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.
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 😖 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.
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 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.
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 😂 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. 🤷🏽♀️
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 😂. 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 😂
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!
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!