Sunday, March 1, 2009

Napa Valley Marathon

Rain, rain, go away. Come again any other time but marathon day. Mother nature's not been kind to our sporting events these days. I know, I know, we need the rain but Tour de California and today's Napa Valley Marathon participants have had to deal with some added adversity to what are already demanding events without the wet conditions. Enough whining. A job we had to do and a job we did. A hearty Point Positive congratulations to first-time marathon finisher Aziz Zhari of Healdsburg, former soccer pro, who braved the cold and wet course and arrived victoriously in Napa 26.2 miles later. Doug Wilson and Matt Gallo also had strong races and added yet another marathon to their long list of endurance events. Today, these fellas made a big deposit into their 2009 training account. They will later make withdrawals on the run fitness they will derive from this experience in their triathlons in the coming months. Well done to all!!!

It was my distinct pleasure to meet up with these athletes pre-race and to run the opening miles with them. I'm grateful that NVM allowed me to use my deferred entry from last year to use today. It wasn't pretty by any stretch of the imagination. The expression "ugh" comes to mind as I type this. Round about mile 4 or so, I began moving my way up through the field struggling to find my rhythm. My focus was on running at a perceived exertion of about 6 or 7 to mile 20. From there I bumped it up to an 8 and held steady to mile 23 where I increased to a 9 and worked my tail off to the finish, clocking a 6:10 for mile 26. It felt good to work hard today (just to keep warm!). My objective out there was to work hard and use this race to develop fitness for the American River 50mi, coming up on April 4th. The first half of AR50 is on the American River bike path and road fitness I had not last year when I ran the distance for the first time. Thus, I'm excited to come into AR with a road marathon in the bank. After a week of recovery, I'll conduct a couple long, hilly, trail runs to prepare for the second half of AR which consists of another marathon in the woods leading up to Auburn. Ugh. :)