So stage one of my marathon training plan is now in the books as I train for the full Seattle Marathon in December. Sunday morning I ran in the 2013 Eugene Marathon… the half marathon. In the photo above I am in the silver shorts and the purple shirt, on the left side of the photo.
I finished the half marathon in 1 hour, 54 minutes, 45 seconds. For those of you who are unsure how far that is, a half marathon is 13.1 miles. I finished the race without stopping to walk. That is a far cry from how I physically felt when I started marathon training on September 17th, 2012. I did not feel sick when I finished the race, and my body feels okay overall. My legs are sore, but other than that I am good. However… the story here is my time.
My previous record for 12.21 miles was 2 hours, 7 minutes. That’s right… slower than my 13.1 mile half marathon time!! I broke two hours in my first half marathon. In addition, I beat the full marathon winner to the finish line. Plus, I did not get sick…. although that was in question around mile 8. I did not walk, although that was in question around mile 11.
I had trouble sleeping the night before for a couple reasons. My stomach was doing aerobics most of the night because of pre-marathon nerves. In addition, I saw some of the pictures about how crowded this race was going to be… and I got claustrophobic thinking about being elbow to elbow with 1000s of people. When the race actually started my nervousness vanished.
I adopted an interesting strategy which worked but could have gotten me in trouble. I found two people who appeared to be running at a pace I felt comfortable with, so I stayed within a few yards of them for the first half of the race. Not only did they run at a pace I felt comfortable with, I had heard them say they were running at a 10 minute mile pace. What I did not realize was that they were not happy with their 10 minute mile pace. So by keeping pace with them for most of the race I ended up running an 8:45 minute mile pace.
The Eugene Marathon was a lot of fun. There were marching bands playing at various points of the race. In addition there was at least one live rock band (maybe two but I can’t remember) who were playing along the route. Plus there were lots of fun sights along the way… a person in a gorilla suit, another person watching in a shark suit, and someone else I saw watching was dressed as a running shoe. Overall, I had much more fun than I expected… and I cannot imagine most marathons being this fun.
Having large crowds of people in different places along the route also kept my spirit up. Not only that, my wife got up at 5 a.m. with me so that she could come cheer and take pictures. She is a sweetie!!
Next up for me is the Canby Dahlia Run, a half marathon, at the end of August.
Here are some pros and cons about the Eugene Marathon:
- It was really crowded everywhere I went. I am not sure for a big marathon if there is a way to fix that.
- I was bothered at the beginning by the number of people who overestimated how fast they could run. I started in one of the slower starting positions, but I passed a lot of people who were walking at mile three. Part of that may have been that I ran faster than I expected… but the first two starting positions seemed to have a lot of slow people when it should have had fast people.
- The expo, my first marathon expo, was underwhelming. I was given a goodie bag… but there was very little free stuff to put in it. It was a bag to put stuff in that I buy, not a bag filled with coupons, free energy bars, or runner stuff.
- Many of the staff are volunteer, but they needed more volunteers. I did not get a post-race blanket because they were waiting on new boxes.
- I was emailed coupons, but I did not see anything I would use.
- A lot of people were along the route cheering.
- They had shuttles going from far away parking areas to take runners to the starting line.
- The post-race runner’s only area was great. Free pancakes, chocolate milk, water, bananas, bread with peanut butter, potato chips. What they did not do at the expo they seemed to make up for during the post-race runner area.
- It was fun to hear my name announced as I crossed the finish line.
- The finish line is located in historic Hayward Field. When runners enter the stadium they can see themselves on the jumbo tron as they near the finish line.
- There were marching bands and at least one rock band along the route. That was pretty cool.
This was a fun race and I would DEFINITELY do it again. If you are looking for a marathon (or half marathon) I strongly recommend the Eugene Marathon.
Here are a few more photos of what I saw … I am a little bummed that I could not find photos of the bands who were playing along the route. They were my favorite part of this marathon experience.