Race Recap: Eugene Half Marathon and the Runaway Bride

Apologies, friends! Life has been so busy and hectic the past few weeks and I’ve been neglecting the blog. You can always find me on Twitter and Instagram on a more frequent basis, though. 🙂

Case in point – in the past three weeks, I have packed up and moved to a new home (still in Seattle in the lovely South Lake Union neighborhood), gone to Vegas for my bachelorette party, run the Eugene Half Marathon, and attended my bridal shower. I’m getting married in less than three weeks. Ahhh! So ready to become a Mrs., though. Promise to be back in more frequent blogging mode after the wedding.

Two weekends ago, Joe and I drove down to my hometown of Eugene, Oregon to run the Eugene Half. It was such a wonderful weekend! Along with beautiful sunny weather in the 70s, nearly 20 of my fellow Oiselle Team birds were running either the half or full.

The drive down to Eugene on Friday after work was pretty standard – 4.5 or so hours of driving from Seattle to Eugene. That’s the one thing that prevents me from visiting Eugene more often. We got in around midnight and promptly went to sleep as Joe was running the 5K on Saturday morning.

Bright and early on Saturday, we made our way over to packet pickup at the historic Hayward Field. Hayward is magical; there’s no other way to describe it.

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Being at Hayward and on campus brought back great memories from attending the UofO. Once a Duck, always a Duck! 🙂

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While awaiting the race start, we saw the Flapjack mascot (really elite athlete, Craig Leon, 3rd American at the Boston Marathon this year) and also the UofO mascot Puddles.

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I rarely am a spectator at races; normally I’m running them. Being able to cheer Joe and all the other 5K runners on was so much fun. I need to so this more often. Anyone running a local Seattle race needing some course support? 🙂

Steph Rothstein, elite professional marathoner and cofounder of Picky Bars, honored the runners, the Boston tragedy with a moment of silence, and gunned the race start.

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Can you spot Joe? He’s in the red. 🙂

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For optimal spectating, I headed back over to the stands at Hayward right next to the finish.

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Did you check out that form on the winner of the men’s race? Perfect and with a sub-16 finish. A total of 4 people beat Flapjack to win a year’s worth of Krusteaz pancakes.

Flapjack came running through the finish, slowing down considerably along the way to slap some high-fives, and still finished in 17 minutes. Crazy!

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Loved cheering all the runners on especially Joe! Great job!

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Gosh, I love my hometown.

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Of course, in the finishers area, they were serving up fresh pancakes. Yum. My kinda finish food. Though I didn’t run, I insisted that Joe give me a bite.

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After the 5K, we headed over to Hideaway Bakery, a favorite of my Oiselle teammate and pro runner, Lauren Fleshman, and met up with my bestie Becky.

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It surely didn’t disappoint. So many freshly-baked goods, breakfast foods, and deliciousness galore. I had roasted potatoes and eggs with veggies. So good.

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In the afternoon, Joe and I went to the Lane County Fairgrounds area for the expo and packet pickup. This was my first time meeting many of the teammates, particularly all the ones who live on the East Coast or outside of Washington. It was one giant fun meetup at the expo after Lauren Fleshman’s presentation. By the way, what a world of wisdom she has! It was refreshing to hear her tips on running, particularly how to have a positive mantra when it comes to difficult running obstacles.

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The gigantic Oiselle team picture happened after LF’s presentation. So amazing.

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After the expo, a few of us hit up Vero Espresso for some much-needed coffee and, in my case, chocolatey brownie. Group pic from JJ’s Instagram. Always so fun hanging out with these ladies!

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Joe and I continued our nice lil’ afternoon at Ninkasi Brewery, home of one of my favorites beers — the Total Domination IPA. Yum! We paired our beer (I’m lame and only drank half of one beer) and pretzels. We only ordered one pretzel….. or so we thought.

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We were super tired after the beer so we proceeded to take a nap. As soon as we awoke, I had a sore throat and tons of grogginess. However, dinner was on my mind and it had to be one of my beloved Cafe Yumm bowls. 🙂 This is the Jazzy. So good, but dare I say that my constant homemade ones are even better?!

