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.
Do you dare?
Yes!!! A million times yes!!!!
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:
All PINK!!! Sigg bottle, swiftly tech t, brisk running key cuff!!!
The inside of the card reads “We are so proud of you! You inspire us all. Go out there and give it all you got! We believe in you! - Love Molly and the lululemon crew”
As I type this, my eyes are welled with tears. These women are amazing and have helped me come far on my running journey. Thank you lulus! You really are the best.
Special thanks and good luck to Molly on Hood to Coast! Go get em girl!!!! Love you!
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.
Holy moly, marathon week is here! I am crawling out of my skin. I took this taper seriously and I miss the sweat and endorphins! I know that I will be thankful come race day.
Now, time to get some shut eye. I need to wake up at 4:30AM to meet the ultra gang for some last minute pep talk and 6-7 miles easy-ish.
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!
I totally did not mean for that to be anonymous!!! It was me!! Sadly, I’m a Bills fan.
LOL! Well at least you are not a Dallas fan. But even if you were, I would still love you. It would not be fun if we all liked the same teams. Where is the fun in that???
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!