Sunday, March 5, 2017

Napa Marathon (Troy)-2017


3/5/17, Calistoga, Ca


26.2mi R




18th AG / 120th OA


Carrie Chavez

I have a left hip injury.  Came on suddenly 5 days ago.  After a lot of stretching, massaging and resting this week, I wake up with it bothering me more than ever.

40 min before the marathon, I go out in the dark and run up and down the street in a cold, windy downpour.  The hip is really limiting my stride.  30 min before the start, I go out and it’s wonderful light, no rain, no wind.  I jog .8mi to the race start with a slight limp. The hip feels very tight.

Normally I would do strides (short sprints) to loosen up and stretch out.  This morning there won’t be any quick running.  I spent time in the Bible this morning and finished with Acts 2:25,

“'I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”

Despite the unknown, I won’t be shaken as long as the Lord goes before me.  I also prayed that I would find someone I know to pray with.  I do – Carrie Chavez.  I pray with her and her friend Davide. Carrie says she really wants to be available to help someone this morning if they need it.

WP_20170305_06_54_27_ProRobin & the girls find me before the start and pray for me.  They are such a great support group.

There’s a strange “invocation” again like the year before.  And then the meaningful National Anthem.  And we’re off!

Starting the run, I feel the strain each step in my left hip.  Normally a very bad way to start, but I’m comforted by recollection of Robin’s 2015 Napa Marathon where she ran well despite hamstring pain from the beginning.  I’ve already done everything I can, now is actually the hardest part, trusting in what the Lord is planning to do.  It could get worse and I will have to walk… a long way.  Or maybe it’ll stay together..WP_20170305_07_03_09_Pro

Mile 1. 7:47. My watch is set for 7:45 pace, even though I think 8:00 is more realistic.  Last year I ran 7:30 pace.  I am feeling more relaxed, as I don’t have a hard-set goal.  The miles are actually going by fast even though each step is slightly strained.  A guy is dribbling (slow-bouncing) a basketball.  He’s trying WP_20170305_08_08_56_Proto break the Guiness Book of World Records.  We had a friend try that here years back but he hurt his knee during it.  It’s very tough.  I hope this guy can do it.  He pulls ahead of me and seems very steady.

Mile 2. 7:44. Yesterday my friend, Melissa, reminded me to “run the tangents”.  That means cutting the corners (within the rules) to run less distance.  I do that normally somewhat but other runners are usually in the way.  The difficult part of tangents is the steep slant on the sides of the road.  They strain your ankles and stabilizing muscles.  But since I feel strangely at ease this race I decide to run the tangents – completely.

Mile 3. 7:28. Some runners are discussing why the mile marker isn’t tracking with the GPS.  I tell them about the course being a little long – about 2 minutes.  This is why I want to run the complete tangents, to see what this course really is.  I go all the way into the deep slant.  And runners are never in the way this time.  It works out great.  Maybe I’ll shave another minute off the course?

Mile 4. 7:16. I’m drinking every aid station (2mi apart).  I need water to fend off cramps, plus I didn’t drink enough before I started.  It is a glorious day now!  The sun is bright in our eyes sometimes and everything is sparkling.  Similar to last year.  Just perfect.  I have a base layer, arm warmers, tech shirt, gloves and a small plastic bag (in case of rain).  My fingers are cold but after a while I won’t need gloves.

Mile 5.  7:22. I think of my 5 mi loop at home.  Just 4 more of these.  There is a woman a minute or 2 ahead, about the same pace.  Maybe I can eventually catch up to her.

Mile 6. 7:43. The 10k mark is a welcome distraction.  47 min.  Not bad. The hip is not getting worse.  Maybe a little less.  I’m actually 30 secs ahead of my 7:45 pace and very happy about that.  My breathing is calm.  It feels much better than last year.

Mile 7. 7:38. I thank God for the experiences of the past.  First, Robin’s 2015 run showing me how God gave her a peace about just running through the hamstring issue and doing well.  If not for that I would be worried right now.  Instead I’m strangely calm.  Second, my race last year when the Lord showed me I could run faster through the dreaded last miles when the entire legs hurt like crazy.  All very encouraging.WP_20170305_08_13_05_Pro

Mile 8. 7:24. I’m looking forward to Mile 10.  I still feel good, no fatigue.  I want to compare my  last 10 mile training run at the same pace with today.

Mile 9. 7:34. At Pope St., I see Robin and the girls! I tell Robin I think the hip is getting a little better, praise God.  I wasn’t expecting to see them until 1/2 way.  A great surprise.

Mile 10. 7:47. I definitely feel better today than my last 10 mile training run!

Mile 11.  7:32. I see Davide struggling with a calf pull.  It came on suddenly this week and has been hurting since the beginning.  I ask if I can pray for him.  I pray that the Lord will make it better or give him a comfort that it won’t impact his Boston Marathon next month.  As I pull ahead, I’m hoping it starts improving for him.

