Category Archives: Running

The Portland Marathon Race Recap

Settle in kids, this is going to be long. Really long.

The morning kicked off very early with the Team gathering at 5:45 downtown at a hotel a few blocked from the race. There were was a lot of pre-race jitters and excitement, as well as a lot of picture taking.

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At 6:30am we headed over to the start and headed our separate ways to our individual corrals. I was in corral F without any other TnTers so I was on my own. I bag checked a giant bag of clothing which I had planned on wearing at the start of the race and chucking once I got warm but it was warmer than I though it was going to be so I only wore some arm warmers and gloves. After that I got into the giant port-o-potty line. At 6:59 the announcer started talking and everyone ran to the front of the corral and suddenly the bathroom line was much shorter. The thing is, our corral wasn’t released for another 10 minutes so even though I stayed in the line and used the bathroom, I still caught up with my corral before they were anywhere close to the start line.

As I was standing the bathroom line I started chatting with a woman named Angela, who was also doing her first marathon. We compared training runs, exchanged stories, and basically kept talking to keep our minds off being nervous. We caught up with each other again as our corral starting moving towards the start line and as we crossed the start line we fell into a rhythm, chatting, taking in all the sights, and sharing our excitement about just how awesome it was.

The first few miles passed quickly, chatting with Angela made the time fly by and also ensured that I didn’t go out too fast because if I found myself unable to get a sentence out without huffing and puffing then I needed to reel it in a bit. Angela and I made our way down Natio Parkway and then headed onto Barbur Blvd. when I got a text from my mom.

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I missed her in the first mile and then in her silly mom brain she figured that I had been kidnapped. You know, kidnapped in a crowd of 12,000ish runners while I was wearing one of the brightest, hardest to miss outfits. I let her know that I was still alive and that I would find her on my way back though downtown.

Side note for decorating your marathon outfit-be sure to write your name in large visible letters on the front of your shirt so that spectators can cheer for you by name. It’s surprising how much of a boost you get from it. Between the ‘go Maddy’ and ‘go team’ cheers I felt like I had thousands of friends along the race course. Angela was curious about all the ‘go team’ cheers so we talked about Team in Training for a bit and she loved all the enthusiasm.

Around mile 4 I saw my mom and gave her a big hug. She was excited to confirm that I had indeed not been kidnapped. Angela and I continued on along Natio and around mile 7 I saw my favorite running buddy Kelley, and our friends and teammates for last season Jaime and Ken.

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I high fived Ken and nearly tackled Kelley when I hugged her. Kelley’s been so supportive and wonderful and getting to see her during the marathon meant so much to me, especially since she had surgery just 9 days before. Thank you so much Kelley! And thanks Ken and Jaime for taking care of her!

Around mile 8 I saw captain Laura. I started to have some knee pain at mile 6 so Laura gave me some Biofreeze to put on it. Unfortunately not soon after that it started to get pretty painful and I kept having to stop to stretch out my quad so I sent Angela on her way with the hope to be able to catch up with her later. While I would have liked to have been able to have spent the whole race with Angela I’m still so happy I got to spend the first 8 miles with her! Thanks for running with me Angela!

I ran through the Team in Training aid station right before the turn around and it was great to see so many familiar faces, thanks to everyone who volunteered! Soon after I hit the turn around on Front Ave. and was running straight into the sun. How the heck was it that sunny in Portland in October?! I continued on trying to get my knee to relax and focus on everything around me. There was some amazing musical entertainment along the course; a mariachi band, a drum line, a marching band playing Abba, and a group of pirates.

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Welcome to Portland.

Things started to go downhill at this point. I became frustrated with my knee since I was only able to run more than a few minutes without having to stop. I saw captain Mike just before the full and half marathon courses split, mile 10.5ish. He put some more Biofreeze gel on my knee and gave me a hug as I shed a few frustrated tears and sent me on my way.

The course wove it’s way through Northwest Portland and around my 12 I saw my mom and Kraig again. I scared the crap out of my mom because I ran up to her crying, hugged her, told her my knee hurt, and then ran off. Sorry mom!

