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Eugene Marathon: Game On
Yesterday I finally registered for the Eugene Marathon.
If you’ve been tuning in for more than a day, you know that the Eugene Marathon has been on my brain since about five hours after I crossed the finish line at the Hamptons Marathon back in September. I finished that race — my first 26.2 — and I loved it, but I knew immediately that I could beat my 4:13 finish time.
I started researching races pretty soon thereafter, and I remembered hearing some buzz about the Eugene Marathon.
I sent out a Tweet: “What’s the deal with the Eugene Marathon? Recommended?” A flurry of responses came my way, including one from a particularly Prefontaine-obsessed friend, all of which highly encouraged me to look into the race some more.
So why did I quickly become obsessed with the Eugene Marathon?
The course is rumored to be fairly flat and relatively fast. OK, maybe not flat, according to this elevation map…
…but I think that if I train on hills regularly over the next few weeks, I’ll be OK. Plus, that beastly-looking climb is at the beginning and I’ll be going slowly then. And look at all that downhill fun in the second half! Wheeeee!
It’s something totally new. I’ve never been to Oregon. Have you? I’m pretty excited about running a race in a state I’ve never even visited. What better way to explore the town, right?
Track finish! It has a track finish! I think it’s going to be incredible to bang out the last .2 miles or whatever on the track at Hayward Field.
I won’t be traveling alone. As soon as I mentioned “Eugene” to Emily, she was on board. In fact, she has greeted me on GChat nearly every morning since November with threats of “Have you signed up for Eugene yet? No? I hate you. You suck. Do it. Register. Don’t talk to me until you register.” Our friendship is one built on love and mutual adoration. Not race registration death threats. Not at all.
I’m excited about having a fast friend — or two, because I hear SarahOUaL is all signed up as well — there with me, and I’m working my magic on getting Brian to tag along as well. Though Emily told me this is to be a “girl’s only trip,” the mention of Brian being there to “maybe cook and take pictures” seemed to win her over. (Right, Emily?) But seriously, I’m pumped Emily will be out on the course and I’m hoping Brian will be able to make the trip as well so that I have someone to collapse on promptly upon crossing the finish line.
I got Coach Cane’s blessing. Last week, after I told him about my high (for me) January mileage and my future marathon goals, Coach Cane responded with “Eugene sounds good.” That was enough to get me right on that registration page.
I didn’t want to wait for the New York City Marathon to PR. I have the motivation, the drive and the built-up mileage now. I am ready to go for it. I’m dreaming of a sub-4:00 finish and I’m ready to put in the work to make that happen. I don’t want to wait until November to PR on a crowded course in NYC. I want to enjoy every mile of the NYC Marathon, and I want to be able to look around and take it all in. I will want to run a strong race there, of course, but I don’t want to be concerned with just one shot at a PR when I’ve heard the NYC course is tough.
But I also have a backup race. If I don’t break 4 hours in Eugene, I’ll go for it in New York City. I’m already registered, so that’s that.
The price was right. Flights are pretty cheap out to Oregon right now, and I’ve racked up a ton of JetBlue points recently. I’ve got a work trip coming up in a few weeks, and after that I’ll be able to cash in on a free cross-country flight.
I get to do long weekend runs! Yes, that excites me. I see a 16, 18 or 20-miler scheduled for the weekend and I get all giddy about it. Friday night carbo-loading: Commence!
The winners receive a lifetime supply of pancakes. I mean, obviously I’m out to win this race, right? But really, pancakes as part of the prize? That is killer. They also have pancakes at the finish line, so I’ve been told.
I can give you more reasons for why I signed up for the marathon, but I think you get it.
So now what?
Well, I’m officially back in training mode. I’ve been sticking with a reasonably high weekly mileage over the past month or so in anticipation of this decision, and now I have just about 11 weeks to train (which I kind of panicked about last night, because that seems really short!). I want to be very diligent about including regular speedwork in my training, and I kicked off the Official Eugene Marathon Training this morning with a little speed in Central Park.
Last night’s Chisel class did a number on my legs (too many squats! too many lunges!), but I hopped out of bed (lies — I struggled to get out of bed this morning) and powered through. A part of me was like, “Just take it easy today,” and then I remembered that 11 week thing, and the fact that I actually have something to train for now, and didn’t want to start training with a lame workout.
Today’s workout was similar to the speed workout I did last week:
- 1 mile warm-up
- 1 mile fast (sub-8:00 was the goal and I hope that in the next few weeks that becomes much faster)
- .3 mile recovery
- 1 mile fast (goal was 7:45-7:50 this time)
- .3 mile recovery
- 1 mile fast (anything in the 7:30-7:40 range would’ve made me happy here)
- Get home slowly for a total of 7 miles
The first two pickups were great, and the third involved a shaky stomach, but it didn’t hold me back too much.
I also played around with that “Lap” function on my watch that so many of you told me about. Thanks for that tip.
Something weird happened with the buttons (or with me, which is the more probable answer) in the fourth split, but that’s cool.
I also saw this little guy at the end of my run, and I took a picture of him and named him Charles:
What else does a spring marathon mean? Well, it means I’m going to have one heck of a spring. In a three-week span, I will travel across the country, run 26.2 miles, fly back to NYC, move into a new apartment, fly down to Charlotte for a bachelorette party, fly back to NYC for a few days and then return to Charlotte for my best friend’s wedding.
Naturally a busy schedule means I made some goals:
- The big goal is a 3:59:59 finish.
- I want to train smartly, work hard and remain injury free. Maybe I should foam roll more or something. Or start stretching, perhaps?
- I don’t want to be crazy. I want to enjoy training and still enjoy every other part of my life, including being a kickass Maid of Honor for Becky and an attentive aunt to my future niece or nephew. If I stress out — or get excitingly busy — I will inevitably make myself sick. An 11-week training plan doesn’t allow for too much wiggle room, and I’d really rather not have to train around a Crohn’s flare-up. So as long as I can stay calm amidst training, apartment hunting and traveling, I’ll be fine.
I’m going to Eugene!!!