*Napa 2 Sonoma Half Marathon race report*

This was my mantra for today.  I’m not 25 anymore, I’m 50.  I can only do what my body can do.  It was on the spur of a moment last week, that I was able to buy a bib from Craigslist for today’s race.  Someone asked on Twitter, and I said, Me!

Finally, locked down the details, and called CB, which I mentioned in my last post.  He knew I would get a new PR, which I did not…but that’s not the point.  He wanted me to do the dreaded 2 mile run, 2 min. walk…in which I panic because for craps sake, I’m already slow…But the goal was to have fresh legs today.

I made that my personal goal, as I set out to run this race today…that no matter what, my legs would hold up until the end…which they did.  The rest of my body?  Not so much.

The Expo:  Literally, I never been to such a small expo.  I mean really, this is a $75 bib I purchased.  I finally was directed to the right person who could transfer my bib for me, at another $20.  And, they seemed sort of put out that they had to do this.  I got the Tshirt, and the logo is pretty weird.  It’s a lamb…on a back of a runner?  Is it jumping?  You tell me:  The Poster is here.  I’m in a hotel lobby, so that will have to do. They were charging people 10 bucks to park for, what, 15 minutes…if that.

Lunch:  This was at Big 3 in Sonoma, and I wanted something really bland…so why did I get Aoli?  Who knows.  Typically, waitresses don’t like singles, and you could tell this girl was bored to death…and I tipped her as such.  She gave my food to me, and never came back.  I’m a pretty good tipper…so that’s different for me.  During the lunch, my ex husband called, and asked to switch a day with me, because he was going out this week.  Apparently with a woman.  It sort of sent me over the edge a bit…I mean, it’s been 2.5 years.  I think it’s time, and someone had to go first, so it’s all good now, but I literally set the phone down and shed a tear.

AA mtg:  I am not a drinker, and haven’t been for 30 years.  That doesn’t mean I don’t get temporarily thrown off balance.  As I’m driving, it’s winery after winery.  I was the type of drinker that would have never left the first one, so wine tasting would never have been my thing…but as usual, I judge my insides by your outsides, and you are having a great time, and I think I’m missing something.

Dinner: At the meeting, I meet a man who’s a mountain biker.  I am going to buy my pre-race dinner of chicken, brown rice & banana, and he offers to fix it at his house.  He was sober a long time, and I was fairly sure I was dealing with an athlete by the looks of him, so I went.  And, it was weird.  It was not a date…but it bordered on one.

RACE DAY!!!
3:50 AM: 
I’m awakened by 3 alarms.  I dress, pack and change rooms (kids were joining me today), and leave by 4:15.  It’s completely dark on the drive to Sonoma from Novato.  I arrive at the bus dropoff, and am on the first bus in the front row, at 5am.  We were brought to a winery in Napa, and dropped off.  It was cool and lovely, and I talked with some awesome people that I had never met…they made me feel included and helped me in some pre-race decision making on the Gels, etc.  It’s funny, how the people you share a bus with, or drinks or porta-potty lines with you NEVER see again the rest of the day…

Mile 1-2: Felt strong, at my usual 11 minute pace.  Yes, I’ll say it.  11.  I took my first drink and Jolly Rancher there.

Mile 3-4: After walking 2 minutes, I picked up and did the next 2.  Our first hill was hard and steep, but these miles were rolling hills.  My favorite part was seeing the line of runners ahead of me.  I literally enjoyed being a part of this.  And, I had to remember that the goal was fresh legs, not faster.

Mile 5-6:  Here’s where it get’s a bit dodgy.  At mile 5, I had my second JR, and it was a mess…Sticky, etc.  Lost my chapstick, etc.  Took a long time to get in my mouth.  I was serene, because I knew I could get water at 6.

They were out of water at Mile 6.  This wasn’t the only problem: The volunteers were yelling at the runners that it wasn’t their fault, but the runners before us.  Which seriously didn’t help.  I paid $75, and purposely did not take a fuel belt because of the numerous stations.

Mile 7-8: My resentment carried me through mile 7.  I asked someone for water, and this lady says, “Yes I’m dehydrated!”  This orange guy *more on that later* pops out a drink bottle for me, and she comes out of nowhere and takes it from him.  (I beat her in the chute by about 10 seconds.)  I was not happy.  Finally at Mile 8, I drank and drank and drank…and maybe that’s where my problem came up.  I took my Endurolyte and Power Gel, and I was on my way.

Mile 9-10-11:  All a blur, some walking…lots of turns…and you know how they say never to do anything new on race day?  My running bra, which I love was new…but starting cutting in to me.  I was soaked, having never worn the pink/brown…and had a stitch in my side, etc.  My legs were screaming at me, and I couldn’t wait for it to be over.

Mile 11-13:  Home owners, trying to be supportive, yelling “You’re almost there”, my biggest pet peeve.  Um, no.  We’re not there.  We’re nowhere close to there.  I had walked so much, that I simply was determined to walk no more.  The last aid station, I didn’t stop.  We ran through a park or school…I have no idea.  One of the volunteers yells…You stop at the palm tree!!!!  That palm tree was what I set my sights on the whole rest of the race.

