Alarm set for: 4:40am
Gross. The one part I really dislike about running is the horrible early wake-up calls. This was nothing compared to 2:45am for Disney World but 4:40am is still a horrible time to be awake. Lesley and I were up and moving before 5am. We dressed, had our breakfasts (I brought my english muffin with almond butter and jelly) and were out the door by 5:40am.
I was nervous on Race Morning. It has been awhile since I had pre-race nerves but I really wanted to try to run a sub 4-hour race. My first three marathons I really didn’t have specific time goals, I just ran, this time I had a goal.
We parked at one of the High Schools and took a shuttle over to the start. The race was really organized. We didn’t wait long for the shuttle and they had a ton of port-a-potties at the start so we didn’t have to wait long for those either. By the time we hit the bathroom, took a few pre-race photos and used the bathroom one last time it was about 15 minutes to the start so we got in line. I was in Corral B with Lesley and her mom. I said my good-bye’s and good luck’s and headed for the 4-hour Cliff Pace team.
Not long after we were off! The first two miles weren’t easy which was tough on me mentally but by Mile 3 or 4 I started to warm up and find my rhythm. We were in neighborhoods for the first 7-8 miles. Normally I would find this boring but I was in a new part of the country and I thought it was fun to look at the different architecture and admire the green mountains behind the homes. At one point I felt like I was in the movie Twilight running in Bella’s neighborhood. People were out cheering us on and holding signs which helped pass the miles. Somewhere around Mile 4-5 I got ahead of the pace group. I was just slightly ahead of them but felt comforted I was slightly ahead of them.
Mile 8-10ish we were back in more of a city area with a ton of people cheering us on. A friend from High School, Ashley, was in Eugene to support her boyfriend and she found me just before Mile 10. She yelled “Go Amanda, you look great!”. It was nice to have a supporter on the course. Ashley and her boyfriend are incredible runners – he ran a 2:40 marathon that day! Thanks Ashley for cheering me on!
Somewhere around Mile 11-12 I started to get comments on my Birthday shirt. A group of people told me I should be handing out “Birthday Cake” flavored Gu. I agreed! (They should really consider making a Birthday Cake flavored Gu.) At Mile 14ish one guy sang “Happy Birthday” to me. It was hilarious and kind of embarrassing at the same time. I loved all the spirit though. I chatted with quite a few people during miles 13-17ish.
We headed for a river that we were running out on and turning around at Mile 21 and coming back on the other side. It was really pretty but also tough to see people coming back on the other side when you knew how much ground you still had to cover. I was still feeling good a strong at this point. I was hitting a 9:08 pace on the dot for quite a few miles and was about 2-3 minutes ahead of a 4 hour marathon. As I got to Mile 20 it started to get a little tougher but I was trying not to let it mess with my head. Mile 20-22 was okay but Mile 22 it started to get tough to breathe. My legs were getting really heavy and tired. I started to take 20-30 sec walk breaks at the mile markers. I didn’t want to do this but it was allowing me to refresh my legs a bit and pick my pace back up when I started running again.
At Mile 24 I started to fall apart. The 4 hour pace group passed me on my quick walk break around 24.5 and I knew I wasn’t going to hit a sub 4-hour marathon. I was actually okay with this at the point. I wanted to stop running so badly but I kept thinking back to my first marathon when my Dad was with me at mile 24. He was saying, just keep running, it doesn’t matter how slow you are going, just keep running. So that’s what I did. I just kept running. I knew I was going to PR by a good amount so I kept pushing. Mile 25 was brutal, we were in a field by train tracks with no spectators. It was so hard. We finally got back into the city and onto the U of O campus and spectators were all over. As I turned into Hayward field people were really cheering us on. I wanted to have a burst of energy to run gracefully down the track but sadly I didn’t. I just had to keep my feet moving and I knew I was going to finish right at 4 hours. I did try to push hard to make it under 4 hours 1 minute. (For some reason 4 hours just sounds better than 4 hours 1 min)
I finished in 4:00:41! Although I still don’t have the “3″ in front of my number I am really proud of my race. I took 11:55 seconds of my Boston Marathon time and set a new PR. Lesley finished her first Marathon in 4:21 and rocked it. She says she will do another one so I think we have another marathon addict. It was a really great day!
After the marathon we all showered, iced and then went out for my favorite post-race/Birthday lunch – a cheeseburger and beer! Lesley and I then went to the Ninaski Brewing company for beers. They had a great outdoor area where you could hang out and drink. A ton of marathoners were there – it was fun to see everyone!
I headed back to SF that evening. On our way to the airport Lesley and I drove be Steve Prefontaine’s memorial. It was really moving. People had left their marathon medals and numbers from that day. I’m really glad we made the detour to see it. I had a quick and easy flight back to SF and was home and in bed by 10pm. I took Advil PM so I would sleep well cause I had to go to work on Monday. It worked and I slept through the night with no leg cramping in the middle of the night.
Overall, it was a great marathon and I really enjoyed my time in Eugene! I definitely want to go back and visit and maybe run again! I’m of course already thinking about which one to tackle next and I’d really love to run one in Europe next spring. We’ll see if I can pull that off!
On Thursday I flew out to Europe to see Laura and Tim. It was overall a great week and wonderful way to ring in my last year in my 20′s.
This morning I ran 11 miles with my running club. It wasn’t easy but I needed to get back to the long runs. I found a Google Offer for the See Jane Run Women’s Half Marathon in Alameda on June 3rd. I’m running with my cousin. It should be a fun race! I haven’t run in a Women’s race since my first half marathon. I’m looking forward to the Champagne and Chocolate at the finish line. :)