Eugene T-shirt


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The alarm rang bright and early for our first half marathon (HM). Wait that’s not right. It was 3:30am, the bright part was still a couple hours away. Because Eugene is only an hour from Elkton we decided to drive rather then get a hotel.This seemed like a good idea because the Eugene HM is a pricey race ($95). I know it is often considered uncouth to talk about money but I hate it when reviews don’t list prices. You see a picture of a pair of shoes that look great, the glowing review says they feel like running on marshmallows, they will make you faster, sexier, and happier but the problem is you don’t know if these shoes are $90 or $290. Yes they make $290 running shoes and you have to replace them after 400 miles like any other running shoe. So I am going to put in the price of races and what you get for your money. So the alarm at 3:30am. We were pretty tired. On the drive to Eugene we talked about booking a room for the Albany HM as soon as we got home.

I was tired but felt good. I am taking iron for anemia and Sunday morning was the first time I felt like the pills were helping, nevertheless, I felt woefully unprepared to be running a HM. My training had consisted of trying to run a 4.2 mile dead end road that starts at the end of our driveway. I could usually make it 2 miles then I powerhiked the hill. I planned to do a lot of walking in Eugene.

I had an old long sleeve shirt that I abandoned right before the race. This is a great way to stay warm before running. If you are ever in a race that starts out chilly but will get warmer wear that old shirt that you should have thrown out years ago. I plan to hit rummage sales and thrift stores looking for long sleeves under $2. Many races donate discarded clothing.

I didn’t get any pictures of the race because I forgot to wear any clothing with a pocket. My running shorts only fit my asthma inhaler. This was really stupid since I have 3 shirts that I bought for no other reason then the iPhone sized pocket. I plan to have more pictures in my next race reports.

The Eugene HM was very well organized with a lot of efficient volunteers. The bus trip, drop bag check, directions to the starting gate, all went smoothly. They aid stations were well stocked with friendly volunteers and crowd support was enthusiastic.

My only real complaint about the race was the roads that 3/4 of the race were run on. They were cambered at such an extreme grade that running felt uncomfortable. It was so awkward that turning onto the bike path around mile 10 was a relief. As anyone who has ever run a HM knows, a sense of relief around the 10 mile mark is not the most common feeling. I’m not sure why they chose the route they did. Eugene has many scenic, relatively flat bike and running paths.

I was pretty slow in the beginning. I walked all up hills. I know Tim was itching to go faster but he stayed with me. I was amused to see a couple sitting on their porch drinking coffee in what seemed to be their pajamas, just watching runners. No signs, or cheering just observing the road like it was a mildly interesting movie. I have a strange problem with my shins and ankles when I run. They often ache and burn for about two miles and then the pain just disappears. I have no idea why sometimes this happens and sometimes it doesn’t, but it happened Sunday morning. Happily at 1.8 miles (I looked at my Garmin) the pain went away and the miles clicked away. So much so, that I was surprised when I finally looked at my wrist and saw how far we had come.

One of the things that made the time go by faster was talking to people. I talked to an older woman from Bend for a while and we talked to a funny guy who was moving good, considering his size. Tim is not always my ideal running partner because he is usually a pretty silent runner. Often the only talking we do on a run is arguing because I blow up at him about not talking to me while we run. I love to talk and run. My favorite part of the race was the bike path through the park although I did see a couple of annoyed looking bicyclists.

Unfortunately, a little after the 8 mile mark Tim’s a-fib acted up and we had to walk. After his heart rate settle down he tried to run again but his heart went back into a-fib and he had to walk until his heart started beating correctly. I’m not sure how many times he repeated this process, 3 or 4, but we did more walking than running the last 5 miles. I know he was frustrated and I felt awful for him. I was also worried. He told me that I didn’t have to walk with him, but of course, I was not going to leave my husband with a heart problem to walk the race in alone just so I could post a slightly faster time. Although I do have to admit that the speed walkers passing us did rankle me a bit. We had already talked about what to do if one of us was having a bad day and we had decided that were going to end our first race holding hands. We had that talk because I am usually a much slower running then Tim. We started running about a block from Hayward Field. It was amazing to be running on Hayward Field! We crossed the finish line holding hands.

After we came through the finish and got our medals we were given a bag full of snacks (nice touch) and handed a cold carton of chocolate milk. This was the best chocolate milk of my life. I can’t stress enough how good this was. Really – try a cold chocolate milk after a long run. There should be a law that all races over a 5k have to give the exhausted runners a cold chocolate milk.


  • Extreme cambered roads. This is the reason I would not run this race again.
  • The worst pancakes I ever tasted. I had one bite. Even Tim thought they were awful, but he ate his (and mine).
  • No day of race packet pickup. We had to go in for groceries anyway on Friday, but this must have been annoying for anyone coming from out of town.
  • I thought it was a little spendy for what you got. The virtual swag bag was a bunch of coupons. Note to race directors: swag is free stuff, not 20% off a pair of running shoes.


  • Well organized race staffed with friendly people.
  • Running on Hayward Field.
  • Nice T-shirt and medal.
  • Chocolate milk!

“I have an idea” I say. My husband Tim looks up from his laptop with concern. “I want to do 52 half marathons for my 52nd birthday. One every weekend.” “Hmmm” says Tim. Just last week we both had to walk during the local 5K. He is still listening so I start in on my sales pitch that goes something like “It would be an interesting way to lose some weight and get in shape while seeing a lot of Oregon.”

Why run (or walk as the case may be) a half marathon a week for a year? At the end of 2012 we moved to Elkton Oregon from Tucson so Tim could spend more time with his mother. In Tucson I had a job I loved and good friends. Elkton is cold and rainy. I have no close friends. I’m bored out of my mind. I read a lot. I eat too much and I drink too much of the local wine. Then in the middle of 2013 my mother died at only 69 years of age. I felt even more lonely and depressed. I tried to do some running in Elkton but the rain combined with my asthma, allergies, extra weight, and general lack of motivation made it easy for me to just give up.

So why a half marathon a week for a year? Because I hate the way I look and feel. I want my life back and I need to do something more dramatic then plan another diet that lasts until the weekend.

Welcome to my blog. I plan to write a race report once a week and document the journey with pictures. We have already signed up for 10 races, so no backing out. If you ever have an absurd idea I recommend taking an immediate action that costs a lot of money so you can’t back out when you come to your senses. I Tell myself the fact that I can’t really run much more then a mile at a stretch just means I will do a lot of walking in the first races. I tell myself that by starting in the worse shape of my life my progress will seem all the more impressive. I’m ready to begin.

Special thanks to my husband Tim for the most interesting birthday present ever. I’m glad he has decided to join me on this adventure.

Please feel free to leave comments or ask questions.