Tag Archives: racing

Eugene Marathon Plan and Goals

Remember how I bragged about said that I was super calm and collected on Tuesday? Yea, that tank of relaxation is slowly draining by the minute—consequentially re-filling with nerves and worst-case-scenario daydreams.

But, BUT! I’m actually not the fall-apart wreck of a human that I normally turn into. I know everyone talks about the taper-crazies, but I seriously think that I must get an exaggerated dose of them, because ordinarily I turn into a pitiful, blubbering mess of “what if?!”s and phantom broken legs.

Not so much this time. But, as my previously mentioned distractions start to move out of the way, the marathon reality is coming closer into view.

And just in time. I’m allowing myself these next two days to be as irrational as I want…within reason. Because the fact of the matter is that we leave for Eugene in just a few short hours, and once we hit the road—there’s no turning back.

I’ve found that I’ve been stressing out about the little things more so than the big picture. I’m hyper-conscious about my hydration and food, as my current intestinal misconduct (super-scientific term right there) has me more worried about my nutrition. I’m going to go with the basics, no weird food, plenty of carbs, salt, etc., but I also think I’m going to go with the “space the carbs out” approach more than I have in the past. Gimme the bananas and bread NOW!

I’m also still having clothing dilemmas. For whatever reason, I seem to be focusing my nervous energy more on chafing than, you know, running 26.2 miles. What gives, brain?

I’m sure it’s a bit of a coping mechanism. But more than anything, I really really don’t want an issue like the wrong shorts or an upset colon to take away from the work I’ve put into this marathon. I realize there are some things that cannot be controlled (although I’d argue that BodyGlide has the power to rule the world) but that doesn’t mean I can’t do everything in my control to set myself up for success.

And speaking of, I am planning on following a fairly strict-yet-flexible pacing plan for Eugene. Before I go into those details though, here’s a look at my goals:

“A” goal: BQ, also known as <3:35

This is the prize my eye has been on for months, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want it in a bad, keeps-me-up-at-night kind of way.

“B” goal: PR, also known as <3:42

As we all know, marathons are unpredictable. It may very well not be my day to BQ, and while I won’t be thrilled with it, I will be happy with a new PR—which I have a good feeling is probable. My current PR was set in Chicago, with an injury, on under-trained legs. This is going to sound so obnoxiously cocky, and I’m sorry it’s not intentional, but Chicago actually felt kind of easy. I know, it’s probably damning to say that about the all-mighty 26.2. But, if that race was any indication, I like to think I have a faster time in me somewhere.

“C” goal: Finish the race

This has been a goal in every marathon I’ve ever done…because when it comes down to it, hey, it’s 26.2 miles of running: you SHOULD be happy just to finish. And I will be. Obviously there’s more I’m after, but if it’s not my day, I’ll still cheers to being a 4-time marathoner.

There were lots of people last Monday who didn’t get to finish their marathon, and I’ve decided to try and bury my pride and consider myself lucky if/when I do get to cross that finish line (at Hayward field, no less).

So, as for my pace plan, I am trying to proverbially hammer “negative split” into the front of my brain. If it was possible to give your frontal lobe a tattoo by just thinking something hard enough, I’m pretty sure, “DO NOT GO INTO THE 7s RIGHT AWAY” would be etched front and center on mine.

Essentially, my not-plan/plan is to hover around the low 8 minute miles in the beginning; absorb the energy of race day, conserve as much as possible, and if around 8-10 I’m feeling good, crank it up a little bit.

If I don’t feel great, I’ll be fine sticking to that pace or even slowing down. Based on my long runs and some races earlier this year, hypothetically—this pacing should work out fine. But once again, it’s a marathon. Anything can happen.

So until Sunday at 7 am, when the horn goes off and the timing chip gets activated, I’ll be obsessing over details: playlists, water, bagels, nuun, BodyGlide, shakeouts, legs up, compression, etc. etc.

But here’s the best part, and it’s the part that I always tuck safely away in my head until I’m desperate for a sense of comfort:

Despite all the details, it’s just running. One foot in front of the other. Relentless forward movement. Running a marathon is one of the hardest endeavors, but it’s also one of the simplest. Isn’t that awesome? It’s so beautifully primal and authentically human—and despite all the goals, the worry, and the uncertainty of it all, I really just can’t wait to experience the magic of the marathon once again.


If you want to track me, you can go to this site, plug in some basic info, and you should be set. My bib number is 2411, but I’m pretty sure you can search by name too.

Track town, see you soon!

Good luck to everyone running in Eugene and all over the country this weekend! Hopefully I’ll see some of you in action 🙂

Mustache Dache 5k Race Recap

In the world of running races, 5ks are not really my jam. Honestly, I don’t love shelling out money for a race that’s only going to last around 20 minutes—and a race that is going to be super hard the whole time. Call it stingy, call it me being a baby…either way, I’m just not a huge 5k person.

But, pair together a mustache-themed race and a whole bunch of Seattle bloggers, and I say game on. Which is why I spent Saturday morning clad in a stick on mustache (for a solid 5 minutes) with burning lungs.

