Monday, May 6, 2013

Eugene {half} Marathon: The Highs & Lows

It's hard to believe it has been over a week since the Eugene {half} marathon! This race was supposed to be THE race...I hired a coach, was committed to and focused on my training, and went into it in {by far} the best running shape I have been in.   There was NO doubt in my mind I would crush my sub-2:00 half marathon goal.  So while the outcome of the race was a low, let me start by sharing a high.

I started my weekend by attending a Beth Moore conference Friday night & Saturday morning with my mom. Filled with 7300 women, the Matthew Knight Arena was overflowing with the Holy Spirit. Over the course of the two sessions, Beth talked about how its All About Time.  There was so much information in such a short amount of time, that it really deserves its own post; but it was an emotional, empowering, uplifting, and rejuvenating conference.  Two points from the sessions that really stood out to me are 1) We are NOT running out of time and 2) God calls us to redeem the time {we need to buy back our time}...I am in desperate need of re-prioritizing and buying back my time. 

Mother-Daughter time 


Saturday after the conference ended, I was planning on heading to the expo to meet some blogger/twitter/NUUN friends. Things didn't quite go as planned, but I was able to meet up with one of my fellow NUUN teammates, Meghan and meet fellow Medfordite Robyn.  Luckily, thanks to twitter, I was able to quickly meet Corey, Molly, Holly {who is on the Hood-To-Coast team & will be running Ragnar Tennessee with me} and Stephanie.  Sidenote: People who don't blog and aren't into social networking don't understand the friendships that are created among people who don't actually know each other. My friends and family  didn't understand why I wanted to get to the expo at a certain time and why it was so important to hang around to see was kind of frustrating. I am glad I was able to at least briefly meet and chat with a few people! 

Fellow Medfordites

I was so excited {maybe too excited} for the race to begin; I was up all night, like a kid on Christmas Eve.  Race morning we headed to Hayward Field, and I just had a feeling this was going to be the day...I had truly tapered, was well hydrated, my legs felt fresh, and I was confident I would do it.  My race plan was to start off "slow" and negative split it, which has alway been successful for me {when I execute it properly}. Due to the crowd at the start, our first mile was close to 10:00 because we weren't able to get around people.  Mandy and I sort of panicked {knowing that wasn't going to cut it} and picked up the pace. Still working our way through the crowd, we hit 9:26 for mile two, which was about right.  Miles 3-8 we were right at a 9:00 minute pace, which was exactly where we needed to be. But then we hit the hill at mile 8 {which I was fully prepared for...mentally and physically}, but it went downhill from there {no pun intended}...As I write this, looking at my splits, I was right on track with my goal {which is refueling my frustrations with myself}.  I reached the top of the hill {which wasn't even that steep of a hill}, and I was mentally done. Why? I am not sure. Yes, I was physically tired...but nothing out of ordinary for being at mile 9 of a half marathon.  

High: Great running friends and being able to run with my dad

I knew I would see my mom around mile 9, so I kept waiting and waiting, and finally I saw her and my brother, which gave me a little boost, but not much.  I decided to stop & walk for a second so I could turn on my music, get my headphones untangled, turn OFF my GPS tracking app {which was telling me my pace every mile, and at this point only making matters worse}and give myself a mental pep talk.  From that point on my only goal was to finish. Each mile, actually 1/2 mile, became harder and harder, fully aware that my goal was no longer attainable. It wasn't because I wasn't physically trained for it; I mentally crashed. Which is difficult for me to grasp, because mental strength is usually one of my strong suits.  

Mandy coming in strong

I was happy to enter Hayward Field, but it wasn't the victory lap I had anticipated. As soon as I crossed the finish line, I broke into tears...You know, the ugly-sobbing-can't talk kind of cry.  This was a first for me. I usually cry tears of joy every time I cross the finish line, because it is always such a feeling of accomplishment. But not this time.  These were tears of disappointment. Failure. Frustration. While these were a different kind of tears, they symbolized the same thing my tears of joy do: PASSION! My passion for running. Passion for constantly bettering myself. Passion for wanting to make my dad proud.  Passion for accomplishing my goals. Passion for living life to the fullest. Passion for having fun while living a healthy life. 

