"...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)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Race Report: Napa Valley Marathon - March 1, 2009

Napa Valley Marathon - March 1. 2009 Time: 5:18:53

Goal: Improve time over last year

Actual: Improvement of 1 min 26 sec. Not much, but after the day we had I am taking it as a win.

Throughout the week everyone was buzzing about how shitty today's weather was going to be.

Not all gossip is idle.

The weather was, in fact, quite shitty. Now, to be fair it could have been worse. There could have been a tsunami, a typhoon, or even a golf ball sized hail storm, but that didn't happen, so maybe we should all just quit bitching. Of course, we should 'quit bitching' AFTER we regain use of our hands and our core body temperature rises above that of a reptile.

Here is the story of marathon number 7.


Julia, Claire and I met up at the Expo to pick up our race numbers and our uber-cool Napa Valley Marathon bags.

Here are Julia and Claire modeling their duffel bags.

I opted for the backpack since I had a duffel from last year. I have to say, though, that the duffels this year were nicer than last year and it was a tough decision.

We had our pre-race dinner at the community center in Calistoga. It was put on by the Inn that Julia and Claire were staying at. It is called the Bear Flag Inn, and I linked because this place was so adorable AND the people that own/run it are the kindest and sweetest people. Plus the old lady makes a MEAN lasagna and anyone that can make a mean lasagna deserves a shout out.

The chickens of the Bear Flag Inn.
I am sure you are stunned to hear that I love chickens.

We met up at the start and joined our fellow runners in the port-a-potty lines. There were lots of interesting rain gear being sported. I figured by the end of 5+ hours in the rain I would be soaked anyway, so I might as well get it over with and did not have any rain gear on.

Claire, Julia and me ready to rumble!
Or drown, whatever came first.

Picture of assorted rain gear clad runners waiting in the honey bucket line and the second guy I met that day that was running his 100th marathon at Napa today.
Well, there his ass anyway.

Miles 0-13

We all started out together and were in high spirits. It was raining, but not that cold yet. (*creepy, foreshadowing music plays*) Early on I noticed a young gal pacing off me. The beauty of being slow, but chipper when I run is that I usually get to meet a lot of people. Her name is Liz and she is an 18 year old college student. This was her first marathon!

If you do not want to talk to me during a marathon you have one of two options 1. Run fast (or, really, even fast-ish will work) or 2. Do not make direct eye contact (this one is not iron clad. I will talk to people that don't look at me. Best to run fast-ish. That makes it a done deal). Yep, I AM that chatty, runner girl that everyone writes about hating during marathons.

Anyhoo... this girl's name was Liz and she was GORGEOUS. Seriously, if you want to hang with beautiful women for 5 + hours, you need to swallow your Speedy McSpeederton ego and run a marathon with me. I am a magnet for absolutely beautiful women at these things.

Case in point:The stunning, Tina Louise that I met during the San Diego R & R Marathon.
We ran 22 miles together.

Here is beautiful, 18 year old Liz that I met and ran 17 miles with at Napa. (I know, Runner Barbie! It's ok, I thought it too.)
She was an absolute doll though, and I very much enjoyed running with her.

I guess I am like that fat, old (yet, endearingly cute ;o) ) pony that makes the thoroughbred race horse feel better, so they drag him along to races.

I like that the 'metaphorical me' in is the lead here!


It was Claire's first marathon too, so we were chatting it up and having a high old time. A kind runner took a group shot of us at mile 10.

The merry gang at Mile 10.

This was the last time we were all together. Julia had been sick for two weeks prior to Napa and was feeling it. She feel back into a more comfortable pace and hung in. What a miserable day to be feeling bad and doing a marathon! Such a trooper!

Julia keeps on keeping on!

Claire, Liz and I pressed on. We bumped the pace a little around 13.1 and were feeling pretty good. We were getting a little silly about the rain. It was pouring by now and as we passed a local resident sitting on his porch reading a paper, Claire asked him what the weather forecast was for today. He said, "sunny and clear ahead." That cracked us up!

I can not believe how many spectators and volunteers were out there! It was a real boost to your spirits. Napa is a nice course, but it can be lonely. I tried my best to thank all of them.

