I was a little unsure of whether or not to race this week, due to some unavoidable life-junk. But on the way to the race, I tried to stay focused on the fact that only I can control if I have a good race...
It's all about perspective.
Who decides for you whether you will have a successful race? Control the mind and you have the game won. I decided, while in the car, that I would make the best of it. Regardless of how the numbers turned out, I would choose to be satisfied with my best effort. It would be a waste of a day, otherwise.
Pre-race I ate oatmeal and had coffee with milk and sugar, and an hour before the race I *drank about 6 ounces of Gatorade. I had about 4 hours of sleep due to kiddos (do all parents have one kid that insists on sleeping on your head?), but had a VERY restful week leading up to the race with tons of sleep- (6 days of 8 hours a night). I had also tanked up on hot liquids and cold liquids all week, including chicken broth the day before.
I arrived at EWEB (Eugene Water and Electric Board) at about 7:30 for the 9 AM race. This race is a fundraiser for EWEB's "Customer Care" program, making sure that people with financial hardship can have power to their homes. It was featured as a "Race of the Month" in Runner'sWorld magazine, November 2011. This was my third year doing the Run to Stay warm half, which also hosts a 10k and 5k.
The packet pick-up was well organized and I was able to get my packet and use the porta-pots several times. I also spent some time in my car with the engine running to stay warm, listening to music, praying and doing some self-talk.
At about 8:15 I went for a warm up of less than a mile. I am glad I did this because it took forever to get my Garmin to find the satellites, and it also showed me that I might get warm enough to go down to a singlet (which I did). There was no snow, but we would definitely be running to stay warm today!
The one thing I wanted- truly not in my control- was a friend to see at the race--someone to visit with and enjoy the pre/post-race fun. I was thrilled when I ran into someone I knew! I spotted a friend who I had met at the Eugene Celebration Mile. Perfect. We were both on our own and now had a buddy! We talked goals, froze our butts off in the near-freezing temps, and warmed up (just a little more) with a mini-run.
|We both had a great race!!|
And we're off!
When the race started, we wound around and back through the courtyard/fountain area, and then on to the paved bike path. Most of the race follows the Willamette River, and is also part of the Eugene Marathon course.
Things began to stretch out a bit and I saw a few faster ladies taking their places ahead of me. I checked my watch and noticed my pace just under 6:50- right where I wanted to be.
My goals, besides just enjoying the race, were
- To be consistent in pacing (no 5k starts). (I wore 2 pace bands)
- Hydrate, if necessary, with the geetah straw- I planned to do this twice.
- Take gels if I felt like I was flagging
- Run the tangents and keep the course as short as I could
- Finish faster than 1:30 if possible, if not, PR if possible..if not that...enjoy knowing I did my BEST.
We crossed the footbridge and steered right. There are many options for paths here, and there was a course marshal to direct traffic. It got little confusing in other stretches, though. Most of the turns had some white chalk arrows.
Mile 2 6:57
Here, I noticed that my pace had dropped, so I worked to get back into that pace I had before. I never really felt like my rhythm was "clicking" perfectly though, as I do sometimes on my long runs.
As milepost 3 approached, my watch beeped about 20 yards early. Not sure if this was due to misplaced flags, or me not hitting the tangents. There were several turns, but not much traffic. After this, all the flags were about 20-30 yards after my watch auto-lapped.
Mile 3 6:53
There was also a hairpin turn and a loop near mile 3, after this, I saw all the other racers coming my way. Emily spotted me! We slapped hands as we ran past, and hollered, at each other. Both of us wore BIG smiles!
Around mile 4, the half marathon merged in with the 10K and 5k course, (races started 15 minutes after the half). This got kind of messy.
To add to the confusion of merging paces, racers and strollers, this was also in the same area where there were multiple path options. There was one course marshal I could see, and lots and lots of 10k racers, and very few (if any) half marathoners. I had to trust my gut and go with the flow of traffic, resurrecting memories from the race last year to guide me.
After getting past the 10k/5k crowd, things thinned out again to virtually nobody. I could hear someone behind me and was curious, but didn't look back. I took some water from a cup (with my straw), without stopping. At this point I was passed by a man in a red shirt. He stopped for water, but I KNEW he would catch me again. I was acting as his pacer, by coincidence.
Mile 5 6:45
The rest of the course I saw very few other racers. I played yo-yo with the guy in the red shirt a few times at the water stops, but I didn't pass anyone again until mile 9 or 10. No one else passed me either.
I spent a lot of time thinking, and giving thanks for the blessings I have.
I also thought about several people in my life who inspire me.
I thought about my husband at home, sick.
I thought about my mom and dad watching my boys for me. Thank you Mom and Dad!!
I thought about a few other runners,
friends with cancer,
friends whose kids have medical issues that require surgery.
I am incredibly blessed to be healthy and able to run, and I gave thanks for that too.
And, I thought about trying to catch the guy in the red shirt.
Mile 6 6:48-Took a Powerbar vanilla gel
Mile 7 6:51
Mile 8 6:48
Mile 9 6:50- passing a water stop
Mile 10 6:42
Mile 11 6:50
Mile 12 6:47 Here I knew I had to pull out any reserve I had left, and surprisingly I had some!
Mile 13 6:42
last .17 5:56 pace
1:29:30 official (6:50 avg pace., 6:48 by the watch)
6th female (first female finished in 1:16:XX)
1st of 39 in age group
There were finisher medals this year, and a generous spread for post-race goodies: bagels and cream cheese, bottled drinks, bananas, hot coffee. A raffle was made simple by putting the winning numbers on a board at a hosted snack table.
|Why aren't my pants legs the same length?|
Awards went out quickly, with medals for male and female age group winners (top 3), and some gift certificates to the overall top 3 in each gender. I watched as an 8 year-old boy got a medal for finishing under 2 hours in the half, his first, which he ran in some 5-finger type shoes!
There was also an after-party with free lunch at The Cooler, but I didn't go since I remembered The Cooler as a pub, and it was Sunday, and pubs just aren't my scene these days, anyway. :)
A few other thoughts for those interested in doing this race
- Last year this course was certified, but with the change in the start location, I wonder if it was this year.
- The course changes were done "so that all three races will have a common start that doesn’t go out onto the road. The 10k and 5k were long in past years." Now all three races should be accurate.
- The course is supposed to change again, just a bit, next year due to some construction finishing.
- The RD did an excellent job of making things simple and taking care of the registration/packet problems from last year.
- Many faster runners were at this event (The top two females finished in 1:16:xx, 1:17:xx).
- This is a really, really fast, fun course. I like it a LOT, but I don't need crowd support or other people to run with to enjoy a race (though I do like company before and afterwards!!).
- I hope to run this race again, or even the 5k or 10k, but an email I received from Shelly Stephenson at EWEB stated, "Unfortunately, the race will have to continue to be on Sunday because of future home duck games. Next year’s game is a home game again. To keep things consistent, we will keep the event on Sunday." I will have to weigh that out for the future, as I would rather not miss church for a race.
- I met a time goal
- Executed my race plan well
- Kept positive, and took charge of the MENTAL side of racing
- Came close to the Vdot calculator prediction from my most recent race (40:14 10k). This gives me some hope that I might get close to the predicted marathon time. Ha. Someday...