But I’m getting ahead of myself…let’s recap a bit shall we?

The set up for this race was nothing short of hilarious. The organizers did a fantastic job with their mustache revelry and shameless promotion…which lead to a really impressive turnout for the race as well as some pretty amusing attire.

Do you know how difficult it is to smile while wearing a press on mustache? REALLY hard. Photo courtesy of Sarah.

It was a fun run for most everyone there, and while I intended to run hard, I didn’t have much of a methodology in mind. I had decided to use this as my “speedwork” for the week, so thinking of it as a standard workout helped my focus a bit. Going into it, I knew running anything below what I’d run during my last 5k (my PR) would be pretty difficult, and so instead of putting too much pressure on myself, my strategy was this: Go out fast, and try to hold on.

And fortunately for 5ks, that method kind of actually works. While half-marathons and marathons always preach the negative-splitting technique, I’m realizing with 5ks it’s actually acceptable to run completely haphazardly with a balls-to-the-walls approach.

I kind of like this, but I also kind of hate it.

Because it took about .75 miles into this race for me to remember just how hard 5ks can be. My balls were at the walls, if you will, and they didn’t love it.

When I took off, I was looking at a 6:30 pace on my watch. Which for me is fast. Probably too fast, but again—in a 5k, there are some shades of grey. Not 50 shades, but a couple.

Anyway, my lungs started hurting pretty instantly. My stomach, which I had probably-not-so-intelligently decided to fill with a green smoothie an hour before the race, was also feeling a little uneasy. But, as I kept telling myself, this was about speed. I knew I had the endurance, and it was really about hanging on for dear life.

So I kept hanging, watching my Garmin flash paces that I never normally see—and simultaneously my lungs argue in retort. I kept having visions of myself hurling up green liquid on the side of the course and racers thinking, “God it’s just a 5k, why are you so stupid and running faster than you actually can?” but alas…I kept pushing. Interestingly, my legs were never a problem in this race. They felt great the whole time actually, it was much more an issue of my breathing and my stomach.

The great thing about the pain of a 5k, though, is that it goes by quickly. And lucky for us, this course was pretty easy-peasy. Very flat, fairly scenic (for such a short distance), and reasonably dynamic. A little pavement, a little dirt, etc.

So I pressed on…forcing my pace to cling tightly to the low 7s.

With a 300 meter-ish stretch with the finish line in sight, I was starting to rekindle my competitive spirit. I knew I would be finishing below my previous 21:43 time, but then I started to flirt with “Hmm, just how far under?” So I bolted, garnering all traces of oxygen from my raspy lungs and forcing my turnover to pick up. It helped that “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger” was playing, also. Thanks Kelly.

Pain, lots of pain.

Bada boom, bada bang, and the run was over. Garmin stops, keel over, somehow managed my foot on a stool for my chip to be removed, hands over head, etc.

But also a smile, a big smile.

A 21:04 unofficial time was looking back on my watch face. A nearly 40 second 5k PR.

And oh man, did I feel it. It took me a good 10 minutes before my lungs stopped burning, and even later in the day I felt a little wheeze in my breathing. Speed work I wanted, speed work I got.

Splits (because I finally understand the whole “upload your Garmin stats after you run” thing):

{disclaimer: my Garmin clocked the distance I little shorter than 3.1 km, but since this was an “official” races and I’m certain they did their measurements, I’ll trust them over my little 110.}

I got to then cheer in my fellow Seattle bloggers which was so much fun. They are all smarter than me and decided to enjoy running the race as opposed to making their insides bleed. I guess I can’t help it, or maybe I’m just that psychotic.

After a few photo ops and gathering of all the free food (wonderful job with this Mustache Dache, btw), a few of us trekked over to brunch. I had it in my head that just brunch with these ladies would have sufficed on that rainy Saturday morning, but I suppose a 5k PR is nice too.

As for the rest of Saturday…I scuttled off from brunch to get my hair colored (insert rounds of applause and gasps of shock here), and upon leaving the salon proceeded to rebraid my hair, tuck it under a baseball cap, and head out in the same 5ks clothes for some more rainy running.

Did I mention I’m really bad at being a girl?

But don’t worry, my hair dresser is also a runner, so she didn’t mind the sweaty apparel.

But back to the race recap. What did I learn from this?

Well, my immediate reaction was that I don’t want to do a 5k for a very very long time, at least one that I’m actually racing. But with a new PR that’s just seconds off of a sub-21 time, I’m sure you can guess that I have a new goal in mind.

But that can wait.

Here are the official results:

And as I would discover thanks to Nicole’s notification:

Made the top 10! That was certainly surprising. And with a race of over 1,000 females…that felt kind of cool 🙂

So there you have it. A really fun morning with lots of blog friends with a 5k PR to top it off—and a finale of a big plate of brunch food. My kind of Saturday.

Seattle bloggers!

So good to see everyone, and so nice to meet those of you I hadn’t met IRL yet!

Happy Monday Wednesday because it’s a short week!

Did you race this weekend? Brunch this weekend? Ruin your newly-minted salon hair this weekend?