This training/racing cycle was different for me.   I usually don't take the training quite as serious {if something comes up, it is ok if I miss a run or cut it short}, and I really love the races and have fun.  This time, I was really focused on my training {wouldn't skip a run and did exactly what was on my schedule}, and to be honest, didn't really enjoy the race {that is for another post}.  I DO NOT want to get to the point where racing is no longer fun, so things are going to change! Through the process of running the race, contemplating everything in my head the days after, and in writing this post, I have learned a lot, and know the next race will be better. 

When I first thought about writing this post, I wasn't going to share my finish time, due to embarrassment. Not embarrassment because it is a slow time {I hate the word slow, speed is so relative}, but embarrassment because I know I am capable of so much more {I have raced and ran several long training runs at a much faster pace}. But bottom line, it is my finish time, and I can't change it now:

{I guess I could re look up my official time, but that is close enough}

Another high: it is a course PR

A little fun to cheer me up

NUUN for the win

While I struggled with the outcome of my race, I knew I had to pull myself together to celebrate other people's victories...Mandy who had a course and all-time half PR. My dad who had a phenomenal race. Stephanie who had a HUGE course and all-time half PR. David who ran his first half marathon.  Jenny who also had a course and all-time half PR.  I loved switching roles to cheer, take pictures and celebrate in the accomplishment of all of the NUUN/Oiselle runners who ran the full.  Watching the finish of a marathon is so empowering...seeing people fight, with everything in them, to cross that finish line.  Seeing the smiles, from ear to ear when people cross the finish line for the first time OR realize they are going to qualify for Boston.  This finish was even more powerful than most,  as people put their hand over their heart in honor and memory of Boston.  

All-in-all it was a fabulous weekend! One thing I know for sure, I will be running my next race naked {no watch, GPS app...NOTHING!}; I will focus on having fun and not worry about my time. 


  1. Hi, Holly,

    First, I'm very sorry that the half didn't turn out the way you wanted. As I love-hate to say, "that's running." It throws you curves unexpectedly and breaks your heart. Then, an hour or a week later, you've forgotten it ever did. Way to go on gutting it out and finding something positive anyway!

    I ran Boston and BOY was I disappointed with my time. Just wasn't my race. It's hard to get over that but the ensuing events help put it into perspective. There will be another day, another race and another PR opportunity for me. I have to simply be thankful for that.

    I'm touched that runners put their hands over their hearts as they finished. I'm going to do that in all my races going forward.

    Speaking of going forward, on with it, girl! You are fierce and a great inspiration to all runners. I love the pics of you and your mom, too!! Have a great rest of the week and rock on!

  2. Holly I love you so freaking much! I know how disappointed you must have felt, but I love you also pointed out so many positive things too. I bet if you ran a half marathon this month you would smash your goal. You should come to Spokane in two weeks and run the Windermere Half. Seriously! It is flat with a net downhill.

    No matter what your time was, it didn't reflect all of your hard work and dedication. I followed your training and saw all of your crazy early morning workout posts. You are beyond dedicated.

  3. I'm with you in the exact same boat - trained so hard for my goal sub-2 race and hit it in at 2:01. What a let down. But here I am, just over a week later, and coming to terms.

    What I'm also realizing was that in that madness of training, work, effort, pace tracking, schedules, mapping and charting, I lost the excitement of loving to run.

    I started a self-challenge as of yesterday that I'm running without my Garmin for at least the next month. It's time to let myself enjoy the run, and re-find that passion.

    Feel free to check out my post and join me. Camaraderie, especially in the disappointments, can go a long way. Chin up, you ran a great race, and you still can't beat a course PR!