The course continued out Highway 30 and I was thankful for having run Hood to Coast in August which got me used to running alongside high speed traffic. I was still struggling with the frustration of not being able to settle into a comfortable running place. Every time I wold have to stop running I’d have to hold back tears. At mile 14 my TnT and HTC teammate Debi ran a few strides with me and I was so thankful for the distraction!

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I continued north on Hwy. 30 and kept looking for the St. Johns bridge in the distance.

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As I started up the long hill to St. Johns Bridge captain Laura was on her way down to find me. I was a bit of a mess at this point, so frustrated about the way the race was going and still facing 10 miles more of knee pain. Laura reminded me about why we were out there, for all the people who couldn’t be out there, and about the cancer patients we’re run for. I reflected on the last two years with Astraea, her journey through chemo, and how just a month ago she had her last chemo appointment. We made it to the beginning of the bridge and she sent me on my away.

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I’ve been over the St. Johns Bridge a few time but I never paid attention to how hilly it is.

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About halfway across the bridge my teammate Bling caught up with me and we compared our injuries, my knee and his big toe cramps. After a little while he went ahead and the course turned off the bridge and into North Portland. There was a sharp right turn that had a very steep downhill for a block and then a steep up hill for a block. The downhill was the worst and my knee was very upset with it. The course then settled onto Willamette Blvd and made it’s way through some neighborhoods with families out in their yards cheering. I caught back up with Bling around mile 18.5ish and he stuck with me when I needed to run or when I needed to walk. He got me out of my frustrated funk and I was able to stop crying and start laughing.

Around mile 19.5 Bling’s friend and TnT Tri coach joined us for a mile or so. It was a great distraction.

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Bling at mile 20, don’t mind my finger in the photo, I wasn’t at my best. Also, at some point I got chocolate Gu all over my phone and it was really sticky, that’s my excuse. Around mile 21 when I needed to stop and stretch I told Bling to continue on since it seemed like he needed to keep moving. He gave me a big bear hug, seriously, he’s very tall and the top of my hear only comes up to his mid chest, and he went on his way. I kept him in my sights for awhile with the thought I might be able to catch up with him again but my knee wouldn’t let me run long enough to do that.

As I came upon the Team in Training aid station at mile 22 I was excited to see more familiar faces. As I ran through it coach Heidi asked me if I wanted her to run with me. My response, ‘PLEASE RUN WITH ME!’. At that point in the marathon some people don’t want anyone to talk to them but I needed the distraction. Coach Heidi ran alongside me and told me ‘when you want to run, we run, when you need to walk, we walk, just let me know’. We stared down the giant hill on Greely Ave. which is annoying long, steep and painful. We walked the whole way down which was frustrating but Heidi kept me distracted and moving forwarded as we talked about running, Hood to Coast, having kids, and all things in between.

The miles started to tick by. Somewhere along mile 23 we passed Widmer Brewery and there were some people outside with a ‘beer station’, which sounds great in theory but the smell of warm beer that had been spilled on the ground made me want to puke.

We continued up and over the Broadway Bridge, and the down off the bridge which was especially painful. When the road finally flattened out I could see the 25 mile marked and that’s when I started making distance deals. The first was to run to the mile marker. The next was to run a block and then walk a block, which was all my knee could take. I would tell Heidi my plan and she would be right there beside me. She kept talking to me and kept me laughing instead of crying. We made our way through Chinatown and out of nowhere popped out Gina to run with us, even in her jeans and Uggs in the blazing heat. We turned onto Natio Parway once again and sometimes we ran 2 blocks and then walked a block, sometimes we ran one.

Right before the turn onto Salmon St. I saw my mom, Kraig, Jen, and Jenny cheering me on. All I could do was wave since I just had to keep moving forward. Coach Wendy and Mike were there as well and they started running with me too.

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Yes, if you were wondering, Heidi and I got many comments on our sparkly skirts, they were a big hit.

Normally they don’t let anyone into the final chute if they don’t have a bib on but Heidi, Wendy, and Mike decided to ignore that since it was so late in the race and stayed with as we made the turn into Salmon. Right before the turn I asked them how close the finish was and they told me 2 blocks up and one block over, and I decided that once we made the turn onto Salmon there would be no more walking. I wanted to finish as strong as I could so I started to pick it up and Mike commented on it and I made a joke about throwing up, which came back to bite me in the ass. I saw my wonderful roommates Jenni and Ryan cheering me on and Jenni made a fabulous sign which I couldn’t fully read as I was running but enjoyed reading it later.

