Sunday, March 4, 2018

Napa Marathon–Robin - 2018


3/4/18 – Calistoga to Napa, CA


Marathon (26.2 Miles)




10th (40-44 Females); 16th Master Woman


It’s been a busy week!  Yesterday was Anna’s first of two science fairs.  She did great finishing 2nd in her category!  There have been many, many hours invested and many late nights!  Troy and Anna have been working so hard and I’ve been trying to help by taking on some of their chores and also caring for Al, Troy’s dad, a bit more.  I admit that the stress has been high for me…and it’s really my own doing.  I haven’t allowed the Lord to help me and I haven’t been fully trusting that He can work things out.  This race has almost been an after-thought but it’s still a long race and it’s been looming on the horizon.  I’ve invested in the endurance training but not in speed so I don’t expect any PRs.  I just want to have a good attitude and smile.  The half marathon I did a few weeks ago was a challenge mentally.  I struggled to be positive and I missed my goal by a few seconds.  I was a bit of a grump after.  I just don’t want to go there today.  I want to enjoy this time running and being with my family.  Troy’s Dad spent the night at home with a caregiver giving us some much needed time off!

We spent the night less than a mile from the start.  Very convenient and it doesn’t require a super early start!  I get up and spend time in God’s Word.  I read John 7-9 and see the many ways Jesus proved He was the Son of God, one with God.  What a powerfuly creator I serve.  I want to glorify Him today! I warm up running around the hotel and get ready to head to the start. We pray together as a family

Over near the start, I do some drills and feel much looser!  Troy, Anna and Ariel find me in line for the porta potty.  They’ve brought a hoola hoop and jump rope that were in our hotel room.  Those girls just want to have fun and I love their spirit! 

Troy is confident that I can run 3:34.  I am just hoping for a sub-3:40 marathon like 3:37 which is 8:17 pace.  This is based on my half marathon race and lack of training at faster paces.  Troy set my Garmin Virtual (Race) Partner to 8:10 for a 3:34 marathon.  He actually set it for 8:00 pace based on the Garmin being 10 sec/mi off in the past. Garmin inaccuracies have given me false assurance that I’m running on pace in the past.  It can be pretty discouraging.  I’ve turned off my auto lap feature so it won’t give me mile splits.  Instead, I’ll track my splits by clicking off my Timex watch at the mile markers – Old School style. 

I say goodbye to my wonderful family and give Troy a big kiss.  Here we go!

180304_NapaMarathon Robin Start

A horn starts the race and we are off!  Only 26 miles to go!  Just one mile at a time!  It’s foggy and very chilly this morning!  A guy near me complains that this race is supposed to be scenic.  It gets some laughs. I’m thankful for no rain this time!  I’m bundled up and feeling perfect.  I’m carrying my phone so Troy and the girls can track me better.

Mile 4. I’m averaging about 8:05 per mile and staying ahead of my virtual runner.  That’s faster than the 8:17 pace I was hoping for!  There are two girls that come up alongside me and are looking for their significant others.  They see them at the first real spectator spot.  One looks like a natural runner (orange shorts) and it seems like she’s really holding back.  Her friend tells her the pace is too fast so she slows down for her friend.

Mile 6. I get a 8:14 split, I realize that my goal is 8:10 and not 8:17.  It’s fine because I’ve been running under 8:10 according to my Timex.  I’m barely ahead of my virtual runner. 

MIle 7.  There’s another group of spectators (Deer Park Rd).  I don’t expect to see my family quite yet but out of nowhere I hear “hey Mom!”.  I look to my right and there’s Anna with a camera running alongside me!

  180304_NapaMarathon Robin Deer Park 7.5 d

What a nice surprise.  I reach out and give her a high five and a smile.  She asks if i’m feeling alright and I tell her my hamstrings are getting sore.  As I continue on, I hear some gals behind me remark on how moving the scene was for them.  Glad it touched someone!

I have a worship song in my heart just as Anna prayed for.  Thank you Lord! 

My hamstrings are bugging me more but thankfully I’m able to hold my pace.

Mile 9. I’m averaging 8:07.  Great!  Another spectator zone ahead (Pope St.).  There’s Anna again with Ariel getting pics and videos. 

180304_NapaMarathon Robin Pope St 9.5 b

Anna takes off running alongside me again and tells me I look fast.  She asks about my hamstrings and tell her they are a bit more sore now.  What sweethearts!  Troy must be dropping them off…or maybe there’s a problem at home with Al and he’s on the phone.  I pray for that to not be the case. 

The virtual runner is ahead of me by less than 100 feet. I hope to catch up but in the least keep the gap minimal.  A guy with bunny ears passes me. 

The sun is out now but it’s still chilly.  I’m feeling comfortably dressed!

Mile 11.  Anna and Ariel appear again (Zinfandel Rd) without Troy.  It’s so good to see them but I wonder if things are ok at home. I prepare myself for the possibility that something is wrong with Al.  I tell the Lord it’s all in His hands and I’m just going to keep going and see what happens.

180304_NapaMarathon Robin Zinfandel 11.5 c

I ask Anna as she runs alongside me again.  She says everything’s great with a big smile.  Must be fine then!