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After a little while, my tummy got way bloated and I felt super blah. Painting my nails a race-ready Oiselle orange was in order and I proceeded to lay on the floor for the next bit groaning about how my tummy felt weird and bloated. Sorry for the TMI.

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Unfortunately, that night’s sleep (well, the several hours of sleep that I got) was interrupted by multiple bouts of tummy issues. Not good, not good. I still wonder what happened. Was it the beer? The pretzels? My beloved Yumm Bowl?

At around 4:30am, I got up to eat my standard pre-race breakfast of oatmeal with peanut butter and raisins. Usually this includes chia but I forgot to bring it to Eugene.

My lovely fiance, bless his heart, attends and cheers me on at every race that I run. He also was a good sport and got up at 6am to drive me to campus for the start line.

Even though I was super sleepy, I was SO stoked to be running the Eugene Half Marathon because of my outfit — I was the runaway bride!! The lovely ladies at Oiselle HQ let me borrow the single Runaway Bride Dress that they had at the office. And it fit perfectly. 🙂 I felt like such a princess and multiple people came up asking me about the dress and when my wedding was. Thanks, Oiselle!

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My love and support system. 🙂

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Me and my besties, Becky and Christy! Becky was an amazing cheerleader with the Oiselle squad at mile 9 and beyond. Christy was running the half and crushed it with a shiny new PR!

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The race itself started right on time. My PR in the half is a 1:45 and so I started in the B corral which turned out to be quite sparse. There was no overcrowding like in the C corral. However, going into the race, I knew that I was well off my PR shape. In the past couple of months, my running mileage has significantly declined as I’ve focused on strength training with 3x/week CrossFit sessions and some running here and there.

In the month of April alone, I ran only 10 miles prior to the Eugene Half. One day I ran 7 miles combined between running at the track and also a Green Lake Loop with the Oiselle gals — a pillow baby shower run for Lauren Fleshman. Speaking of that, I am well behind on posting pictures! Need to get on that, stat. The other day that I ran 3 miles was just a few days prior to the half. Ummm………. lack of training. NBD, right? Wrong!

So, needless to say, running only 10 miles before a 13.1 mile race is not the ideal race preparation. Going into it, I knew that I’d be having an amazing time running in the bridal dress and racing for the first time in my hometown. I was going to have fun and embrace the experience no matter what!

The race map can be located here. From the Eugene Marathon website, here’s a half marathon course description for reference:

2013 Eugene Half Marathon Course Description

The Eugene Half Marathon starts alongside full marathon participants in front of historic Hayward Field – home of five Olympic trials, ten NCAA championships and countless national and world record breaking efforts. Starting on Agate St. the half marathon follows the marathon course through mile 11 at which point participants break off on their own after crossing the Knickerbocker Footbridge. “Halfers” head west and run parallel to Pre’s Trail, along the Canal path, back to Old Day Island Road and get a quick glimpse of Autzen Stadium on their right before turning left for their final mile. They cross the Autzen Footbridge and shoot down Agate St. toward the finish line.

In total, the 13.1 mile course takes runners and walkers through the University of Oregon, Amazon Park, Alton Baker Park East and across the beautiful Willamette River (twice!) on the way to a spectacular finish through the arches of Powell Plaza and the final stretch on the track at historic Hayward Field.

At the start of the race in corral B, I saw my Oiselle teammate Monica, who was running the full marathon, and wished her good luck. Off we went!

I can’t remember all the details of the course but I must say that it was absolutely amazing running through all the familiar parts of Eugene. My favorite part of the race was running down Agate St. past Hayward Field again.

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Awesome was awesome seeing the Oiselle cheer squad at mile 9. Seeing all the girls plus my man, Joe, just made my race!

