Sunday, March 1, 2015

2015 Napa Marathon–Robin

March 1st, 2015 – Napa, Ca
Marathon – 26.2 miles
8th (17th Master like last year)
Other Teammates:
Karen Nickel
I meet my partner in crime, Karen Nickel, outside my hotel and we warm-up running and do some stretching/drills.  It’s quite awesome to be right next to the race start!  Karen and I are able to come back and use a normal bathroom!  Karen is so sweet to brush Ariel’s hair and braid it!
The big question mark is my hamstrings.  Since CIM I’ve had to admit that they have become a chronic problem.. a real injury.  Also since CIM, I’ve taken bigger steps to work on the problem…strengthening exercises, massage and drills.  All have helped improved the problem but none have completely solved it. 
Yesterday Troy ran my typical 1 mile prep-run.  We tried to find different ways to make the hamstrings not bother me…shorter stride, fast, slow, wiggling hips, less bounce.  Not one particular thing seemed to solve the tender hamstrings.  But we did agree to back off the pace if the hamstrings flared up dramatically. I was a bit discouraged and thought about possibly using Ibuprofen.
Later on that night I felt the nudge from the Lord to focus on Him and trust him.  First came from Karen, who inspired me to wake up earlier today and read my Bible before the race.  Second came from Troy Outman who said not to focus on the hamstrings but on the Lord…the significance of this would not be realized until the first 1/3 of the race.  I also decided to not bring any ibuprofen and just have faith the Lord will help me.
Karen and I head back to the start line and wait.  Troy and the girls show up and we all pray.  Troy and I review today’s plan…go out at my goal pace of 8min/per mile, try different changes to stride/form to minimize discomfort if it comes, and back off the pace to lessen any discomfort.  So I really hope that I’ll miraculously have no discomfort or very minimal discomfort…that would be success!
Okay, time to go!  We’re off! Amazing how easy the first mile of a marathon goes by!  Unfortunately, I can already feel the hamstrings.  They are tight and sore.  Time to try out some methods from yesterday…shorter stride first.
Mile 1 is 7:58 (7:46 last year).  Last year I went out aggressively and faded at Mile 16 because of the hamstrings and lack of energy.  It’s weird to slow down the pace but hoping it will yield great results!
Mile 2 is 8:06 (7:44).  Slight hills have slowed me down but able to pick it up more now.  Hamstrings still bothering me.  The stride change has helped some but not much!  I catch up to Karen and say hi briefly but have to let her go.  She’s doing a great job pacing herself and staying patient.
Mile 3 is 7:55 (7:43).  Hamstrings still there.  Still on pace and happy about that!
Mile 4 is 8:02 (7:42).  Still there!
Mile 5 is 8:03 (7:43).  Still there!

