This race was really special since my sister was also running it. As many of you know, my Dad also lives near San Franscisco in the town of San Ramon, so it was the perfect opportunity for me to get a visit and run a marathon that I had heard so many of the Cal runners rave about last year, and maybe get a chance to meet a few of these ladies as well!
Friday I had plans to meet Jolynn but awoke after travel, with a headache and a really bad case of pre-race nerves, so unfortunately I did not get to meet her! :( Hopefully I will get to meet her when I return possibly in March. I spent most of the day Friday low key catching up with family and trying to rehydrate after feeling very dehydrated after the 5 hour plus flight on Thursday.
Saturday morning came and we made the 1 hour trip to Sacramento. We got there had lunch, and then hit up the expo! It was a small expo and rather unremarkable, but well organized none the less.
We had a quiet afternoon and evening, and went to bed early to ready ourselves for our 4 am wakeup call. When the morning came, I felt really calm. Usually I dread the start of a marathon, but today I felt calm. I just went over the messages I had gotten from friends and family prior to the marathon in my head. One good friend in particular told me "Stay strong out there, we are with you with, you can do this". It really stuck with me and became my mantra whenever I struggled throughout the race.
This race is a point-to-point course (which I loved), so we stayed on the warm buses until 10 minutes prior. I said goodbye to my sis (who lined up at the front - she ran a 2:53 marathon), and went to stand in line at the bag check, which was poorly located close to the start line. This created a mob-like jam in front on the trucks that would transport our gear back to the finish, and people began to push each other towards the bag check. People also began tossing their bags towards the trucks in spite of being told not to. It was kinda hilarious, like a bad comedy skit. I manuvered my way through the crowd (benefit of being short), and dropped my bag and got the heck out of there! Nicole said they lost her bag, CIM work on this organization please!
The race started out and I felt a little crampy but since I started slow, I told myself not to worry, it would be OK (which it was, but I had lingering mild cramps throughout the race including a calf cramp - maybe dehydration?) Aron had warned me the course was rolling hills and she is right. The course is really quite challenging, and one must do proper hill training to run a good race. I found myself LOVING the rolling course, it was never boring, and everytime you ran up (which was endless), it was usually followed by a downhill.
As you ran past each mile marker, there were gentlemen in top hats that would yell out your total time and splits and pace. I love this!!! What a great idea! At first my splits were in the 10's but after I got onto to pace, they were either high 8's or low nines, and I loved hearing "you are on pace to run a 3:58 or 4:00 hour marathon" It helped motivate me to stay on track and I vowed to hear them say that until mile 20 at least!!
I ran my first half in 1:58 (gun time), and felt a little tired, but I just kept telling myself I can do this, and before I knew it I was at mile 20. My mile 20 split was 3:08 (gun time), and I was told, "you are on pace to run a marathon in under 4 hours). I decided I needed to go for it.
Ahhhhh the last six miles, I ran my best, only taking my very brief water breaks at the water stations, but past mile 23 I could hear people yell "yah 4 hours!". I knew the 4 hour pace bunny was on my tail. I could hear the mob like "clump clump clump" of the feet behind me, and honestly, I tried to hold them off as long as I could.
When the 4 hour pace bunnies (there were 2) passed me at mile 24, I was a little relieved, it was easier to chase then to have them breathing down my back. I did my best to keep them in my sights, but man those last two miles are tough. I really felt like I was outside my body watching down.. I really and truly gave it all I had, and crossed the finish line at 4:03:20, with a chip time of 4:02:01.
I missed seeing my dad, sister and brother in law at the finish -it was so crowded!! I am so proud of how I ran this race. I never gave up, and I know I have a sub 4 hour in me. After this race, I know I can eventually chip away and get my 4 hours and maybe a BQ with alot of training and hardwork. That is what I love about running. The constant challenge!!
The next day I met up with Aron, Tara, Danica and Nicole for breakfast in Walnut Creek. It was so fun meeting these people, and hearing about their marathon experiences. Everyone ran awesome races! Aron BQ'ed, Nicole had a PR, and Danica and Tara are now marathon maniacs. Congrats also to roadbunner who got a great PR race day.
After breakfast I went to Napa to sample wine, and had an awesome day. Sigh.... Napa is so beautiful. (sorry I only had my blackberry so excuse the crappy pictures!)
I flew home Tuesday and when I got home Hubs surprised me with this min chocolate cake:
It was so yummy!! What a sweetie!
All in all I LOVED this marathon, and I just may have to come back and run it again! The state of California is now done (8 states total down!)
So what's next?! I have a few plans I am mulling over, which I will post about in a few days. I am considering another marathon in 3 weeks also.... :)
Thanks for reading!