Sunday, August 28, 2011

I won a (very short, very small) Race, (with the help of a Super Chicken-Head pacer)

That is an exaggeration.
**Warning: Short race, long report
Skip to the bottom if you just want the finish time**

The race: 
The Eugene Celebration Mile - Eugene, OR

Fear, doubt, backing out and "incentives"

I almost didn't do this race for several reasons.
First, I was a little leery of spending money for such a short race. It's so short that if things don't go well, the money's spent and there's no time mid-race to make much adjustment.
Secondly, I am very inexperienced still at short distances. I have only ran on a track for a mile once as an adult last year. In high school we did the mile-and-a-half timed test once a year for PE. That's my track background.
Also, It's been a  long session of training since my last race, with very few rest days . I finally took a rest day yesterday, though, because I thought my ankle might be getting a bit "twingie".

Interestingly, after my last blog post, one special friend emailed me and offered to pay my entry if I didn't PR. Ha! No pressure there!!
Finally, curiosity got the best of me. I decided that I might never have such a great opportunity to run a fast mile for an official time again. You really never know when your running days might come to an end, or other things in life might need to take over.

I don't want any regrets. Yes, I'd have passed if up if it was more more than 25$, but I was willing to throw that much away today.

Pre race:
I arrived way too early for this race. This never happens. Maybe it should more often.

They were still setting up the tables for the 9:50 race at 7:40 when I got there. What can I say? Someone else was watching the kids! I knew I need to warm up, but not for 2 hours. I sat in my car and listened to the radio.

I had already eaten a bagel and half a banana, drank coffee w/ sugar and milk, and quite a bit of cola Nuun.

I went back to the tables, now set up, and payed my entry fee. Now I couldn't back out!

I looked for a port-a-pot. Would you be surprised if I told you there weren't any for a mile race? Nevertheless...I was glad that the race start was situated conveniently next to Starbucks.

I went for a warm-up run and cruised part of the course and headed to the U of O campus, circled around the cemetery and back for a total of about 2.5 slow miles. With less than 5 minutes before the race, I did a few short strides and lined up near the start with the other racers. I was surprised how FEW people there were! I set my watch and had no problem getting a spot on the start line.

Race time
I had some goals written on my hand for each 1/4 mile, based on the running calculators. But they were really just optimistic targets. I didn't set any alerts on the Garmin this time- I just put it on the screen for current pace.

The RD explained to the racers that they had rolled (measured) the course 3 different times and that it was accurate to within an inch. There was also a small distraction with a man who had some pro-life signs slightly in the road. The police asked him to move to the sidewalk.

I suppose I had the immortal words of Steve Prefontaine in my head.
"The best pace is a suicide pace, and today looks like a good day to die."

When the gun fired, I did my new "usual thing" and went out way too fast.

My first clue was when we got to the 1/4 mile, there were only a handful of guys ahead of me still, and one of them was wearing a yellow cape, and yellow helmet with a chicken strapped on it! I figured anyone wearing that kind of costume must be VERY fast-and VERY cool. He was.

I put on the brakes a smidge, realizing I could not sustain the pace. Then I let ChickenHead pace me.

I watch many men passing me at this point. I was OK with that, and I think I may have caught a few later. 

We rounded a corner with crowds cheering. I could hear things being said about the chicken and shouts for me! For such a short and small race, there was a load of crowd support!! It's great to run a race on a parade course right before the parade! :)

In short time, I could see the flags waving at the finish line and tried to maintain speed. My unplanned mantra while running was, "You can die after you cross the finish line!"
I ended up with about a 5-6 second difference between my first half mile and the second- positive splits. 
And, since there were so few people, and the 5:30 ladies didn't show up this year, I ended up first female in 5:41 a new PR!

Chicken-Head was a GREAT pacer. Super fast and super nice!

I spent some time cheering for the other finishers and eating the snacks & water provided. 
I met some new people and had plenty of time for visiting and talking about races with them.
There were medals for the winners and I received a free entry to the Turkey Stuffer 5K in November!

Post race
Afterwards, I went for a run to cool down and reflect on things near the Rexius trail. But after about 20 steps, I realized I might get my shoes dirty and went back to the pavement, ha!.  Not a trail runner today...

Final thoughts
I am SUPER happy that I decided to spend the money on this SHORT race today and got plenty of "bang for my buck". Thanks to the friends I have here who have had confidence in my racing and encourage me. Again, God was gracious to let me run and I am thankful! 

BIG thanks to my SUPER MOM and DAD for watching the kiddos while I was racing (and my hubby was busy tracking elk- Go get one honey!!)! 

A few photos from their day today:

Levi with a grabbing wolf head. Here comes trouble!

Serious fishing done again!


  1. Way to go ! What an fabulously fast mile! It really makes me want to do a mile race, but I am pretty sure there aren't any around here.

  2. Superstar alert! I knew you could go sub 5:45. And that 5K in November, sub 19 for you NO DOUBT! So happy you did the race and ran it so well. I don't think going out too fast in a mile race is a problem, since the entire race is so darn short! This got me exited to do a mile race, too, except there are none around here. I think you need to check out the prizes for that K in November, cause some of those are yours:)

  3. First off, your kids are so cute! I don't know how you were able to stay serious with thoughts like "You can die after you cross the finish line!" while running beside the chicken man. : ) What a fast race! Big congrats!