Mile 6 is 8:14 (7:48).  Still there!  I try slowing down the pace now that all the “changes”/adjustments I’m making mechanically are not changing anything.
Mile 7 is 8:06 (7:48).  First big cheering section of folks.  I look for Troy and the girls.  They said they would be there halfway but checking just in case they got an earlier start.  Getting frustrated with my hamstrings!
Mile 8 is 7:53 (7:44).  Getting really frustrated!  This race is not looking successful.  No matter what I do, the hamstring still bothers me!  Here is another spectator spot.  If I see Troy, I think I just might stop and cry.  No Troy…guess God wants me to keep going.
Mile 9 is 8:03 (7:44).  I’m feeling God tell me to pick up the pace.  I protest in my mind, “but my hamstrings hurt and this race is a basic failure because of that!  Why even try?”  Then I remember a text from Troy Outman last night…focus on God and not the hamstring.  After a few minutes of thinking about that, I start to get it.  Success today is going to be focusing on Him WITH the hamstring discomfort.  Okay, this changes everything!  Let’s pick it up like He says. 
Mile 10 is 8:04 (7:48).  After ramping up for a half mile, the discomfort is steady and unchanging!
Mile 11 is 7:59 (7:43).  Okay, now I’m getting back on pace!  Pain still steady!
Mile 12 is 7:57 (7:51).  Attitude has totally changed!  I feel hopeful and joyful…thank you Jesus!  I cannot wait to share this with Troy.  I’m SO glad I didn’t see him earlier with that bad attitude…God knew!
Mile 13 is 7:56 (7:43). Didn’t see Troy at the halfway point.  Hope all is okay with the girls!  They have their bikes and scooters so I hope they didn’t get hurt somewhere along the journey to find me!
Mile 14 is 8:09 (8:02).  A bit slow but just climbed a hill.  Hamstrings steady!!  I’m amazed at how quickly the miles are going by!  Thanks God!
Mile 15 is 7:58 (7:42).  Back on pace!  Another spectator spot!  I see a kid on a scooter!  It looks like Ariel…yeah, they’re here!  I get to Ariel and give her a high five.  I high five Anna and Troy asks me how it’s going.  “The hamstrings hurt.  God is saying this is going to be a part of my race, make the best of it.”  Troy says “great job honey!”
Mile 16 is 8:11 (8:07).  Finished another hill…phew!  These little hills sure seem bigger as the miles pile up!
This is where I started fading last year.  I’m so happy that I’m not feeling like that!  Thank you God for keep the hamstrings steady and helping me continue to push the pace.
I think I see Karen up ahead but doubt it’s her.
Mile 17 is 8:03 (8:15).  Feeling the pain but feeling strong and very thankful.  Hard to believe now that I could be happy with the hamstring issue…and be feeling stronger than last year!  I realize that I’m not feeling other usual aches and pains…amazing!
Mile 18 is 7:49 (8:15).  Praise you Lord!  The miles are rolling by! 
Mile 19 is 7:57 (8:14).  I think that is Karen.  I hope she’s okay. 
Mile 20 is 8:02 (8:21).  The Wall!  Wow, still steady!  I’m getting closer to Karen.  Last year she caught up to me around now.
Mile 21 is 7:55 (8:40).  The turn off is coming soon!  Not many miles left to run! 
I catch up to Karen and find out her hip started hurting out of the blue!  I pray for her and myself…that we can persevere and glorify the Lord in our pain.  I decide to continue to push the pace and encourage her to hang in there.  I know if I go there is a chance that she’ll feel better and have someone to aim for.
Mile 22 is 7:58 (8:28).  The turn off is coming!  Wow, only 4 more miles…I can do that!  These miles continue to roll by!
Mile 23 is 8:09 (8:58).  I make the turn.  Soon I hear someone calling my name.  I see Troy!  Yeah!  I tell him I’m feeling strong. He tells me “21 more minutes left to run!”
Mile 24 7:54 (8:51).  The miles are not flying by now.  Typically this happens way earlier in a marathon so I am thankful it’s only with 2 miles to go.  I set some goals to keep me focused.  I want to run the next mile at 7:55 and then the last mile under 7:50.
Mile 25 is 7:54 (8:21). Yes, under 7:55!  I should be able to go under 3:30 at this rate…but feel God remind me that 3:30 is just fine too.
Mile 26 is 7:39 (8:03).  I’m really pushing it but 3:30 is going to be tough.  I turn the last corner and see the finish in the distance.  Go, go, go! 
150301_napa_marathon_finishI cross the line just over 3:31.  I’ll take it! Thank you God!  I look behind me and there is Karen all done!  Wow, she did feel better and she did chase me down.  I chased her down last year and she chased me this time!  Last year we were 11 seconds apart and this year 25.  We are meant to finish together!
Thank you Jesus for an amazing day!  I never expected it to turn out so well!  Walking around now I feel all kinds of soreness and pain all over my legs.  The hamstring issue really took center stage and helped me to overlook all the other discomforts.  Wow!  All I can say is WOW!
Name Age Group Place Time Goal Met Exceeded or Close Boston Qualifier
Karen Nickel F35-39 11th 3:31:51 Close YES!
Robin Soares F40-44 8th (17th Master Again) 3:31:26 Close YES!