WP_20170305_08_37_14_ProMile 12.  7:35. I see Robin and the girls.  Actually I hear them first!  Awesome.

Mile 13.  7:26. At the 1/2 way point I’m 1:40.  That’s about 3:20 if I can keep this pace.  But that is asking a lot.  In previous marathons I sometimes stop to stretch or pee.. but today I’m planning on no stops!  So far it’s working.. just have to be creative sometimes.

Mile 14. 7:49. I eat a Hammer Gel.

Mile 15. 7:36. A long hill now.  I like having a task at hand like working up a hill.  The sun feels warm.  I’m surprised how long it feels, like it has grown since last year.  It’s tough and my calf is starting to tire but I remind myself how great the downhill will feel.

Mile 16. 8:08. I eat another Hammer Gel.  I’m thinking a lot about getting to Mile 20.  I like that hill and I really need another goal.  The miles are getting longer.

Mile 17. 7:55. I thank God as I pass the mile marker.  2 more miles and I can start the hill.  WP_20170305_09_20_23_ProReally helps to have a goal.

Mile 18.  7:38. Thankfully I see Robin & the girls again!  I take water but I don’t feel like eating a gel.  My stomach feels funny.  Legs are hurting now, but not really the hip.  Just another mile.  The woman ahead is getting farther into the distance.

Mile 19. 7:59. Wow, the mile went by pretty fast, thank you, Lord!  Now I’m excited to get to work climbing the “Wall”.  A strong tail-wind comes up and it feels like God is doing it just for me.  It feels so easy!  I celebrate to others that we have a tail-wind but no one seems excited.  Towards the top it’s harder but also more exciting to get past this big milestone.

Mile 20. 8:01. At the top I’m less than a minute behind the woman.  Now I get to descend – something I’ve been looking forward to.  I run as tall as possible, making efficient use of my long, but very sore, legs.  These next 3 miles are always brutal.   Suddenly, in the middle of the road, a rock jumps up into the back of my shoe.  It feels big and I stop to get it out.  I start to reach down and the stiffness seizes me.  It will take forever to get down there.  I’m going to trust God and keep running.  The rock works down the back of my heel, under my heel, down to the arch and then off to the side!  Whew!  Thanks, God!

Mile 21.  7:50. There isn’t a mile marker where I think there should be one.  Or I lost track.  After a while I see a marker.  If it’s 21, I’ll be bummed. If it’s 22, it’ll be awesome.

Mile 22.  7:48. Yes, it was 22!  2 down, 1 more until the turn where I had a good run last year.  My right calf is sore, the whole right leg is sore.  A cold rain starts coming down.  I put my gloves back on (so glad to have them).  Suddenly it’s hailing!  A photographer gets a picture of us bracing against the sideways hail.  I can’t wait to see that.  Then, as expected, it suddenly WP_20170305_09_56_53_Prostops and is peaceful again.  Way up ahead I see flashing lights for the turn. Yay!  And there’s Robin and the girls.  They say there’s a rainbow behind me.  I’m so glad to see them.  But I tell Robin that the pain is really coming on now.  She says to stay focused on God! 

Mile 23. 7:57. Last year, I had been slowing more and more as the pain built up.  On this section, I felt God telling me to keep running at pace and the pain won’t get worse.  It went great and I look forward to that again.  I push forward, looking at the stop sign far in the distance.  Push, push.  I’m gaining on the woman who has been in front since the beginning.  There’s a headwind.  Just gotta get to the turn..  finally, the turn, and it’s peaceful again with some tailwind.

Mile 24.  7:42. I catch the woman.  She tells a friend her calves are cramping.  I’ve been listening closely to mine as they complain.  3 other women come through, at different speeds.  I want to stay with one of them but my calf says no.  I’m still running well and so amazed that nothing has failed yet.  God, you have totally answered prayers!  I could still break-down so I try not to do anything crazy, just keep the same pace.  I think I see the flashing lights for the turn, but I’m wrong. Ugh, another 1/2 mile!

Mile 25.  7:31. Finally, we turn and it’s a straight shot until the neighborhoods.  Just focus on God, ignore the pain, ignore my legs, just God.  It’s these moments that I reflect on in life.  If I 170305_napa_marathon_troy_finish3could do this all the time, just focus on Him and ignore the struggles or frustrations, I know he’ll get me through.  And He gets me through this section and now the neighborhoods!

Mile 26.  7:28. I’m getting exciting. Suddenly my rt calf hurts WP_20170305_10_33_06_Proand I have to slow it down.  But it’s right around the corner.  “Thank you, Lord, we did it.  You made it work, and I trusted You”.  I’m so tired and sore but I smile and come in thanking God.  I’m done!  Wow, that was a great day!