We made the final turn onto 3rd Ave. where Sam was, I waved to him and then made it across the finish line with my Heidi, Wendy, and Mike surrounding me and I couldn’t have been happier. Then just as Mike went to hug me from my left side I had to turn to my right and throw up. Yep, that’s right, I literally threw up at the finish. Heidi made sure that people gave me some space while Mike and Wendy found me some water and after a few moments I regained my composure enough to stumble over to medical tent to get some ice for my knee. I gave Heidi, Wendy, and Mike hugs and they headed back to the Team in Training tent.

After getting some ice taped to my knee I then slowly stumbled my way through the finishers chute where I got a bunch of stuff handed to me, a medal, a shirt, a rose, a coin, a pendent, a space blanket and a tree sapling, but not a bag, which would have been helpful. I chugged some chocolate milk, got my picture take with my arms full of stuff and then slowly made my way to the Team in Training tent to check out and find my friends and family. Pictures were taken, stories were exchanged, I got to finally sit down and take it all in.

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Jenni’s awesome sign.

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Since this is getting ridiculously long I will leave off here but I can’t thank everyone enough. All the people who came to cheer, everyone who donated to my fundraising, each person who listened to me complain about how tired I was during training, you mean so much to me, more than I can ever express.

In terms of the actual race, no, I didn’t have the race I planned to or thought I was going to have. It took me an hour and fifteen minutes longer than my goal but looking back on it, I wouldn’t change it. I fought through it, I didn’t quit, I got to experience more love and support from my friends, family, and teammates than I thought was possible. The memories that stick out the most for me are the miles when I was running with someone. From the first few miles with my new friend Angela, to running with and laughing with Bling, to the last 4 miles with Heidi when there was a lot more walking than running, to running the finishers chute surrounded by so much Team in Training love, I wouldn’t change any of it.

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Damn it, now I’m crying again.

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The Taper Crazies

4 days until the Portland Marathon! And it can’t get here soon enough. This whole tapering this is ridiculous. (For the non-runners out there, tapering is when you reduce your mileage in the weeks before the race so that your body can rest and repair itself for the big day.) In theory tapering is great, after spending so much time running endless amounts of miles it’s nice to get some type of break, but there’s also a dark side to tapering. Your body has a chance to slow down enough to find all the places that hurt, your brain suddenly has much more energy than it’s had in months and it goes into overdrive, mostly dwelling on every twinge or pain that your body feels. There’s also the extra free time that you don’t know what to do with and then all of a sudden everything you own is covered in puffy paint.

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At least I will be hard to miss on race day.

So now it’s Wednesday and it can’t be Sunday soon enough, I just don’t have 4 days of puffy paint restraint in me.

Hide your stuff, you’ve been warned.

Weekly Recap Episode 7

Tuesday is the new Monday, that’s all I have to say about it. On with it.

Monday: Waterfront run with some of my Hood to Coat teammates.

I love this time of year in Portland.

Tuesday: Wasn’t feeling well so no soccer.

Wednesday: Track night, good old Yasso 800s. So much fun…

Thursday: Planned rest day.

Friday/Saturday: Hood to Coast! 16ish miles. I’m going to do a separate recap of HTC since it was amazing and it deserves it.

Overall: A little bit lower mileage than the last few weeks but a lot of those miles came on very little sleep. And now I’m sick, so I think this week will be a lower mileage week too. Meh, it happens.

40 days until the Portland Marathon!

Holy crap, only 40 days…

Weekly Recap: Episode 6

As always, a little late but here it is.

Monday: Met up with some of my Hoot to Coast teammates for a run around the east side. It was hot and sweaty and we got blocked from our cars by a train at the end but it felt nice to push the pace after feeling so very slow for the last few months.

Tuesday: no soccer due to sore and tired knees.

Wednesday: track night got canceled and it was just too hot to go do anything.