Finish Chute:  This was where I hit the wall.  I had been holding my side much of the last 2 miles, and I came in and saw water…then had to doublecheck to make sure that was not wine.  I drank 4 glasses, grabbed a watermelon slice, and laid down.  This screamer *WHOOHOOO* was yelling to her friend, and the band was playing LOUDLY, and I just wanted to Zen.  I felt like crap, wanted to puke.

But, I had fresh legs.

Good stuff:  Great volunteers at the roadside cheering us on.  Great folks handing out water.  Good food, nice venue and park afterward.  The coach who shared his drink with me.  The cop who asked if I was okay.  The elderly volunteer who brought me water.  The elderly woman I saw with at the bakery…and who gave me a ride to my car.

Bad stuff:  Mile 6, The Orange team…LOTS of orange, and lots of support for the orange…and a separate bbq for the orange…the team thing…which I am now a part of with TNT…but seriously, do you have to scream…all the MFing time?  How about the girls who are chatting about the BMWs and their office gossip.  Didn’t like that so much.  No bus shuttle to the cars at the end.  They say:  It’s only 2 miles down there…you could walk! I almost slapped the guy…really?

All in all, I met my goal.  I’m disappointed I actually went slower, but I listened.

My kids are in the hotel room watching Spongebob after a burrito dinner, and I simply had to come down and chill.  We swam, and it was fun.  My kids’ Dad and I talked about this new situation, and it’s okay.  It just stung. 

Tomorrow:  Six Flags.  If I can walk!

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15 thoughts on “Run Your Own Race: Fresh Legs

  1. I did this race a couple of years back too. My worst race to date. 80’s, ran w/o a bottle too (regretted that later), cramped, got the “you’re almost there’s” too, worst 1/2 time to date….just a miserable experience.

    But it sounds like your end result was better than mine. Sorry about the crappy bits but sounds like you ran it according to plan. Great job!

    ps – hope the ex got food poisoning and crapped in his pants in front of the date.

  2. OMG…I’m sorry but I had to laugh at Billy’s last comment about your ex-that made me laugh!! I too hope he got food poisoning or gets it! Is that bad??

    I’m sorry there were crappy bits to your race! I of course would blame everything on the heat! Because it was damn hot here in So Cal, so i’m sure in those valleys it was hot!

    But remember-YOU DID IT!! And you ran and finished under horrible circumstances!! And after a rather emotional saturday!!

    You ROCK!! Don’t ever forget it!! And yes even after 2.5 years-it will hurt!! But you are a strong woman! Don’t ever forget that! You are an independent thinker! You can accomplish all these things on your own and you are an amazing mother!!! Don’t ever forget those things!!!

    Divorce sucks! I’ve been there done it! But it does get better and easier and you’ll soon realize what a wonderful person you are, if you haven’t already!!

  3. Wow, you really toughed it out! I hate it when the spectators say, “you’re almost there.” when you’re nowhere close. During my marathon, at mile 20, they said that and I wanted to hit them. How can they figure 6.2 more miles is almost there?

    I’m proud of you for finishing. I liked the part where you said you had fresh legs, but the rest of your body – not so much! LOL

    You did good, girl! Us 50 & over girls gotta stick together.

  4. You are right, 50 isn’t 25, things hurt longer and in strange new places. But most other things are better, and if you are like me, you wouldn’t have even thought about running 13.1 miles 25 years ago, 11 minute miles or not! Great job on the race and with your marathon training.

  5. Great post, great details. I hate small expos, especially when you pay 75 bucks. Great job finishing the half marathon.

  6. Let’s see. $75 plus $20 to transfer the bib. And then they run out of water half way in? And no one in the town has a golf cart they could run a few cases of water from the finish? Sounds like a lack of planning (or caring) to me….

    Sorry you didn’t make your PR. But you put in 13.1 and stil had fresh legs? You are well on your way to finishing that full marathon! Keep on thinking about those firemen at the finish line!

  7. Sorry you didn’t pr but it’s the fact that you did it means a lot! 🙂 I hate expos for that reason exactly. Sounds like a weird race to run out of water at. Good job though! 🙂

  8. you hit your goal and thats what counts the most!!! it was HOT out there! all those orange peeps definitely were only cheering for their own kind too :-/ whatever. another half marathon down which is always a good thing come marathon day!

  9. I would have been so mad at that women in the race. But you did great and finished! I also would have punched that guy that told you to walk to 2 miles to the car! REALLY!! he would have been hurting!

  10. sorry the race experience was so bad, and a race running out of water is unacceptable. glad you stayed smart and kept to your plan. plus, it sounds like you met some wonderful runners; even if you only met them for a few minutes and you’ll never see them again. and I’m sure they are glad they met you!

  11. Ok, I’m no seasoned racer – but if I am ever in a race that runs out of water of all things, I will be doing some serious complaining to the race director! That is just unacceptable – especially in midsummer races!

    Good job getting it done though under less than ideal conditions!

    And hmmm….love the ‘almost but not quite a date’ scoop too. You go girl! *wink*

  12. Oof! Sounds like a rough event, through and through. But you showed a lot of grit by sticking to the plan despite it all. Good job.

  13. Awwe I know I’ve certainly had races that didn’t go as I hoped and it was very disheartening at the time, but just think of all the great things you learned and taught your kids by finishing. I’m sure the next one will be better!!

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