I have spent over 24 hours thinking about where to begin with my race recap. Let’s begin with the facts. The third annual Santa Rosa Marathon sold out at 500 marathoners, 700 half marathoners. The course is two loops of a small trail so it really cannot withstand more runners, especially given some of the tight turns. It is advertised as a mostly paved trail. In my mind, this meant 90% paved. In fact, I had read somewhere that it had been 100% paved to become Boston qualified. This was not true at all. More on that in a moment.
I arrived at the start about 20 minutes before the start of the race. My dad and husband waited with me for a few minutes before heading off.
Me with husband moments before the start.
I stood at the start line with many others who were attempting to qualify for Boston (this being one of the last races in the country before Boston registration opens). This was a serious group of runners and the energy of the start line reflected that. It was all business. The gun sounded and we were off! I began at a 7/7:30 min pace, way too fast. I pulled back a bit and settled into a groove 8:20/8:30, right on target. My legs were tight but I reminded myself that it it takes about 5 miles for me to warm up.
Chugging along the paved path.
The path is made of three different terrains; sidewalk concrete (shown above), asphalt, and gravel dirt trail. I am not sure of the actual mileage of each terrain but what it felt like was half asphalt, half gravel dirt trail. As soon as we started running on the gravel dirt I wished I had worn my trail shoes. If you ever run this race, I definitely suggest trail shoes, at the very least, trail racing flats. My family saw several people trip and fall as they took the tight turn onto the gravel trail. I am glad that I am now an experienced trail runner. It helped me traverse the less than ideal conditions of some of the trail.
Somewhere around mile 9, I noticed that my overall pace had dropped to 8:38 per mile. I was almost through my first loop and wondered how I was going to traverse the trail any faster than I had the first time. I began to lose confidence, almost wanting to drop out. WTF??? I did not come all of this way to quit for no reason other than running 8 seconds per mile slower than my goal pace. That was my lowest moment of the race.
All smiles before I realized that my Garmin has lost reception, around mile 13.5
The moment I realized my Garmin had lost reception I started laughing. I had been so concerned about pace, I took it as a sign from the universe to get over myself. A woman came from nowhere with her friend. She kept yelling, “No regrets! No regrets! Keep going! Good job!” She was pacing and cheerleading for her friend but really I saw her as an angel. I told her that my Garmin had lost reception. She said, “Who cares? Who needs the Garmin to tell you you are doing your best??” She was right. I was running as fast as I could. I knew I was giving it my best. I had no regrets. My Garmin went in and out for the rest of the race. I kept plugging along. As the miles went on, I knew I would not qualify that day. I began to feel sorry for myself again (seriously WTF??) when I met Jack. Jack is an experienced marathoner/ultramarathoner/triathlete who lifted my spirits. We ran together for a few miles. He reminded me that I have many more chances for Boston. He is such a great guy! I love Jack!
Me with Jack, seeing my whole family at Mile 23ish. Almost done!
Obviously I had high expectations for myself going into this race. I had placed all of my Boston 2012 hopes in the basket of the Santa Rosa Marathon. Alas, it was not meant to be but the journey was well worth it. I walked away with a new PR (by over 5 minutes), one step closer towards my Boston goal. NO REGRETS!
Post race with Snoopy and Charlie Brown. Santa Rosa is the birth place of Charles Schultz.
This has been such an awesome experience so far. Today was special. My dad came down from Mt. Shasta to carb load with me and my husband tonight. Tomorrow, my mom and my sister will be coming up from San Jose to watch the race. This is the first time in my adult life that my parents will be in the same place together for an event outside of my wedding and graduation (parents have been divorced for almost 30 years). It means so much to me that they will both be there.
I feel so different going into this race, marathon #13. I am calm. I know I trained hard and did all that I could do. I am ready. My goal is to stay in the moment and allow myself to run. This is what I did when I ran the Fontana Half in June. Meditate when the going gets tough. That is my plan. Time to get some shut eye. See you on the other side of 26.2.
