Eugene Marathon weekend recap

Hello! How are you? Me, I’m great. Mr. FtoF and I had the BEST time at the Eugene Marathon this weekend! He ran the 26.2 and I ran 13.1. It was a solid weekend which included lots of traveling and a mini racecation. He has some family that live in Oregon so we enjoyed the trip very much.

Let me just say, I’ve never flown to a race and I didn’t think it would be terribly different than driving to a race, but I am glad I sought advice from some running friends. They told me two things that were super important.

  • Drink LOTS of water because flying will dehydrate you
  • Pack your race day stuff in a carry on bag in case your suitcase gets lost

Fortunately we flew up Thursday, which gave me Friday and Saturday to rehydrate. I don’t fly often so I’m not in tune with how my body responds. I paid attention this time though because I was going to go to a Weight Watchers meeting Friday morning but my whole body was so swollen. My hands were so puffy and tingly. I skipped weighing in and had breakfast with a friend who lives in Oregon. Some things in life are worth skipping a WW meeting for.

Thursday night

After a long (and I mean LONG) day at work, I left with my head kind of foggy and tired. Thank goodness Skip was driving to the airport! He picked us up sandwiches, we stopped for last minute supplies, and drove to the airport for our 9:55 PM flight. When we were driving though, we got an alert our flight was delayed 45 minutes πŸ˜– but we made it to the airport and just chilled and got to Portland airport around 12:30 AM. We got a killer deal on airfare which is why we flew into PDX instead of EUG. Thanks Southwest for your special deals!

We got our rental car and in a half delirious state, drove to my friend’s house who was hosting us for the evening.

Friday

Woke up and visited with my fabulous friend Marge who is the reason I joined Weight Watchers in college! It was so nice to see her. We enjoyed breakfast and a visit instead of going to a meeting. It was great to catch up and see her.

I certainly can’t wait to see her again whenever that may be again! Took full advantage of the need to carb load.

Then Squad Wallace began the trek to Eugene. Many of my husband’s family members would be coming in to town to cheer us on for the race! We had a singalong for a few hours. Lots of giggles. If you follow around this page, you’ll know that he works a lot so we rarely get a weekend together. This car ride normally would have bored me to death but as I’ve gotten older I’ve learned to just enjoy the ride.

When we got to Eugene we had a great dinner with family, visited for a good long while and tucked ourselves in to bed because we knew we needed a good night sleep Friday night since the next night would have an early alarm.

Saturday

Saturday I peeled myself out of bed at 6:30 AM, which is the latest I’ve slept in in a LONG time! I did my final shakeout run and the weather and view was awesome. I could get used to running in Oregon!

After showering and breakfast, we headed down to the expo. At the expo I met Kiana, the ambassador lead, and checked out some awesome booths.

I got this awesome jacket as a nice gift from the Eugene Marathon team, as well as a fabulous coffee mug and I bought a Eugene Marathon hat that I loved! I don’t think I’ll ever take this jacket off. I’m seriously in love.

We got our bib numbers and we were off!

Next stop was one of the most important. Voodoo Doughnuts 😍. Now, I’m not a huge donut fan and rarely eat them, but Voodoo Doughnuts has some of the most fun treats so we had to make a stop. I got one with oreos and peanut butter to eat then, and then another with peanuts and caramel and chocolate to take to go. So good!

This counts as carb loading, right?

We picked up a few sandwiches and salad for lunch, made our way back home and rested and hung out with family again for the rest of the evening. We were both a little nervous. The reality of 13.1 hit me. I hadn’t run one since August! Though I had run a marathon, a half is different.

I mentally prepared myself for the next day. I had been chatting with my friends from the Weight Watchers magazine and wanted to hold them close to me during the race. They all told me they wished they could have been there to cheer me on, so I put their names on the back of my bib ❀️

Then it was time to sleep. Big day ahead of me.

Sunday

Normally I have my own race routine and I call the shots but since Mr. FtoF was running the marathon and I was only half as dedicated as him πŸ˜‚ I did whatever he said. I wrote this mantra on my arm to hold close during race day. Seeing that helped me when I was struggling.

We got up super early and got to the start line around 5:30. Race started at 7. I sat in the car for another half hour while he went to get ready and warmed up. Finally it was time to get up and moving.

I checked my gear and found the most glorious sight to a runner. The port o potties.

I found my corral and waited to start. I met another ambassador, Kerri while getting ready to start. Was so nice to meet her!

7:00, off we went. My wave started around 7:08, I think. Along the way I met a fellow WW member who had seen my ambassador post on Connect. She said she used my code. Thanks again! Another lady stopped me while I was in the early miles to tell me how cute I looked. I take my outfit coordination for races very seriously.

