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Eugene Marathon Race Report

Eugene Marathon Race Report

by macdaddy on May 3, 2010 · 40 comments

Post image for Eugene Marathon Race Report

Yesterday, I lied to my wife. She asked me if I was a little bit emotional when I crossed the finish line at the Eugene Marathon and I told her I wasn’t. It wasn’t a total lie, however. Because by the time I crossed the line, I had pretty much gathered my shit together. Back at mile 25 when I finally KNEW that I was going to make it, that’s a different story–yes I was a little emotional. More than a little emotional. I got choked up when people cheered my name, when the little kids stretched out their hands for high 5′s, and when I made the final turn and headed for home on the historic Hayward Field Track. So honey, sorry I lied, I was little bit emotional–but not at the finish line.

When I got to the finish line, I wasn’t feeling so hot either. I must have had this glassy eyed stare because some guy actually made me talk to him before he’d let me leave and get my medal. He asked me if I was OK and I ignored him. So he asked again, a little bit louder so that I knew it wasn’t an optional question. This time I snapped out of it and muttered something in the affirmative. He placed my cool astronaut blanket around me and then he let the cute girl put the medal around my neck.

Race Recap

I’ve been struggling with writing this section for a day or so. How much information do you guys want? I could write every detail, or I could just keep the minutiae for myself. If you get bored, feel free to skip ahead to the next section.

The day was perfect for running—chilly temperatures, slightly overcast, calm winds. T and I got there in plenty of time to stow our gear, hit the head, line up for the national anthem and take off on our journey through the great town of Eugene.

Here were my goals for the day:

  • Finish the race
  • Finish under 4 hours (one of my fitness goals for the year)
  • Meet my Runners World calculated goal of 3:48 (based on my January half marathon time)

My race plan, coordinated my Pam, was very simple. I was going to run mile 1 at 10-15 seconds slower than my race pace to allow myself to warm up for a bit. Mile 2 was supposed to be 5-10 seconds slower than race pace and the rest of the day was to be at race pace (8:42 min/mile.) Along the way, I would alternate between water and gatorade at each aid station and I would eat 3 shot blocks per hour.

The plan worked great. Miles 1-10 were no problem. I ran mile 1 in 8:55 but struggled to stay slower than 8:45 for mile 2. By mile 3 I was relaxed and settled into my groove and ready to hit 8:42 for the rest of the day. Somewhere around mile 5, I felt a slight little twinge in my right hamstring that freaked me out a little bit. In fact, it freaked me out a lot. It was there all day but never got any worse. I was thankful for that.

I had a lot of time during those early miles to ponder just how far I was planning on running that day. Those thoughts didn’t help me at all, and even though I was running fine, I didn’t feel good in my mind. I wonder if other newbie marathoners feel this way as well. I was able to hit my paces, my body was relaxed, and I just kept running.

Right around mile 10, the half-marathon course splits off from the full and things really started to thin out. There were about twice as many half-marathoners so I no longer was battling for space on the course and that was a good thing. Earlier on, there were definitely some crowded spots where I had to slow down. But maybe that was a good thing for me.

As I crossed the half way point at 1:52, something amazing happened. I was overwhelmed with this feeling of contentment. Nothing hurt, I wasn’t dwelling on the fact that I still had another half marathon to run. Everything just blurred into the background. I could hear my breathing and my feet striking the pavement. I was focused. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been that focused. I tuned out all distractions and just went for it. I hit my paces and fueled at the aid stations and then bam, I was at mile 19.

Things started to get a little bit interesting at mile 19. I started looking at my watch more often. It was starting to take more effort to maintain my pace. If I didn’t check my watch, then I would slow below my pace. It was at mile 19 that I had my first little chat with my head. I told myself:

  1. That the “WALL” wasn’t supposed to come until at least mile 20.
  2. That I’ve run this far before—3 times in fact.
  3. That there wasn’t any reason to be slowing down yet.

My mind believed me and I picked up the pace. I also put on my music at this point and it seemed to help me out as well.

Mile 20 came and went, my pace was still strong.

Same with mile 21 and 22.

Mile 23 was my wall. But this wall turned out to be pretty flimsy. Maybe it was made out of cardboard, I don’t know. I wasn’t feeling very chipper anymore, and my pace slowed a bit. I also was feeling some pain in the top of my left foot and outside of my ankle. In fact, this is the sorest part of my body today and it’s more than sore. It’s very hard to walk on it. It was at this point that I had a serious conversation about how little I had left to run. I told myself that there was no reason for me not to accomplish ALL of my goals for the day.

