"...In the end, people either have excuses or experiences; reasons or results; buts or
brilliance. They either have what they wanted or they have a detailed list of all the rational reasons why not."

~ Anonymous
(taken from Matt Erbele's, It Takes Time to Get Good)

Monday, March 3, 2008

Race Report: Napa Valley Marathon

You know this bad boy is going to be long!

Day Before Race

My run buddy and I went to Napa the day before to pick up my race number and go to the expo. In the expo I started to look at all the 0% body-fat, traditional runner type people that filled the expo and I started to panic. I didn't want to walk around the expo. I just wanted to get out of there. My run buddy could tell I was freaking out so we left and went to check into the hotel. We stayed at the Meritage Resort at Napa, (nice place and they don't 'nickel and dime' you for every little thing like the fucking Hilton or Marriott hotels. Sorry, I digress...)

As the bell boy (bell man, bell person? whatever) was giving us the low down on the place, he asked us why we were in Napa. My run buddy says, "we are here for the marathon."

Bellboy: "Oh,...[pause, glance at us]... but you aren't running it, right?

Me thinks: Nice. What is that whizzing sound? It must be the sound of your plummeting tip, asshole!

Me says: "Um, yeah. I am running it." followed by a lame, girlie, nervous/embarrassed laugh.

Bellboy: "Oh, ... well,... Good luck."

Me thinks: Nice save, dickwad.

Me says: "Thanks." followed by more lame, girlie, nervous/embarrassed laughter.

I am so cool.

Then we were sitting in the room trying to figure out where to carbo load (the absolute BEST part of doing these damn things) and there is a knock on the door....

In walks my other run buddy!!

She drove all the way from L.A. to surprise me and support me for the marathon. They bought us all hot pink sweatshirts and puffy painted RBR and our names on them to wear on race day. So very cool! Picture: Most awesome support crew ever, hanging in the hotel.

Race Morning

I got up at 3:30 am to drink my coffee, eat, let my tummy settle, and freak the hell out, before leaving at 5:00 to head to Calistoga for the race start. I will admit I was freaking out. I don't think I said more than 20 words in the 30 minute drive from hotel to the start (that is no small thing. You know how much I write, you can only imagine being in my actual presence!)

Pictures: RBR girls
waiting for the start in our ULTRA COOL sweatshirts!

It was cold and WINDY. Really windy. I had only packed a short sleeve shirt because it was supposed to be warm, but I had bought a super lightweight, rain resistant, windbreaker just in case. Thank God I did and Thank God my run buddy convinced me to wear it. Did I mention I was freaking out and not thinking super clearly? Picture: Freaked out RBR, walking to the back of the pack.

The race started without any audible signal whatsoever. I just saw people moving forward. I started my watch when I noticed and started moving toward the line. I was pretty far back, but it is a small race, so it didn't take me that long to get to the start line. That is why there is a 22 second difference between my Garmin time and official time. I go by Garmin. So there.

I kept it slow. My knees and shins felt fine. Tummy was a little bit of an issue, but nothing too awful, but I was still freaked out. The road is seriously cambered (slanted to allow for water run off) this can be HELL on your knees. I knew this from reading about every race report ever written about Napa, so I ran the center line (flattest section of road) or the bike lane, whichever was least slanted, but it was hard to avoid. My knees complained, but I focused on my foot placement and they never got bad.

The scenery was pretty, the race was quiet, not a lot of talking. I saw quite a few iPods (very limited, but still enough to piss me off. If you are going to say you are going to enforce the "no headphones" rule, then fucking enforce it. I would have liked to have had my iPod too, but I followed the rule). My entourage first met me at mile 3.5. They went wild and were very recognizable in their hot pink sweatshirts (my buddies are very loud and obnoxious. I know, your shocked. Especially with me being so quiet and demure and all.) I was still scared. It was weird I felt great, but I remember reading somewhere, "of course you feel great at [insert some low # mile here] you are running a marathon. It is miles 20-26 you have to get ready for." Picture: Pretty vineyards.

Mile 9: At mile 9, I was supposed to see them again, plus hubby. I saw the RBR girls, but no hubby. He made a serious math error and thought I would be at mile nine at 10:30. Even I am not that slow. I felt like a rockstar, everyone would laugh and clap because my friends went so crazy when I got there. They apparently were a HUGE hit on the tour. There were limited places to catch the runners and the paces held pretty steady, so the same spectators would see each other along the route. My buddies cheered for everyone. They are so awesome. The scenery is pretty, more vineyards. Picture: Dorky, but still feeling fine at mile 9. I wish I looked more athletic when I run. I always look like I am walking.

Mile 16: HUBBY! Yay! very cool to see him. I still feel great, probably the best I felt all race. I knew at that point I was going to make the 17 mile cut off. NO RBR girls strange. Picture: Happy at 16 miles in!

Mile 17: RBR GIRLS! They walked from the mile 16 spectator spot to the 17 mile marker. So cool! huge celebration. I screamed "I get to stay!" A few runners around me laughed (the most verbal interaction I had with anyone all day, very quiet marathon. Odd.) Scenery, pastoral vineyards. Not to many livestock, but still pretty. Picture: RBR Girls at mile 17 marker!

