The forecast was calling for a big storm the morning of the race. For once, the weatherman was spot on. This was unfortunate for us.
After getting our bibs at the expo and running into Maili and Sonja, a nice treat, we had a nice rest back at the hotel and then headed to dinner at Spataro, an Italian restaurant nearby for my pre-race ritual dinner: Carpaccio and Linguini and Clams. I also had a glass of Prosecco because even though I don’t like to drink before a race, this time around it didn’t seem to matter.
The next morning, I donned my rain gear I wrote about the other day, after my 4 a.m. wake up, with one small addition: a large trash bag. This item was key in keeping dry for the race. I actually liked how it looked, more than what I was wearing. I did not like my race outfit at all. I wore it solely out of necessity.
At 4:45 we headed out the door for our 10 minute walk to the Hyatt where we were catching our bus that would take us and many other runners to the start of the race at Folsom Dam. Everyone was dressed in a similar fashion, some type of plastic attire covering their bodies. There were a few brave souls in just short shorts and a tank. And I thought I was nutz doing this run in the rain?
We sat on the warm bus just until 5 minutes before the gun went off to avoid the downpour and stay warm.
don’t be fooled by the blue looking sky, a trick from all the lights shinning. It was gray and raining hard.
My sweetie ran with me for the first 2 minutes before venturing off into the melee of folks ahead of us. I wished him well as he did me. Somehow, instead of stopping and turning around to end this misery, I pushed on, alone, to run in what would be 20 miles of rain and strong winds.
I ran with my garbage bag for a few, maybe 4 miles. I was actually kinda hot, so I ditched it. It did keep me dry though and I missed that aspect.
The 5 mile marker was the first I saw, and I was surprised how fast that went by. I had no idea what sort of time I was doing. I was carrying enough crap and didn’t want to wear my Garmin too. I didn’t really care about time. My goal was just to finish.
Throughout the race the streets were littered with discarded trash bags.
There were heavy wind gusts here and there, and you could really feel them. I was glad I had on my Nike storm jacket. It was actually pretty protective.
I was listening to my ishuffle. I had made a playlist just for this race and only later on realized it had only downloaded a portion of the songs I wanted to hear.
There were some great signs people were holding up and kudos to them for being out there in the pouring rain. One said: “your feet hurt because you’ve been kicking so much ass today!” I liked that one. The folks lining the streets were great.
I filled up my small water bottle I was carrying with the blue Powerade they had at every aid station. I noticed that the water was being scooped out of plastic lined garbage bins. That reminded me of the Vegas Half I did exactly one year ago, where everyone got sick, so I avoided drinking much water.
Somewhere around mile 8 I saw Maili run past. I called out her name and she slowed for a sec to say hello. I tried to pick up my pace to run with her and decided to just let her do her thing. It was nice to see a friendly face. I hope she had a good race.
At mile 13 I did a dreaded but unfortunately needed Porta-Potty stop. There was a line about 6 people deep and standing there waiting for this in the pouring rain sucked. Bummer for me that once again, Aunt Flo wanted to be a part of my race. This is the third race in a row she has burdened me with her presence!! I hate stopping for a potty break at a race, and this is the first time I have done it. Thankfully my waterproof pouch kept my supplies dry. But having to pull off and on soaking wet tights took more time than I care to think about. I was drenched from head to toe and now that I was out of the rain it was apparent just how wet I was. I almost wished I was in just shorts and a light top. I def had too much clothing on, but at least I wasn’t cold.
I walked just a bit after this pit stop and took the ibuprofen I was carrying. Not sure if it helped at all.
The miles between 13 and 18 were just a push of getting to the next mile. It was pouring rain still and there were times we were running through rivers of water crossing the road. It didn’t matter, our feet were already soaked through. I actually think the cold was good for my feet. I didn’t notice any foot pain this run until about the 24th mile.
My legs (quads) were starting to get very tired/sore at mile 18. All I was thinking was, I have 8 more to go… ugh! There were times I wanted to quit, but after reaching 18 miles, I thought… “you’ve come this far…” I guess that kept me going.
