Wednesday, March 6, 2013

2013 Napa Valley Marathon Weekend

Wine tasting in Napa the day after the marathon.  The quote on this coaster was perfect.  I love it!

 If I'm ever going to write much more about the Napa Valley Marathon then I really should put some thoughts down right now before I start this day.  Otherwise, it's not going to happen because I've got lots to do to get ready for our move. We move out of our house as week from this Sunday.  Yikes!  Not sure how that came so fast but it did and honestly,  I have no real time to write lengthy marathon posts.  I'm good at wasting time when I'm overwhelmed though so let's see what I can get written in 20 minutes before my kids wake up. I think it might need to be another bullet post:

  • First off, THANK YOU for your comments and virtual hugs.  So nice.  Nobody will ever truly see things the way we do but the running blog community is pretty darn supportive.  They "get it".
  • Napa was a bad race.  But when I think of the fact that I ran a 3:40 when it felt like a 7 hour marathon, it doesn't feel as awful as it did at the time. In fact, according to a blog reader's comment from  yesterday, I think I qualified for Boston 2014 if I wanted to go again.  I'm 35 next year so I'd qualify with a 3:40.  I'm just not sure if my 3:40:xx works.  I think I needed a 3:40:00 or under.  But that wasn't my goal.  In fact, as I jogged/walked that last four miles I could see a 3:35 go to a 3:37 to a 3:39...and I honestly didn't care if I had a 3:40 or a 3:45 or a 3:50....time didn't matter anymore but being DONE mattered greatly!   
  • Last night I wrote a post that I deleted (for good reason...Ha!).  It was really rather hilarious.  I had had a glass of wine and allowed myself to just sit with the race residue a bit. The wine led to that superhero "I can share anything with the world" cape and it led to what I would consider a really funny Saturday Night Live Skit for marathon runners. Just a tad on the dramatic side.  Hilariously so. Maybe it was just hearing my best friend read it aloud in her finest fake British accent and best Amanda Mockery tone that she could muster up but I was literally laughing for 3 hours straight.  There was no way I was going to leave that crap up on the Internet for all to read.  It did what it was meant to do and then she added comic relief to my processes and put things in quite the HILARIOUS and down to earth perspective.  Gotta love best friends that can make fun of us.  I really should include the video. It makes light of just how seriously we can take ourselves in this amateur marathon world. Don't get me wrong, I still think we have a right to our feelings...we train hard for these races and we need time to process it all.  If anyone else would have been making fun of me in the same way, it wouldn't have been funny AT ALL.  Maybe I'll be brave enough to share the video so everyone can laugh at my expense.  I think Stephanie might be able to convince me...she seemed to get a kick out of it.  
  • About the "disappointing others" reference in my last post....  to clarify, I wasn't referring to my blog readers or friends.  Not at all.  When you have a coach/trainer...someone that is putting their heart and mind into this marathon training, it is a big day for them too.  Even though my coach reassured me a million times over that my race performance wouldn't disappoint him no matter what, I still thought a lot about this during the race.  No matter what, it is a disappointing thing for a coach to see their team or athlete crash after many weeks of great training. But he was only disappointed FOR me...not in me.   
  • Even from the start of the race, I couldn't find my rhythm.  It is one thing to have to dig deep at the end of the marathon and finish strong while you are falling apart mentally but an entirely different experience to feel like you're digging deep at mile six. And NO, I didn't start out too fast.  First mile was around 7:37.  Right where I needed to start or even a little slower.  And No, I wasn't undertrained for this pace. If anything, my goal felt "safe". 
  •  I haven't shared a lot of my training on here this time around but my workouts have been really strong and I went into this race feeling calm and confident.  I felt confident and calm even before the race started and knowing that I didn't have sleep. I was focused on almost all POSITIVES.  
  • My race pictures actually didn't turn out so awful.  Imagine that!  Ha!  I would have imagined a look of death and crap spilling melting into the pavement pictures.  But they really aren't as embarrassing as I thought they would be.  Go Napa Photographers!  Thank you for not capturing the drool running down my face as I slogged through every last mile.  
  • I looked over at one of the miles and there was Joan Benoit Samuelson cheering away for us (and looking for her daughter who was racing).  This was cool.  
  • At the start I had a conversation with Nina Kuscsik (this link to a video of Nina is worth watching).  Such a warm spirit.  So thankful for all she did for women in marathoning.  Thank you Beautiful Nina!  
  • I met Joe Henderson and had him sign a book for my coach.  My pen wasn't working so he gave me his. This doesn't matter so much to me since I don't even think I knew who Joe Henderson was before the weekend (I know, some of you will find that ridiculous even though some will feel the same way).  I do know that the pen will matter greatly to my coach so I'm excited to give it to him as a gift.  
  • Thanks for those of you that responded about the sleeping tips for the night before a race.  Yes, yes, yes, it is COMMON for one to not sleep much the night before a race. I get this people.  I'm not special in that.  Never thought I was.  In fact, I'm sure there were plenty of others out there that didn't sleep.  And I know that the night before the night before is the most important night...I was on a track and cross country team for all of high school and college...we learned this too.  I just know for a fact that I will need to find a way to get SOME sleep the night before such a MENTAL race.  Otherwise, I'm toasty roasty.  And please don't try to tell me that this isn't true "according to research".  That's just really annoying to me because hello, folks, I know myself quite well at 34.  The sleep thing isn't an excuse for me. Those of you that know me the best, know this about me.   
  • I said from the start that training for this marathon wasn't about a super ambitious goal and pushing myself as hard as I could go (even though I did want a PR and a big goal...just wasn't the be-all-end-all).  I was intent on enjoying the process and finding Joy in just being able to run and have a goal.  I stick to this.  This race or 26.2 mile workout doesn't take away from that.  Nothing can take the satisfaction and confidence that I've gained over the last 18 weeks of training.  Bad races happen.  Life goes on!  I still have running.  
  • Yesterday I woke up with an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for life.  It was so nice being home and sleeping next to my husband for the first time in over a week.  He was out of town the entire week before my marathon and got home the night before I left for Napa.  I still didn't get to sleep next to him (my calm) that night because he was sick.  I kicked him to the couch so I did't get sick too.  Anyway, it felt so good to be home, in my own bed, and to have so many exciting things coming up.  
  • Boston.  I'll be there no matter what.  Excited to see many of you!  However, I'm pretty darn sure I'll be running for fun and not for a goal.  I need that right now.  
  • I am sincerely glad the way things happened the way they did in Napa.  I learned quite a bit this weekend.  And I came home INSPIRED.  I am more inspired than I've been in a long time.  Hearing the speakers, talking to famous runners, getting books signed, and listening to the stories of some of the greats...this was food for my learning soul.  So thankful.  
Some highlights in pictures and captions:

