The Real Magic of Eugene

I heard runners talk of it all the time: there's magic in Eugene.  It's the home of Track Town, the Olympic Trials, Pre...  For me, the magic was in the people: the people of Eugene (from the local artists who rented me their bungalow, to the adorable and well mannered college boys serving up my coffee) and, most importantly, every one of those runners who is drawn there like a moth to a flame.

Teammates and Twitter friends

I'm not sure if there's ever been a larger gathering of Oiselle athletes and meeting all of these extraordinary women exceeded my wildest expectations.  

requisite team photo at the expo

The gatherings started with a shakeout run on Saturday morning and there were immediate hugs all around, setting the tone for an unforgettable weekend.  

as Sarah said, there was a lot of "hi, my name is @___"

running on Pre's trail

Patty and Monica!

Later, at the expo, Lauren Fleshman gave such an inspiring and heartfelt talk on several topics: focusing on our strengths rather than weaknesses, the component to achieving success which can't be quantified (the 'mystery column' that cannot be put into a spreadsheet like your VO2 max), avoiding injury and the mental aspect of running.  This last talking point really got everybody's attention as she told the story about how race nerves and negative thoughts got the better of her during the US Championships and she, Lauren Fleshman, STOPPED AND WALKED.  Knowing that she also hits those mental roadblocks was a real eye opener, and she gave such great advice about changing the conversation in our heads.

post expo coffee outing on less serious topics

After reading every recap post I could find (here's an updated list), I think it's safe to say that everyone's race was hugely influenced by the guiding forces of others.  Whether we had...

 ...someone literally running alongside us (like those that were paced by awesome friends like Mason or Lauren)

...friends cheering for us along the route (I owe so much to the cheer squad and my posse of constant companions for their confidence in me)

...the love baked into one of five dozen delicious cupcakes that Meghan made from scratch and brought all the way from Bellingham for us runners, while she cheered us on in a chicken hat

...the words of Lauren Fleshman to keep us company along those long miles

none of us ran that race alone. 

my constant companions Patty, JJ and Lauren

After the race, there was some heartbreak and frustration for a few.  Yet after all was said and done, there was elation - elation for those who accomplished their goals; BQs and PRs abounded.  But, mostly, elation to be occupying the same space and moments in time.  

Thanks Picky Bars and Ninkasi for an awesome partaaaay!
Paulette, Sophia, Patty & Me

Eating one of Meghan's cupcakes - this is my 'don't even THINK about touching my cupcake or I will CUTCHOO' face.  Mad love for ya M2!

This was one for the history books, ladies.  Let's do it again soon.  No matter what kind of race I had (or will have) there, I'll always, always, always love Eugene.


  1. Beautifully written Andrea! I learned one lesson this year...DO NOT miss this next year :).

  2. Looks like a really fun weekend. I love Eugene!

  3. Sounds like so much fun. I'm definitely going next year even if it's just to cheer

  4. So glad you had such an amazing experience!!