Here's what I do remember. It was hard, I had really sore/tight muscles after mile 7ish, it rained (which is why I have NO photos), the last 8 miles were tough, I need a better sports bra (race pics confirmed this), it went by really fast, it was a beautiful course and I made a lot of mental deals with myself (i.e. run to the next milepost and you can walk for 30 sec) to get to the finish in under 4:15.
After walking over 5 miles on Saturday (don't ask) I started to question if I really could run a 4:30. My muscles were sore and tight from the sports massage and the stupidly long walk. As I was packing, I opened a new box of my favorite Salted Carmel Gu and found the Golden Yeti (which means I won a free 24 back of more SC Gu + a chance to win a weekend trip to San Francisco, oh wait...).
|Salty for the win.|
|It's the little things.|
|Not too shabby for a gear bag.|
On race day, I woke up at 3:45am and began the ritual. Coffee, bagel, Justins, Nuun, Bodyglide, triple check everything and out the door. After a 20 min drive to Napa, I parked at the high school no problem, grabbed my bag and headed over to the shuttles. In this race everyone takes buses up to Calistoga since there is no parking. I grabbed a seat next to a guy from Monterey who had turned 60 the day before and to celebrate he was running his first marathon in hopes of qualifying for Boston where he was originally from. I love this sport!
After a 30 min drive or so 25+ school buses rolled up in the middle of surrounding vineyards. It was just about this point when I realized just how well organized this race was. A volunteer got on the bus and said portas are this way (and there was no line) and that the buses would all be staying until the 7AM race start so were welcome to stretch, hang out and stay warm until minutes before. I ate two fruit leathers, finished my nuun and stretched out. As I am writing this I am realizing just how much fiber I ate in that 24 hours pre-race. Probably a good reason my stomach did not feel great after the race. Noted.
At 6:55 I checked my bag and lined up and right on time we were off. As soon as I crossed the start line I told myself to slow down. My biggest fear was going out too fast. I tried to just shuffle along with the pack and take it easy. This course was perfect since the first 7 miles are rollers so it just kept me going a good steady pace. I told myself to get to 7 and then I could pick it up. Obviously I ran miles 4 and 5 faster than I intended but still felt good about containing my pace.
Mile 1- 9:48
Miel 2- 9:30
Mile 3- 9:18
Mile 4- 8:53
Mile 5- 8:54
Mile 6- 9:08
Mile 7- 9:28
Mile 8- 8:46
Mile 9- 8:55
Mile 10- 9:04
Mile 11- 9:04
Mile 12- 9:05
Mile 13- 9:11
Mile 14- 9:11
Mile 15- 9:11
Mile 16- 9:28
Mile 17- 9:21
Mile 18- 9:01
At 18.5 or so I saw MFR and stopped to
Mile 19- 9:53
Mile 20- 9:37
Mile 21- 11:29
Mile 22- 10:35
Mile 23- 10:35
At mile 23 ish a group of locals were handing out little cups of homemade sorbet. I took 3. Even though it was raining and cold, those flavored icy treats were the best things I had ever tasted. I looked at my watch one last time at 23 and knew I could potentially get sub 4:15. I was already celebrating that I would accomplish my goal. Obviously being close to the finish pumped me up. Once I slow down I have a very hard time ever getting my pace back up. Looking at my splits, I am more proud of miles 25 & 26 then any others. I sprinted through the finish with my hands over my head, feeling like i left it all out there.
Mile 24- 11:23
Mile 25- 9:54
Mile 26- 9:59
.4 - 3:50
I once again ran a positive split which is not ideal but knowing how hard the last 10K of a marathon is, I feel like I ran the best I could. There is definite room for improvement but for now I'am just going to bask in the glow of my 4:12.
|What it looked like when others crossed the finish line:)|
The organization was the best I've seen and I really enjoyed the small 2700 person field. Aid stations were every two miles and had gatorade and water at each. They had actual catchers (a la Ironman) at the finish line to take care of each runner individually as they crossed. I had the nicest man congratulate me, get me a heat sheet, a water and medal and verify I didn't need medical before he want on to the next person. The only downside was not being able to use headphones - though I didn't even notice and the course is not very spectator friendly. The Silverado trail is closed to traffic and there are not a lot of access points but it made the areas that did have crossroads fun to run through because hundreds of spectators would be gathered there cheering, it gave you little bursts of energy.
If you're even kind of considering this race, just do it! I promise you won't be sorry. This is hands down my favorite marathon I've ever seen or participated in. I love that it's just a marathon too, no half option. Through May 31st, it's only $100 to register (includes your shuttle to Calistoga) which these days is unheard of. Especially considering the sweet race bag. I believe it sold out around October last year. Mark your calendars, race day is March 1st, 2015. Most likely I'll see you there.
|Another one for the collection|
Kara, how exciting. I can't wait to do the Zooma Half with you and the fellow ambassadors in Napa this June. We do live in an amazing area, beauty is all around us. What a great runReplyDelete
Great recap!! Way to pick the pace back up your last couple miles and finish strong. Ryan struggled a bit in miles 22-24...he said there was a long hill there that he didn't expect to feel so difficult. Congrats on the huge PR!ReplyDelete
I am so excited for you!! What a race!! What a PR!! Remember when you were going to pace me for a 2hr half...I think I need a pacer for a 4:30 full instead! What do you think?!! :) Congrats friend!! Awesome bag and medal too!!ReplyDelete
Congrats on a great race!!! Can't imagine a more amazing place to run a PR. Excited for you!ReplyDelete