Mile 20: No fucking marker, are you kidding me? It apparently blew away. It was VERY windy. Thank God for Garmin. They say the marathon begins at 20. Well, that oversued cliche (I guess, overused cliche is redundant, I digress...) Anyway, they are not kidding. Not even a little.

Mile 23: Christ, when is this damn thing over. Spectators screaming, "You are almost there!"
No, I am, fucking, not! I have 3.2 miles to go. That is NOT almost there. Scenery Oh, look more fucking vineyards. I am shocked and amazed. If I never see another fucking grapevine in my life it will be too soon. Picture: Another fucking vineyard.

Mile 25: I am certain that I have covered AT LEAST 8 miles since the last marker how is it possible that I still have 1.2 miles left to run? The number of times I have been told that I am "looking strong!" and and "almost there" is directly proportional to the number of people I have fantasized about killing. If you shoot a nose rocket or hock a loogie on the center line of a race you are an asshole. 'Nuff said.

Mile 26: Sweet Jesus above. Unless I am hallucinating the marker that 12,00 people have told me is "right around the corner" for the last 6 miles is actually in front of me. I can see the finish. Tim, one of my coaches from Team in Training for Nike, sees me and recognizes me, he holds my hand and runs with me for a few yards telling me how great I did. Dear God, I am actually going to finish. I get to stop running. I see Eddy (hubby) Picture: I see Eddy! I think I am going to cry I am so happy. I see the RBR girls going crazy.

Mile 26.2: I cross the finish line and enter the chute. I hear the beep of my Garmin and I see my time 5:20:19.

Holy shit. I just ran a marathon.

Picture: Dazed RBR, with the RBR girls. Very happy and a little loopy.


Southbaygirl said...

That's so awesome that you had so many fans cheering for you! I wish I could have come up! But I was there in spirit.

Isn't it just the most amazing feeling to cross that finish line knowing you've just run a marathon?! I cried the first time-yeah a geek but who cares! You've accomplished something that not everyone will do in their lifetime!!! Its a HUGE accomplishment! And feels GREAT! I'm so happy for you! Of course I would have said screw you to the no -ipod rule!! Especially since it was such a small marathon!! But good for you for following the rules!!

I'm so thrilled for you!!! You so deserve all the accolades and the awesome pink sweatshirt!

But don't hate vineyards! They give us wine!!!!!

Rock on RBR! You Ran Bitch, you Ran!!!


Maryland Girl aka Michelle said...

AWESOME!!!! Your account of the later miles had me chuckling. Kudos to your cheering squad too!

Anonymous said...

You GO girl! How great is it to say that you ran a marathon. How I long for that day soon.

Anonymous said...

You are AWESOME! Reading your race report was entertaining, from the frighetning non-human 0% fat bodies to the d*ckwad bellboy to the race jitters and then the actual race! HOORAY, you ran the whole thing, you ROCK!!!!!!!

And your cheering squad rocks, too!!!!!!!

Andrea N said...

You are SO AWESOME!!! Great report...I almost felt like I was there with you...in a comfy office chair of course.


Shelley said...

That is so great!! I love all the pictures and all of your support!! I am so proud of you!! Thanks for writing about your experience again! Makes me want to get up and run!!

Yea, whats up with these assholes hocking fucking loogies (sp?lol) right in front of you? Hello! I was dodging that shit left and right at San Jose. Gross.

Anyway, good job Stacey!!!

Willie said...

You are so awesome! Great job and I hope you enjoyed every loogy-hocking, dickwad-bellboy, "oh-my-god-not-another-vineyard", minute of it. Marathons are such an experience and getting good memories is just part of it.

As for your cheering section... All I could think of was "Mothers lock up your sons!" Did any of you go to jail? Is Napa still standing? Any idea how many young men you offended? Do any of you care? The three of you look like nothing but trouble and also a lot of fun!

Tracy said...

OMG. I'm laughing so hard at the sarcasm in all of this PLUS you're so detailed with words and photos I felt like I was there.

Speaking of words, HOW can I tell ya how PROUD I am of you? It's amazing. You keep trying to make it seem like you're average or even somehow below par but you CONSISTENTLY kick race ass.

I LOVE the pic of you with the peace sign! You need to have that enlarged and framed. GREAT photo!

~ Tracy

Jaime said...

That was an amazing race report. Thank you for sharing!

Anonymous said...

We KNEW you'd kick ass(!) . . . and thank you for not stopping, so that I don't have to travel all the way to CA for the sole purpose of kicking yours!!! :-D

I always love reading your race reports! You're really a fabulous writer and you (virtually) bring us all to the event.

I'm so glad that both of your running buddies made it to the marathon. That says a lot about your friendship. :-)

Have a great week basking in the glow of that marathon victory!

Calyx Meredith said...

Just followed you from your comment on athena diaries - and what a fantastic post to get to read first! Congratulations. And thanks for the entertaining and inspiring race report.

Willie said...

Hey, just because you ran a marathon doesn't mean you can stop posting! You're allowed a small break but we better see some RBR ramblings soon or else!!

Pauline Wiles said...

Thank you so much, I'm running Napa as my first (and only!) marathon this Sunday and I loved your account of it. I'm quite worried about the mile 17 cut-off too, so will be celebrating when I reach that point!