My words from Runninghood's Facebook:  "I've never been so inspired running wise as I am today after hearing the stories of these amazing women who paved the way for women runners everywhere. Chills. And I think this just might be the first race bib I actually frame since it issigned by all of them: Joan Benoit Samuelson, Lorraine Moller, Nina Kuscsik, and Jacqueline Hansen. I'm so grateful for all they did for women in this wonderful sport. And glad to be here at the Napa Valley Marathon during a year of Honoring Women in Marathoning! Today is a good day!"

The best "swag bag" I've ever received at a race. This is a Nice backpack for travel, races...whatever. It even has a slot/area for my laptop. LOVE it! Thanks Napa Valley Marathon for a well run race.

Best marathon travel partner ever!  This was her 22nd marathon.  She has a goal for 40 before 40.  Love her.
Heather was so full of patience and love in listening to me and helping me process after the race.  What a wise and patience friend.  Loved spending time getting to know her better.  
What a story here.  This is Shelley from Oregon.  My friends all told me that I should meet her because we were going for similar times.  I never did meet Shelley before I left. Nor did I meet her before the race.  It just so happened that I was meant to meet her in the middle of a random mustard field the day after the race.  We were getting in our car to leave and a group of people shouted at us from across the mustard asking us to take a picture of them.  One thing led to another and before long we discovered that we were all runners, they were from Oregon and this was Shelley.  More to the story and a fun story to tell.  

Meeting John Keston was the highlight of my expo experience.  What a story he has to tell.  At 88 he is still full of so much life and strength.  He instantly drew me in when I heard him talking at the expo.  John didn't start running competitively until he was in his 50's and then became a world age-group record holder.  What a gifted and full spirited man.  I LOVED our conversation and I'm greatly enjoying his book.  And I didn't realize until I was on the plane flying through the pages of his story that he is from Oregon.  Must meet up with him before I move.  I think I can make that happen.

Lorraine Moller, one of New Zealand's greatest women distance runners and four time Olympic athlete was one of the most inspirational speakers.  Her words made me feel so empowered.  I'm excited to read her book.

Beautiful Napa Valley wine tasting.  Best way to spend the day after a marathon!  

My view from the grass I ate my lunch on.

Dean and Deluca, I will be back for your sandwiches!  

Ritual Coffee in the Oxbow Public Market .  So so good!  

I know, quite the disorganized ramble here. Bottom line is that I had a great time in Napa!  Although I felt defeated and broken during and just after the race, I can't quite explain how happy and optimistic I feel about it all now.  On my flight home as I was reading John Keston's book, I was smiling inside and out.  Just happy to be living.  Happy to be able to travel.  Happy that I'm about to move to North Carolina for an adventure.  Excited for a party at our house this weekend.  Glad to be uninjured and have a chance to run the Boston Marathon in 6 weeks.  Pressure free.  What a privilege it is to train for marathons!  It's not cheap and it takes a lot of time.  We are fortunate to have people that support us, a body that says "Yes, you can", the funds to even pay for the race, and a fresh start to keep setting goals and using running to make our life better!

If you want a marathon getaway with a rolling hills course, beautiful scenery, a great expo, the best swag bag, and some awesome post race wine tasting and/or sight seeing, Napa Valley is a must do.  I'd do it again for sure!