  4. I can't tell you how many races I've had where this exact situation occurred. It takes more courage to finish these ones than the races that come easier. It's not the numbers or time that define us, it is what we did during that time that does. You are incredible, brave and strong. SO proud of you! Congratulations on being a complete badass stud! Can't wait to hug you in a few weeks! xoxo

  5. LOVE to see this attitude a week post-race. We all know that you can do a sub 2 hr. You've done it in training over & over again. And you don't need to prove it to anyone else.

    I'm SO HAPPY that you have awareness that you lost your fun. You=FUN. And you cannot lose that!

    Love you!


  6. I love your heart and your passion for running! Can't wait till the blog post about you crushing your goal! Its coming and the happy tears will be flowing in true HR fashion!

  7. Oh, how I understand the highs and lows. But a course PR? A cause definitely worth celebrating! And the next time you take on the half, you can not just make sub-2 but crush it!

    P.S. Apparently I'm not just bad at typing on twitter. I seriously typed sub-1 twice. So there's that.

  8. I love that you said that the crying was because you were passionate! That really clicks for me as my race did not go well on Sunday! Not every day is THE day - but there will definitely be more! :)

  9. Excellent recap Holly. We all have those moments and there are no words that I can give you that will make you feel better but just know that I understand. I get it. We want to put forth the effort we are capable of - mentally and physically - and it's a bummer when those things don't come together.

    Until the next one! Head up.

  10. I totally understand how you feel about being disappointed in your time, I felt the same way for my marathon time. But I know next time you will definitely reach your goal!
    Love Beth Moore, I've heard her live a couple times. She's awesome. So true what you said about non bloggers not understanding the friendships we make with people we don't even know. I have made some wonderful friendships through my blog!

  11. Sorry to hear the race didn't go as you hoped. Keep the passion about your running, and you will make that sub-2 goal. You have it in you!

  12. Holly! So glad I FINALLY got to meet you! Love that you were at the Beth Moore conference I have a few of her books.
    I'm glad you recapped your race even if it wasn't want you were looking to run... we've all been there. My half last May I almost bursted into tears at mile 8-9 and had my brother give me a ride home (yep it was epic) but I bounced back and have had some good halves since... sometimes it's just and off day.
    You will get your 1:59:XX :)
    So happy you are running htc! You're going to have an amazing time!!!

  13. Sorry to hear you had such a tough race after training so hard. :( Glad I got to see you briefly at the beginning though! I'm still chasing that sub-2 goal too...we'll get there!

  14. I'm with you: It's not worth it if it's not fun anymore. And I'm excited for you to be naked at your next race. Woooooo hoooooo! Naked running!

  15. Aw, man! We had pretty much the same experience in Eugene! Except that I was 10 minutes SLOWER and I, too, was embarrassed to put my 2:16 time out there - a definite PW. GAH. I think a lot of it had to do with the pressure of actually taking the training seriously and being so invested in the outcome. I SO wanted to have my sub 2 be at Eugene, on Hayward. Alas, it'll probably be at some tiny local race that I forgot to tell anyone about; and that's OK, because I'll have a blast doing it, and that's what matters :)

  16. So Sorry!! I hate when races don't go the way they are supposed to go! Congrats on the course PR! You will have lots of time to make a sub 2! You are so close!! Keep your head up...maybe it will happen in Portland!!!

  17. Thank you for sharing your candid feelings and emotions about your race. I know everyone will tell you this and it is the last thing you want to hear, but every finish is a victory -- especially the ones where you want to quit right in the middle but you keep going anyway. I've found that there is nothing more amazing and more simultaneously heartbreaking than running. I don't think I'll ever figure it out. Two weeks ago I ran the Divas Half Marathon in Myrtle Beach and had a very similar experience as you had. I was ready. I had trained very specifically for that race, and I came up about 2 minutes short of my goal, feeling like crap the entire race (despite doing everything "right"). Running is a journey. Not sure if we'll ever be able to figure it out completely, but the one thing we have to always be able to find is the joy and fun in it. You will get that goal. Eugene was not that day, but the next race might be. Thinking about you and cheering for you. xoxo