I had a REALLY hard time mentally for the first four miles. I couldn’t quite find a strong groove. I was keeping even pace wise but mentally it wasn’t clicking. I knew I just needed to keep going and I would get there. Then, this happened.

A man and a young girl were sitting on the side of the road playing the accordion. My Grandfather was a professional accordion player his whole life. I heard it played through my entire life until he passed. I even can play it, and he is the reason I got into it. It was like a little note of love from him, and I heard it right when I needed it. That was a very powerful moment, and a huge turning point for my race performance.

At that point, I fell into a groove. I could feel my run splits picking up pace (I was doing 2/1 intervals). I started passing people because I was staying consistent when I could tell others were slowing down, which was a good feeling. It meant I had paced myself evenly to start. The last few races I’ve run, though I finished them faster, I pushed hard at the start and walked a lot at the end. This time around I was very even.

Around mile 8, I felt good and knew the race was going to be a good one for me. My fueling and hydration were really good. I took in Gatorade when I knew I needed to, and didn’t wait too long like I sometimes do.

Let me tell you, this race has some of the best signs and cheering I’ve ever seen. My name was on my bib so people cheered for me by name! The signs were hilarious. It was awesome.

Towards the last few miles of the race my head started to lose focus. I had a feeling I would since I hadn’t run more than 11 miles this training cycle because of all my traveling. I spoke with a woman who grew up near the area I live in in California, and we talked about the fires from October and chatted back and forth a bit. She was very kind!

For the last 2.5 miles I thought about my awesome friends from the magazine and for every half mile, celebrated their story. For the last half mile, I thought about mine. I felt very proud, not only of my magazine and sharing my story, but for finishing my 11th half marathon.

I knew I would be finishing around the same time as some of the 3 hour marathon runners. So amazing to see their strength and determination. I wonder if I’ll ever be a super fast marathon runner. πŸ€·πŸ½β€β™€οΈ

When I got to the finish line, the reception was so warm and welcome. My name was said by the announcer, there was a huge crowd cheering for finishers, and when I crossed the finish line my hand was shaken by volunteers and I got my medal.

I figured I would finish around 3:03. Deep down I was hoping to finish under 3 hours but I just missed it. Official finish time was 3:00:23. If I had cut some tangents it looks like I would have made it, but it was really great I finished 2.5 minutes faster than I actually expected I would!

I always get very emotional when I finish a big race. I try to keep it to myself because one time the medic asked me if I needed to visit the first aid booth because I was crying so hard πŸ˜‚. But it’s always a great reminder of determination and strength and how far I’ve come.

I enjoyed my pancakes, post race massage and waited for Mr. FtoF to finish the marathon. According to my tracking, he was on course to finish in the time he thought he would.

The weather was so perfect. I had been panicked over rain predictions and there was one brief moment when it rained but it stopped. I was worried that my poor little husband would be caught in the rain.

When I was waiting for him to finish I saw a 91 year old woman finish the half marathon and a woman with a prosthetic leg finish the marathon. I was so moved. They say if you want to be inspired, to go watch the finish line of a marathon. They are right. It will move you to see people of all ages, athletic abilities and mindsets finish a marathon.

Finally I saw Mr. FtoF start the trek into Hayward Field! He was kicking butt. I was screaming his name. He PRed his marathon time by something like 30 minutes. He is awesome!

Then he was a little loopy and trying to recover from what he had just put his body through πŸ˜‚

But we celebrated, he ate a little and drank chocolate milk and headed back home. We had both had really great days!

I had made this giant head to have at the finish line but because I was afraid it was going to rain, it was back at the house to greet him.

More of his family came into town to celebrate the finish line and have dinner with us. It was awesome. We spent the evening eating, drinking, playing piano and singing and enjoying being together. It had been years since we were all together and so it was a glorious way to celebrate a super race day, and our first out of State race!

In short

We had a great weekend. I have been inspired by Mr. FtoF and the entire weekend to take on 26.2 again this year. I was going to wait but I’m excited to do it sooner than later.

Also, we are pretty sure we will be back for Eugene Marathon 2019. Though I think we might switch distances.

Eugene Marathon, thanks for hosting us. We had a blast and are grateful for the event. Until next time!

Cheers runners!

-Vanessa

The most expensive sports bra I ever bought

Hi! How are you? Me, I’m great. I’m getting ready for the Eugene Marathon this weekend! I’m running 13.1 and Mr. FtoF is running 26.2. Woohoo!

To prepare for this momentous adventure, I decided to spend my Title Nine gift card on a sports bra. There are no T9’s where I live but I was down near one last weekend so I decided to spend it.

