Sunday, May 3, 2009

Eugene Half Marathon

Saturday afternoon Jen and I headed down to Eugene to pick up our race packets for the half marathon. We arrived at the expo and headed in to pick up our numbers and chips. Somehow Jen's number was not in the box and they were unable to find it; so after a quick stop at the registration desk she got a new chip and number and we were on our way to the hotel. The place we were staying at was a couple blocks away from campus so we walked over to check out the start line and grab a bit to eat. We grabbed some pizza then headed back to our room to relax and watch some TV.

Sunday morning I woke up around 5:20 and looked outside to see sheets of rain falling on the parking lot. By about 6:00 the rain had started letting up and after some breakfast and a cup of coffee we headed out the door and ran over to the start. Since we were so close to the hotel we were able to hang out in our hotel room until 6:40 so we stayed out of the rain for as long as possible (and had our own bathroom). Once we arrived at the start I ran around a bit more, stretched out, found a spot to climb the fence and got in line with Jen. She stood with me for a couple minutes then headed back in the crowd a bit to find a good place to start. After a couple U of O folks sang the national anthem we were off.

Going into the race I knew I wanted to start off easy and pick up the pace as I went along. I lined up with the 3:10 marathon pace group and stayed with them for the first mile. A couple minutes into mile two I decided to pull away from the pace group and run on my own. I passed quite a few people in the next couple miles as the crowds started to thin and people started getting into their groove. I was going a bit fast on my second mile so I dialed it back a bit and tried to find a nice comfortable pace. Around mile 4.5 we hit the first hill and I slowed down a bit but at this point I wasn't too worried; I wanted to bank energy to use later, not time.

Mile 1: 7:48
Mile 2: 6:56
Mile 3: 7:10
Mile 4: 7:19
Mile 5: 7:28

After mile five the course turned to the right and we headed down one steep street before making another right and heading down a slight decline for the next mile or so at which point the road flattened out. The toughest climb came at mile 8.5; I could see it from about a tenth of a mile away and it was maybe eight blocks long. Being able to see the top of the hill was one of the toughest things about it because you could see just how much further there was to go during the entire climb. I made the decision to dial it back a bit on the climb and conserve my energy. At the top I made another decision that paid off; I was going to let myself slowly pick up the pace but I wasn't really going to get going again until my breathing was back to normal. By the time I hit the bottom of the hill my heart and lungs had calmed down and I fell back into a nice groove.

Mile 6: 7:00
Mile 7: 7:06
Mile 8: 7:06
Mile 9: 7:21
Mile 10: 7:09

At this point I knew I was on track to set a new PR but I kept telling myself that anything can happen in the last couple miles and not to get ahead of myself. I could feel myself getting tired and I felt like I was slowing down just a bit. At mile 11 I picked up the pace a bit but tried not to go too hard since there was still two miles to go. I felt pretty strong so I focused on picking up the couple people in front of me to kill time to mile 12. At 12.5 I started pushing myself and I was fairly confident in a PR at this point. I turned the corner and finished with a strong kick.

Mile 11: 7:19
Mile 12: 7:08
Mile 13: 6:54
Last .08: :30

Chip time: 1:34:12 -- 7:12 AP -- a new PR by 1:59!!

We headed back to the hotel to take a quick shower and change clothes before grabbing a quick bagel and heading over to the finish area to watch Aron finish the marathon. We saw her come in then met up with Alisa and Amy who had made the drive down from Portland to cheer us on. They made some great signs and screamed loud for us and all the other runners out on the course.

After that we made the drive back to Portland and spent the afternoon relaxing and enjoying a couple cocktails. Tomorrow is an off day then it's back to tri training and getting ready for our first race which will be here in a few short weeks.

Jen had a fun time and although she didn't PR she ran a solid race and enjoyed her training more than I have seen her enjoy it in a long time.

No race pics posted yet but Jen posted a few good shots from the last couple days over on her blog.

Overall it was a great race and although I'm ready for tri training and tri season I am looking forward to my next chance to better my time.


the gazelle said...

Congrats again on the PR. I'm so glad we got to watch your run by!

jen said...

Congrats!! You ran such a smart race. Thank you for reminding me that is possible. :D You're speedy!

Emily said...

Yay on the PR dude!


Ewen said...

Well done on the PB - very fast. Sub 1:30 beckons. I wanted to check out the hill Jen swore about. It wasn't that bad after all!

Alisa said...

Congrats on your new PR.

So happy we made it in time for you to woosh by us!

Mike G said...

7:12 is an excellent pace for the full 13 miles. Sounds like next time you should start with the 3:00 pace group.

Lotusphx said...

Way to go Zach!

Kim said...

whats up speedster?! congrats on the PR zach, you totally deserved it!

Sarah said...

Damn you're fast!! So sad I wasn't able to make it . . . I cheered in spirit :)

Steven said...

Nicely done. Congrats!

I was there, too, and ran the full marathon and I was very concerned with the rain that I awoke to at 5:15am on Sunday. But thankfully the weather gods smiled upon us for the race!

PunkRockRunner said...

Well done!!

aron said...

AWESOME job on that PR!!! you ran such a great race - congrats!!!

thanks for waiting to see me finish!!! it was great seeing you both :)

Dragonfly on the Water said...

Proud of you on your run & PR Zach! Way to go.

Marathon Maritza said...

Dude! A 6:54 mile on your last mile??? AWESOME!

Congratulations on your PR! Man, you have gotten SPEEDY!

Paul said...

Nice job on the PR. How is the prep coming for Lake Stevens?