I am a marathoner! That’s it…end of post…I ran 26.2 miles in an official race. Oh, wait, you want to know more?? Ok…it was the best race to run in for my first marathon ever. It was nor remains an easy course. Let’s not be fooled into fiction here…It was a nice meaty race for a first timer. I did absolutely great in time for a first. What was my time?? Well, we will get there…patience!
It was a beautiful day! Overcast, a bit chilly and moist from days of rain. The smell of spring and vineyards surround. Look at the picture above. You know you’d run that…not too hot, not too cold. Perfect day for a race.
My husband and I drove down the Friday before to meet up with our Endurance Reno team and coach. My team had approximately 25 running the race and several drove out for cheering and support. Love them…a bunch! We had a blast the night before with great food homemade by the coach’s beautiful wife Shanna. We wanted not…and needed even less. We stayed in a beautiful cabin home in the hills around St. Helena. We saw a huge coyote and heard Big Foot. Swear, we did. Truth!
What an absolute experience! I would have been so relaxed and at peace with this just being the get-away! But we were there to race!
We brought all our gear and made this beautiful place our home for the next few days. We were here. We are ready to race our first marathon! We drove the course to get our heads in the game. I personally like to know what I am up against. Others, may not want to know that much. It’s all about how you plan your mental game for the race. Knowing where the turns and curves and scenery helped when I needed it the most. We drove down and went to packet pick up. ALERT!! Apparently you are NOT to try ANYTHING new ESPECIALLY at the expo before race day. That sample can’t hurt me right?? Well, you decide if you want to take that risk or not. I did not know this rule and I sampled the most lovely granola snack thing ever. Oh well…next time I know. I had no GI issues as a result of it but hey, it was risky and I was just not thinking straight. I’m new at this ok?!? Well, kinda not now but you know what I mean.
With packet pick up done and course locked into memory…all there is to do is eat and drink wine and enjoy the company of my team…my family. Oh yes, we are that badass…just sayin’.
Race morning and we are up! Took in my nutrition and stumbled to the bathroom to get one more opportunity in before the start. We are all tired, ready to get this done. No more training, no more talking about it, no more planning…the day is here. Time to roll to the start line. Now if you are not familiar with NVM it is a straight shot 26.2 miles. Not an out-and-back but starts from Calistoga and ends in Napa at the HS. All we have to do is run.
At the start line, I ran into my most favorite man, the man that gave me my life back 4 1/2 years ago through Gastric Bypass Surgery…my surgeon, Kent Sasse! He’s a marathoner. I did not know this until well after I became a runner. How cool is that? Now we have a tradition to start each race off with a hug and pic! This man doesn’t really know how much he gave back to me…such a great man great spirit!
There were a few things I learned along the way during this amazing experience! The first lesson…how to pee outside around other people. OMG! Yes, I have grown comfortable with scoping out a bush and targeting for a pee stop. That took me a few years to get comfortable with by the way. But seriously, I had to pee at the start line and there was only 5 minutes to the start time. Lines were LONG at each porta-poty! What’s a girl to do?? Go behind the line of porta-poties and join a few brave runners in their last pee break before a great race of course. I thought I was comfortable peeing outside…but when push comes to shove, you gotta do what you gotta do. I had a nice pre-race chat with a gal as we were both squatting and peeing wishing each other a great race while my wonderful running sister Olivia (more on her later) kept watch. And done…bladder empty, we are ready to race!
The marathon itself is an experience all in its own and deserves a blog entry of its own. I just want to tell you this…see that beautiful gal to my left?? (I’m in the center if you didn’t know…haha) That is Olivia! She is amazing and in the next blog about Napa…I will share EXACTLY how amazing she is and how she was part of my wonderful NVM experience!
Wrapping up this entry…I learned so much through training and racing. My running team family, coaches, and all those that supported me and continue to support me through 2014 race year…I love you all! How was my race??
Finish time: 4:22:19
Not too shabby for a first-timer! I held back, I enjoyed the experience and the race itself. Watch out for my next one. I would do Napa again! Stay tuned for more on lessons learned during a marathon.