Saturday, March 14, 2009

2009 Napa Valley Marathon Race Report

1. Pouring Rain
2. Bleeding Nipples
3. Beautiful Scenary

Q. What do the above three have in common?
A. They make for an unforgettable marathon experience.

March 1st, 2009 was the day of the beautiful Napa Valley Marathon. One of my running group members, Rob, decided to head up to Napa with me to do the marathon. Our excitment for the marathon came to a screeching halt when we discovered the weather forecast for the day of marathon. Yup, the good ol weather channel showed 95% precipitation. As the weather channel has been wrong in the past before, we were hoping that this was the case on Sunday. Well, long story short, it wasn't.

March 1, 2009
4AM: The alarm rang. Jumped out of the bed and peddled towards the window to observe the weather. It was definitely overcast, but NO rain. Whew, what a releaf. or so I thought...

5:30 AM: We walked out of the hotel..... As soon as my foot touched what can be conceived as the "outside", sprinkles started. No big deal right? It's just sprinkles....

5:40 AM: As we continued driving to the Finish line to catch the shuttle to the start line, the earlier sprinkles turned into a full-on rain.

5:50AM: It is now, officially pouring cats and dogs. However, somewhere in the back of my mind, I am hoping, and to a lesser extent, praying that the rain would slow or stop.

6:55AM Waiting for the marathon to start. It's been pouring non-stop. Even more so than before. My shoes, socks, and clothes were drenched.

7:00AM Gun went off and the 2009 Napa Valley Marathon had officially begun.

It took me about a mile to dodge people and actually find a comfortable space to run. But after the first mile, I was off. While still raining hard, I felt really strong. I did my previous marathon (Carlsbad) to qualify for Boston. It didn't happen, so I had a new goal for this marathon, which Boston had nothing to do with. The average pace for my Carlsbad marathon was about 7:45 min/mile. My goal for Napa wasn't to qualify for Boston, rather, to hold a very steady pace of 7:30 min/mile throughout the 26 miles. I did just that. With the exception of the first mile where I had to go through traffic, my pace was very even. I had set my Garmin to go off if I deviated 5 seconds/mile from my goal pace. I used that as a gauge to monitor my pace. I felt very strong throughout the marathon. When I got to mile 25, I picked up my pace to about 6:40. My official marathon time was 3 hours, 19 minutes and 11 seconds. I reached my goal of keeping a 7:30 pace.

The above was all the boring time/goal overview.... Now, the good stuff. I never had a chaffing issue during a run anywhere. Unlike other runners who smother themselves with body glide before a run, I have never had rashes associated with the friction created by running (with the exception of blisters). Apparently, I had to learn the hard way that when everything is wet (i.e. rain), there is A LOT more friction EVERYWHERE. It was about mile 17 when I looked down and saw red spots on my shirt... After close observation, it turned out that my nipples were bleeding. Jeez... I went into panic mode... Even though it wasn't painful, I felt very awkward and embarrassed. However, observing my fellow runners, apparently I wasn't the only one with this problem. If I were to do some statistics, I'd say that about 60% of male runners had blood on their shirts. Normally, I would say something funny at this point, but I am having flashbacks and getting really chivery. So, I'll leave it at that.

And if anyone is wondering, I will not post pictures of my marathon experience...

That's all I have to say about Napa. My next race is Wildflower Half Ironman (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride, 13.1 mile run).

After Wildflower, I will do a full Ironman distnace triathlon (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and 26 mile run).

After the Ironman, I will spend about 2 months specifically training for speed. I will then run California International Marathon in December and try to break 3 hours. Before, I thought of qualifying for Boston as a milestone. Now, I realize that it's doable and it is withing the reach of most people. I have never qualified for it, but Napa Marathon made me realize that it is very possible for an average Joe to run a marathon in 3 hours and 11 minutes. If Joe has a solid training plan, this shouldn't be a problem.


GirlOutdoors said...

I just came across your blog, having just started mine as I work from getting from 303lbs (for a 5'6 woman, yikes!) to doing adventure racing. 9 weeks on I'm 53lbs down and starting work on fitness, and it's quite inspirational to see what you've managed - it makes it more of a reality that I can do this, so thanks!

Arkady said...

Glad to hear about your progress. You can do anything you want to... the question is, "How BAD do you want it?" Good luck on your journey.

Joe Xavier said...

hey bro... its been so long since I get my life and everything else back reorganized from chaos..

happily back on track now... bleeding nipples. I just get them really red and it hurts like hell after that! The bandaid-over-nipple trick works?

Arkady said...

Yeah, the bandaid works. They also sell specialized bandaids to cover just those parts... very ergonomic. I just never had that problem during marathons before, but again, I've never ran 26 miles in pouring rain either....