I Run Like a Girl
I’m thinking it’s never too late to get girlier. That’s a word, right? I’m not one for product home-parties, long appointments at the spa or fancy drinks with umbrellas. I was never a ‘pink’ wearer (except for that stint in 5th grade when I was sporting tight pink Dittos pants with the upside-down U over the butt), but since bringing home my daughter who is ever-so-fashionable at age 4, I’m trying. She’s very inspiring with her coordinating polka-dot skorts and tops, pink leggings and, of course, the ever-present faux-feather pink boa. Thanks to her my closet now sports a couple pink tops and a pink skirt. So, when I heard about the inaugural Eugene Women’s Half Marathon and all the chat about the girlie goodies at the finish, I was non-plussed. But then I got to thinking about those treats…
1. I love me a good mimosa. Sure, at my last race they handed me a 22 oz. locally brewed IPA and that’s my fave, but mimosas are sorta like screwdrivers, right? I like those.
2. Massages are a must, really, in the life of a distance runner. While I still don’t get one as often as I’d like, they have become a medical need more than a luxury.
3. Chocolate is good. Very good. No argument there.
4. Running with a couple thousand women has a sweet vibe. Actually, a very powerful vibe!
5. The event was run by the same race directors who put on the Eugene Marathon, so of course it was going to be fun.
My mind opened and so did my wallet and a registered. So glad I did! The preview run downtown a month prior was a hoot. I saw so many friends who I run with often and not often enough. It helped me get my training in the right gear, enough for a PR on the 13.1 mile course.
I Run Like a Mother
The real fun started the night before the race with a reading by Sarah Bowen Shea, co-author of the momma-must-read book, Run Like a Mother. Sarah graciously invited me to share her table with her while she chatted with racers at the packet pick-up and sold and signed books and tees. I have to admit I was nervous to be in the presence of a fast runner, amazing sports and fitness writer and well, let’s just say it, a famous runner momma! No need to be nervous. She was warm and hilarious and we had lots in common, not the least of which was how quickly we pit-out in the sun. To get the full scoop on our matching sweaty armpits and other pre-race shenanigans, check out the Eugene Women’s Half video made by Julie of Chubby Mommy Running Club. Oh, and did I mention she read my favorite chapter on mental toughness? Nothing girly about that! Sarah introduced me to the idea of leaving nothing on the course; give the race everything you have. It changed my running and pushed me through my fear.
I Run to the Bathroom
Race day! It was exciting, nerve-wracking (mostly cuz I figured I’d be stuck in a mile-long porta-potty line when the gun went off) and fun. Found some of my “people” Deb and Lisa and hovered between the 2:10 and 2:00 hour pacer balloons, wondering, as I always do at the beginning of the race, why they play the national anthem. Being born in our neighboring country to the north, Deb hummed a few bars of Oh Canada. When the gun went off, my nerves gelled into excitement and I immediately knew I had to get in front of the 2:00 hour pacer balloon quickly.
And It’s All Good Until it’s Not
With the 2-hour gal behind me, I felt determined. In the spirit of not leaving anything on the road, I grabbed an 8:50 pace and tried to stay there. It was hard. At mile 11 it was really hard and then something terrible happened. A gal about 15 yards ahead of me fell and hit her head on the pavement. She was cut up in a few places and bleeding, most noticeably from her head. I walked with her for a few minutes, gave her the rest of my water from my Amphipod and asked her questions about what day it was and did she know her name. I was so worried that she would take another fall when she decided to start running again, that I tried not to let her out of my sight. She was a quick one though and cruised up and on around the corner. Stopping that far into a race is hard. Your momentum is gone, your focus interrupted. It was all I could do to kick-start myself into a ‘push’ for the final stretch. My last mile was an 8:16, my mantra being “pick up your feet”.
And It’s Not Over Till the Fake Lady Sings
I never found the amazing woman who got up and ran through the blood and sweat, but I did find some other amazing things at the finish including the dress-wearing Nebi, as he introduced himself. (Later I learned Sarah Shea told him during the supposed-to-be-all-women-race that he’d go faster if he shaved! Being a writer, I guess you can think of great lines like that in the moment you need them.) I met some new folks I hope to run with at our Run Momma Run group and definitely enjoyed me some mimosas, chocolate, Luna bars, strawberry lemonade vodka (hmmm, that’s two drinks before noon) and some great post-race hugs from my sometimes girlie runner momma friends. See photos below!