“What I think is that a good life is one hero journey after another. Over and over again, you are called to the realm of adventure, you are called to new horizons. Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then, if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco. There’s always the possibility of a fiasco, but there’s also the possibility of bliss.”—
Tonight I received an email from my lululemon bff Molly . She sent me well wishes for the race and told me that she had left something for me at the lulu store near my house. Molly has been a huge cheerleader of mine. She is one of the first people who told me that Boston was well within my grasp (and that was over a year and a half ago when it seemed near impossible). She has been an inspiration to me and is really just a big ball of sunshine. A few months back, Molly offered to pace me for my race in Santa Rosa (did I mention she ran 3:09 in Boston this year???). I nearly fell over from her generosity. As it turns out, fate had different plans. She received entry to Hood to Coast and is fulfilling one of her dreams this weekend.
I walked into the store the lovely lulu Stephanie went in the back brought out the gift. Stephanie said that Molly and lululemon were proud of my running and weight loss accomplishments and wanted to give me this for my race:
This morning I awoke at 4:25, 5 mintues before the alarm. This is the second week in a row that I have woken up before 4:30 without an alarm. Who am I???? I still cannot believe it. Maybe all of the taper rest has made it easier to wake up before dawn.
This morning I kept up with the group for 5 miles, mostly up hill at race pace. Oops. Not exactly the easy run I was looking for. I pulled back from the group for the last mile to take it easy. Overall 6.3 miles.
Last night I came home to mail from my grandma. She sent me an article from the San Jose Mercury News about a 15 year old kid who is attempting 100 miles in 30 hours beginning tomorrow in San Martin, CA. She also included a note (see pic). Thanks Grandma! You are the best!!!!
This week has been pretty boring training wise. Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday were rest days. Sunday spin and Wednesday double spin. Today 3 miles (2 @ 7 min mi, 1 easy). Tomorrow 7 miles easy. Taper training this week: 3 spin classes, 10 miles. Next week: 10 miles, 3-4 spin, RACE!
Hard to believe that the big race is two weeks away! Today was my last long run before the race, 10 miles with my old running partner J. We do not run together as much as we used to so it is always good to see her.
This morning I had a full circle moment while running past a group of women who used to run laps around me. I am friends with one of them and shouted hello to her as I ran past, telling her about the race in two weeks. I distinctly remember a conversation with her a couple years ago where I asked her what she had done to qualify for Boston. Her response “I worked really hard for a year”. Having gone through what I have in the past couple of years, I can now say with certainty that yes, hard work and commitment are the keys to becoming a better runner. That coupled with letting go of the crap in your head that is holding you back. There are no limits!!!!
I had a great 10 miler and followed it with a crazytown spin class. I love mini brick sessions! This will be my last brick before the race as a taper down to total rest a few days prior. There is no doubt I will be crawling out of my skin by then.
Until then, it is all about letting the self doubt pass right on through. It is not welcome here anymore!
The Patriots?! Ugh. Tom Brady?! DOUBLE ugh. I don't think we can be friends anymore.
Why Anon??? If you are going to trash talk, it should be in public view. :) I almost added to the last post “Let the trash talk begin”. My guess is that you, Anon, are a Jets fan??? Just a guess. Anyway, I love a good trash talk session just as much as I like a good long run. Let the games begin!
I decided against running this morning and instead tried out a new spin instructor tonight. The class was a challenging and the music was awesome. This is the second week in a row that I have tried a new instructor on Tuesday night. The instructor tonight was a winner. I will definitely be back to his class.
This week I have an embarrassing amount of spinning planned. It will keep me busy while I taper for the big race. Workouts so far this week: Sun spin, Mon rest, Tues spin, Wed double spin am, 5 mi easy PM.
Three weeks to marathon #13. July 2011 marked five years of running. I remember when I told my family that I had joined a running club and planned to run a marathon. I am not sure they actually believed it would happen. The night before my first marathon, LA 2007, my husband turned to me and said “I did not think you would actually do it” (meaning get up early every Saturday and complete the program). He did not mean that in a negative way. He is my biggest fan and cheerleader. At that point in my life, for me to commit to a marathon training program meant changing every aspect of my life. Several friendships faded away and new friendships were born.
