Sunday, February 20, 2022

Davis Stampede 1/2 Marathon- Anna- 2022


2/20/22 – Davis, CA


1/2 Marathon (13.1 Miles)




2nd (16-19 Females), 7th Female Overall


1/2 Marathon:  John Justus, Martin Sengo, Melissa Penwell, Robin Soares, Rosie Kracher, Troy Soares

Today I am at the Davis stampede race to run a half marathon. A friend of mine from cross country and track is also here. Her name is Natalie and she is super fast. I probably won't see her during the entire race. As we get ready to start I try to stretch out. I’m a little nervous for this race because I haven't trained that much.

They count down and start us off. I take it easy and try to relax. I'm already going way too fast, about a 6 minute pace. I'm always so surprised how in the beginning of a race the pace is so easy but halfway through you could barely hold it. My goal is for a 7:30 pace for this race. I let people pass me and try to count off all the girls ahead of me. There's about six girls ahead of me right now. I'll try to catch them about halfway through the race.

I now turn on to a dirt road and I look back to see my dad. I try to make eye contact with him almost to get confirmation that my pace is okay. I know I'm supposed to be running faster than him but he won't be too far behind. I'm still feeling very comfortable at the pace I'm at, but I try to keep it at a 7:30 and not anything faster.

I loop back around and go through the finish area. Now I head out for the real big and long loop. After running through a parking lot, I start to run on a long straight away. After running for a little bit, a family friend, Melissa, catches me. I enjoy running with her and talking with her. She's running a faster pace then I would like to run, but I stay with her to enjoy the company. Up ahead there's an inlet we run into that loops back out to the main road. When coming back to the main road I see my dad as he starts the inlet. We do air high fives.

Melissa and I then continue on the long straight ahead. We both then start to realize that we have to use the restroom. I hope I can hold it and I look for a bathroom. After a while we turn onto a small bike/run path that takes us through the park. As we run around baseball fields, I keep my eye open for a bathroom. I finally see a bathroom run over to it. But both of them are locked! Two people must already be using the restroom! I pray God brings me to a bathroom and keep running. I wish I could enjoy being with Melissa more, however, I really have to go. After running for a while I see an aid station come up and a porta potty on the side! I second-guess if I should use the restroom or not. I asked the volunteers if it's open and they say it is. At least I'm ahead of pace so if I stop I shouldn't get behind. I quickly dart over, make a record pit-stop, and head back to running.

I'm very glad I took that bathroom break. I try to see if I can catch Melissa. She's way ahead, but I keep a steady pace. I now have a fast lady in front of me who's going about my pace. I decide to stick with her and see if I catch Melissa towards the end. The lady is shorter than me but still really fast. It just reminds me how powerful a turnover can be in a race. I try to make my feet move faster and continue running with her.

220220_davis_stampede_half_marathon_anna After a while we cross some streets and get to a gravel section. I remember my mom telling me that the gravel section was her least favorite part in the entire race. So far the gravel section is not too bad and I'm enjoying it. It's kind of cool to enjoy something that other people don't like. I also try to run on the edge of the gravel path in order to have a more sturdy path to run on. I also try to run flat-footed because that gives you the most traction on

sand or gravel. I catch up to the girl ahead of me and pass her. I hope I'm not pushing too hard. I continue to run on the gravel path and realize that it encircles a golf field. Hopefully it won't last too long. However, after a mile, I'm still running on the path! At least now the gravel path is circling behind some neighborhoods, hopefully it turns into a bike path soon!

As I'm running I pass a younger boy who was ahead of me. He's doing the half marathon with a cast on! I am very impressed and tell him good job. I continue running looking excitedly for pavement. After about a half mile I finally hit the pavement! I run by the aid station I earlier took a bathroom break at. As I’m running on the pavement, instead of my legs being more energized on pavement instead of gravel, they're much more tired. I quickly grab my gel and give myself a boost. After slowing down for a second to eat my gel, I have energy to speed back up to my pace. Up ahead is a blind runner with his friend. I try to catch up to them. I find it really cool that a friend would take his time to train with his buddy in order to help him race. Also during the entire race the blind man's friend was telling him exactly what the path looks like so he wouldn't trip. I pass the running pair and tell them good job.