  1. All of that makes perfect sense. And if I only slept 30 minutes, I probably wouldn't have even mamde it out of bed, so I applaud you for running 26.2 miles! You are my hero.

    Since you're just running Boston for fun, maybe you can pace Kristen and I to a PR! :) Just a thought...

    Lastly, can you PLEASE post that video!? I want to laugh my butt off, too!

  2. You are an inspiration! I have only been running for about a year but it brings me absolute joy. I am not running marathons like you but I am hitting six miles. On days I feel down about my slow times and short distances, I pat myself on the back an hour later because I got out there and ran! I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 4 years ago so every mile is a triumph! Reading your blog helps me to remember to celebrate where I am. Thanks for always finding the beauty and sharing it with your readers.

  3. was thinking about you bunches on sunday and pulling for you. 3:40 isn't so bad girl, and with time all those other warm memories from your weekend will trump the finish time. it's a number, and there is far more to you than your finish times from races!

    hope you're enjoying some much needed recovery time and that your heart is getting ready for your big cross country move. you have so much going on lady! sending you some virtual hugs!

  4. Beatiful pictures and I think that second to last paragraph sums it all up. What an incredible learning experience and perspective you gained from this race.

  5. Love the Shelley story. Love the way you are looking at this and moving on. I made out my training calendar today for my 1st half ever. It's June 1st and as I worked through the days and tried to match up available races along the way I found myself not excited about the few weeks to come. That scared me. Last season I couldn't wait to get out there and signing up for races made me more excited than the actual starting line. Then I read your post and that changed my perspective. I'm not going to put a ton of pressure on myself. I'm going to remember why I'm doing this and enjoy the process as much as I possibly can. Thank you for being so open and honest about it all.

  6. Oh, Amanda! I've so been where you are after a marathon. I'm so sorry it wasn't your day. It's such a bad feeling and tough thing to get over. You're doing all the right things to help heal your soul--writing is cathartic (hey, so is wine!). Your goal time is out there waiting for you, trust me.

    I think your move is really great timing, actually--a diversion for a while. Then you can get back to thinking about running. After my crappy CIM this year, I needed a full month to not think about my next move. It was time well spent and I came out of it recharged.

    Big hug!

  7. Ok...I must figure out a way to run this race. Wine, rollers, swag, and the chance to meet the people you did...I'm in.

  8. Amanda I'm really sorry that the race did not turn out the way you had hoped. It's great that you are finding the lessons in the experience. You are always so honest and heartfelt and I really admire that. Hope to see you along the course in Boston!

  9. I am sending you a big hug, while the race wasn't what your expectation was, I love the way that you put it in perspective and talked about the positives. I hope that I get to see you in Boston. My friend is running and I am going with her.

  10. I'm so glad you're feeling better about everything! Funny how quickly perspective can change. Once when I was whining about an injury and worrying about whether or not it was gonna knock me out of a race, an acquaintance told me, "Much worse things have happened to much better athletes." At first I thought, "What an asshole!" Then later I thought, "Man... dude was right."

    I'm afraid we're all going to need to see the deleted post and video. :) Come on, now. Give your readers what they want!

  11. I'm new here. I don't have much to add (except that I just added you to my Google Reader, and out of the 10 newest posts, I clicked over because of the now-removed Napa Marathon post that preceded this one :) ), except to send you a bit of a virtual hug.

    A crappy race sucks, especially when you go in feeling strong and confident. But it sounds like you're processing through this, learning, and moving (quite literally!) on. Thankfully, there are zillions more races out there. I'm quite certain one of them has your name on it.

  12. I'm so glad that you shared both posts - the one with your raw feelings and this one! You are such a strong person!!! Loved hearing about all of the greats you were able to see, meet, talk to!!
    Hope everything goes well with the upcoming move!

  13. I love the second to last paragraph, it sums it up exactly how I view this sport.

    Enjoy your party this weekend!!

  14. Oh my lovely Amanda - you've been very much on my mind this week and I was waiting for time to write to you properly. This moment may never come so instead - you are amazing. We ALL have bad days, bad races, bad nights (and like you, I'm WORTHLESS after a sleepless night) but we don't all take as much from them. You never fail to inspire me in all your thoughtfulness - your enthousiasm, even in low times, to squeeze the meaningfulness out of life. I love it. I also love that you can make yourself laugh and that your wonderful friends can make you laugh at yourself. You are amazing Amanda. No question. Now go and move that family and start the next adventure!

  15. Argh! I think the computer just ate my comment... in any case, I enjoyed reading your rambles. A marathon is always an accomplishment, even when it doesn't go as planned. And I get the running for fun goal... although if you decide to go for another big goal, I'm behind you there, too! :)


  16. I am very enjoyed for this blog. I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me
    You can follow this link and get more huge funny and interesting yo mama jokes


  17. I am very enjoyed for this blog. I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me
    You can follow this link and get more huge funny and interesting yo mama jokes


  18. I am very enjoyed for this blog. I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me
    You can follow this link and get more huge funny and interesting yo mama jokes