I don’t even know where to start other then…
I DID IT! I LOVED IT! I WANT TO DO IT AGAIN!
The Eugene Women’s Half Marathon was everything I wanted it to be and more. I pushed myself farther then I thought I could and I ended up finishing with the beautiful time of…
2 : 35 : 05
A full 20 minutes faster than I anticipated!
So now that you know about the happy ending, let’s start at the beginning.
There was no race day pickup, so Steven and I spent Saturday day and night in Eugene before the Sunday race. It was so much fun making a little “vacation” out of it, and we loved exploring a little bit of the city. The race packet pickup was a breeze and was held in the gorgeous Fifth Street Public Market. I loved the race shirt, very cute and very pink! They little saying on the front is super adorable…
Steven and I were lucky to stay the night at the Eugene Hilton, which was literally a couple blocks from the starting line. Like everyone has suggested, I laid out my race gear as well as my post-race essentials the night before so I didn’t stress in the morning. It’s such a great tip and I highly suggest it! Race morning I knew where everything was and all I had to do was focus on was the 13.1 miles ahead of me!
I was so nervous that morning. I had a bunch of texts in the morning wishing me luck, which meant the world to me! Steven and I went over to the start area so I could warm up, stretch, and soak up the atmosphere (and of course to take photos)! There were about 850 runners, all of whom were super supportive of one another. Definitely the best race atmosphere I have been involved in!
Before I knew it, it was race time. And all I could think about was how hard I have worked to get to this point. I was a ball of excitement and was ready to take on my longest running distance yet! Quick pep talk with Steven (and of course more photos) and I was on my way!
I don’t know what came over me, but I was so confident and ready for it. I hit my stride and I just kept moving. The course was mostly along the Willamette River through some gorgeous parks and bike trails. Although I had no idea where I was in Eugene, I really did enjoy the scenery. Downside is that there weren’t that many spectators, but the ones we did pass were enthusiastic and encouraging!
There was a woman in a dark green shirt…and I basically stalked her through the race. This woman, who during the run I named “Lucy,” helped me keep a steady pace and really helped push me to keep going. I choose not to use my Nike+ app since this was my first half marathon and I didn’t care about my time. But thanks to “Lucy,” I had a killer time for the race!
Steven, being amazing, met me between mile 7 and 8 for some encouragement/Nunn/Banana. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I was to Steven. The first part of the race, I just focused on getting to him. And seeing him gave me such a boost/hilarious set of photos of “Race Roya.”
Around mile 9 is when my body began to break down a bit. I was so tired and my legs were basically throbbing in pain. But I knew I just had to keep going and the faster I went, the sooner it would be over. Some walk/stretch breaks helped my legs recover a bit before I hit mile 12. I wanted that final 1.1 mile to be epic…and epic it was! My iPod shuffle gods must have been on my side because 3 minutes before the end, “We Will Rock You” by Queen came on! I couldn’t have planned it better myself! By the time I rounded the final corner to the finish, I saw Steven and heard the announcer pronounce my name perfectly!
I grabbed my finishers charm, a mimosa, hugged Steven, and cried.
I did it! I can’t believe how far I have come!
The post-race festivities were a lot of fun. They had copious amounts of food (hello mini bagels…), a live band, stretching areas, fun vendors, massages, a beer garden, and a photo booth! Afterwards, I had to take some much needed steps to feel like a normal human again, which included a lot of Olive Garden breadsticks and long, long naps.
I loved the Eugene Women’s Half Marathon and it is totally the perfect race to run your first half. It’s a no stress, flat race with a lot of great energy and spirit. I look forward to doing it next year…
And spoiler alert… I think I had already chosen my next half marathon!
A huge thank you to everyone who has supported me over the past couple months! I was so (happily) overwhelmed by all the calls, texts, and messages I have received. And again, to my mom and everyone who wore the bracelets, you guys rock!
And finally a huge shout out to Steven, who dealt with a nervous, crying, overly excited girlfriend for a weekend. He is the best boyfriend, race supporter, running photographer a girl could ask for!
2012 Eugene Women’s Half Marathon stats: