Napa marathon never disappoints me. That would explain why we signed up to run the 2020 race last year when we got back home
after the race. It’s just an overall excellent experience.
The shakeout run: We have participated in the shakeout run the last 3 years. We arrived early and started to walk
around before the expo opened making small talk with some exhibitors. We ended up running into a couple we met pretty much at the exact location as last year! Karen and Fred from Texas who are both on Team Beef. They were the couple that
told us about this pretty cool organization. I felt it was fate we ran into them, especially with Kim wearing his Team Beef jersey.
This year Emma Coburn was present at the shakeout run and also was one of the motivational speakers at the
expo. She won an Olympic medal at the 2017 World Championships in London, Coburn won the 3000 meters steeplechase with a time of 9.02.58, breaking her own American record. She said some words to the runners saying “I have never run a marathon,
but I will be there high fiving you all at the finish”
During the group photo, we met quite a few runners that were supposed to run Tokyo but due to the Corona Virus they canceled the race. I could feel the disappointment from all these
runners. Kim and I both put our heads down as we are still uncertain if Boston and London will be cancelled as well.
The Expo: I love this expo! I also love that
our gear bags are back packs that we bring to the start and they bring them back to the High school at the finish so we can change into dry clothes. It was nice to run into our friend Yvonnne who we met in Boston 2014 and have kept in tough via Facebook.
I just think it’s so cool to meet so many runners and make connections. We also ran into Les Wright, the race director from the Maui marathon. We seem to run into him at so many races. They also had the Cliff Family winery that I plan to
go to before I head back to CT. It’s a small expo, but it’s jammed packed with some pretty awesome vendors.
The morning of the race we woke up CA time at
3:45 AM but our bodies were on Connecticut 6:45 EST time so it was not painful. We had our typical pre-race breakfast and ritual and headed to the Vintage High School to get the bus to the start. Our bus driver was pretty funny as she chatted with
everyone via the loud speaker. Then I heard her beeping and looked up. Apparently, the bus driver in front of her was taking the wrong turn heading to the half marathon start! She pulled out her radio and set him straight. We arrived
at the start and this year the buses were parked in a different location. We got out, used the port-o-lets and headed back on the bus because it was COLD! When we had 20 minutes before the start, we headed to drop off our bags and use the port-o-let one more
time. I’ll be honest, I was not sure if it was the trail mix, I snacked on or just pre-race jitters. We walked off the bus and the winds picked up and it started raining. It was NOT supposed to rain today! I had stalked the weather
for the last 10 days. The lines for the bathroom was crazy long. We got in line and waited and waited. Then, the volunteers announced that the race would be starting in 7 minutes. We knew we wouldn’t get to the start and felt
okay with this knowing it was chip start. We finally used the facilities, dropped off our gear bags and then when we got to the start. Kim said “Which way do we go?”, “Where is everyone”? Then I said, “They already
started”! We missed the National Anthem, the announcements, and the horn! We just took off running. We passed the 5:30 pacer, the 5:00 pacer, and then settled into our pace.
When we started running, I said, “Let’s
count wineries”! That lasted after around 6 wineries! The Silverado trail has wineries on both sides of the road, and you can look ahead at and see them forever. The grapes vines on the wineries seemed endless with brilliant colors
of the yellow mustard flowers. The course is not flat and even though it has a net downhill, there are quite a few hills to climb. Some sections were long and gradual while others steeper. In some sections the road had severe cantor
and we had to move from one side to the other to give our legs a break. The only sections where there was crowd support were on the side streets that led out to a road that was parallel to the one we were running on. These awesome cheering squads would continue
to move to the next side street when the people they were cheering for ran by. Water stops had NUUN. I love this as Gatorade can do a number on my tummy.
We stuck to our nutrition plan and had a decent pace until my stomach started to cramp
up around mile 16. I ended up stopping for a bit and used the facilities at the water stop. Kim was walking ahead, and I caught up to him and said, “Come-on Marchand, let’s get her done”!
I felt better for a few more miles
and we ran with the 3:50 pacers. They were very good encouraging the runners and giving tips for going up hills and recovering after. I was impressed!
I started getting a hot spot on the bottom of my foot. My favorite brand of
socks seem to wear out pretty quickly, and Kim and I have to inspect them better before our long runs to be sure they wouldn’t get a hole. I could feel it starting. After we got back the house after the race, I checked my sock and there
was a quarter size hole! I threw them out!
The finish: We finally turned off the Silverado trail and headed into some side roads. I remember running over the bridge of the Napa river. I used my mental toughness to get though these
last few miles. Singing songs to myself like “the ant song”, “I am the Walrus” and “A day in the life”) and then I eventually put the timer on my Fitbit and kept track to see how far I was into the next mile.
That lasted like a ½ mile. Then, I counted steps, trees, telephone poles, until the crowd started cheering “you have less than a mile to go!” I kicked up my speed (because I saw a women that looked like she was in my age bracket trying
to run by me) and FINALLY we got to the finish shute. Kim grabbed my hand and lifted it up in the air and the crowd went wild. They announced our names and we finished. The volunteers congratulated us and one of them said “I am going to walk
with you to make sure you’re both okay? That’s my job”. They did this last year too which I think is a pretty cool protocol of volunteers. Both Kim and I started getting bad calf cramps as soon as we started walking so we stopped
and stretched. We checked our results and I was pleasantly surprised to see that I placed 3rd in my age division and won a bottle of wine.
Post Race: We got our gear
bags and went to change. I was disappointed that the lady’s locker room had no water for showers! Again! Luckily, I brought “shower wipes” and cleaned up. We ate soup at the school cafeteria and headed out side to the awards.
I have to admit; a bottle of wine is a pretty cool award. I’ll have to see how long it’ll lasts and if makes it to CT.