Yesterday I ran the Eugene marathon in a time of two hours, 33 minutes, and 31 seconds. Let’s break it down.

The Morning Of

After a restless night of sleep, my mom and I woke up at 5am and headed up to Hayward Field shortly after. I had half a banana, a Gu, and an electrolyte mix. The place was buzzing. I was in a somber state, sort of going through the motions, but at a certain point you can’t help but feel excited. I did a half mile warm up and a few circuits. I gave my mom my bag and got to the line only to realize that I forgot my Gus in the bag. I scrambled to find her and thank god I did, taking the six Gus out and putting them in my gloves / shorts. I didn’t know what was going to happen, but I was ready to try.

The Race

I figured my plan for the race, assuming my knee was a non-issue, should be try to run 5:50s.

In typical race fashion, the gun goes off and everyone’s sprinting off the line, even for a marathon. WHY. I tried to settle in only to see my first mile split as 5:38, whoops!

The next 16 miles or so were pretty uneventful. I found a pack early clicking off 5:45s or so and stuck with them until a guy named Alex and I broke off and ran just us two until mile 19. We hit the half around 1:15:45, a little quick, but I was still feeling good. I didn’t quite expect to hold that pace, but thought 2:32:xx or so was possible.

Me and Alex

I noticed my knee a few times in the early miles but nothing significant. At mile 12 however, I thought I might be in trouble. I could feel it in a way that really scared me, and I was pretty pissed because I felt good and was excited to finish the race. I eased off a tiny bit and a minute later it went back to normal. I didn’t notice it again the entire race.

Around mile 19 Alex said something like “I’m feeling the wall so if you feel good just go“. We’d run 8 miles almost perfectly at 5:45 – 5:50 pace, but he was indeed slowing down so I kept going as he faded slightly. I hit 20 at around 2:32 pace but I could tell my legs were starting to feel heavy.

Things started going south at the beginning of mile 24. That was when I knew I was hanging by a thread. I ran a 6:06 24th mile and was just praying that I didn’t complete shut down. The next two miles were about 6:20s which were faster than I expected because I had nothing left. The legs were gone, the arms were flailing, I was grunting like crazy.

The relief comes when you turn into Hayward and the crowd is going nuts. The second I got to the track I started crying. I didn’t expect it but it just happened. I saw the clocking clicking up from around 2:33 and had a huge feeling of relief, accomplishment, joy, etc. I crossed the line and started crying again.

Bloody Nipple

My Knee

It feels like I have some explaining to do. My last post was such a downer and to come out and run well makes it seem like I was bullshitting the whole time. I can’t explain it. I genuinely thought my knee was a serious issue. I felt it every day during the trip as we were walking around and it was uncomfortable in a way that seemed significant, like it could ‘get bad’ at any moment. A day after the race and it doesn’t even hurt. I don’t even know what to say. I’m obviously happy it wasn’t an issue, and feel a little silly for how dramatic my last post was, but that’s how I felt.

Hanging Up the Spikes???

I wrote to my coach last week that I’d likely do the Philly Marathon in November assuming this one went poorly. But now that it’s gone well, I actually think I might be done with the super serious regimented training plans.

When I signed up with my coach in January last year, I felt like I had to prove that I could run a lot faster than my PRs. Since then I basically did exactly what I was hoping to do, even exceeding it – Broad Street, a sub 26 8k, a good half, and a good full.

Sitting here now, I think I could marginally improve on my PRs, maybe a 70 minute half, or 2:30 full, but it doesn’t feel like I have to prove myself the way I did a year ago. I did what I wanted to do.

Obviously I’ll keep running, and who knows, maybe pick something this year or in five years to take seriously, but I’m ready for a break from the serious training lifestyle.

The Rest of the Trip

This wouldn’t be a full recap without a mom-appreciation section. Aside from the marathon, my mom and I had a great trip to Eugene. We tried not to put too much weight on the race since we weren’t sure how it would go, so we tried to make the most of our time out there. We had some great food, walked all over Eugene, and she was super supportive of whatever I thought would help me race successfully. This is a trip I’ll remember forever.