At Mile 12 I’m averaging 8:06.  This is great!  I hope to keep it up!  The virtual partner is just under 200 feet ahead and I’ll try to keep it that way.  Catching up is probably not an option.

At the half marathon mark I’m at 1:46.  That would put me at a 3:32 marathon!  That would be awesome but there is still a lot distance to cover!  In 6 miles is a “big hill” as Troy reminded me about this morning.  He also said that should be my favorite since I love hills!  I don’t know if it will really be love at mile 19!

The fast girl in the orange shorts flies by. She’s without her friend.  Wow, look at her go!  She is a real natural!  I have decided that I want to catch the bunny ears guy. 

It’s hard trying to catch up to the bunny guy but I’m getting closer.  I also see a girl with her hair in 2 buns next to him.  Maybe I’ll catch them both!

Just before Mile 16 (Oakville Cross Rd) I finally see Troy! He’s smiling and cheering me on.  I ask if everything is ok at home and he says “I haven’t heard anything”…phew, what a relief!  He says I look like I’m limping. I tell him I don’t think so but my hamstrings are sore.  He says they’ll pray for me.  A little further up are the girls.

 180304_NapaMarathon Robin Oakville Cross 16 c

They are so focused on capturing the moment on their cameras, that they are silent…but smiling.

 180304_NapaMarathon Robin Oakville Cross 16 f

Anna runs with me again and continues to encourage me.

At Mile 16, I’m averaging 8:04 pace. The virtual partner continues to stay ahead and it’s almost at 300 yards!  I catch the bunny guy.  I was hoping to catch up and rest but he’s slowed down. I look ahead and see another pack of runners to catch.  Must keep moving ahead and not let up!

I catch up to the next pack of runners and they’ve slowed down too.  I latch onto a runner going by and follow him to the next crowd of runners.  The fast girl in the orange shorts is gone along with the girl with the buns in her hair.  I set my sights on a girl with a big heavy sweatshirt on and wonder how she can run with that.

I see the girls again (Yountville Rd) just before Mile 19!

 180304_NapaMarathon Robin Yountville18 b180304_NapaMarathon Robin Yountville 18 d

Yeah!  But no Troy.  And I probably won’t see all again until the finish line.

At Mile 19, the girl ditches the sweatshirt at a box at the mile marker.  Wow, she must feel free now.  I’m climbing the “big hill” but it’s actually very subtle.  I pass the girl and look ahead to the next pack of runners. 

I think we turn off this road at mile 22.  Then it’s only 4 miles to the end.  I’ll have 2 main straightaways at that point in the race and I visualize myself running each one with focus.

At Mile 20, I’m averaging 8:04 but I’m still behind the virtual runner.  Despite the constant hamstring discomfort, this race is going well.  Thank you Lord!  As long as nothing goes wrong with my muscles in my legs, I just need to keep pushing and see what happens.  I think I can hold this pace. 

The “big hill” just turned out to be a long gradual climb.  By mile 21, I’m heading down.  Just a few miles to the turn.

A blond gal passes me.  I try to stay with her.  Pretty soon, I’m passing her back.  We go back and forth a bit all the way to the turn.  I keep thinking ahead to those 2 straightaways.  It’s going to be hard but again, if nothing is holding me back why not push it. 

Mile 22 comes and I can see runners turning down the road.  The virtural runner is ahead by a lot.

I make the turn.  Ok, stretch #1!  The blond girl is just ahead.  I push and pass her just at the Mile 23 marker. 

Halfway down the road I see our friend Eric Gilsenan.  I wave and he tells me good job. This is good timing because my brain/heart and body are having an argument.  My body wants to let up and cruise in since I’m well below my original goal.  But my brain/heart know that I’ve got to keep going. A 3:32 is looking very realistic as long as nothing goes wrong with my legs.

Here comes stretch #2…and there’s Anna! (Oak Knoll Rd) Wow, that girl is everywhere!  I love it!  Now I’m energized!

180304_NapaMarathon Robin Oakknoll 23.5 c

Stretch #2 looks LONG and it’s because it’s the end of the race. 

At Mile 24, I’m at 8:05 pace and I’m am a bit closer to the virtual partner.  Oh boy, this is tough!  2 more miles of this??  I remind myself that I have less than half of a Tuesday Night track workout left!

There is a guy at the next aid station shouting “how bad do you want it?!”  My brain/heart wants to go for it.  My body is trying to get me to slow down.  I keep pushing and it feels like I’m running all out!  Troy and I have talked about how it always feels like that at the end. 

I make it to mile 25!  One more mile!  Thankfully a woman flies by and I try to latch on.  She’s pulling ahead some but she’s helped me to push harder.  I’m catching up to the virtual runner!

I finish stretch #2 and now i just need to weave my way through a neighborhood.

180304_NapaMarathon Robin 26 a 

Go!  I’m going to get 3:32!  So close now!  I see Troy and Anna cheering me on! 

180304_NapaMarathon Robin 26 b

Their smiles and cheers keep me going. I can see the finish!  I keep pushing!

Down the finish chute!


I’m so happy and relieved!  As I cross the finish I look up to God and thank Him!  Wow, what a race!  What a undeserved gift!  Thank you Jesus!

180304_napa_marathon_robin_post_race180304_NapaMarathon Robin Finsh