Race: Eugene Marathon
Runner: Julie Urbanski
Location: Eugene, OR
Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/1541717986
3 Bests – what aspects of the race did you like the most
- Easy race logistically – Sign up was easy, as I signed up with a 25% off coupon a couple months beforehand, so no lottery or year ahead sign up, packet pickup was small and smooth, close drive from Seattle, and well-run throughout the whole thing.
- Smaller field – We were just in Boston, where everything felt crowded around race weekend and there were just so many runners and spectators in Boston for the weekend, that it was nice to be in a smaller, hometown-feel kind of race, that was still well-organized and had plenty of runner friendly aspects in town and at the race.
- Tons of porta potties – I have been at plenty of races where they just can’t get this right, but this race had tons of them right near the start and we got there about an hour early and there were zero lines, then used them again about 20 minutes before the start and again, no lines. So nice to have this stressful part of the pre-race routine be easy. Runners gotta poop!
Not so much – aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you
- Course – They advertise “flat and fast” and I wouldn’t really call it flat, more like rolling with a flatter second half. Thankfully I knew going in to expect some hills, as Wyatt (another runner running it on the team) is from Eugene and his dad knew all the hilly spots. It’s still a fairly fast course if you’re having a good day, but it’s definitely not flat. There are also a fair amount of turns throughout the entire race, which can slow you down.
- Swag – The women’s shirt fit really boxy, like a crop top, and the men’s wasn’t men’s, but rather it was unisex, which is a bit odd. Thankfully the Small Unisex fit me great but I feel bad for the men who were trying to fit in the narrowly cut unisex shirts! I’m also not a huge fan of the color black for a running shirt, as it just makes me feel hotter while running; I was really hoping for a kelly green-colored shirt, or even white. Likely going in the donate pile soon, unfortunately.
- Finish Line – Only drinks I could find at the finish line were chocolate milk, beer, and water in a Eugene Marathon water bottle. All I wanted was something with sugar or electrolytes, like Gatorade, Juice, or Soda, but couldn’t find anything. I liked that the race had a virtual swag bag vs. tons of crap in the expo bag, but at the end they gave us a reusable bag with lots of food and a reusable water bottle, which felt kind of counter to the whole point of a virtual swag bag. Thankfully Wyatt’s mom was happy to have the reusable bag and Wyatt’s brother wanted the food, otherwise it would have gone to waste (and I shouldn’t have taken it but was a little dazed right at the finish so I just took whatever they handed my way).
Weird factor – what’s the weirdest thing about this race
Not weird so much as cool, especially for track fans and running geeks, that is it finishes on the track at Hayward Field. I don’t usually get excited about that kind of stuff, but it was still pretty cool to run on the track, something I’d never do otherwise since I’m a total average Jane kind of runner.
It was also weird that the shirts were so odd fitting, being a Nike dri-fit running shirt. How do they get that wrong?
Highlights of your race – what did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular
- I finished. Yep, it was one of those races where the silver lining is that I didn’t quit. I actually didn’t think about quitting until I had already seen Matt and Paavo at mile 18, and about a quarter mile later I thought, “Dang, I should just turn around, find them, and be done.” Then I thought, “Shit, I can’t do that, Matt’s probably left for the finish line because I’m the slowest out of all the runners!” And good thing I didn’t turn around, as he had in fact already left, as he told me later, since I was the last one he was waiting for.
- As with a lot of races, my first half was beautifully executed. I went out conservatively, just a hair faster than my easy pace, and felt really good at the half, going through in 1:44 and change. Then at about mile 14 I started to feel a little overwhelmed by the distance I had left so I thought that slowing it down a bit would help me save some gas for the final 10k. It kinda backfired and I just felt terrible physically after that, as my legs couldn’t find a great rhythm, my stomach went sour (threw up at mile 24), and I played the death march, pity party game for several miles. After puking I did feel better and shuffled through those last 2 miles.
Lessons Learned – share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner or yourself on the next time around
- Trust my pacing. I still don’t really know why I tried to change up my pace, as I felt fine at the time. Maybe I would have had the same end result, but I should have trusted my pacing a bit more and stuck with it.
- I think I still need more long runs under my belt at steady state, and more medium long runs of ~10 miles mid-week to be a stronger runner in the marathon and beyond. The last couple marathons my legs just haven’t felt that strong throughout.
- Wear less. I overdressed with a long sleeve and a singlet and was dripping sweat by an hour in. Looking back, with temps in the high 40s, low 50s, I should have worn a short sleeve and arm sleeves, or just a thin long sleeve.
Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race
- Roll with the hills, know there are more in the second half than the first, but there are still some rollers in the second half
- Run the tangents as best as possible with how many turns there are on the course, as I imagine you could end up running quite a bit more distance than the marathon if you take all the turns wide
- Overall it’s a bit of a lonely course in terms of spectators and course “entertainment” (bands), so have music if you’re used to that or have some mental strength to get through some lonelier miles
Organized and well run – did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
Very well organized from start to finish. Good pre-race email, small expo but at least we got through it quickly, lots of aid stations with plenty of people to hand out liquids, and good race follow up with results and photos. The expo was probably a little underwhelming if you’re expecting a lot of vendors, but since I like getting in and getting out, it was fine with me.
Logistics – Anything special regarding getting to/from the race, hotels around the course, registration…?
Easy to sign up, other races include 5k and Half Marathon, and I found a coupon a couple months out that made for a cheap registration ($75ish). There were shuttles to the start from several locations, but Wyatt’s dad drove us to the start and we had about a 7 minute walk to the start, so not really crowded. We parked a bit further from the finish since there were so many more cars near Hayward Field for the finish. I heard hotels were expensive (when are they not on a marathon weekend though), airbnb is an option, and we stayed with Wyatt’s family, which was fantastic. I love being able to cook in a real home, shower afterwards without worrying about checkout, and we even did a load of laundry before hitting the road.
Weather and typical race conditions
Typically it’s on the warmer side for this race, being in the spring. There’s always a chance for rain, and we got lucky with no rain, cloudy, no wind, and temps in the high 40s, low 50s. So basically, no real typical conditions except there’s always a chance of rain, temps are likely to be in the 40s-60s, and I’ve seen sun and clouds for this race.
Spectators – is this a friendly course for your friends and family?
Pretty friendly if they figure out how to get around town, avoiding the course and finding parking. They can see runners in several spots or just 1-2 spots, and there’s a fair amount of parking around town near shopping centers and Autzen Stadium.
How’s the swag?
Nike drifit shirt that sounds promising but fit terribly, and I’m not a fan of the color black for a running shirt. Reusable bag and water bottle, and typical finisher’s medal. Free race photos, which was a nice touch.
The Overall Score – how many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it
3.5 out of 5. If you’re within a half day’s drive, totally worth running because it’s easy logistically, close to home, fairly fast, and well-run. Definitely not as flat as advertised and the shirts were a bust. I wouldn’t go out of my way to fly to this marathon, but being so close in Seattle, it’s a great Spring option.