My mind bought into the pep talk and allowed my body to keep running. At mile 24, I was still coaxing my body along, but at mile 25 I could smell the finish. I picked up the pace to the best of my ability and headed for home. I crossed the finish line in 3 hours 46 minutes and 51 seconds. My pace for the day was 8:40 minutes per mile.

For a different perspective on how I handled my first marathon, check out Pam’s version.

The Good

So now it’s been over 24 hours since I finished the race. I have a tremendous sense of accomplishment. I’m walking around (stiffly) with a huge grin on my face, internally telling myself that I’m awesome. Maybe even saying out loud when I’m at home. I’m really happy that I was able to accomplish this goal.

The Bad & The Ugly

But my body is wiped out. I can barely walk today. I’ve got blisters all over my toes. I’m sure I’m going to lose at least one nail. My left foot is really sore but I think it’s just a bruise some place. There’s not a part of my body that isn’t sore. Even my arms are sore–who knew you used your arms when running? Honestly, I’m really surprised at how much more sore I am from racing 26.2 than I ever was from just running 20. I didn’t think it would be that much different—but it is.

Would I do it again? Well let’s just say that I haven’t committed to it yet, but I am leaning more towards “yes” than “no.” Now that I know I can do it, there’s a part of me that wants to know how fast I can do it. We’ll see where I go from here. For now, I’m going to rest and recover. We’ll think about where I’m headed next in a few days.

Take Home Message

So there you have it. I FINISHED A FREAKING MARATHON! The guy who used to weigh 60 pounds more than he does now, who used to struggle to run for more than a few minutes at a time, who hated the way he looked, the way his clothes fit, and the life he was living in front of his kids. Yep, that guy (me) ran 26.2 miles on Sunday. And he did it a full 11 minutes faster than his goal.

Why do I bring that guy up? Because if that guy can do it, then so can you! It doesn’t matter what your “marathon” is. If there’s something you want to do, then make it a priority and get it done. Don’t quit, don’t stop fighting. If you keep telling yourself you’re strong, then one day you’ll actually believe it. How do I know this, because that’s what happened to me.

{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

1 suz May 3, 2010 at 3:59 pm

Congratulations & WOW! Such a great story. I’m sure you are an incredible inspiration to your family (well… they are fairly young children I gather so if you aren’t an inspiration now, you will be one day!)

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2 macdaddy May 3, 2010 at 5:03 pm

Thanks Suz!

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3 Brandon May 3, 2010 at 4:04 pm

Congrats Mac, that’s an awesome time, especially for your first marathon. And for the record, I found your race minutiae quite interesting.

The transformation that you’ve gone through, and the amazing progress you’ve made with running give me a lot of hope for my own running goals. My ankle is feeling back to normal now, but I think I’ll still give myself the rest of this week to rest, and then pick back up with C25K next week.
.-= Brandon´s last blog ..Weekend Warriors Challenge #3: The Results Show =-.

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4 macdaddy May 3, 2010 at 5:03 pm

I actually have been thinking about your ankle, now that I’ve got my own to deal with. RICE RICE Baby!

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5 Metroknow May 3, 2010 at 4:11 pm

Congratulations, and thanks for giving us the grueling details. In addition to the tremendous personal accomplishment, you have just made yet another very permanent, inspirational memory for your children. Well done.
.-= Metroknow´s last blog ..Using Your Dieting Experience to Your Advantage =-.

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6 macdaddy May 3, 2010 at 5:02 pm

Thanks Metro! I know this one had an impression because my daughter had a big “congratulations” sign up on the door when I got home.

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7 Shannon May 3, 2010 at 4:17 pm

Awesome description, so inspiring!

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8 macdaddy May 3, 2010 at 5:01 pm

Thanks, Shannon. Glad you had a great birthday too!

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9 Scott May 3, 2010 at 4:21 pm

Now you really know why you only run 20 in training ;-) Seriously, that’s just an outstanding debut performance. Sure beats my first marathon, limping in from mile 23 to a 4:09. It’s great to see someone train right and succeed right off the bat! Enjoy the soreness and don’t wait too long before setting another lofty goal — it’s the best way I know to stave off the post-marathon blues. See you guys at McKenzie.
.-= Scott´s last blog ..Race Report: 2010 Eugene Marathon =-.

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10 macdaddy May 3, 2010 at 5:01 pm

Thanks for the tip Scott. I think I may have to take more than a few days off with the way my foot hurts. It’s pretty sore. But hopefully I’ll be running something at Sauvie Island in July and then Mckenzie in September.

