Monday, November 21, 2011

New Half PR, Sub 1:30!!, EWEB Run to Stay Warm

This is my third attempt posting. Blogger is not happy with me. Sorry if i confused anyone :)!!
100% mental
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!!
Shortly after finding Emily, we headed to the race start, which was in a new location this year. I didn't line up in front, since I didn't see any other women.

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.
Mile 1  6:49

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.
Mile 4  6:48

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)
43/453 overall
6th female (first female finished in 1:16:XX)
1st of 39 in age group

Post Race
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.
As you can imagine, I am thrilled with a new PR at the half marathon distance! This was a success for me on many levels: 
  • 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...
Special thanks to family and friends who emailed (or texted) encouragements, and helped in a variety of ways over the weekend.  I am honored to have such special people in my life.


  1. Congrats on a speedy time, first in age group and under 1:30, too! Your training has paid off! Hope you have a great Thanksgiving week! You deserve some pie!

  2. Holy crap, that's fast! Really, that's all I keep thinking. It's interesting, most of my races are surrounded by poor being being sick...little rest, but I think most of the time you can manage to pull off a good race if you want to. Clearly, you kicked butt. Congrats!

  3. awesome, you are so speedy! congrats on the PR. It's great that you also felt good, paced yourself well, and were in the right mental state. All the way around it was a winning race :)

  4. AWESOME!!!! What a great race and great report! I love the mile by mile reports - its almost like being there. Mile 13 was your fastest ... that's perfect! It's interesting that at mile 2 you didn't feel like things were clicking. Its strange how on some runs we are smooth and machine-like, but other runs it seems like a grind the whole time. Great job on an awesome run! You're one fast lady!

  5. Congrats on a speedy race! That last .17 you hauled ass! :) I like your 'thought' list... I do that when I run too - helps me zone out and pick up the pace.

  6. You are one wicked fast runner. Great post and time!! Blessings are important to rememeber. Well done.

    mile 13 - quickest -- outstanding

  7. Well, imagine that. Click #497 on your race report and there is ACTUALLY a race report-ha ha ha! I was just a little excited to read this one perhaps:)

    OK-first of all you REALLY write a great report! Love seeing the breakdown and matching it with your thoughts. Great pacing-a slight negative split and a STRONG finish! Congrats on winning your AG and the HUGE PR!! ELATED for you when I saw your time!

    Love the effort you put into "pre-race" with the hydrating, sleeping etc. It really seemed to pay off for you! I need to put more effort here, especially with more than just the night before! I also love your MENTAL game and your ability to focus during the race on what you had set out to (and to catch the guy in the red shirt:)

    You SHOULD be just thrilled!! A huge barrier, that 1:30 and a PR, and just a completely successful race in every respect. You beat McMillan's:) "Someday" is going to come sooner than you think girl.....

  8. Speedy McSpeedster!!! You did amazing!!! I like your thought list!

  9. What an awesome birthday present to yourself! I was hoping this race would move back to Saturday next year too, darn Ducks.

    Great race report. It's always neat to read about it from the front of the pack.

    No coffee mugs this year? I really liked mine from last year.

  10. Nice job!!! And what a great cause!!!

  11. AWESOME! You had a lighting fast pace, great job holding on to it and finishing strong. You are so inspiring. :)

  12. Oh this is such a great report Raina! Such a smart race too! consistent splits, positive attitude, and an overall GREAT experience. Something to be proud of for sure. You did it! Another barrier down and so much to look forward to.

    And Wow, women finishing in 1:16?? Sheesh.

  13. What a beautiful report. Brought tears to my eyes a couple times. (Like when you won 1st AG!!) :) I also loved seeing the course and brought back memories of EWH. What a beautiful course and a beautiful day that was! (ok tearing up again!) such a baby :) You did awesome and soooooo proud of you and all you have accomplished..oo and you look absolutely beautiful!!! :)

  14. AWESOME!! Congratulations to you!!

    I'm so glad you didn't report of crashing into any garbage cans this year! Now I'm kicking myself for not racing it, too. Oh well, there's always next year. Sure sounds like a cold one - but who cares about weather when you are getting a new PR?? Fabulous job!!