If you had told me in July 2006 that five years later I would be on the eve of my thirteenth marathon with hopes of qualifying for Boston, I would not have believed it. For the first 3 years of my running career, I mentored the 12 minute mile pace group. I knew I had a sub 5 marathon in me but it was a tough chase. I came close in Chicago 2008 but it still eluded me.
In October 2009, I started spinning with Reilly and training harder than I had in years, perhaps ever. I began to let go of the preconceived notions I had about myself and my capabilities. This translated into much faster running times. I kept at it. In May 2010, I began running with the ultra gang (Tues/Thurs running group of very experienced Ultra runners and now a couple Ironman triathletes). I started running in a whole new way. In June 2010, I finally achieved a sub 5 hour marathon but I knew I could do better. October 2010 brought another PR, December 2010 my first ultra marathon. March 2011 another PR. June 2011 a half marathon PR and the glimmer of what is yet to come.
All of those moments have lead me down the path to this moment. For years, I told myself that qualifying for Boston was not a possibility for me but I was wrong. I realize now that it was my thoughts and beliefs that held me back, not my capabilities. All of us are capable of so much more than we allow ourselves to believe. I do not know what is going to happen on August 28th but I do know this: dreams are meant to be chased. Hunt them down and see what happens!
Another Saturday long run, another rookie mistake. This morning I ran out the door to meet my group up on the trails and realized I forgot my water bottle. I did have one gel with me but I ate that before the run started. 14 miles on the trails without a water bottle or gel was not ideal. There is a water fountain at mile 3 and 11 so I drank there. I completely bonked on a mile long uphill around mile 9. I basically told my friends to go on without me. They stayed with me (thankfully). They offered me water but what I really needed at that point was calories. Mileage is not forgiving. If you do not have hydration and calories, you are doomed, no matter how long you have been a runner. Even a veteran can make rookie errors. The good news is that I got home ate some food and now I feel 100%.
On Tuesday morning, I told a guy in my running group (who happens to be an Ironman triathlete) that I would like to do a half Ironman distance triathlon sometime soon. The problem is I do not have a road bike. Tuesday night, I relayed my conversation to my friend R over dinner. She offered me her road bike. She is AWESOME! After dinner, we went to her house, took the bike apart and loaded it into my car. She even gave me a bike maintenance manual. R is the best! I came home and put the bike back together all by myself! I need to change out the pedals to match my cycling shoes, which I hope to do this weekend. No excuse not to do a triathlon this fall.
Two years ago, I made my triathlon debut on a mountain bike that another friend graciously loaned me. Riding a mountain bike in a road race is not an easy task. You expend a lot of energy pedaling as people on road bikes fly right by. I look forward to my first race on a road bike.
The question is can I do a half Ironman and an Ultra this fall/early 2012? Will my husband kill me if I attempt this? We shall see. Stay tuned….
Workout today: double spin am, 3 mi easy pm. 13 mi trails tomorrow morning.
For the last few years I have thought about running the Big Sur Marathon. This week I took the plunge and registered for the 2012 race. I hope to make this a Boston To Big Sur Challenge run but that has yet to be determined. No matter what happens, I will have these views to look forward to:
I have been in a funk since the 22 miler on Saturday. I had conversation with my husband Saturday night that went something like this:
me: I screwed myself on the run today. husband: You made mistakes. Learn from them and move on. me: You make it sound simple. husband: It is simple.
He was right. I made a lot of mistakes on Saturday but it does not mean that I am not a strong runner. I mulled over the idea of running another 20 miler this weekend to redeem myself. I decided to take the idea to the ultra gang to see what they advise.
The alarm went off at 4:15 this morning and I really wanted to shut it off and go back to bed. The ultra gang met at 5AM instead of our usual 5:05 or 5:15. I cannot tell you what a big difference that 15 minutes makes. Ooof. I did shut off my alarm but since I was already awake I got dressed and ran down the street to meet the group. I was able to keep up with the guys for most of the run today and felt redeemed after the wretched run on Saturday. They advised that I not run 20 miles this weekend. I am going to take their advice. Onward and upward!