Sunday, March 04, 2007

Race Report: Napa Valley Marathon
Ran the Napa Valley Marathon this morning. Headed out with some trepidation; I'd told friends and colleagues (yeah, I'm one of those middle-aged guys who regales trapped officemates with tales of his pathetic athletic pursuits) that I wanted to run 3:30 to qualify for the 2008 Boston Marathon. This would require shaving almost five minutes off my PR.

Well: I did it! Don't know the official time, but my clock had me at 3:24:46.

Weather was perfect -- cool but not cold to start, very little wind, then sunshine and a few wispy clouds as the morning wore on, temps nudging 60 by the finish. All a stark contrast to the horror that was last year's race.

I just ran a steady pace the whole way, pretty much. Lots of miles in the 7:30s and 7:40s -- faster than I thought I'd go, but I felt good, and kept feeling good, so I let it roll. After 21 miles I began to suffer a bit. Tightening in the quads and hamstrings, a little Achilles action going on, hips acting up.... Not surprisingly, my tempo slowed -- my last five miles were 7:53, 7:59, 8:06, 8:05 and 8:07.

But all the same, I'm super-proud of those miles. At Sacramento 16 months ago I was on pace to run a 3:30, but could barely manage 9-minute miles over the last 10K. They always say that's when the marathon really starts, at around 20 miles. And they say truth. Today, the first 20 miles were comfortable and fun. The last five were the stuff that makes going long with a goal beyond simply finishing so interesting and addictive.

What else to say: Oh, many thanks to the Team in Training girl from somewhere in the South Bay who I ran with for five or six miles early on. Good company.

And thanks also to Bergie and her crew, who cheered for me on Mile 19 -- which, no mere coincidence here, turned out to be my fastest mile at 7:26. I know they will treasure the Gu wrapper I tossed at their feet.

And thanks to Anna, who met me afterward with a giant Jamba Juice fruit thing. That hit the spot. What a sweetheart. (We are going to miss her terribly; Friday was her last day at work.)

Anyway, maybe there's more to say. Maybe not. Maybe later. I feel good now -- nothing really hurts. Well, one little blister on the bottom of my left foot, when I step wrong, it howls a bit. Mostly, I'm just tired. A very good tired.

Boston '08. That's going to be cool.

UPDATE -- official results:
Time: 3:24:46
Pace: 7:49/mile
Overall finish/racers: 137/1708
Men: 117/1236
Age group (men 40-44): 21/148

And I noticed, in scrolling through the results for my fellow 40 to 44-year-old dudes, that famed ultraman Dean Karzanes was 8th in the group, at 3:07:01. Of course, he probably ran to the start line from San Francisco or something ridiculous like that...


Liz said...


dan said...

This is f---ing AWESOME, dude. Way to go. Maybe one of these days I'll try to ride a brevet fast.


\ said...

I'm so not surprised you did it! There isn't much you don't do once you set your mind to it.

What surprised me was to finally see something on the old blog.

Good Job!!