From JJ’s Instagram:

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Oh, before I forget, I must say props to my new ProCompression Marathon Calf Sleeves which I bought at the expo. I’m big on wearing compression sleeves for my shin splints and usually do this instead of compression socks during races as I’ve had bad experiences with black toes and blood blisters. Yuck. These new calf sleeves worked well, although I did encounter shin splints in my right shin during miles 2-3. I need to go see a sports doc and see how I can rid of these shin splints for good — I don’t ever have them during training or regular runs. Only during racing.

Sadly, during the course of the race, I had to stop 4 times to rub my shins and from utter exhaustion. I guess lack of running/training really does make the race harder! (duh, my body tells me). There were a few moments where I just wanted to call it quits, but I trucked along. During the race, I saw both my teammates Holly and Meggie who were both running the full. Both of them rocked it and Meggie ended up earning her BQ!!

I saw Meghan in her hilarious chicken head, the rest of the Oiselle crew cheering, and even people along the course yelling my name whom I’ve never met before who has seen my tweets on Twitter. One girl yelled out “I saw your bride dress picture on Twitter this morning!” Isn’t that crazy? What a small world online is. I also briefly met Asia who crushed the full with a BQ! Good job, girl!

As soon as I saw Hayward Field in the distance, I ran my little heart out and, surprisingly, felt great as soon as my feet touched the track of Hayward. My little bridal dress flying through, I finished the race in 1:51:17. Well off my PR, but hey! For only barely running double digits that month, I am damn proud of this. I didn’t quit!

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Check out the most amazing shot that Joe took of me at mile 9. 🙂 That is also Lauren’s hand and Becky’s head. 🙂

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This was such a fun course! So much support, wonderful spectators, a wonderful running town, and best of all — as soon as I crossed the finish line, I was surprised to see both Joe and my parents were right on the side cowbelling, taking pictures, and cheering! That very moment was so proud for me. It made me tear up instantly. It was the first time my parents have ever seen me run and to have them with Joe cheering meant SO much.

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In the finishers area, I ran into my teammate Patty who had a such a strong race. You go, girl!

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Me with my Texan teammate Kelli!

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My running sista from another mother, Clarissa Chan!

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And, of course, my biggest support system waiting for me at the finisher area exit — Joe and my parents.

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Love that my parents are so cute with their cowbells.

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Happily jumping in the Runaway Bride dress on the turf. Hooray for Half Marathon #13. Surely a Lucky ’13. 🙂

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FYI, ladies and gents, the Oiselle Feather Spike Bag is not just for the ladies. My man rocked it during the race proudly…… carrying my essentials. 🙂

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So glad that I didn’t have to check a bag. It was a complete crazy scene here with so many people frantically waving their bib and calling out numbers. So glad that volunteers were able to work this.

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Of course, as soon as I went home, I had to channel JasYoga and put more legs up the wall. Learn about what “legs up the wall” is and its benefits here on the JasYoga blog.

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Before leaving Eugene, I just had to try the popular Off the Waffle, known for their liege waffles. This one was a special waffle with sliced apples, brie cheese, bacon, and their amazing maple syrup. YUM!

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Alright, folks, that’s a wrap. I highly recommend coming to Eugene to run the half or full in your race future. TrackTown USA is magical. It’s a unique, vibrant running town that will be surely fun for you!

Thank you to everyone for all the kind wishes for our upcoming wedding. Less than three weeks to go. Can’t wait for this big day!

9 thoughts on “Race Recap: Eugene Half Marathon and the Runaway Bride

  1. yay Eugene! I wish I’d gotten to talk to you more, but we’ll make sure that happens for Ragnar. 🙂 So impressed you can run so fast on less training, you go girl!

  2. I can’t say this enough but you looked so freakin adorable in your bridal running outfit! It was such an easy way to spot you on the course & so fun. Congrats on a great race! Eugene was a fantastic course.

    • Thanks, Asia! You had such a fantastic race. BQ, wowza! So glad you said hi! 🙂 Let me know if you ever come up to Seattle. Hope to get back to SD for a vacation. Loved being there during the RnR SD Mary last summer.

  3. Pingback: Wedding Recap: The Bridal Shower | sarahthefitfoodie

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