Let me just confess… I buy my sports bras off the clearance rack at Target. Yes folks. I do. I pay usually no more than 9 dollars for a sports bra. Sometimes I pay attention to impact level and sometimes I don’t. It’s pretty bad. I buy bras with sizes like large and medium but apparently I should be getting ones with actual sizes. Oops. I also just assume that if the sports bra is a little tight it is the right fit. Nope! Can still have bounce and cause discomfort. I learned a lot on this experience!

I also have sports bras that are years old. Like your shoes, you’re supposed to rotate your bras out after a few months. Also, if you lose or gain weight you’re supposed to get new sizes.

I have done none of those things.

I’m

A

Horrible

Runner.

To be honest, the thought of trying on Sports Bras that cost ten times what I’ve paid for any other sports bra made me die a little inside. Thank goodness I had a gift card. I didn’t choose the one in the photo. I tried a few on and this was the last one.

It was my intention to review all the ones I tried on but I was a little overwhelmed. The woman at the Title Nine store who fit me was so kind. We talked extensively about underwires, racerbacks, colors, preference, impact levels and more.

(By the way Title Nine is a main sponsor of Mermaid Series! I had on my Mermaid garb and the sales ladies asked me if I was a Mermaid Athlete. You know it!)

She measured me and fit me and we walked through the wall of options and picked a few and the nice sales associate helped me get into my booby traps (see what I did there 🀣) and we talked about what I liked and didn’t like. It was kind of exhausting to wiggle in and out of so many. Be emotionally and physically prepared for when you go.

I was so nervous about my chubby runner belly and stretch marks and someone seeing me in all my glory, but the sales woman made me feel fabulous about myself. My grand total came to $75 and some change 😳. Thank you gift card. THANK YOU GIFT CARD. I could have signed up for a race with that much money!

I chose the Brooks Juno. I liked that it felt a lot like other sports bras I already own. I picked the bold print though cause that’s very me.

The next day I took it out on a long 8 mile run. It was so comfortable. I felt really supported. No bounce. Very comfortable and breathable. Something the Target clearance rack hasn’t given me.

So long story short, if the Eugene Marathon expo has a booth where I can more of these magical bras, I’ll need to get more.

I also am promising you I’ll throw out the sports bras I own that are older than the current presidential term by the end of next month.

I am very mindful of my shoes but I need to be more mindful of my back and this will be the way to do it.

I encourage you to go to your local Title Nine or running store to get fit for a good bra! I’ll likely go to my local Fleet Feet now that I have a better idea of my needs when I get new sports bras.

Do you have a favorite bra? It’s important!

Cheers to being supported! ❀️

-Vanessa

Being in the WW Magazine and How I got there!

On Tuesday, February 6th I was at work, when around lunch time I got a message on Instagram from Weight Watchers (in response to a post I wrote in October), which said they wanted to talk to me and could I please send an email to this staff member whose email address they listed. They have sent me messages before asking if they could share a quote I wrote for a weekly before, so I assumed it was something similar.

I emailed the staff member who emailed me back saying she worked for the Weight Watchers magazine and could we set up a time to talk on the phone. We set an appointment to talk the next morning at 6 AM my time, 9 AM her time. I was suspicious, but thought maybe they wanted me to agree to using a quote in the magazine.

The next morning she did not call me and I felt a little bummed. After some time went on, I emailed and checked in. There had been a schedule mixup so we agreed to chat on my lunch break that day.

On the phone she shared with me that Weight Watchers was writing an article on the “Me Too” movement and had come across this Instagram post I had written, and she was interested in knowing more. After a good long, hearty talk, I hung up and thought maybe they would share my quote in the magazine. I was excited about the possibility that my quote could be shared.

Time went on. I was hopeful that they would use a quote I stated in the magazine but a few days went by and nothing happened so I figured it wasn’t going to happen until…

Sunday, February 11th I got an email that she wanted to talk on the phone. And that call was summed up into this…

“So are you available to fly to New York City next weekend for a photoshoot and an interview for the May/June magazine issue?”

*HOLD THE PHONE HUBBA WHAAAAAT!!!!!*

After I said yes in a level of shock that I’ve never experienced before and hung up, I walked into the living room and wept to my husband. I was going to be in a magazine. I was in shock.

The entire next week was a flash of chaos. Emails being introduced to my four fellow members (Tracye, Jen, Megan and Peter), travel arrangements, emails for sizes, emails of photos, rearranging all the plans I had for the weekend and because I was keeping it all top secret “gotta reschedule because a business trip suddenly came up”.

On Saturday, February 17th after an 11 mile run, some last minute pampering, including getting a manicure and pedicure for the shoot and running out last minute to buy a duffel bag so I wouldn’t have to check a bag, it was time to go.