I took in some fuel around mile 19 before hitting the so-called “wall.” I walked for a bit and ate my Bonk Breaker bar-peanut butter and jelly flavor. I love these.
I’m glad I did too, because the race folks didn’t have any good eats (at least for us slow straggles in the back). I saw orange slices earlier, which upset my stomach, so I didn’t eat them. Then around mile 19 they had more of those and I saw one… ONE!, slice, (like a disc) of a banana. Later I saw a bunch of waterlogged pretzels on the ground and thought maybe they had given out those to earlier runners. They mostly just passed out GU’s. I took one but never ate it as I had one earlier that I had with me. And that was it. I thought that was pretty crappy for a race of this magnitude. I really wanted some banana too. They did have some red vines they handed out around mile 24. It looked like most people took one bite and threw the rest on the ground. Red vines don’t sound like something you want to eat on the run. YUCK. The Napa Valley Marathon did a much better job at providing runner’s with fuel.
Around mile 20, we could see a little blue sky ahead. The storm was ending!! Thank God! Mile twenty was also where they have the famous “party at the wall.” Here, the crowds were larger (and dry) and cheering us all on. I had a hard time cracking a smile for them but appreciate that they were out there. It does help.
Once my quads started hurting me I adopted a walk run method from about miles 19-24 on. I would walk when I saw the mile marker for about 5 minutes then run the remainder of the mile. I was definitely feeling it. Tired.
I pulled my phone out at mile 23 when I started to walk. I was dragging and was hoping for some inspiring texts.
The first one, from my sweetie said “Keep running! I love you!!!”
That was huge for me at that point. Because I really wanted to stop and walk the rest of the way. I texted back “3 to go” and then he said “Keep going!!!! You can do it. I’m here waiting for you!! Go go go!”
I also had a few other good luck texts, one from a current fellow employee, another from my last manager from Athleta and even one from my ex husband.
All of those words helped me push on. That and the fact that I was ALMOST DONE!
When I got to the street near the Capitol, the one street I recognized I was thrilled. I ran past Spataro where we had dinner, I ran past the Hyatt and then my sweetie was there running out in front of me snapping pics.
He didn’t run along with me because his legs were a little sore too. He ran a 3:23 race which qualifies him for Boston, not that that was his goal. Congrats sweetie. You rock and amaze me!!
I was so happy to get to the end of this race. It was tough under the rainy conditions. I couldn’t wait to be done and out of my wet clothes!
I got my big fat medal after I ran through the shoot. Time was 4:54:14. Eleven minutes faster than my last and first marathon earlier this year. I think I would have come in around 4:40 had I not needed to make that period pit stop. That really pisses me off actually. Such a waste of time. Aw well, at least I finished.
Then I waited in line for my official post race photo to be taken.
Here is the view of the Capitol while I waited.
I struck my pose and then was off. I saw a water table and grabbed a bottle. I didn’t see any food tables AT ALL! I saw a few folks walking around and drinking out of a small chocolate milk container. I did not find the place to get one. I was fried and made my way out of there and just wanted to go back to the room and take off my soaking wet clothes and take a long hot shower. I knew I had chocolate milk in the refrigerator at the hotel. But I find it really odd that there were no bananas or bagels or any food for the runners. Maybe I just missed those tables… too focussed on finding my sweetie and getting out of there.
I’m glad that I persevered and ran this race given the poor weather conditions. It really does show we can do anything we set our minds to. Even though my heart was not fully in this race, I still finished. I am proud of that. I also know, as I sit and write this post, the morning after, quite sore and hardly able to walk or go up and down my stairs, that I don’t have any desire at this moment in time to do another marathon. I think 26.2 miles is just so damn far to run. I’m in awe of those that can do it, repeatedly. I am also in awe of Johan and Kurt who did back to back marathons this weekend.
As for me, I am going to stick to half marathons. It’s easier on the body.
One last thing. I am so pleased with my Zoot running shoes. I did not get any blisters during this race with my soaking wet feet. That was one of the best parts of this race.
On the drive home it was clear skies. I wished our race was that way.
For some more great images–taken at the race by the Sacramento Bee: click here.
I am so happy this race is behind me. Now I can just run for fun!!
I’ll post official rainy pics when they come in.