Thursday: an early morning (but still really warm out) run around the waterfront which led to these two lovely photos.

So sweaty.

Friday: Planned rest day.

Saturday: What was a plan for 18 turned out the be 20 miles. By far a personal distance record with me. My friend Gina. who was down to help me with Cupcakes for a Cure, wanted to run 6-8 miles with me but at 8 miles she still felt good and decided to keep running. By 15 miles I think she wanted to die. But she kept running and did the whole 20, because she’s crazy.

Overall: second 30 mile week in a row and I’m feeling it. But at the end of the 20 miler I felt like I could run another 6, the marathon is finally feeling doable!

46 days until the Portland Marathon!

Weekly Recap: Episodes 4 & 5

You get a special 2 for 1 deal today! Which, in this case, means I forgot to do a Weekly Recap episode last week. But it’s all about how you package something, right? Anyway, let’s get right to it.

Episode 4

Monday: Lunchtime pilates made me happy, it had a nice view.

That was followed by a sweaty evening 4.5 miles. Just another run, nothing special about it.

Tuesday: My knees were sore from the crazy 14.5 miles of hill insanity I did a few days before so I took an unscheduled rest day.

Wednesday: See Tuesday.

Thursday: There was a getting up early fail so I kept it short before my shift in the ER.

Friday: Got my long run in since I was out of town for the weekend, ran circles around the waterfront, unfortunately had an emergency stop at a port-o-potty downtown, I hope that never happens again.

Saturday: Danced to the point that my knees hurt, beer will do that to you.

Overall: It was a long week after the 14.5 miles kicked my ass and I was very tired. The achy knees made me feel like an 80 year old woman.

Episode 5

Monday: 5 miles up and down Terwilliger with my Hood to Coast teammates! I love running with people. We then went to Suki’s for a beer and almost won trivia, but we all got tired and left before it was over even though we were in the lead. What? We’re runners, when we get tired we get cranky.

Tuesday: Bigfoot futsal. We lost, I don’t want to talk about it. *Pouty face*

Wednesday: Was too lazy to drive back to the west side for track night so I ran over to a high school near my house, did 4X400 and then ran home. At track night they did an insane pyramid workout, I think I made a good life choice.

Thursday: Finally got my butt up early and ran around the waterfront in the wee hours of the morning. Had another unfortunate experience with a bathroom under the Hawthorne bridge, but at least it had clean toilet paper. It’s the little things people.

Friday: Planned rest day.

Saturday: Personal distance record! 16.5 miles (the .5 is thanks to a wrong turn).

It was a beautiful route along the Willamette in Lake Oswego and West Linn with less hills than the 14 miler but still enough hills to be pretty challenging.

Overall: Having the 16 miler go so well gave me back some much needed confidence that the 14 miler took away, and after an ice bath and some additional knee icing, my legs didn’t hurt at all on Sunday. That’s considered a success in my book!

Don’t forget about Cupcakes and Ice Cream to Cure Cancer this Saturday and the awesome raffle prizes!

Weekly Recap: Episode 3

I really need to remember to start doing this on Mondays, by Wednesday it’s a bit hard to remember all the back to last week…What? I run a lot, they all start to blend together.

Monday: 3.13 miles. I was really tired so I decided to run over to Safeway, get some laundry detergent, and then run home. By the time I got back I really didn’t give a crap that I was suppose to do 50 mins and only did around 30. Also, running while carrying laundry soap sucks.

Tuesday:Bigfoot futsal. We had no girl subs, we lost 12-7 to a team we usually beat (sorry Brian), and I had to play defense the whole time. I was a bit grumpy by the end and in desperate need of a beer (thanks Josh!).

Wednesday: I was exhausted from futsal so I crashed early.

Thursday:4.53 miles. Learned my lesson not to sleep through my alarm so that I have to run in the middle of the day, so sweaty. I finally did the loop from my new place around the water front, it was a good loop.

Friday: Planned rest day.

Saturday: 14.5 miles- personal distance record. Holy hills, Batman. I had no idea Beaverton was so hilly. Seriously, .5 miles of the run were flat, the other 14 were all hills. At mile 3, this happened:

14% grade?! Really coach Heidi?! Really?!
And that was just mile 3. It was a hard run and I spent the rest of the weekend on my ass on the couch. It kicked my butt.