Mr. FtoF drove me to SFO at 9:45 PM to board my red eye flight. I chose a red eye flight to give me a full day in NYC on Sunday. As I boarded the plane for a 1:15 AM takeoff, I still was in shock. Maybe I would get there and this was a prank. Maybe I’m dreaming. But then I managed to fall asleep on the red eye and wake up in sunny, snowy, Newark, New Jersey at 8:50 AM. And after trying to find my driver in a half asleep daze. I finally located him and off we went.

Upon arriving at my hotel which was in Times Square, I was informed my room wasn’t ready yet but they would call me when it was. I left my bags so I could go exploring. The bag check staff asked where I was from and I told them San Francisco (and loved that the staff at bag check started calling me San Francisco πŸ˜‚)

I left the hotel and found coffee and pizza. I also took a million photos in Times Square of Broadway musicals and selfies. I wanted to see a musical but I knew I wouldn’t have time.

Finally after a few hours of walking, I got a call that my room was ready, which was great because I needed a nap. Desperately.

I woke up a few hours later and met up with three of the photoshoot members and headed out for a run in Central Park. I had run an 11 mile long run on Saturday and my legs were toast but I didn’t care. I told Coach Patrick I wanted to run in Central Park so he put it on the calendar. If I didn’t have a photoshoot, I would have gone for many more miles, but I knew my little legs needed to be in good shape. Look at all that snow!

It was time to shower and get ready for dinner. We had a group dinner with some of the WW magazine staff. After hours of talking, sharing, laughing and nerves, my squad took a group selfie and headed to bed because we had a big day ahead of us.

And though I missed my husband and wished he had been there, getting a bed to myself was so delightful. 😍. With the exception of blue cow, the stuffed cow I’ve had for 18 years. Yes I’m 30 years old but she’s my good luck charm and travels to every race with me, so you bet she was coming on this trip!

Monday morning

The alarm went off at 6 AM because I told myself I would wake up early and walk to Grand Central Station. Unfortunately I was so tired from traveling and running I decided to sleep instead since I knew what was coming up. Finally at 8 I rolled out of bed, showered, packed my bag and checked out. My limo service was coming at 9:30. When he arrived we went straight to the studio where they fed us breakfast and the day got started.

Now let me tell you – this model business is exhausting. I am a musical theater performer so I’m used to outfits and changes and hair and makeup but this was something totally different.

It was both the fastest day of my life and the longest day. Fast in that it all happened so darn quickly. Long because it was a lot of sitting and waiting, or outfit changes, or being guided around to stay on schedule.

There were racks of clothes and piles of shoes and makeup and hair stations and changing areas and white robes. It was like nothing I’ve ever seen before.

The starting point was that I had to go to wardrobe. I tried on many different outfits because we had to find the one that was just right. Thank goodness I didn’t get hair and makeup done before that because wiggling around in spanx was like a workout. I broke a sweat! It actually took a good long while to find the right outfit. There were two contenders but finally we settled on a third, unexpected outfit, the jumpsuit.

Now I don’t normally wear something like that so I felt totally out of my comfort zone, but everyone told me I looked great which gave me a higher level of confidence.

Being on set was crazy. I was so well take care of! They brought us some delicious, healthy meals. With the exception of the cake they brought out at lunch. It was darn good too.

At one point I wanted a bottle of water and someone just got one for me… like, they told me not to get up and get one because they wanted me to rest. Crazy, huh! Especially crazy since my day job involves so much of me tending to other people. It was strange that someone else was tending to me.

First up for me was doing group photos with everyone. They had all done individual photos but yours truly was saved best for last πŸ˜‚. After our group photos, I did my solo photo shoot and then my video interview.

My video interview was probably what I was most worried about. I was afraid I would cry, or say something stupid. I was worried I would be caught off guard, or speak too quickly. But I just told my story. And it was empowering to speak those words out loud. I often type my story but rarely do I say it verbally.

Then all of a sudden it was time to pack it all up and get in the car to go to the airport. We said a very emotional goodbye and promised we would all meet up again someday and somehow.

On the plane ride home I reflected on the whole thing. I’m very grateful for safe platforms to tell my story and to be part of this really was a top notch experience. As I was running in Central Park with a sort of East meets West mindset, since I was wearing my San Francisco Marathon shirt on the east coast, a thought flashed into my head that losing weight has changed me. Before, I was just alive. But now I’m living. I’m living my best life, I’m living to the fullest and I’m living with enough bravery to face my fears.

I’m so grateful to have had this opportunity. It has been a life changing experience for me! I am honored that Weight Watchers took on such a controversial topic and I was part of the story telling. Cheers to new adventures!

-Vanessa