Behind Enemy Lines

Last weekend (a week ago), was a another hard one for me to swallow. It was Ironman Lake Stevens 70.3—a race I have anticipated for several years now. After my relay team fell apart, I resigned myself that I’d sit this one out too. I’m still not strong enough to swim 1.2 miles to do the race on my own. At the beginning of the year, the plan was to take a Kona slot if a miracle occurred at IM CDA, but more likely, go after a 70.3 Championship slot at Lake Stevens. Well, now there’s a revised plan and that includes running the Eugene Women’s Half Marathon.

Why Eugene? Well, my husband starts teaching at the U of Oregon Law School on Tuesday! He’ll be down there for half the week and in Seattle for the other half. Yikes. But! I heard nice things about the Eugene Women’s Half over Labor Day weekend, so I will go down there to visit him.

But since neither of us have been to Eugene, we figured we better go! So, we packed up the car college-style and headed south to Duck Country. The 5-hour drive is surprisingly easy when you don’t get a flat tire—but that is what happened. Our rear tire blew apart as we were driving down I-5. Scary.

Our poor tire!

We called a tow truck as any spare that might be in the care was buried under a lot of stuff—neither of us felt like unpacking the car on the freeway. Andy, the tow guy, took us to this great family-run tire shop. We picked up a used tire for $40 and were back on the road. We arrived in Eugene around 7 pm and picked up the keys to Kevin’s new apartment from the very hippie landlady.

The unit is nice. It is a 1910’s house that has been made into a triplex. One of the tenants is into gardening so the patio and yard are full of plants and vegetables. It is tiny, yet clean and efficient—perfect for the purpose and a great Craigslist find. No room to bring a lot of furniture, we inflated the aero bed and snuggled in.

We woke up early on Sunday to grab coffee and made the most of our day. The Euguene Women’s Half Marathon hosted an 8 am preview run. I thought it was the perfect opportunity to get some exercise and see the area.

The whole idea of running slow in training is starting to sink in. So, while I’m confident I could have kept up with the faster runners, I set out to run the 7.12-mile course in about an hour, or about an 8:30 min/mi pace. I found it interesting that I ran alone for the mojority until I caught a runner who started out too fast and was walking. We ran for awhile together until he broke away from me at the end. Yes, men are invited to do this half marathon too. It was a nice, easy run and quite beautiful, until I saw the hideous Autzen Stadium. (Boooooooo.)

*Some background. Both my husband and I are University of Washington grads. We bleed purple. I was even the mascot my senior year. There is nothing more hated by a Husky than a Duck.

After the run, I got ready to go on a beautiful ride outside of the city. I had learned about the route from pro triathlete Mackenzie Madison’s blog. I planned on riding a portion of her favorite ride and it is easy to see why it gets that honor. It was spectacular and challenging. A lot of climbing and some beautiful valley views. I whole-heartedly planned on riding for 3 hours until at 1:05 … ow! I got stung by a bug! I have an allergy to bees so I kind of panicked. I turned back around just in case I got into trouble. The sting was on my inner thigh, right where it rubs against the saddle, so it was painful ride back. I don’t think it was a bee because I was fine other than the annoying stinging feeling.

When I got done, it was time to drive back to Seattle. It was a short but sweet trip. Eugene is definitely the hippy college town people have described. I’m looking forward to exploring it more during my visits, but hope I can avoid coming in contact with too much green and yellow.

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