Monday, March 8, 2010
Post Marathon Post
Well, first, we did it!! We finished, which is always the first goal. We were able to PR by 6 minutes under our last marathon time, which was the second goal. Above everything else though, we had fun, enjoyed amazingly beautiful scenery, and spent 4 hrs and 42 minutes soaking in the wonderful sun!! If you are into times, our chip time was 4 hrs 42 minutes, our gun time was 4hr 43 minutes.
We headed to Napa on Saturday. First we went to the expo at the Napa Valley Marriott Hotel & Spa. We checked out all the booths, got our amazing duffel bags, shirts, free goodies, and checked out the Marathon College for a while. We got to hear amazing and inspiring stories from Joe Henderson, Dick Beardsley, John Keston, Mary Coordt, and Roberta Gonzalez. They are all amazing athletes. Roberta Gonzales is a local weather gal on channel 5, but she has also completed a ton of marathons and 7 Ironmans! They each recapped their most memorable marathon experiences. After that, we heard from Dean Karnazes! He's just one great story after another. After that, we hit Whole Foods for sandwiches and salad and drove the course one last time. Then we hit Whole Foods again for some sweet treats, went to the hotel, and were in bed by 8.
Sunday we were up at 3:40, left the hotel at 4:40, went to the school where the race would be ending, got on a bus and were headed to Calistoga to the start by 5:20 ish. We could see the stars, so we knew it was going to be a clear day, which was nice to know, although it was barely 40 at the start. It ended up being completely clear, bright blue skies, and 67 degrees! One of my favorite visual memories was coming down the backside of a hill and looking out across the beautiful clear valley and seeing 3 hot air balloons rising up at the far end. Just amazing!
This course was very challenging. Technically it is a down hill course, you start around 400 ft and end at 50 ft....but that doesn't mean it was all downhill!! It was basically one uphill after another, followed by a little bit more of a downhill. The hills really killed us! A lot of the course the road also sloped off a bit, which if you run you know how painful sloping roads can be, it ruins your stride, and hurts your hips and knees because you are running tilted. We did get swept up in the flow a bit and our first 4 miles were right at 9 minute miles, which is a bit too fast for us. We try to maintain a steady 10 minute mile for marathon distance runs...but we felt good, so we just went with it. We were able to stay ahead of our pace until mile 19. Mile 19 was an epic mile! You climb steadily until just after mile 20. It just never ended. We knew if we just made it to mile 20 we would have a nice downhill, and then flat until the finish. But, mile 19 drained us so much, the downhill and flat that followed wasn't much help!! We really struggled to mentally stay focused, maintain forward motion, and try to maintain close to a 10 minute per mile pace. We ended up averaging a 10 and change minute pace, but we managed to stay in the 10's!!
As brutal as those last 6 miles were, it was over way too fast! Yes, we ran for 4 hours and 42 minutes, but it went by so fast! It makes no sense, but your mind is so busy the whole time, thinking about times, how to keep moving, what is causing that pain, look at the hot air balloons, look at the blue sky, look at that runners polk a dot tights, take a picture, get a water and Gatorade and sports beans, high five those little kids cheering you on, keep pushing, do I want an orange slice or a banana, on and on and on.....and then its over!
This was a first class marathon!! As you'll see in the pics, the shirts, swag bags, expo,the guest speakers, everything...was first class! They really take good care of the runners. I am glad we did it, but it will for sure be a one timer for us, I have no desire to repeat those hills!! We also learned that we are able to keep our minds distracted better when we have all the hype that comes w/a larger marathon. Our previous marathon had over 20,000 runners, was lined with spectators and bands....it was loud, and entertaining, and all that really helps keep your adrenaline going, and your mind focused on other things besides the pain and how tired you are! This marathon was the complete opposite. It said there was 2300 runners, but there were around 1700 finishers so it was drastically smaller (which is why they can go the extra mile and make is such a first class event), no bands, no hype, and I think only 5 or 6 spots that are accessible to spectators, so it was very quiet!! Definitely more about the beauty of the course! Overall, we did have a great time though and spent a great, challenging day together!
A shout out to our friends, Derrick and Angela Behrens, who killed this course! They are machines!! Derrick was going for a sub 4 hour time, and finished in 3 hrs, 57 minutes. Angela PR'd by a lot, with a 4hr 16 minute time! Congrats you guys, those are amazing times!!!
We did go out to eat afterwards at the Red Hen. Matt, you were right about the post run eats....mine just wouldn't go down! I looked forward to those nachos for weeks, but I just couldn't get them to go down. I ate the cream off the top of my Pina Colada, but couldn't get it down either. The waiter did make an ice bag for my knee though, so that was nice! I did have 5 slices of Papa Murphys late last night for dinner though, and still woke up hungry today.
If you are wondering how the day after feels, it hurts! Pretty much everything hurts, toes, nails, shoulders, legs of course....it all hurts. My cheeks are surprisingly sore from running into the sun for the first 4 hours and squinting, so my face even hurts. No unexpectedly bad pain, just what you would expect after a marathon. Brian was determined to ride his bike to work today, but after he woke up this morning and felt the pain, he let me drive him instead.
Ok, pictures are here, sorry for the blurry ones! Also, we met this dude, pretty cool!! There is a good post race re-cap here.
We also just want to say thank you to you guys for being so supportive and encouraging! Your comments, inspiring blogs, and words of encouragement mean a lot to Brian and I, so thank you!!
I am now off to do nothing today!!