I snapped this view that I remembered from last year and I wanted to show the contrast in weather from Last year to this year.

Last year at Napa

This year at Napa

Miles 14-19

We kind of fell into our own paces here. Liz and I were still together and just ran and chatted. We had set out a race plan for her when we first met up. She told me that on her 20 miler she went out too hard and barely finished, and highly suffered through, the last 8 miles. I told her that her best bet for finishing was to hang at a comfortably slow pace until mile 17 and then she could reassess her pace and she if she wanted to push it a little after mile 17. I also told her that she was more than welcome to pace off me, but I suspected it would put her in slower than she was capable of. She opted to hang with me because finishing was more important to her than time and if there is one thing I can do, it is finish a marathon.

At mile 17, I asked how she was feeling, she said "great" and I told her that she was running strong, had a run a smart race and had a chance at a sub 5 time so she should go. She was hesitant so I told her don't worry if you are having a hard time I will be behind you and get you to the finish, but you are ready. And with that I kicked my baby bird out of the nest.

I find that when you take a picture with a simply GORGEOUS 18 year old it is advisable to do your best Jabba the Hut impersonation and appear as if you have no chin at all. Lovely.

We tried to take a last picture together at Mile 17 (really, I just wanted to replace THAT doozey above), but this when I found out that my high tech camera weather proofing kit (Um, ... ok, it is really a ziploc bag) had proved insufficient. My trusty run camera, who's paperwork CLEARLY states is NOT weather resistant and actually quite weather sensitive, died.

Can we have a moment of silence please?

Here is the last pictures taken with my poor little Canon.

Not very interesting, and it wouldn't have made the cut if it were not the last picture my little baby took. *sniff*

Miles 20-26.2

A new storm rolled in and it was much heavier, windier, and colder than the previous one. I started to get uncomfortably cold and was looking forward to being done.

I was, however, excited that I felt better during these last miles than I ever have during a marathon. I ran consistently and pretty strong and had quite a bit of kick left at the end when I realized I was going to beat my previous year's time.

I got to see Claire finish her first marathon and she came in running strong and feeling good. All in all a great day.

One small rant

My one gripe about Napa Marathon doesn't have to do with me at all. Because of the extreme weather conditions there were about ~ 7 people (the website is having problems with the results, so I can not get an actual number) that finished after the official cut off of 6 hours. They left the clock up and posted their times on the site (initially, that may change when they come back up) but they did not give these people medals even though they had plenty of medals left. They had medals left because a lot of people had not shown up to brave the elements. But these people paid their entry, they DID show up, they DID slog out 26.2 miles in the pouring fucking rain, and they DID bring commerce to this race's uppity fucking town. Yet, no medal for them because they came in over 6 hours. And we are not talking about 2 hours post cut off, they all finished within 40 minutes of the cut off and they can't give them a medal?

I personally think that is bullshit.

One of these people was this woman that was the mother of four and first time marathoner.
She finished in this same get up. Yes, that is a pink shower cap! She is about 4 feet tall and had run 6 + hours in a pink shower cap, but Napa couldn't spare a medal.

Her family, the ENTIRE family, was out there ALL day and was waiting for her at the finish with roses. She came in at 6:24 and did not receive a finishers medal I am currently composing an email to the race director. I have to sit on it a few days and edit out a few dozen 'fuck's, 'fucking bullshit's, and 'goddamn's before I can send it.

All class that RBR. All class.


Klassenator said...

Great post!

I say send them a classy letter in one name, and another written truly from the heart of RBR (maybe just sign it RBR???)

I hope I find someone as nice as you along my first marathon this year...

Willie said...

You girl impress me. I'm a bad friend and totally forgot you had a marathon this weekend. You went and ran great anyway. This makes me wonder if my Oklahoma support is even needed.

I'm also extremely jealous that you've run a marathon this year and I haven't yet! Grrrr.

OK, now that I've got that out of the way. GREAT JOB! You have become a marathon rock and are giving in-race support to others. Look how far you've come in just a year! Impressive. Oh yea, and may I add, 7! Are you F-ing kidding me? You've run 7 marathons now! Holy crap girl you're a pro.

BTW, I've noticed the pink hat is looking well-worn which means it's absolutely beautiful and makes you look HOT!!

