Friday, October 4, 2013

The Inaugural Oregon Marathon '13

Marathon running for me, has so much meaning. I have learned so much about myself and grown as a person by training and running these races.  Three days before I ran The Oregon Marathon, I found out my dear friend who taught me to love the marathon, has cancer!  This 26.2 miles was ran for her!  Love you friend! You will beat this!
As soon as I found out Uberthons was having their first Marathon, I decided this one was for me! The Marathon started in Vernonia, and finished in Banks on September 28th 2013.
The 28th came.  Several of my friends were doing the half marathon, so we we rode together.  We left Dallas at 4:00 am and drove in the dark and the rain to the finish line.  We parked, then walked in the dark, rain and wind to the shuttle buses.  I rode a separate shuttle than my friends since we would be starting in different locations. The half marathon started at a park while the full marathon started at a school in Vernonia.
The bus ride felt like it was taking forever!  I guess 26.2 miles is kind of a long ways...ha! I talked to a few people to help the time pass and calm my nerves.  I was feeling great!

We arrived in Vernonia at the school.  I jumped off the bus and headed into the school to stay warm and use the bathroom.  As I walked to the school someone said, "Hi Julie."  It was Darwin, the owner of Uberthons.  It was really nice to see someone I knew.  There were people standing everywhere.  I decided to walk around and find a quiet spot upstairs to stretch and start my warm up.  I really didn't want to talk to anyone at all right now.  I needed to be alone. With ten minutes to go, I headed outside to start my jog warm up.  It was raining so I put on a poncho to keep as dry and warm as possible before I started.
As we got in line to start, Darwin announced my name like I was someone important.  Was funny to me, but was kinda nice!  I found my friend Tonya's brother (Justin) who was there doing his very first marathon.  We took off together with the others.  Just as we started it felt like the wind and rain started up again.
Around mile 11 
We ran around the parking lot and up the road, turned and went around a lake.  After a few miles we headed onto the trail head.   It was a wide paved trail.  Very nice and very pretty.  Lots of trees and bridges.  I felt like I was pretty settled into my race pace and was paying attention to the runners close to me.  I used the other runners to help keep me on track.

I was feeling pretty good for the most part.  It was very wet, but the rain doesn't really bother me when it's warmer out.  It was high 50's/low 60's so I was fine.  We were under trees now, so I didn't really feel the wind too much at this point.  Around mile 8 my stomach started to hurt and my pace started to slowly slip.  I knew it would start slipping when I started up the hill.  As you can see in the elevation chart I was starting to climb at mile 8.  It was a gradual climb so I didn't really feel like I was moving up, but I was.  A gradual climb like that really messes with your mind.

