3 Apr 2013, 12:13pm
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here we go here we go here we go

I am running my first marathon on Sunday. Therefore?, I came down with a cold on Monday evening. I have been chowing down on vitamins and Emergen-C and hot tea with honey and massive amounts of lemon. Just hoping for the best, I guess. I hadn’t gotten sick in ages — my third year working with snotty preschool or elementary school kids and I figured I’d already gotten every cold bug west of the Rockies (the first year was rough). Guess not! But I won’t get this one again. Isn’t that how it works?

Other than that, I feel ready. I wanna go pound it out. I’m psyched. A week and a half ago I ran 20 miles — my last training run with TNT. Went great! Didn’t track it on my phone or look at the time when I started or finished, which I think worked in my favor. I was slow, for sure, but steady. Once you’ve got steady, fast starts to come, right? I think so. I’ve got as long as I need.

(The last turnaround / pow! pow! Killed it! / “Ice bath” in the ocean.)

The week before that, I made an arguably misguided decision to run my first trail race and second half-marathon race at the Rodeo Valley Trail Run. It was kickass, by which I mean it kicked my ass. I went by myself, which meant I spent 45 minute or so before the race standing around sort of awkwardly thinking about how I gotta make some trail running friends. The race itself felt smaller and more casual than either of the races I’d run previously — instead of a big arch and/or balloons, the finish line was marked by cones and a banner off to one side reading “finish,” and race staff wrote down runners’ times as they came through. The start line was another set of cones set up a couple minutes before the start, which was marked by a countdown on a bullhorn. The 30k and 50k runners started first, and then us half-marathoners a quarter of an hour or so later. And we were off!

The route started out going up a big hill, which was a sign of things to come. I was not super steady in this race. I ran the first five miles or so somewhat, er, ambitiously. I warmed up quickly and ran most of the race with my light jacket tied around my waist — next time I’ll shiver at the start line instead. Or take a page from my bike touring experience and wear arm warmers I can roll down to my wrists. Anyway, I came into the first aid station feeling great.

(Feeling good; looking ridiculous. What is going on in this photo??)

In the middle section of the race (miles 6-9?) I fell in with two or three other women who were running at about the same pace as me. I kept stopping to take photos with my phone of the trail and the fog (which were quite pretty) and leapfrogging with them. I chatted with them a bit and we worried together about being lost when we hadn’t seen hide or hair of any other runners for awhile, nor any ribbons marking the course. Eventually ribbons appeared and the trail started to head downhill for awhile, and the other women pulled ahead of me, and I didn’t see them again. I do not feel at all confident running down hills! I worry about hurting my joints and/or crashing to the ground. Things to practice!

After the second aid station there was a long climb that I pretty much totally failed to run up. I got passed a lot here, though mostly by quick 30k and 50k runners, I think (they ran another loop from the second aid station, to make a figure-8, before continuing on the same loop we were on). I was feeling really tired, and the hills kept coming. The sun was finally coming out and the views were getting more and more beautiful, but I was beat. The last couple of miles were narrow, technical trail up and down and up and down. I stood aside a lot to let faster runners pass. Towards the end I was passed by the tall, graceful woman who was just behind me in that photo taken at the first aid station — she cheered me on and then rocked the last downhill to the finish line. I followed as best I could and finished a little over a minute behind her.

I was hoping I’d broken three hours; I wasn’t sure what time we’d started but I knew it was a little later than the advertised start time. Turns out I finished in 2:42:27! Yes slower than my first half marathon (at 2:24:42) but with more than three times the elevation gain and more technical trails. I was pleased.

Instead of medals, they gave out mugs and then served soup in them. Nice.

One more running milestone to share — not the first time I’d wiped out (that was a few months ago), but the first time running made me bleed –

(On a run around my neighborhood on Monday.)



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