Alisa said...

That's totally lame that they didn't give them medals! Anyone that finishes with the clock still running should get a medal!

I love all your pictures. What miserable weather though, sorry chica.

7 marathons...wow!

P.S. That 18 year old totally looked like she could be walking a runway, even at mile 17. Must be nice to be that pretty.

ShirleyPerly said...

LOVED your race report!!

And, man, you sure are a babe magnet. I'm not sure I could run with anyone, gorgeous or ugly, for that long, though. But I can relate to that pic of the little horse next to the big one. YAY for us little horseys with short legs!

Way to tough out the tough conditions *and* finish faster than last year!!!

Jo Lynn said...

What a nice story that is. I was thinking of you out there running in the rain. You are a rockstar!

I cried when I was reading the last part, about the lady finishing in 6:24 and her fam there with flowers. That's HORRIBLE. How sad for her.

Thanks for sharing your day with us. ;)

Unknown said...

Look at you all cute in the pink and grey running shirt AGAIN. That's the way to be stylin' when you're running a marathon in the rain.

Gross weather. Ick.

And yet everyone seems so happy in the photos. Very cool.

Stef0115 said...

You are a Ma-Chine! Love this report and the pictures. The course looks fabulous even in the rain. Congrats on the course PR, although I am totally not surprised.


Southbaygirl said...

I think you should include the fucks, fucking, goddamnit's etc....it wouldn't be a RBR letter without! OK so the race director would probably throw it out!! But who cares. i agree with you-HORRIBLE that they didn't get a medal especially after slogging thru the rain for 26.2 fucking miles!!! it's the least the uppity wine town of Napa could do! They have the $$$$$

Now on to you! CONGRATS woman! And yes the 18 year old was cute-why couldn't I look like that when i was 18? Damnit!! Awesome race!!

Would it be bad to say I like rain?

When does your century start in Solvang? Am I going to have to hunt it down?

Julianne said...

Why didn't I know you were running Napa?? Seriously??!! I wish we could have met up at the Expo!!
OMG. Can I sign that letter? THat lady in the blue rain thingie deserves a metal!!!

Great job on your finish at Napa, btw!!!

Ordinarylife said...

Wow, congrats. A PR and you managed to take LOTS of photos. Well done.

Diana said...

Your post truly made me laugh out loud! Great report. I agree with the medal crap for those past 6 hours, I'm sure that I would be one of those!
There are sure alot of "barbies" running in your state, I should do my HM by you and make myself look good too! You can just imagine the beauties in WI!

Calyx Meredith said...

Congrats on beating your goal time - especially in all of that rain! You do manage to run with some gorgeous gals - but it is so not surprising to me. Like attracts like! And finally yay for sending that letter! I don't actually understand the no medal after a certain time policy. I would understand if they have to close the course or ran out of medals or if someone got a ride in a producer's van for 3 of those miles - then no medal. But if the course is still open, there are still medals to be had, and someone ran the whole freaking thing - then I think it's stingy and short sighted and mean spirited to say "No, no. YOU can't have one." (What do they do with leftover medals ANYWAY?!!) Grrrr. So send that letter as soon as you can and get that woman a medal!!
Did I mention you're a rockstar and I really want to run a marathon because of you?

Kelly said...

Awesome post!!!! I love reading your posts..they make me laugh so hard. It looked like a miserable day to run, and I completely agree with you that EVERYONE that finished in that crap should get a medal!

Unknown said...

Great post, sounds like you guys did great in the crappy weather. That stinks for the poor people that didn't get a medal, they definitely deserved one in my opinion.

Aileen said...

Excellent report! The race looks about as shitty as my half marathon back in September.

I would LOVE to have you chatting during race! Just don't expect a response from me ;) I want to know what make up that 18 year was wearing because it CLEARLY did not budge. I want that.

That sucks about the medals though, especially since they had so many extra. I would for sure write a letter.

Aron said...

CONGRATS on #7!!!!! wow what a day for a marathon! love your report! so fun you helped pace liz to her first marathon finish - how awesome is that?!?! you definitely had a marathon to remember :)

and wow on the whole medal situation, that is SO sad! let us know if you get a response.

i am jealous of the swag you got too! i want to run this marathon one year just for those cool bags :)

Jessica said...