Sunday: Planned rest day, see my previous weekend about my butt being BFFs with the couch.
Overall: Since it’s now August, let’s talk about all of July.

 

Just a few miles short from my highest ever monthly mileage. It was really tired most of the month, my body is taking a bit to get used to the more mileage and the more time spent on my feet. I wish I could say August is going to be better, but with more personal distance records in the near future and Hood to Coast coming soon, it’s going to be another tough month. Though I hear running a marathon ain’t no walk in park, so I better learn how to run through pain and tiredness soon.

Weekly Recap: Episode 1 for the Portland Marathon

Since I know everyone is really curious For my own need for feeling accountable, I’m going to start doing a weekly recap for the Portland Marathon training cycle. Welcome to the first episode of the Weekly Recap (suggestions for a more creative title are welcome), which is actually week 8 of the season. Here’s the short version:

I hate that Map My Run puts ‘indoor’ even when I title the workout. Anyone know how to change that?

Sunday: rest/try to walk like a normal person after the 11 mile trail run the day before/make it back to civilization from camping and enjoy a real shower.

Monday: unscheduled rest day, my legs were still angry over the long trail run.

Tuesday: that ‘indoor’ on the calendar was futsal (soccer), it was really hot and I wanted to melt.

Wednesday: yoga (‘indoor’) at 7:30am, you better be proud of this night owl getting her ass to a class that started a mere 7 minutes after my alarm normally goes off. Also, I haven’t been to a yoga class in about 10 years, it left me very sore. Skipped TnT track night and went to happy hour.

Thursday: 4.83 miles, managed to not crap my pants.

Friday: Went to yoga (‘indoor’) at lunch, was a different teacher then Wednesday, wasn’t as awesome.

Saturday: 8 mile TnT long run out in the ‘burbs, was really hot, felt awful, spent the rest of the day trying to cool off, didn’t really work, couldn’t find a sub so I had to play soccer (‘indoor’) at 11:10pm, we didn’t have any girl subs, scored 2 goals, managed not to puke on the field, we won. Win.

Overall: fewer miles than I would have liked but I’m trying to increase my core strength and I feel I’m off to a good start. 83 days until Portland!

It’s July?!

In my last post (which was almost 2 months ago, I have no idea how that much time has passed) I said I was ‘going big’. Part of my plan for going big was to be very diligent about documenting my training. Clearly since I haven’t written anything since that post I didn’t do a good job at that documenting thing, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been training! Here’s a look at the running I did in June.

So close to 50 miles

And because I did 2 long runs in the same calendar week, July has gotten off to a quick start.

No wonder my legs were tired yesterday

I’ve also found my new favorite thing in the running world: trail running. The 11 miles I did on Saturday were all trail miles and it was fantastic. I went camping with a bunch of friends up on Mt. Hood and got to run by Little Crater Lake and along Timothy Lake.

Little Crater Lake
Timothy Lake

For July (yeah, I know it’s already the 9th), I’m hoping to be more consistent with my training, and to make it to track night, which I haven’t done at all this season. I’m also going to be better at documenting it, maybe a weekly recap would keep on track?

Go Big or Go Home

I’m going big.

26.2 miles of big to be exact.

I know I’ve mentioned it before on here but haven’t talked about it too much, so let’s discuss it. I will be running the Portland Marathon with Team in Training. I’m actually not that nervous about the running itself, I trust that my training will get me prepared to tackle 26.2 miles, and after the Eugene half, I know that I will be supported the whole way with TnT. What makes me nervous is the fundraising. I’ve been lucky to have been successful in my last two fundraising endeavors, raising $2500 since July, $1000 for the Children’s Cancer Association and $1500 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. My goal is to raise another $1500. I know it’s possible, but it’s also overwhelming. But if the last 6 months have taught me anything, it’s that if you work hard and trust that you have the strength to do something, you will accomplish your goal. Remember, go big or go home.

Alright, enough of the serious stuff, now for a little update since the Eugene Half. I haven’t done much running since I’ve had some knee and foot issues. Then I went to Palm Springs for my brother’s wedding (which was wonderful and amazing) and only got one run in.