I'm then back to running on the bike paths behind the neighborhoods. I'm around mile 8.5 and I'm starting to feel pretty sore. I have around 5 mi left and that encourages me to keep pushing on. I keep trying to look for something up ahead on the race course that will bring me closer to the finish line. Up ahead I see two girls I remember from the start. Maybe I could slowly catch them. I try to keep a consistent pace while keeping my eyes on them. After a while I pass an aid station and only see one of the girls ahead of me. Her friend must be using the restroom. I catch up to her pretty easily and tell her good job.

I'm tired but I keep pushing even though it hurts. I just hope that I can keep this pace for about four more miles! Now I'm running closer to the main road. That's got to be a good sign. Before turning onto a side road from the bike path, I see a race sign that's been spray painted. It's sad that the people didn't respect the race officials' property. I then turn onto the side road. Up ahead I see a really big bridge that overarches the highway. I wonder if I’m going to run over it. I look for runners to see if that's where the path is. I don't see any. However as I'm running, I realize the course is going to take me right over the bridge. This bridge is really huge and long. I also remember my parents running over this bridge in the half marathon a few years back. I know I must be getting closer to the end. I have about 3 miles left. I start running up this bridge and I'm just in awe of how big and how high I am. There's no one but me on this bridge and it's such a cool experience. I look down and see other runners getting ready to run up the bridge too. I see the two girls that I originally passed and they're looking strong. I'll try to keep up my pace to stay ahead of them.

I then start running down the other side of the bridge after crossing over. I then run onto a bike path in the park. As I’m running, the inside of my foot is starting to hurt a little bit. I know I need to be careful not to injure it, so up ahead at a station, I quickly stop just to feel my foot out. I feel no sharp pains when I push on it, so I continue to run. While I had stopped for a second, the running pair with the blind man passed me. I then decide to try to stay with them. I'm really tired from running so fast, but I jump onto their pace and hold on. I know I have less than 3 mi to go and I just need to hold onto this pace. I'm so tired I can't pass them, but I can stay with them. I do give them enough room though, because I do not want to trip the blind man.

We then run deeper into the park and do a small out and back. I see Melissa coming back from the turnaround. I wave and tell her good job. She says good job too. Up ahead the running pair and I turn around and head back the way we came. I know it's straight back to the finish line now. I also know there's an underpass that leads straight to the finish line. I keep my eye out and know I'm really close. After running with the pair, I slowly pull ahead and I’m excited for the finish line. I'm about a mile and a half away and can't wait. As I'm running up ahead I see arrows pointing left, however, cones are blocking the way to go left. I run left anyways because that's where the chalk says to go. I see runners up ahead and know I went the right way. I yell back just in case and ask the pair behind me why the race course monitors put cones there. Little did I know that they didn't even notice that the arrow said to turn left but when I yelled back at them, they were able to make the correct turn. I thank God afterwards for giving me this opportunity to help others not get lost.

I then continue to run under underpasses towards the finish. I'm down to a mile to go and I know I'm so close. I'm passing people and trying to keep a good pace. I know the running pair is right behind me. I'm sure there's only one underpass left and pass under it. I don't see the finish line so I know that there's just one more underpass to go. I can almost hear the announcer and I know I'm close.  I pass under one more underpass and see the park ahead of me. I pick up the pace knowing the finish line is right there. I also know that I'm probably going to have to run around the finish line before finishing like last year. However, as I run towards the finish line, I realize it's just straight through. I run through the finish line and give credit to God who kept my foot and hip stable. I also tell the runner pair behind me good job. It's so impressive how they worked together and finished hard. Also my friend Natalie did amazing and was the 1st woman overall and 4th overall. I was 7th woman overall and was 2nd in my age group, behind Natalie. My time was also 1:35:13, an average 7:19 pace! Thank you God! I then celebrated with my mom and dad and we enjoyed the rest of the day after racing hard.

Praise the Lord for He is Good, His Love Endures Forever!