After almost 25 miles on Saturday, I knew I needed to eat a lot and try to get to bed really early in order to be successful at this marathon. I did the best I could at both, but sadly I didn’t fall asleep as early as I hoped. Even though this was a “training run” for me, it was still a marathon and I still got nervous! It doesn’t matter how many of these I do, the butterflies still happen.
My alarm went off at 3:15am and my eyes did not want to open. But the first thing I noticed when I woke up was that my legs didn’t feel too tired or sore at all and I was so glad! I got up and got moving though and after a cup of coffee I was feeling more awake and excited. I got dressed and got all my things together, then made my toast with peanut butter for the ride to meet my friends. I was right on time at our 4:30am meeting spot.
We drove to Napa with no traffic and I ate my Clif Bar as we were getting closer. Somehow we ended up following the busses and pretty soon we were on the Silverado Trail where the marathon would take place! We drove past the start line and pulled off on a side road, literally yards from the porta potties and maybe a half mile from the start line. It was so perfect. We sat in the warm car for a while, then got out with about 20 minutes to go. We used the bathroom one more time and said bye to our amazing driver Kim who got up so early to take us to the start.
We walked over to the start line and were able to make our way to our spots very easily. This isn’t a huge race and you could definitely tell. I love smaller races! A couple of minutes later, we were off!
I started running and my legs actually felt pretty good considering. I could tell I had run a ton of miles that week and also could tell I had been pounding the pavement quite a bit. I made sure to keep it easy and was enjoying being in a marathon while being able to take in the scenery and the runners around me without worrying about pace.
It was upper 30s/low 40s at the start, but it was supposed to be a pretty warm day for March. I definitely took advantage of the cooler first 10 miles and enjoyed the cool air and shade. I was in a tank and shorts, but kept my gloves on for a lot of the first half and it felt perfect temperature wise.
I started eating my Shot Bloks at mile 2 and planned to try and eat them every 2 miles as I went. I was carrying my smaller handheld and tried to remind myself to drink early and often since it was going to be a warm day. No dehydration allowed!
Within a couple of miles I had to pee which was annoying because that has never once happened to me in a marathon! I figured I should just stop and get it over with. Sadly that stop ended costing me almost 4 minutes. I wasn’t worried about my time though, so I just continued on my way.
It was getting warmer and we were fully in the sun at this point. I knew we would be running right into the sun a good part of the race, so I was happy I had my sunglasses with me which I ended up wearing most of the race. Around mile 11.5 I was expecting to see Kristin and she was right where I thought she would be! She had a long run to do, so hopped in to keep me company. I was very happy to see her and to have someone to chat with.
We continued on winding our way through wine country. The course was SO beautiful with all the wineries, hills, and wild flowers. It’s definitely a scenic course that we were soaking up. There were some hills, but nothing too bad. Just a few real noticeable hills and then mostly rollers after that, with some extended stretches of slight incline, with a total net downhill.
I looked at the clock when we crossed the half and I think it said around 2:10 which I was very happy with, especially with the bathroom break. From there the miles ticked on by and Kristin and I were just chatting away like any normal run. Pretty soon we looked up and saw two guys riding towards us on bikes that looked awfully familiar. It was Chris and his friend Eric! We were definitely happy to see them.
We chatted with them for a few minutes and then they rode off and we continued to make our way down the Silverado Trail.
We kept on running and pretty soon we were in the 20s! I was getting pretty warm at this point, but knew it was really good training for AR50 since I will be running in the middle of the day.
At this point I was filling up my bottle at each water stop (every 2 miles) just to make sure I was getting enough water. I was still eating my Shot Bloks but not as frequently as before. I had also taken salt caps every hour, so I was pretty happy with how my fueling was going and my energy felt great!
My legs were getting tired and my feet could definitely feel all the pavement I had been pounding the last 2 days, but I didn’t feel the need to stop. Kristin kept saying “if you need to walk or anything just let me know” but I didn’t. Besides the bathroom and filling up my water bottle, we ran the whole thing!
We were in the late 20s now, and I was actually feeling really good at this point so we started picking up the pace a little bit. Around mile 25 we were greeted with some homemade sorbet which was amazing. I had peach! Then we just kept on pushing, getting a little faster as we went. There were lots of people around us that were hurting and we were the annoying runners running by with big smiles on our faces while speeding up. It was so nice to feel like this at the end of a race!
Pretty soon I was making the final turns, I said bye to Kristin and really picked it up. My legs felt good and it felt really good to move a little faster. Turn, turn, turn and there was the finish line!
Garmin: 26.44 miles/4:17:54/9:45 avg pace
Official: 26.2 miles/4:17:55/9:51 avg pace
Just like that my 13th marathon was done!
I finished off my biggest week yet with 90 total miles and 51 miles over the weekend. I was so happy! I felt pretty great too, no real soreness, just some fatigue, which is to be expected.
This was a great race that I would definitely recommend to anyone! I love the smaller size, the swag and all the support. Wine country is beautiful, and although it was a bit warm today, it was still so fun and a great race to “race” too. So many of my friends had AWESOME races and I am so proud of them!
Add this one to your list if it’s not there already!