Eugene represent.

I started my run at 7:30 am and it was already 85 degrees. Needless to say, I went 2 miles and decided it was way too hot so I called it a day. Then found a great way to cool off.

In case you’ve never stuck you head in a freezer for a prolonged period of time, FYI, they do not smell very good. My foot felt ok after the run but I took no chances and wore the ugly shoe most of the weekend.

Except that the ugly shoe was on the other foot.

I got my first Portland run in with my favorite running buddy, Kelley, in last night.

Kelley actually is superwoman.

It was a lovely loop around the waterfront full of chatting and catching up/therapy session on life post Eugene. It’s funny how I can run 13.1 miles a few weeks ago but 3 miles last night, so hard. Damn you fitness and your ability to disappear so quickly.

Looking ahead to Portland, our first TnT long run is this Saturday. It’s nice 3 miles jaunt in Beaverton and I couldn’t be more excited. GO TEAM!

Eugene Half Marathon Race Recap

We came.

We ran.

We ate.

We conquered Eugene.

Oh, that doesn’t count as a full recap? Fine, here are some a lot details.

The weekend kicked off with my lovely and wonderful bff Gina (who is such a good friend that she drove all the way down just to run with me and then drove all the way back to Seattle after the run) getting to my house Friday night and we proceeded to stay up way to late chatting, because that’s what girls do. Gina my have cursed me when my alarm went off at 7:00am but I made her come for the last TnT Saturday run, which was a short 2 mile shake out run.  Afterwards we packed all of our stuff, picked up my mom, and headed down to Eugene.

My coaches spent a lot of time telling us what not to do on the day before the race, which included spending a lot of time on our feet and exerting a lot of energy. Apparently my listening skills aren’t that good since we did both of those things. First we got lunch with our friend Joey.

Eating is a bit of contact sport in my world, it’s to be taken very seriously. Fortunately, Gina and Joey have similar feelings about it, which is probably why I’m such good friends with them.

Don't interrupt us, there's some important eating going on right now.
Alright, fine, we'll smile.
Eating is exhausting.

After lunch we went to the local and amazing ice cream place, Prince Pucklers.

It was delicious.

When I couldn’t finish mine I told Joey to hurry up with his so he could finish mine. His response was ‘I have 2 hands, what’s the problem?’

After dessert Gina and I went to visit our friend Erin and her gaggle of kids. Gina and I met when we were studying abroad in Paris, and Erin was my roommate there. It’s been years since we’ve seen Erin and it was wonderful to be able to catch up, even if we had limited time.

Then I put Joey in charge of babysitting Gina while my mom and I went to the Team in Training Inspiration dinner.

We heard from our awesome coaches, and were reminded why we run by our honored teammates. It’s hard for me to put into words how much I love being part of Team in Training, but it really is a group of amazing people who put their heart and soul into running and raising money to find a cure for cancer.

My wonderful teammates and coaches.

After dinner we headed back to the hotel to try to get everything ready,

Side note- I won that box of key lime bar mix at the expo by throwing a bean bag into a hole about 30 feet away. Boo yah.

and tried to get to bed early since our wake up call was a painful 4:45am, which came way too quickly.

Ready to race...?

The team gathered for one more group picture and then boarded the shuttle to the start line.

We got the start area with about 45 minutes until race time and had way too much nervous energy. Fortunately time moved quickly and after bag checking our stuff and navigating some crazy bathroom lines it was time to line up in our corral. My plan was to run with Gina and Kelley the whole way but Gina and I lost Kelley after our bathroom adventure so we started just the two of us.

While waiting in our corral someone tapped Gina on the shoulder and whispered ‘are you a Husky?’. Someone had noticed Gina’s University of Washington shorts. She quietly said yes, hoping any Duck fans didn’t hear. He then showed us a picture on his phone of him mooning the giant yellow O in front of the University of Oregon and said ‘me too’. As someone who doesn’t have a lot of school pride, all I could do was shake my head and laugh, while Gina thought it was awesome. And then the gun went off and we headed towards the starting line!