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11 Carl May 3, 2010 at 4:45 pm

Excellent! Congratulations Mac. Nice writeup of an awesome accomplishment. I need to work on my extra 30 pounds, but I doubt if it’ll culminate in a marathon.

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12 macdaddy May 3, 2010 at 4:59 pm

I heard some crazy story about a guy doing an ironman at age 63. Maybe you could hike the PCT again? or the App Trail?

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13 Cara May 3, 2010 at 5:26 pm

Congratulations on your first marathon! You did an amazing job. Don’t worry about sharing too much race minutae. I love reading race reports!

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14 fit36.com May 3, 2010 at 5:52 pm

My hero. :-)
.-= fit36.com´s last blog ..Start Running: Couch-to-5K Program, Week Seven =-.

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15 macdaddy May 3, 2010 at 7:38 pm

Sarcasm fit?

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16 fit36.com May 3, 2010 at 8:35 pm

Not at all. I’m always amazed by people who can run a marathon. And not only that, you exceeded your goals. Believe it or not I actually tried to track you online at one point on Sunday (cyber stalker!), but the website didn’t work.
.-= fit36.com´s last blog ..Sore Hips From Running =-.

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17 Mr. C. May 3, 2010 at 6:12 pm

Absolutely amazing–congrats! I felt much the same when I finished my first, the 2008 St. Jude Memphis Marathon (a brief recap at the site above). Soak it all in and never forget the feeling–you earned it.

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18 AndrewENZ May 3, 2010 at 7:31 pm

That’s just an amazing race. You did awesome!

I’m really impressed with how you’ve gutted out the training and achieved your result. Well done.

So, when’s the next one?
.-= AndrewENZ´s last blog ..Weigh-in #18 2010: Busy busy busy =-.

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19 AndrewENZ May 3, 2010 at 7:33 pm

And boy you look skinny on Pam’s blog! Well done on that accomplishment too!
.-= AndrewENZ´s last blog ..Weigh-in #18 2010: Busy busy busy =-.

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20 macdaddy May 3, 2010 at 7:38 pm

thanks. my mom says I’m too skinny.

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21 macdaddy May 3, 2010 at 7:38 pm

I’m not sure what my plans are, Andrew. Hopefully my ankle clears up quickly and I can get a race in on the 4th of July. Either a half or a full, not sure yet. Then I’ve got my first ultra scheduled for september 11. But I’m on the wait list for that.

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22 Bekka May 3, 2010 at 8:28 pm

Great job Mac! A sub 4 hour marathon is pretty fantastic!
.-= Bekka´s last blog ..Innaugural Monday Night Football Session! =-.

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23 jord May 3, 2010 at 10:34 pm

Congrats!!
.-= jord´s last blog ..open letter =-.

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24 Andrew May 4, 2010 at 3:11 am

You are awsome Macdaddy, and an inspiration to many.

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25 John's Weight Loss Blog May 4, 2010 at 3:20 am

Awesome accomplishment! I’ll bet you get the bug to run more now.
.-= John’s Weight Loss Blog´s last blog ..Rate My Meals – 2010-05-03 =-.

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26 Barb May 4, 2010 at 7:12 am

Congratulations Mac – you’re my role model. Give me 2 year and I’ll work off my extra 50 pounds and make my personal marathon goal. I’m starting with your recommendations and (re)starting slow with the 20 minute runs. I used to be a regular runner but work, life, family, etc all took a higher priority over the last 5 years and I’ve made the decision that it is now my time to take back my health. At first I thought of this as a selfish decision but its not – it actually will have very positive impacts for my life, family, even work -especially over the long run. I’m going to restart nice and slow and make this work for me. Thanks for being an inspiration.

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27 Kim May 4, 2010 at 7:14 am

GREAT JOB and congratulations! The Eugene Marathon sounds so awesome.
.-= Kim´s last blog ..MBE: Motivation =-.

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28 Rita May 4, 2010 at 8:16 am

Biggest congrats ever! Utter brilliant at crushing that goal! Fantastic time holy moly, WTG. Can you tell I’m excited, lol. Marathons just make me happy, what can I say?
.-= Rita´s last blog ..I’ll Cry if I Want to =-.

