|One of the many gorgeous views along the SR course|
My parents and Jolie came with me up to Santa Rosa. They've come with me for a race before, but this was the first time they actually came to the expo with me. This was fun for my dad especially because the expo was at DeLoach Winery, and my dad is into wine, so we got in a wine tasting as well.
As well as this jacket. (Women got pink trim, and men got blue. Ugh.)
The marathon started at 6am, which was something the race organizers decided to do, like, a month ago (it originally was supposed to start at 7am), and I have to say, that was the best decision ever. It meant we had to start in the dark, but it meant that we had cooler temperatures for more of the race course.
It was a beautiful course, as you can see from the first photo above. We ran through downtown Santa Rosa, then along a long path that (I thought) resembled my home trail, and then around the vineyards around the outskirts of town. The course had very few hills, and the ones it did have were totally runnable.
I felt pretty strong for the entire first half; miles 14-16 were hard. Miles 16-19 were harder. I got a bit of a second wind at mile 19, but I did end up speedwalking (well, for me) the last 6 miles, though the key thing was that I was holding strong with my walking, even though I couldn't run much anymore by that point. Even though I was keeping a far slower overall pace than my first marathon, I felt a whole lot better at the end of this race than I did before. I was tired and hot, but not demoralized or anything. I just decided that I wasn't going to push myself.
Official finish time was 6:57:29. I was the last person to officially finish (the course closed at 7 hours), and it was kind of fun because the MC totally was like, "Come on! Everyone stop what you're doing and come cheer for our last runner!" So I had a bunch of strangers applauding me as I crossed the finish line :) (Of course I'd rather be cheered for finishing first than finishing last, but hey, it's all good.)
The only thing I'm bummed about was the fact that, because I finished last, the watermelon at the finish line was all yucky, and there were no more pancakes or beer. (Well, I don't drink beer anyway, but PANCAKES.)
So, yeah... I'm officially a repeat marathoner :)
On deck: Because I'm a glutton for punishment, I registered for this marathon knowing that NEXT weekend, I have half marathon #12 on the year - The Race to the End of Summer in San Jose. Yeah, recovery run. Right?
Also, I will start training for the California International Marathon, which is in December. THAT one, I want to beat my MH time.