We saw my mom and Joey cheering for us a little bit after the start line and were excited to be running. We kept an eye out for Kelley hoping she started ahead of us and that we would catch her but it was crowded and there were a lot of people wearing purple. When Captain Kat started running with us around mile 1 we asked if Kelley had passed but Kat said she hadn’t seen her go by yet. Kat sent us on our way with some encouragement when Coach Julie, 8 months pregnant and all, jumped in to run with us for a bit. She checked in with us to make sure we were good, said she hadn’t seen Kelley either, and then sent us on our way. A few minutes later Coach Mike ran with us for a bit and sent us off with some high five. Around mile 3 Kelley and Jamie snuck up behind up and yelled ‘there you guys are!’. I can’t tell you how excited I was to see them. Kelley and I have done most of out long runs together, passing the miles talking about life, the universe, and everything in between and it just felt right to be running the race together. After we met up the miles started to fly by.

Jamie and Kelley sparkling.

Around mile 8 we saw a few of our Vancouver teammates that had driven down to cheer us on. Seeing them, and Cindy’s ‘go Maddy!’ sign, gave me a huge boost of energy and the smile on my face got even bigger. Thank you ladies, you are so wonderful!

A little bit after that there was the 1 hill of the race course. Captain Kat joined us for the first part of it, then Coach Julie run us up the middle part, and Coach Mike got us up the rest of the way. They were perfectly timed, I was so distracted with talking to them and telling them about the race so far that I didn’t even realize we were going up hill at all. And we got a bit of a photo shoot in.

Nice sparkles Coach Mike!

Coach Mike sent us off at the top of the hill yelling ‘you got this rockstars, kill it!’, and that’s just how I felt. We flew down the hill and right at the bottom just before the turn back through the University of Oregon campus we saw my mom and Joey cheering. They had also planned their cheering schedule perfectly and got breakfast (their second one of the day) at a place right on the race course.

Soon enough we passed mile 10 and headed away from campus towards the Willamette River. Things started to hurt a this point. My knee, which hasn’t hurt at all this season, started hurting like it did during the Chicago Half Marathon and periodically I had to stop and stretch my quad and rub my knee cap so that it would loosen up. Miles 10, 11, and 12 took us over a footbridge, along the river, and back over another foot bridge. We all starting to feel not so great, Gina’s knee was also bugging her and Kelley’s hamstring was getting tight. Kelley was afraid that if she slowed down that she wouldn’t be able to get going again so she went ahead. She rocked the last few miles and finished in 2:11. Gina hung with me while I stopped a couple more times for a few seconds and did her best to encourage me to keep running. Coach Julie ran with us for a few moments with about a 1/2 mile to go and when I told her that my knee hurt she told me that we were so close and to just hold on. We did and soon enough we saw my mom just before entering Hayward Field.

Then it was on to Hayward Field where the running legend Steve Prefontaine ran and where many a world recond has been set or broken.

Fortunately they don’t make you do a full lap around the track, just half a lap, you can see the finish line around the corner.

About 50 yards from the finish line I asked Gina if we were going to hold hands across the finish line. Her response was ‘of course!’. So we held hands, sprinted as much as we could and crossed the finish line, and then spent the next few minutes trying not to puke. It was a close call but after we both got some ice we started to feel better. They were handing out chocolate milk afterwards which I have decided is the best post run thing to have.

Our official time was 2:13:56, so the ‘under 2:15’ mission was accomplished! We quickly found Kelley and my mom and took the obligatory post race photos.

This race was such an amazing experience. It was so different compared to Chicago. Chicago will always be special to me, it was my first big race and my first half, but Eugene was a whole different world. Getting to run with people I love made it so much fun, and running with TnT brings it to a whole different level. I loved hearing random people yell ‘GO TEAM!’ to us and meeting people along the way that had either ran with TnT in the past or thanked us for being apart of it. Seeing our coaches and captains along the way that helped us achieve our goals brought a huge smile to my face, they are such amazing people. I can’t imagine doing another big race without being part of TnT.

Speaking of another race, I’ve signed up with TnT for the Portland Marathon. Yep, going for a full 26.2 this time. The countdown starts now, 160 days!