Eugene Women’s Half-Marathon 2012 Race Recap

Race day dawned beautiful. It was scheduled to be overcast for much of the morning with the clouds clearing out in the afternoon. The high during the race was only in the 60s. These conditions made this Arkansas girl velly, velly happy.

Since I ran all of my long training runs beginning at five in the morning, I hadn’t been practicing any kind of routine with eating before I ran ~ other than downing a banana. The race didn’t start until 8 o’clock and I was wide awake by 5. Of course.

I decided on a banana, a piece of buttered toast and half a bagel with cream cheese. I tried to limit how much I was hydrating. Before my first half-marathon, I think I hydrated too much and was hurting for a porta potty by mile four. I was hoping to make it all the way through the race without a potty stop.

We stayed at a hotel close to the start line, but we left an hour ahead of time anyway. I like to be early. It’s compulsive and I can’t help it. If I’m only fifteen minutes early somewhere, I start sweating and getting nervous. ::snort:: #wishiwasjoking

I knew there were designated pace groups for this race. My plan was to find the happy middle between the 10:00 and 11:00 pace groups.

My plan would have worked out perfectly . . . except I could never find the 11:00 minute pace group. As the clock ticked closer to the start of the race, I decided to start at a place that looked like it was a good distance from the 10:00 pace group.

Yup. ::snort::

I said my final goodbyes to my man who gave me a kiss {hubba hubba} and wished me luck. He said he would try to meet me around mile seven. Or thereabouts.

Photo Courtesy of Cassie ~ Owner of Sugar Beets Photography

Exactly at 8:00 we were off. Everyone, including myself, seemed to be easing into a comfortable pace.

I felt good and the nerves began to fade away.

The first mile {or so} was on some city streets, but then we wound our way onto a paved trail right along the river. It. Was. Beautiful!

As we made our way along the path, I found myself edging closer and closer to the 10:00 pace group leaders. By mile three, there was only one line of people between them and me.

I kept asking myself, “Are you going too hard? Should you slow down? Are you going to burn out?”

I answered yes to all of them . . . but kept right on truckin’.

Until about mile 5.5.

A gap started to form between the pacers and me. It slowly got bigger and bigger.

I told myself it was okay. As long as I could still see their sign, it would be okay.

By mile seven, they were gone and I was alone. Seriously.

I was between pockets of people and when I passed the mile seven marker, where I was hoping my man would be, I became demoralized. I remembered I had stuck my phone and earbuds in the back of the camelbak, so I decided some tunes might cheer me up. I tried to zone out and not think about the pain.

Yes, I was hurting.

I had never run a sub-10:00 pace for that length of time before and my legs were toast. My breathing wasn’t labored, thankfully, but everything else felt like it was falling apart.

Somewhere around mile nine, I saw my man waiting for me.

It was a sweet, sweet sight. He jogged with me for a few minutes and tried to get my spirits back up.

When I hit mile marker ten, I told myself, “Only a 5K left. You’ve got this.”

Yeeaaaa, right.

I started alternating running and walking. The times I walked started to grow longer and more frequent.

Around mile twelve, I passed our hotel.

Too bad I didn’t have the hotel key.

Up to this point, I had still not seen the 11:00 pacer. As I neared the thirteen mile marker, I got a glimpse of someone coming up on my left hand side. It was the 11:00 pacer.

Ahhhh, no.

I was determined I was coming in first. ::snort::

And then . . . . it was over. I had finished my second half-marathon. I had cut off over twelve minutes from my time. All the pain was worth it.

Photo Courtesy of Susan ~ Owner of Lily Fields Photography

I love this moment Susan captured just after the finish.

The look on my face is priceless, but the look on that little guy’s face . . . HI-larious.

I’m like, “I’m done. I’m done. Thank you, thank you. I’m done. I never want to move again. I’ll just stay here forever” and he’s thinking, “Lady, would you move? You stink!” ::snort::


  1. I teared up reading this. Races are always such a roller coaster of emotion. Congratulations on the 12 minutes…that is definitely something to be proud of!

  2. You are amazing! I love reading your running posts…great inspiration. I’m currently in the middle of week 7 of the C25K plan and am so proud of myself for how far I’ve come already, I can’t even imagine how amazing it must be to have come as far as you have. Great job on the race, way to be a rockstar! :)

  3. You are SO inspiring! Congrats on your 1/2 marathon PR! :-)

  4. Great job! I’ve not run further than a 5k and am running my first 15k in November. I’m new to longer distances so any advice would be appreciated. Could you discuss your camel back? Thanks! :)

  5. You are SUCH an inspiration girl! Way to go! Maybe I’ll catch the half bug someday :)

  6. Susan in AK says:

    Congrats! You are such an inspiration!

  7. Congratulations! You are an inspiration! I wish we lived closer (as in, not across the country), because I’d love to train with you – you are about my pace and I think you’d be fun to train with! Have loved your posts leading up to the race.

  8. Oh I’m SO happy I found your blog :)
    What a wonderful story :)
    I’m a newbie, more or less. I’ve never run anything but my driveway doing the C25K program.
    I SO appreciate you sharing your journey. Your honesty actually makes me feel better. I’m still inspired even though you feel like you’re giving out. YOU GO GIRL!!!
    One day I’ll do a 5K!
    I wonder, do they have penguin pacers? 😉

    Keep sharing :)

  9. You look amazing for having just run a half-marathon, Ruthanne! Seriously. And you finished before the 11:00 pacers. I’m so impressed.

    My husband is making me buy the finish line photo from my first 5K. It is horrible. I dont’ know what the temps were in Eugene, but in SC in August it’s HOT. I look like I’m about to keel over with a heart attack. Yeah. So much so that one of the EMT guys was walking along beside me when I finished. It was quite comical. Well, not at the time, but now it is.

  10. Great job, Ruthanne! So inspirational. I have my first 1/2 marathon coming up at the end of September and loved reading this post.

  11. HIp HIp Hooray!! I love 1/2’s. That’s awesome that you cut 12 minutes off your time. Way to go!

  12. It’s hard not to let the adrenaline rush get the best of you in the beginning! I always have that problem.

    But you did great by beating your previous time!

  13. I did the same thing my first (and only so far) half. Started out at 9 m.m. (not the weapon, the pace Lol) and ended averaging just under 10 because I faded miles 8-12. You did so awesome!! Your progress is amazing and inspiring. And? I cracked up outloud at the kid’s face in the last picture. Love you girl!!

  14. I had two of those photos. It was the kids face that helped me choose which one to give you!

  15. Congratulations on a super-dee-duper job well done!!!

    And yay for Oregon weather! and meeting Susan! I <3 her. And you! I am blessed with such beautiful friends, both inside and out.

  16. Wow! You did great! 12 minutes is fantastic. I’m happy to shave seconds off my 5k I am still training on. Been in a slump this week. Suppose to be 30C today in Saskatchewan, Canada and our last long weekend for the summer. Headed to the lake to bike and swim one last time. I don’t know if I’ll ever run that far. I would be red as a beet and here you look all normal. The EMT’s would be following me too as the Southern girl said.

  17. Congratulations! You ROCKED it!!

  18. way to go Ruthanne!!! my friends are wanting to do a half in april. scary. i will do it if they are going to i guess….but i am so nervous. You did it!! twice!! i think you are an inspiration girl!


  1. […] This day started off with a bang . . . and with a little sweat and sparkle. I finished my second half-marathon. If you’re interested, you can read all about it here. […]