If you're looking for a smaller marathon with a fast, flat course, Eugene is a great one. It's well-organized and logistically easy (convenient shuttles, bag drop-off, etc.). A good portion of it runs alongside the Willamette River on shaded bike paths and finishes in historic Hayward Field. The temps are usually ideal. Yesterday it was about 39 degrees at the start and warmed to the mid-50s. The crowds and volunteers were awesome. Favorite signs included: Chafing the dream and Pain is just a French word for bread and Remember, you paid to do this!
Despite near-perfect race conditions, my body felt far from perfect, unfortunately, and I did not meet my A goal of qualifying for Boston. I felt sludgy from the start and bonked hard around mile 21 (UGH!). At least I finished healthy (no injuries) with a time that I was relatively happy with. I gave it everything I had, but it just wasn't my day to BQ.
In an article I recently wrote for Competitor Magazine on how to bounce back from a disappointing race, pro-marathoner Matt Flaherty said, “There’s as much to be learned and enjoyed from the journey as the race. If you achieve your goal every single race, you’re probably not setting challenging enough goals.” So true. His words have encouraged me to keep setting the bar high and not beat myself up when things don't go as planned. Despite slamming into the wall during my last two marathons, I still love the distance. I love that it's really f*cking hard. That it humbles and inspires. That it illuminates our fragility and our fierceness. While it's always tough to fall short of a goal you've worked hard toward, it's certainly not the end of the journey. Perhaps it's time for a new training plan. Or time to hire a coach... we shall see. Most importantly, I'm just grateful to be running, period.
One of the highlights of yesterday's race was when a lady who must have been in her 70s zoomed past me somewhere around mile 20. She rocked it. People like her give me hope that I can keep doing what I love for many years to come. Onward...