On Sunday I ran the second half-marathon of my life, in Eugene. At the beginning of last year when I was trying to find a marathon to run sometime around late spring, everyone I talked to told me I had to do the Eugene Marathon. Nobody at all told me to do the Timberline Marathon, because nobody had heard of it, but I found it online and decided to do that one instead, mainly because I wanted the extra month to train (the Timberline was in June, and Eugene is at the beginning of May). I’m happy I did the Timberline, but ever since then I’ve been curious to see what all the fuss is about down in Eugene. Then just a few months ago my friend Lauren, who has historically been more of a rower than a runner, asked me to do the Eugene Half-Marathon with her. While it doesn’t interest me to push people to run when they clearly don’t want to, when my friends decide on their own to pursue running-related goals I usually get excited and want to support them. So with her invitation, and my general intrigue concerning the Eugene Marathon, I accepted her request despite my resolution to work on shorter distances this year.
I had the intention of training adequately for this half-marathon, but instead I alternated between achilles tendonitis and being sick (note: when you take a sick-day off from work, this is not a good time to go get a massage – your massage therapist will not appreciate this). I finally had my achilles feeling pretty good when I decided to go hashing, and whoever laid the trail decided to make it ten miles long. This pretty much used up all of the potential miles my achilles could handle, so I went into this half with some concern about how little I had trained and how much my achilles’ had been injured in the last month.
Things didn’t turn out too badly, relatively speaking. I PR’ed by about 6 minutes, and my achilles didn’t hurt at all until mile 5. I felt really fatigued the entire time and the course was actually pretty boring, and not completely amazing like I’d been promised, but that was okay. I missed the first mile marker, or there wasn’t one, so it was exciting to come to the 2nd mile marker and realize I had just run 2 miles when I didn’t know that I had even completed 1 yet. However, this set me up for constant disappointment for the rest of the race, when I would think about how long it had been since the last mile marker, assume that I had just missed it and was about to reach the mile after that one, only to come across the mile marker I thought I had missed. After the first few miles the markers were bright blue and ten feet tall, so I really had no reason to ever think I had missed one except that I was tired of running and hoped that I had run more than I knew I actually had.
Immediately after crossing the finish line I was given chocolate milk and pancakes, which is probably the best way I’ve ever finished any race ever. There was some miscommunication with Lauren about how/when we would meet up, so I ended up standing around for a while, which meant I had plenty of time to eat more pancakes. Then once we found each other we ate even more pancakes. It turns out I missed her because she crossed the finish line right before the first male marathon finisher, so I was looking at him instead of for her. She also finished about a half hour faster than she thought she might, which was not great for knowing when to look for her, but excellent for her half-marathon success story.
The only sad part of the whole event was that I got a free Gatorade recovery drink after the race, and on the car ride home I drank half of it before realizing it has sucralose in it. This is sad because sucralose gives me diarrhea. I suppose it was also slightly sad that I had an extra number that a friend couldn’t use, and Lauren’s brother John said he would do the run and then got to sleepy and wouldn’t get up for the race. This is only sad because he had bet me $20 that he could beat me with his natural athletic ability, and I felt like there was a good chance I might win that bet.
I would say that one sad part is what I did to my achilles tendon, but I was so happy that I had no IT band pain that I didn’t care. I haven’t run more than 4 miles without feeling any pain at all since before the Mt. Hood Scramble on June 20th of last year, so this was a big deal to me. My mom got very upset when she looked at how inflamed my achilles was yesterday, but I’m not worried. With no impending races except a 5k at the end of June, I can finally give myself time to recover completely.
I remembered to go back to skirt counting for this race, and came up with a total of 9, although one of them was not a running skirt at all, just a tight mini skirt that kept getting bunched up and pulled down by the wearer, and looked like one of the stupidest things to wear of all time. With 6,175 finishers, that makes the running skirt percentage equal at 0.0015%. My prediction: running skirts are a crazy fad and will soon make their exit as quietly as they came onto the running scene.