  15. Oh-and one more thing. I need to borrow your lucky hat which I see you wore:) Um-I mean two things. Change your sidebar PR!! Actually three things. Do you realize how many times you've PR'ed in the last 6 months? Well, of course you do:):)

  16. YAY! yay! yay!!! Raina, this is so awesome! I love it when someone works so hard and then their work pays off and for you it DID!!!!!! great splits and GREAT finish girly!!!! you must have felt amazing!!!!!!!
    I would like to try this race some year but it does suck it's on a sunday:(

    congrats again! so inspiring!!!

  17. You. did. AWESOME!

    My sister is the kid that likes to sleep on my parents head haha. One time she gave my dad a fat lip in the night because she rolls around so much!

    Sometimes running to stay warm is the best strategy :)

  18. Wow! You are so talented Raina! You stuck to your plan and nailed it...must've been the straw? :)

    Seriously, congratulations!!!

  19. Awesome job! You have been running insanely well recently! Really sounds like the race went perfect.

    Did you catch the guy in the red shirt? You left us hanging there!

    And I was shocked on seeing Oregon lose to USC on Saturday, that really surprised me. USC has a great team though. Stanford was lucky to beat them. I don't see you guys losing to Oregon State though, otherwise Stanford will end up hosting the Pac-12 title game.

  20. I am so thrilled for you, Raina! This is so well deserved. You downplay here how sick you were pre race, and even the day before the race. But you did not let that deter you one bit. Strong mind, body and strong race!

    I am so thrilled to continue following your journey. I see a HUGE PR at Eugene! I am also curious to see how the calculators work for you for the marathon. Based on McMillan my HM is my best event, followed by the 5K, and I am 9 min over my predicted marathon!

    Rest up for now and CELEBRATE! Oh, and I hate Sunday races!

  21. Oh, and I think we need to buy Jenn a cheerleading outfit! Best cheerleader ever for both of us:)

  22. Wow! This is just amazing, Raina! What an awesome race in every respect. You are such an inspiration to me.

  23. Incredible! Congratulations!

  24. AMAZING. You CRUSHED it!! Great splits and even more important- great job focusing mentally and staying strong. You are a sub 1:30 half marathon... That's incredible! :-)

    I feel the same way about finding races that are on Saturdays instead of Sunday. Fortunately, many races are on Saturdays around here but I know not everyone has that many options...

  25. Congratulations, Raina! What a great race (and race report)! Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  26. That is really fast! Congratulations on a fantastic run! You did everything right and deserve this PR, well done! Sometimes things just click in gear and work out fine. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family.

  27. Raina, good cow you are FAST!! I thinkyou could be the next dean kastor! no really. I am so pumped for you!!

  28. 1:29:30 is really fast, congrats. In Italy there is a saying: "Under the 90' you are a champ and under the 120' you are a runner". Well you are a champ, in fact you are the 1st in your age group and among the first of the first pack overall.

  29. I'm a little late here, but congrats on your race! That's awesome! What a great testament to focusing on the right things as it helps your performance. Off the record, as much as I like to teach this principle, I'm still not always 'there'.


  30. Raina, Congratulations!!! This is such a fantastic goal met. Way to go! Inspired by you.

  31. Great job, Raina!!! You rocked it!!!!!
    Oh...the stories I could tell you from my times at The Cooler about 20 years ago.

  32. Awesome recap and great pacing! Its nice to have the "man in red" there is always a "an in red" for me too...even though he is not always wearing red, he's always there.
    And he always symbolizes something we are battling in life. It's nice to go out there and give it your all. Feels like you can do anything. Nice PR. Many more to come.

  33. Congrats!!! Sub 1:30 is fantastic, and your splits are beautiful - nice finish!

  34. You're pacing is so, so stellar. I wish I could pull off such an even pace throughout, that clearly shows you did something really right! Congrats on a PR!


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