Santa Rosa, CA
Mileage - 26.2
Time - 2:47:36
AEG - 255ft
Pace - 6:19/mile
Place - 4th Overall
A solid seventeen weeks of training specifically for this race would certainly land me a personal best, right? Not the case at the Santa Rosa Marathon. Described as flat and fast, "the highest elevation is 174 ft above sea level and 64 ft above at its lowest spot. It’s an imperceptible (subtle or very slight) 100 feet of change during 26.2 miles, which is almost as flat as it gets." By mile 20, I wondered if their website was referring to the same race! I've run a handful of ultras with climbs of 1,000ft up mountainsides that seemed more subtle than these 20-30ft inclines on the road. Picture running up an on-ramp on the freeway. Now imagine doing that about a dozen times.
I think I made my point about the hills, let's discuss the actual course. The big issue was course marking. Over a bridge just past mile 7, the ground markers indicated a right turn (that was incorrect) costing me more than 30 seconds before realizing the mistake. That 30-60 seconds was the difference between a 3rd and 4th place finish and winning my age group. Frustrating. I had a chance to make up that time and catch the third place finisher until I encountered the cluster of half marathon runners/walkers crowding the path in the final 3-4 miles. It was poor planning to have two races converge in such a narrow space. Needless to say, the last two miles of the race were my slowest, and not because of fatigue.
The marathon wasn't all to blame. Something didn't feel quite right during the race, my pace through mile 10 felt labored. Then the internal dialogue began as I ran the first half of the race all alone. Did I over train, am I under trained? Should I have tapered more, were my long runs not fast enough?
I just didn't feel 100 percent, which is a bummer because I thought those last seventeen weeks of training were great and I was very confident going into this event. Had I reached my goal time I could have easily taken the win. I tend to be critical (mostly of myself) when things don't go according to plan, but that's the beauty of the marathon, you never no what to expect. Mentally, I am fine with the turnout and look forward to getting back on my feet...once these calves loosen up!
A big thanks to all the volunteers and to those that put this race together. I really had a great time over the weekend and look forward to my next trip to wine country. Also, congrats to all those runners landing a Boston Qualifying time, that's a pretty awesome accomplishment!
Not the prettiest finish to a race - followed by a post-marathon check up from Dr. Ebel
Here's an article from the marathon mix up.