I began to get a little tired and discouraged.  I knew my pace would start to slip but reminded myself, all that will be made up on the backside, going downhill on the 2nd half.
My stomach still ached, and it was making me mad.  I have ran through aches like this before, but it's not the funnest thing to do.  The best way I can describe it is, the inside of my right rib cage felt like someone had scraped it with a spatula.  Not a side stitch, just an ache.  I remembered my friend Chris had given me some ginger candies to chew if something like this happened.  I had tried one on a training run and thought they would be worth a try.  If not, my stomach already hurt anyway, so why not give it a try?!
The candy helped and I continued to run the rain!
About mile 12 or so the runner about 50 feet in front of me let out a happy yell!!!!  Oh, we must be at the top!!!!!  As I came to where he was, I could hear yells/cheers down below.  I was at the switchbacks.  I was planning on making up some time here, but as I started down the steep hill, I realized it was harder than I thought it would be.  Because of the steepness, I had to brace myself from falling.  My legs were tried from running uphill so my legs were stiff.  As I came to the bottom,  I crossed a road and there were people and an aid station.
Then we headed up another hill.  This was a steep hill.  My legs felt like jello now.  It was annoying.  
I realized I was getting really close to the halfway point where my friends would of started their half marathon.  It was fun to think the rest of the way is where they had ran too, but I couldn't help but think, they were either done, or close to done and I wasn't even halfway done!!!  They were probably saying, sure glad I didn't do the full...ha ha ha!!!!
I was looking forward to the 2nd half because it was mostly either flat, or downhill.  My plan was to bring back up my pace (on the downhill) and race out the last five mile, into the finish for a really nice PR and qualify for Boston.  Sounded like such a good idea and so doable before I started!
As I ran on, I realized getting back on pace wasn't working like planned.  My right leg was aching really bad. The switchbacks had aggravated an injury I thought was going to be fine.  My stomach continued to hurt off and on (I took 2 more candies).  I soon realized that a PR simply wasn't going to happen today, but I could still break 4 hours.  I tried to stay positive.  It got hard to stay positive when someone would pass me or my leg would hurt and I would want to cry and give up.  There were times I could of just walked of the course.  I could of asked a volunteer or spectator to take me back....but I just couldn't do that.  I still had hope.
The trail I ran on for The Oregon Marathon
There were other times when I would pass people who had cramped up and had to walk.    Passing people is fun!
As a lady and myself came to another aid station we crossed a road together then back onto the trail.  Only the trail was completely covered in a huge puddle.  People were standing on both sides of the
 trail, so our only option was to go right into the small  We stepped into it right at the same time, didn't even slow down.  We made a huge splash and were both like, "it doesn't really matter" and ran on.  It was so wet and rainy.  We were heading into a headwind as well.  Such fun...grrrr!  It was so bad, all you can really do is laugh and go with it!
I had started to slow down a lot, my leg was still aching really bad and I just couldn't get my speed back up so I just held on.  I thought about my friends and husband at the finish line.  I knew they were probably all dry and full with food by know.  
I played some mental games to count the miles off the trail.  I knew once I was off the trail, it was just 1.5 miles to the finish!
As I came off the trail head and into Banks, all I could smell was car exhaust.  It was very nasty and made me feel sick.  There seemed to be lots of people all over and all the people were annoying to me.  All I could think of, was getting to the finish.  There were lots of twists and turns this last bit.  We ran by a little league football game and people were walking all over the path and in my way!  This was annoying but the volunteers were there to tell me where to turn. Nobody cared I was running a the rain, wind and wet...they just wanted to watch their kid play football...go figure...hahaha!
Alan from Uberthons was out there at one of the turns filling in for a no-show volunteer.  When he saw me, he asked are you wet?  I yelled, "YES, I"m soaked!!!!"   I somehow found this hilarious.  I think I was beginning to loose my mind.  The wind was also blowing so hard right at my face.  I was so tired and wet and so done!!!!  I knew I only had about a half mile to go.  I rounded that corner and saw the park.  We had to run half way around the park before we went into the
Keeping up with the!
finish shoot.  I knew ahead of time I would have to run around the park and thought I would enjoy this part.  Now, reality had set in and I really wanted to cut through the park and end it with a small cheat!!!  In other words, I wanted to be done!
I heard my name and looked up, there was Raelee.  I handed her my water bottle and it felt like I took off ten pounds.  It was such a relief.  I had to keep going...there was Kelleigh...I had to keep going!  I followed the orange flags all the way around and finally got to turn into the paved path to the finish line! There was Jerry and Tonya!  My time was 4:08.38.  I didn't PR, or even break 4 hours.  I was 15 minutes off my PR (personal record) and about 30 minutes off my goal time.  All I have to say is, that was really hard!  
Almost to the finish!!!
I was handed a huge medal.  Uberthons is cool like that!!!!  I was greeted by my friends and family and I was in search for food! Raelee handed me a Big Town Hero sandwich provided by Uberthons and I started to eat it standing there all soaked in shorts and a tank top with the wind blowing all around me.  The back of my mouth hurt when I ate from breathing so hard and for so long (this often happens to me in a longer race).  I got about 1/4 sandwich done and suddenly felt very ill and very cold!  I handed Raelee the rest of the food and said, "I need to go to the van."  I went through an area I wasn't even supposed to be and made a straight shot to my van.  I needed to just sit alone for awhile.  My wonderful husband could tell what was going on and told everyone to let me be.  Thanks Jerry!!!!

A marathon isn't just a physical race.  It is more mental than you know, unless you experience one for yourself.  When you run that far, for that long, your mind does some pretty crazy things.  Your body is pushed to the limit (if you allow it too).  You feel great pain and you feel great happiness. You want it to be over, yet you want to do it again.
I have already started a plan/goals for next year!

My awesome sponsor for The Oregon Marathon!
Thank you Tony Nunes Construction, Inc.for being my sponsor for The Inaugural Oregon Marathon 2013!  Rain, wind, hills and typhoon pabuk, it was a great experience and I continue to learn from each marathon I run.  I learned a lot from this one!  Thank you Jerry Mullins, for running so many long runs with me, even though you were only training for a half marathon and only did them, to support me.  Thank you Chris Owens for all the time you spent working on getting my workouts right, down to the last detail.  Thank you Jeanne Burbank and Raelee Mullins for being road crew on long runs and meeting me for post long run meals! You guys are the best!

I have been in heavy training since January.  I am taking the next three months (rest of 2013) off from training.  I will be doing a half for fun with my friend Tonya.  A trail mud run for fun with my husband, and whatever else I can find to do, just to enjoy the run!  It's time for a mental break.  Come January, I will be ready to get back to some hard training!

Still a goal and dream! 

Less than a year ago, my friend Tonya and I joked about "qualifying for Boston!" Seemed so far off, it was a funny joke!  Now, 9 months later...after some hard work that has paid off, I can taste it!  I know I could qualify.  It will take some hard work in 2014, but it's not a joke's something exciting that could become my reality! Looking forward to what the new year will bring!
This short video tells it all!