Napa Valley Marathon Race Recap

The Napa Valley Marathon certainly won’t go in the books as one of my best races, but I finished it. So I’m counting it as a win.

I avoided thinking about this race as long as I possibly could, in the same manner that I successfully avoided training at all for this race. It really didn’t hit me until I was packing my bag for the trip that I would be putting my body through a 26-mile run again. Once that realization hit, I was more than nervous. I knew I hadn’t prepared. I knew it would be hard. I was dreading it, but I managed to put it in the back of my mind so I could have a good time in California before race day. We spent a couple days in San Jose/San Francisco before heading up to Napa. I happily ate and drank my way through the trip. Continue reading

Next Stop, Napa

In a few hours, I’ll be boarding the plane and heading to California, where I’ll be running in my second marathon. As I was packing up my race outfit last night, it finally hit me that I’d be running 26.2 miles on Sunday. I’m dreading every step of it. Before the Philly marathon this past fall, I was too excited for words in the days leading up to the race. I knew crossing the finish line would be an incredible experience. I kept picturing my friends waiting for me at the end during my training runs, and I breezed through most of the race with a smile on my face. This time around, I can’t get my head to focus on the finish line part. I just keep ┬áthinking about how hard the race is going to be. I know it will be my own fault. I could have trained so much harder… or really, at all.

My goals for this race are really just to get through it. I have no expectations of beating my Philly time. It will be incredibly warm at 71 degrees and sunny. Not being used to the weather might make it even more challenging. I plan on hydrating as much as possible both the day before and throughout the race. I also plan on drinking lots of wine when it’s all over. Look for my race recap next week!

17 miles down. How many to go?!

There are now 30 days until the Napa Valley Marathon! If you’ve been following my blog at all, you know I’ve been a little lazy in my training this time around. My long run schedule was interrupted by snow a couple weeks ago. But this past weekend, I finally got back on track and went for a 17-mile run. Continue reading

If You’re Tired, You Take A Nap-a, You Don’t Go To Napa

When I started running a few years ago, it was mainly to get some exercise. I did a bunch of 5K’s, usually when they supported a cause I was vested in or if I had friends running them. I took my first leap into distance running with the Broad St run in 2010, a 10-miler across the city of Philadelphia. It’s an amazing race with 30,000 runners and thousands of spectators. After some training, I finished my first Broad St. It was at that time I first started to think that maybe I could do a marathon. I mentally added it to my bucket list. And this year, when registration opened for the 2011 Philly marathon, I decided to bite the bullet and sign up. I knew if I thought about it too much, I’d never do it.

At the beginning of the summer, I embarked on actually learning about running and how to train. I became obsessed with my schedule and planning my runs, figuring out what to eat, reading every article on running I could get my hands on. And by the time the marathon came and went in November, I couldn’t imagine my life without all that training. It was in that mindset that I signed up for the Napa Valley Marathon. A month later, I kind of wish I had thought it over a little more.

In theory, running the marathon in Napa sounds great. Run through some gorgeous scenic countryside, with lots of vineyards, in a pleasant climate. Take a little vacation in California while I’m out there. Visit some wineries. Not a bad way to recover post-race. Even the strict no-headphones rule (which I’ve learned they actually enforce) seemed like a fun challenge. But I forgot a few key things here. Firstly, Christmas, and the entire month of December is like a scheduling black hole where any free time you have is devoted to shopping, parties, drinking punch, and eating cookies like there’s no tomorrow. Certainly leaves no time for training. Secondly, it’s cold outside!!! Doing training runs in September was great. I looked forward to being outside. Now it’s all I can do to walk to the gym with multiple layers on, and it’s not even the peak of winter yet. Thirdly, there’s no daylight! It’s nearly impossible to run before or after work because there’s so little sunlight, and I’m not crazy about running in the dark.

I find myself severely out of marathon shape, with Napa coming up on March 4. I need to get back on track, fast. I will be forcing myself to get out and do at least a 13-mile run this weekend.