  4. WOW!!! Congratulations! I love that you won a free race entry - what an awesome prize!

  5. OK-AMAZING race!!! You WON the race, You KILLED your previous PR, you ran a FREAKIN' 5:41 on a ROAD mile!!!!!! I'm not really in shock about the time since I already knew it prior to the race-ha ha!!

    I'm so proud of you. You had a TOUGH training week and you've been pushing pushing since your last race but you didn't let this "scare" you away. Always stepping up to the challenge!! You are not a chicken!!! Being a chicken isn't all bad in this case so I'm finding out-ha!!

    I LOVE all the pictures. I'm stealing your mantra! Great report! I laughed that you were at the race at 7:40!!! Next year the 5:30 ladies will show up! You will be one of them:) Congrats on the free 5K entrance fee!!!! I agree with AM. You will be under 19 here!

    You really do amaze me Raina. Just a great person and athlete. Your boys are beautiful! Love their new "DO's".

    OK-I'm on my phone. Don't even know what I'm writing. Great job again!

  6. Awe girl, I am soooo happy for you, I was smiling big when I read just the title and screaming at my computer screen when I saw the time, and heard the excitment in your voice. You are wickedly fast and I couldn't be happier for you! Congratulations on a fantastic PR. What a treat, too, to win a free entry into the Turkey 5K, I have no doubt you will kick some serious butt! Way to go, Raina!!!

    Love those pics of the can see how proud they are of those fish and Levi's grabber! :)

  7. YAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! Is the Turkey Stuffer on Thanksgiving day? If I'm in Eugene, I'll definitely go run it, too!

  8. Yay!!!! That is soooo awesome! I am so glad you decided to do it. Wish you were doing Eugene NEXT weekend :)

  9. Nice job! You are so speedy already, but somehow winning a timed mile in Eugene adds to the victory!

  10. so friggin awesome!!!You inspire me and Jenn is right, next year YOU will be that 5:30 girl! probably faster by then:) so so so amazing! I WISH I could have been there to see you and scream your name!! you rock Raina!....maybe that's what I'll call you from now on: Rockin' Raina! LOL xxx

  11. Just an amazing race!! LOVE the pics of your boys.

  12. OK! So you can run faster than a man with a chicken on his head. Just poking fun. Really... a fantastic run..

  13. Congrats, awesome job!!!

    5:41 mile is phenomenal, that is great! I bet if you had another opportunity and now that you know what's it's like, I bet you could get right around 5:30 out there.

    The race pictures are super cool, I love the start of the race, everyone is trying to bend forward to gun it right out of the gate. And the final shot of everyone who ran the race is a great one. The third shot is a great one too, you are trying to floor it!

    That looked like a great organized race, whoever did that did a great job I think.

  14. Terrific race, Raina! 5:41 without specific race training, a taper, or experience is very impressive!

    I love the Prefontaine quote, and it's very appropriate for this race report, as Pre highly valued the mile as a confidence booster, fitness test, and as a sharpening tool for imminent races. This indicates that you are extremely fit, and ready to run very well @Pre!

    I know shorter distances aren't your usual cup of running tea, but if you trained specifically for a mile, you are definitely capable of at least 5:20 and probably faster...just a little food for thought!!! :)

  15. I was the chickenman running with you. It was a super fun race, and you were flying! I was shooting for sub 6 so I got mine, but I haven't run in weeks. Makes me curious now what I could do if I trained a bit for it. Maybe next year.
    Good running with you and great website. I'll keep checking in to see how you are progressing in running and life.
    Peace and Love

  16. Raina!!!! That is so awesome! Congrats on the
    Pr and first female. You are a great example of how true grit and discipline in training can bring incredible results. Can't wait to see what is next for you. And how fun is it that chicken man commented! Lol. Welcome to small town runner, chicken man! Raina never disappoints. :)


  18. C O N G R A T S !!!!

    I really like the fish pictures too.

  19. Great job Speedy! Glad you ran it!! :)

  20. You are just too cool! So glad you did that race while you were in Eugene. How awesome to go out there and kick so much booty!

    So now let's see that speedy next month in Coos Bay! The good news about that race is I WILL see you run .... since it is an out and back I'll be keeping my eyes open for you on your way back!

  21. You ROCK!!!! That is an amazing pace!!!!! Congrats to you!

  22. Wahooooo!! So glad I'm finally here. Oh girl, I loved this recap. It captured me from start to finish. Amazing!! AM is right sub 19 is yours baby! Seriously inspiring to me!!

  23. Congratulations on a fantastic PB. Those 'top speed' repetitions sound to have done you a power of good after all. Well done.

  24. oh my gosh!!! congrats, thats huge. I am so proud of you. now teach me how to get those fast legs.

  25. Congrats on the victory, the Pb and follow chicken-head without wasting your time laughing!!!!!!
    You are very fast.
    Here the loot for the first woman would have been: money and a very big ham.

  26. wow congrats!!! that is a phenomenal time!!


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