Monday, April 30, 2007

Eugene Marathon

Three of the Slugs went south for the inaugural Eugene Marathon on Sunday. I had previously ran probably 75% of this course during my overnights in Eugene in the last 15 years. They had about 1800 marathoners and 2200 half-marathon runners signed up for the race, so I would call this one a medium size.

Gail and I saved some money and spent the night at Chez Motel Zeechs in Springfield. That is a whole other story! Saturday we went to the expo to get our bibs. Gail wanted to do the race so bad she signed up twice! So she wore a chip on each shoelace so she could log this as running two marathons! The expo was pretty bland, the usual stuff. We bailed and met Rick for dinner at.....I know you are waiting......IHOP! We carbo loaded with pancakes. Most the other places were pretty crowded so we just had breakfast for dinner.

Sunday morning we awoke at 5am. Rick was picking us up at 5:45 for the trip to the parking lot and then shuttle to the start. We got to the start about 45 minutes before the race and had no problems using the PAJ's. We lined up for the start along side Hayward Field. Many runners were saying they were feeling the presence of Pre. All I could feel was I probably should head back to the PAJ's one more time!

So off we go! The first part of the race was crowded but not real bad, you could run your pace by the 1/2 mile point as we ran around the area south of the U of O campus. The 3 of us ran together for the first mile or so then I got a downhill and kind of coasted ahead. We never saw each other during the race as there was really no out and back. The course continued in some rolling hills and city streets till mile 6 where we crossed the Willamette river and headed over to the North side trails and headed east to Springfield. I started running with a 62 year old guy named Richard from Florida (formally Boston) that is running all 50 states. He like to chat and was doing Galloway (walk every mile) so he would catch up to me and we chatted for about 5 miles this way. Nice guy who has some amazing stories. Was a great way to pass the time plus he ran a nice pace. We averaged right at 9:05 pace. He faded at some point and I was on my own again. As we headed back westbound towards the trails I chatted with a couple of runners, one from Kelowna and another woman who wanted to break 4 hours someday. Had some nice talks and it kind of broke up the race.

As we passed about mile 17 it was in the area of the Valley River Inn. I have ran these bike trails so many times I felt like I knew every turn so well. It was a good feeling because you knew how far you had to go in your mind. My pace stayed very constant through mile 20 as we crossed Oswesso bridge to head back to the barn on the south side of the river. (Map of my run on Google) I was blessed today with a nice pace and good legs. My breathing was as relaxed as it had ever been. Between mile 2 and mile 21 my pace was never slower than 9:26 or faster than 8:58 (which I ran at mile 20!) Plus I only had to hit the bushes once at mile 7.

My hips were getting tight around mile 18 or so(IT band), my legs ached but nothing unusual so I tried to keep th
e pace going. My breathing always becomes more labored towards the high teens low 2o mile area. Thats when I know the wall is near. I thought I might get to break 4 hours as I was running so easy but around mile 18 I figured I was probably just going to get a sub 4:10 which was great. As my last marathon was 4:22.

I was passing many runners between mile 21 and 24 but I pretty much started to bonk at mile 24. It wasn't a bad one but my energy level just dried up, maybe I didn't take enough calories? I ate 4 chocolate Gu's and half my bottle of power aid, but I drank tons of water at each aid station. I also took 12 endurolytes, so I think I did ok.

At mile 24 I ran 9:52 pace so the battle started here. It was a 23 mile beautiful race with blue skies and 55 degrees or so. Now it was a war. The last 3 miles today is where I start to wonder why I do this. It hurts but never really bad today. This is when you just get it done.

Mile 25 was at 10:24 pace, the slowest of the race. I come upon a crowd of people leaning over a girl with the name Brittany on her bib. She is probably 20 to 23 years old, passed out cold on the trail. People are try to help her so I run on by. We start to run around the outside of Autzen Stadium and a few minutes later I hear the sirens of the ambulance for Brittany.

The battle c
ontinues as are back on the roads with traffic all around. I love running the last few miles sniffin' car exhaust! I know the end is near but have no real push left. Quite a few fans are cheering you on and very few say "Its just around the corner!" Speaking of fans, these were great in Eugene. Lots of smiles, lots of "Go Bret" and "Go Marathon Maniac", so it made the race fun in that respect.

Mile 26 I finish in 10:17 pace and I feel I could do more but am happy the end is close. Lots of fans now on the side of the road. I hear a gal yell "Go Maniac!" then a guy follows up with the same. He and I make eye contact and its Sean Messiner who was the Race Director of my 60K two weeks before. He goes "Hey Bret!" and comes charging out to the course with a big smile. I reply with the "Hey Sean! I will see you in 3 weeks at the Mac!" (Macdonald 50K trail run in Corvallis) That was a great energy boost to me, even though I was only a quarter mile from the finish or so. Sean is a fast runner who is great guy. He is way out of my league but always takes the time to chat with you at a race. Plus I forgot my drop bags at his race and he emailed me to say he would bring to me at the next race.

As we turn the
corner to a downhill few hundred yards to the finish I pick up the pace as the crowds are pretty loud here. It was a good feeling to look up and see 4:06 on the time. I cross the line and get my space blanket, make the cheerleader put the medal over my head, grab a water and head to the food area. I finish in 4:06:15 my third best marathon time after Minneapolis and Portland. I ended up averaging a 9:20 pace and burn about 6400 calories.

I feel pretty good after the race, just a tad nauseous. I eat some great chips and a cookie and wait for Detour and Pole. I talk to other Maniacs and cheer other racers in. Rick comes in about 15 minutes later. Then Gail about 20 minutes after that. We all liked the course and thought the fan support was great. They did a great job for a first time marathon, I was very surprised. For those of you wanting to run this one I highly recommend it. Its mostly flat with some hills for spice, but is very scenic. This was my 18th marathon/ultra and I would probably run this one again. Its nice to do them close to home! I will post pictures later this week.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Have we met? We've been at some of the same races lately. Nice job at Eugene and maybe I'll see you at Mac!