Napa Valley Marathon - RunMarathon

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Napa, California
United States
Kaiser Permanente
50F / 10C
Total Time = 4h 08m 46s
Overall Rank = 764/2100
Age Group = M40-44
Age Group Rank = 112/177
Pre-race routine:

Awoke at 4:30am. Forecast was for rain all day, so this presented a quandry. In the end, I decided it wasn't cold enough for a wind/rain-jacket, so I opted for just tri-top, and running shorts, visor & sunglasses.

Additionally, I wore a hoodie and sweatpants, and took along the race-provided "runner's duffel" which you would check-in at the starting line and retrieve at the finish. In it, I also tossed my yogurt/granola breakfast and a banana (which I ate during the 40 min. drive to the starting line), along with a bottle of water.

Headed down to the Bus-to-the-Starting-Line at 5:15am, met my cousin, Al, and we chatted amongst his Team in Training pals.
Event warmup:

Hitting the port-a-johns twice, trying to stay dry on the bus before the starting gun.
  • 4h 08m 46s
  • 26.1 miles
  • 09m 32s  min/mile

Going into this race undertrained was a choice I made. I knew I had not trained enough, I was "hoping" that my base from last year would carry me over somewhat. So, tactically I was unsure. So, I started off the first half of the race holding an average of about 8:45-miles and felt good "holding-form" until about 15.5-mile mark. I started to noticeably strain by mile 17 trying to hold form even 9:00-9:30 miles; and I was starting to cramp in my left-quad, and starting to have some GI issues (too heavy a dinner the night before?, cold & rain?, unlucky?), but managed to continue anyway. Anyway, I was forced to reduce my pace to between 10:30-11:00 by mile 21/22, and was taking repeated walk breaks every mile after.

But, the last two miles are lined with lots of spectators and cheering fans, so it was just the necessary boost I needed to finish.

Great course, beautiful scenery. Rain and lots of it during the race--which didn't bother me as much as I thought. Ideal course to qualify for Boston (for those of you so inclined).
What would you do differently?:

Train through the Winter, and make it at least a "B" race if I wanted to give it an optimum effort (and enhance quicker recovery prospects).
Post race
Warm down:

Walked around the finishing "quad" area, picked-up my runner's bag containing my DRY sweats, etc. (great feature of any race). Tried some stretching. Then walked around some more to watch some finishers and look for my wife.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Lack of run training.

Event comments:

Well, I did this Marathon at the behest of some good friends who convinced my wife and I we'd have a great time of it in Napa for the weekend. So, I signed-up and figured I'd "incorporate it" as a training run...kind of a "C"-race I suppose. Turns out, neither Tom nor Sue (our friends) ended up running--Tom had a 3-week bout with bronchitis in the month before the race, and Sue couldn't train due to work overload. So, I ran it with my cousin, Alfred, a Team-in-Training disciple, who just happened to be running his first Marathon.

So coming out of my Winter (Nov/Dec) Break and looking at my logs (which I'm GLAD I didn't check before the race), I only ran a total of 101 miles in January and 47 miles in February (though, I must add swim & bike to the total equation). Not enough running no matter how you add it up.

Nevertheless, its a beautiful run course (Napa's Silverado Trail), pretty well supported, and well organized. The finish chute is kind of contrived into a narrow area making spectating problematic (per the wife), and despite a NO PED's Policy there were a noticeable number of folks sporting headphones during the race (which is tantamount to cheating and pisses me off to no end). I was one instance where race officials were assisting a lady runner (with her headphones on)!

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Last updated: 2009-03-02 12:00 AM
04:08:46 | 26.1 miles | 09m 32s  min/mile
Age Group: 112/177
Overall: 764/2100
Performance: Below average
Course: The majority of the race takes place on the beautiful Silverado Trail, which runs along the eastern edge of the beautiful Napa Valley. Unlike the "Napa"-named triathlons which take place up in Lake Berryessa, the "Napa Valley Marathon" actually takes place in the Napa Valley. There's about 837 ft. of incline along the course, nothing crazy though. Overall there's a negative elevation from start to finish. I would characterize the course as mostly very, very slow rollers with alot of flats.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? No
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4