I usually write a race plan prior to each marathon. In doing so, it helps me to think about how I want my race day to play out. It’s more than just the finish line goal; it’s about the whole experience. Putting it down has helped me to get into the right frame of mind for race day. My race plan for Napa Valley 2004 was, by far, the best race plan that I have written to date. It also lead to my best marathon performance so far. I hope you all will enjoy reading it.
On a cool morning in San Francisco I awoke early to dress for the San Francisco Marathon. While Tom & the boys slept, I contemplated on if I should be racing that day. Just 4 days before I twisted my ankle but today it looks fine. I hooked up with a SFRRC pace team & set out at a quick pace. It felt good to run for the 1st time since my injury. We were on target for my 3:45 qualification goal.
It’s hard to know how I would’ve felt had I not lost the pace group. I began slowing pace. Although my ankle didn’t hurt, my foot didn’t feel so great. I just felt funny. By the time I reached the 10K mark I was getting cold & the ”wall” was already coming on strong. By mile 10 I knew I could not meet my goal & miqht be destroying my foot & ankle. When I reached the Half-Marathon point I finished my race & took the bus back to the hotel.
This was the 1st race I’d had the kids at & I was so sure I was going qualify-before my ankle sprain. Tom BoBo & YaYa were waiting at the finish line with the camera when I called. I was crying, but they cheered me up with much needed hugs and a non-fat latte. They reminded me that maybe I could do it “next time.”
After 16 weeks of training, Tom and I dropped the kids off with their Aunt Carol & Uncle Marcelo and drove to the Napa Valley. During the training, I ran my weekday runs with Michelle, Mark and Melanie from work. The weekend long runs were with my husband. We often would push YaYa in the job stroller, while BoBo would ride his bike ahead of us. We would stop, along the trail, at the playgrounds to give the kids a break. It was tough because the long runs too a really long time. We got a sitter when the run reached the higher mileage, and the weather was rainy. It was fun to compare aches and pains after the runs. Even though we didn’t run the same pace, the training still had a way of bringing us closer together.
I don’t remember every detail of that race, but I do remember the feeling of crossing the marathon finish line for the first time. If you haven’t had this live experience yet, it is well worth the training and the pain involved with that. There is nothing like it. But let me go back to the start and tell you the whole story – at least as much of it as I can remember.