Race weekend started Friday with a small expo at the Napa Marriott where we picked up our race packets (a cute t-shirt, hat, and Feetures socks - great swag!) and attended a low-key pre-race mocktail party sponsored by Honest Tea. The orange creamsicle mocktail was quite delicious, and the party set the "girlfriend's getaway" tone for the weekend even though I was still in my own town.
|The Athleta outfit I purchased at our private Ambassador shopping event - I love this skirt!|
|Jennifer ran her first half marathon, Sarah ran a PR, and Marci ran her first 10k|
|Vinerunners (age group winners Eileen and Heather in the yellow & blue)|
My first mile started with a modest 8:12 pace. Surprised with the ease at which I felt, I picked up the pace for the next couple miles and ran a few sub-8:00's and steady 8:00's. The first three miles of the course were beautiful: Dry Creek Road and Orchard Avenue are picturesque Napa roads with ranch-style houses with large yards, small vineyards and gorgeous trees (we ran by the house where I got my chickens!). I was a little nervous that the roads weren't closed as Orchard doesn't have a shoulder, but I had plenty of space to run in the road without a traffic problem (One house was having a yard sale - were they not warned about the race?).
Solano Avenue was less scenic - it's parallel to the freeway, and, while not as much as I expected, there was some car traffic. By now, a woman had joined me for conversation, which, I hate to say, got a bit tiresome after a few miles.When I told her I was chasing a goal, she seemed to think it was her duty to keep me distracted with stories and pep talks. While she was very kind, and I really do appreciate her effort to motivate, I prefer to be in my own head when I'm racing. I'm way too polite to tell someone to stop talking to me, so mental note: next time I'm chasing a goal, wear headphones (except at Santa Rosa where Erin will be my official pacer, woohoo!).
Speaking of Erin, as I approached the turnaround, there she was, passing by looking strong. I actually really enjoy out & backs because I get a little pep in my step when I see other runners. It was also a wonderful distraction, not only from the boredom of Solano Avenue, but from Chatty Cathy, to call out cheers to all the ladies I knew as they passed by.
I didn't start dying until around mile 9. Up until this point, I had hoped to pick up the pace for the last few miles. But, I made two nutrition mistakes in this race: First, I didn't take any of the Cytomax at the water stops. For some reason, the energy drink didn't sound good to me, and I decided to listen to my body instead of drink what I knew I should have based on what I've learned from experience. Unfortunately, it was getting hot and I was sweating a ton, and I needed those electrolytes. By mile 9, it was too late; I knew I was dehydrated and was running out of energy fast. I felt like throwing up for a few miles, and as soon as I finished, I had to hold on to a table as my dizziness steadied. My second mistake was I ate a Gu too late in the race. I haven't had a Gu in a couple years, but I figured all energy foods are the same and didn't worry about switching things up. I immediately got a stomach cramp on the uphill stretch around mile 11, making that mile additionally painful.
Once I got to the top of Orchard Avenue, I felt slightly better and I knew it was a gentle downhill back, so I was able to pick up my pace again. Trying my best to just focus on form and the finish line, I thought about the crazy people running Western States that same day and a couple Vinerunner friends who were running Ironman the next day. Cathy raced me across the finish line, and I managed to finish in 1:45:53, 5 seconds faster than my previous PR set at Urban Cow last fall. Even though I'm in better shape now, I remember feeling much better at Urban Cow's finish. I have a feeling that if I had fueled and hydrated properly, I could have at least met my goal of sub-1:45. I'm not yet giving up on the 3:35 goal for Santa Rosa, but I am being realistic and I will be completely happy with a PR that reflects the strength I have gained since CIM in December. There's always another race to chase the BQ.
I was pleased to see so many friendly faces at the finish, and once I caught my breath and steadied my head, I was able to enjoy their company. My friend Marci confidently ran her first 10k race, and Sarah ran a PR (her 3rd in a row I believe). Many Vinerunner ladies did well and won age group awards, and after a bit of chatting, we slowly jogged back to the Marriott for the post race festivities. The hotel was lively with women taking dips in the pool, drinking wine and cocktails, and I was able to congratulate my fellow ambassadors on a job well done.
|ZOOMA ambassadors, Erin, Lynda, Amanda, Rachel, Karen and Kara|