gosh, you're fast. Oh so wonderfully fast. Oh no! You ran into a garbage can! You poor thing. Kudos to you for acting honourably.

    I love the pictures. =) So glad you enjoyed that massage. Does the straw help you not choke?

  19. To answer some questions/comments:

    I have a bruise the size of an egg on my right quad (C2) as a reminder of the race- but it was totally worth it.

    Ninja Jenn- I thought the straw worked quite well; I spilled a little on my sleeve when I didn't slow to grab the cup, but I didn't choke and got just enough to wash down my gels. I have NO idea what exactly to train for regarding Boston, bumping other runners and all,- but I am excited. :) One pair of socks in -5 is hard-core!

    NB- We shall see about a June 4 half. Sounds interesting! What's the entry fee? I laughed when I read your ridiculously optimistic prediction last thursday.

    Meg- can you figure out how to email me?

    Jill- I hope you won something with that bet! All the fast girls were young this year. C3 must not have shown up.

  20. Keeley- Thanks :) YEP! No choking, little spillage :)

  21. $45 and you get to run around Sherwood. It will make for a nice little jog after your Bean-Town victory.

  22. Wooohooo! congrats on your AG win!! that is an amazing pace to that you ran into a garbage can...something I totally would have done. Great report. congrats, again!

  23. CONGRATS!!!! I loved reading your RR report, you are so fast!! That's such a fantastic time, thats great you were able to do that while come back from an illness! Great job!! Sorry to hear about the trash can incident that sounds like something that would happen to me as well! :)


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