You did a great job! You should be proud of yourself!! It was so nice of you to encourage that girl and stand up for the other runners! kudos

Adam said...

Great race report. Yes it is BS that they did not give medals to the 6+ folks, especially the gal in the pink shower hat.

Runner Susan said...

Awesome job! Great report and great photos. Love mile 10!

mthead said...

Good post, I was out there as well, but missed the really nasty stuff.
The 6 hour cut-off is not arbitrary. The Marathon has to pay an assload of money to keep the roads open, 6 hours is how long they do it for. It is one of the reasons the damn race costs $100. So I suspect they do not want to encourage 6 hour plus runners, as petty as it may seem. Food for thought.

Aka Alice said...

Oh for pete's sake...I've got hundreds of papers to grade, lessons to plan, but your race report has just left me with no desire to do any of it, but I do want to go back and reread the whole thing (again) because you are so damn funny!

I'm so sorry about your camera...

Yep...all that you wrote about, and that's what I'm going to comment on...the loss of your camera. It struck a cord with me...that's all.

That, and that the race directors should give the woman with the shower cap a freekin' medal...honestly!

Carolina John said...

sounds like you really slogged it out. good job sticking with it under those conditions.

Marie said...

Go you! You are awesome for running in all that rain!

Julie said...

Wow What a report! I am suitably impressed! That weather is crazy and yet you did it, beat your time and had a grand time!

Isela said...

Your report is fantastic. It gets me excited for my first marathon this Fall. Congratulations on a great finish!

I think the letter should definitely be sent. That lady deserved a medal, she finished she deserves it!

Herself, the GeekGirl said...

That is a pretty awesome time for the weather being as bad as it was! PS: I have that shirt (earlier post) but it looks way cuter on you.

Kolla said...

You go Bitch!!
And yeah, the Napa yuppies should definitely huck up a medal for the pink shower cap lady.

Keep on running and thanks for sharing the stories & pictures.
RIP Canon... and I guess you better spring for one of those weatherproof ones next, never know when the next wet marathon happens :)

Lindsay said...

bahaha. i love reading your posts, so many things make me laugh. great race, especially with the weather! ugh! i love all the pics and i am sorry to hear of your loss. i have been through 2 canon powershots myself. one decided to go for a swim in the ocean and the other decided it just didn't want to focus anymore. congrats on finishing another marathon and improving on your time! good luck writing the letter... i think those folks definitely deserve a medal!!

Anonymous said...

As usual you write a fabulous story! I am totally going to steal some of your pictures. I'm stoked you got one of the chickens, they were so pretty!
And if I get my medal because of your efforts I will owe you a treat of your choosing...

Carly said...

I loved your race report! You made the race fun despite the shitty conditions.

I think that totally stinks about the race not giving those finishers medals. I would be writing an email too...probably with the eff bombs.

Carly said...

Nice job by the way!!

schneider said...

You should definitely send the letter and encourage all post 6 hour runners and family members to do the same. Edit the fucks. They won't be able to hear it with the fucks in tact.
Very impressive how far you have come. I hope you look back and revel in the successes!

IronSnoopy said...

1. I had no idea it rains in California.
1b. I had no idea people ran in the rain, period. That's what treadmills are for.
2. You didn't mention any wine in your post. It wouldn't even occur to me that a race with "Napa" in the headline would have a race sans vino. Huh.
3. I call bullshit on the no medal rule too. I hope you send the letter.
4. NICE JOB!!!

JenZen said...

What a GREAT race re-cap! And those duffel bags are AWESOME. I wanna run it now just for the bag! Sorry the weather was crappy but it looks like such a fun journey.

Tina Mickelson said...

Oh I want to do this! I wonder if its too close after CIM and then its Chicago in October!

Get better soon! I wish you were running Shamrock'n, someday we'll get a meet up!

TokyoRacer said...

Great race and great report. I finished faster than you so didn't get as cold, but you had more fun. This was my first Napa, so the before and after pictures were great. I guess I have to go back again (also because I want to break my age group record..I won the 60-64 age group but missed the record by 5 minutes.)
Wish I had thought of a pink shower cap!
Bob in Tokyo