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29 ShutupandRun May 4, 2010 at 10:21 am

Wow, I just loved this race report and read every word of it. You are so inspiring! Not many people could have done what you did – losing 60 pounds, training for a marathon, running a marathon, and doing it in 3:46. You did this because you are determined, disciplined and motivated. Since we have similar race goal times, I am doing things in the same way regarding warm up miles, fueling, etc. I just hope my race can be as strong as yours was. I really appreciated knowing what you told yourself when the going got tough. That wall had nothing on you! Congrats and I bet you sign up for your next marathon any minute now!
.-= ShutupandRun´s last blog ..Anything Can Happen =-.

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30 ShutupandRun May 4, 2010 at 10:21 am

PS: LOVE the picture at the top. It says it all.
.-= ShutupandRun´s last blog ..Anything Can Happen =-.

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31 Jenny May 4, 2010 at 11:24 am

I just wanted to say that I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and you are AWESOME! I find you inspiring me to push myself to overcome my couch potato status and get out there. Congratulations on running a marathon and meeting your goals.

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32 Joe May 4, 2010 at 11:26 am

Are you going to do it again. Of course you are. Marathons are like Lays chips. You can’t run just one. It’s amazing how sore those extra few miles makes you huh.

Great job man. A very, very impressive pace. You are in such a minority doing a sub 4 hour marathon for your first one. I got chills reading your recap. I wish I could tell you your going to feel better by Wednesday, and you will, it’ll just be next Wednesday.

Congrats – A huge one.
Joe
.-= Joe´s last blog ..Mud, Beer, and Running. 2010 Dallas Warrior Dash. =-.

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33 macdaddy May 4, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Joe–Thanks for the nice compliments. I actually feel really good, except for my left ankle. The muscles in my legs feel no worse today (48 hours later) than they do after a really hard leg lifting session. But I am afraid for my ankle. We’ll see how it goes. A doctor visit may be in order if it’s not better soon.

Jenny–One of my biggest goals for this blog is to inspire others. I’m glad it’s working for you.

Beth–Thanks for the kind words. BUT, I want to make one thing clear. I truly believe that anyone CAN do what I did. You just have to tell yourself that you want it and then believe that you can get it done. Whether it’s losing weight, running a marathon, being a better dad, earning that promotion, or ending obesity—they are all just goals that can be accomplished with the right mind set. I can’t wait to follow you along this Sunday!

Rita–You’re so funny and energetic it’s contagious. Thanks for reading my blog.

Kim–It was an awesome place to run a marathon. Some of the details I chose to leave out of the lengthy report were about the course and the crowds. If you ever get a chance, you should check it out. They don’t call Eugene “Track Town USA” for nothing. People really do appreciate the runners and encourage them to get the job done!

Mike–I’m glad that I’m your role model. That makes me very happy. Set your mind on your goals and don’t let anything get in your way. Who knows, maybe I’ll run that marathon with you in two years.

John–I’d like to run another one. I just wonder if I’ll hurt myself after every marathon? I hope not because that might make it not worth the pain.

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34 T May 4, 2010 at 2:59 pm

Nice!

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35 Ryan @NoMoreBacon May 5, 2010 at 1:34 pm

I read blog posts on my mobile so I don’t normally get a a chance to comment but I had to make an exception here. You are a stud Mac! Running a marathon is seriously an amazing feat and although I’d like to say something creative or unique, the only thing that keeps coming to mind is JOB. WELL. DONE. Be Proud!
.-= Ryan @NoMoreBacon´s last blog ..How I Train For The Fight To The Finish =-.

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36 macdaddy May 5, 2010 at 8:23 pm

Thanks Ryan

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37 Herbert Martensy @ Kangen Water May 7, 2010 at 10:25 am

Great work, your tenacity is admirable

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38 Lisa December 16, 2010 at 10:49 am

Excellent recap! I hope to do the Eugene Half. I’m in Portland and really want to run a half marathon. I heard Eugene is really nice and fairly flat.

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39 macdaddy December 16, 2010 at 2:25 pm

Lisa, Eugene is fairly flat. Unfortunately, all of the hills are on the half course. There are basically 2, right around mile 4 and right around mile 9. But they’re not big at all. If you run the full, you’re rewarded with a fully flat second half :)

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40 Mike March 25, 2011 at 7:43 pm

Wow! Wow! Wow! 60 lbs.. that is an incredible story. Will you run one again.. YES. I am sure by now you have even started targeting the next race. Like Frank Shorter said, “You’re not ready to run another marathon until you’ve forgotten the last one.”

Congrats again and hopefully you will be inspired by what we are doing at our site.
-Mike
http://www.facebook.com/WhyMarathon
Mike recently posted..David Cater

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