Don’t flame out, don’t flame out, don’t flame out. On repeat in my head for 4.5 miles.
Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Santa Rosa Half Marathon to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
Race morning dawned all too early but then don’t they all. Plus I had now confirmed that the GI disaster that was Napa Valley was not a one off, ate at the same chain the night before Santa Rosa and same issues. However this time, I was prepared with both my meds and lots of Pepto. Fingers crossed.
The race started right at 7:30 with corral A going first and Corral B a few moments later. I was in B. I had very low expectations going into this race, both due to my lack of training and the weather circumstances. Smoke in the air and a very warm morning.
Mile 1, I went out too fast but no real shock there. Well, the 12:40 was kind of a surprise as I rarely see 12’s these days. I started interspersing walk breaks on my 30/50 schedule and just kept trucking. I was carrying electrolytes and knew I was taking water at every water stop. Mile 2 dropped me back into the 13’s which made sense as I already felt tired, ha!
Then things got wierd. I was moving along doing my thing, taking water, taking pictures of the course, listening to music but somehow gaining on the 2:50 pacer. What was going on?? Miles 3-5 saw a 12:59, 12:33, and 12:46.
Mile 5 also saw another feat. I caught up to the 2:50 pacers and then dropped them. Don’t get cocky, don’t get cocky, just keep going. We had hit a dirt, gravel part of the trail and I was loving it. It was warming up but there good tree cover. Mile 6- 12:39.
I was entering unknown territory in a few ways now. I was moving faster than I have in months, now farther than the distance I had run since May and now past the longest distance I had run in these running shoes.
I was also tiring but again, that made sense. I was slowing down but I’d also started to think I really could hold onto a sub 2:50. That would be almost 20 minutes faster than Idaho. I now feared hearing the 2:50 pace group. They were chatty enough that I knew I’d hear them first. I kept pushing… and repeating my new mantra.
Around mile 9, we looped around on the path and started making our way back to the start line. 4 miles to go and the wheels were starting to come off. We hit a section of direct sunlight and I started to melt. I took a wet towel at an aid station for the first time ever. (They’ve always kind of grossed me out.) I was walking more and more and then there was no more running.
I cramped. Hard. Both my calves seized up. Running was no longer an option. It just wouldn’t work. I was power walking as best I could. Which was also contributing to my issue as I was still maintaining a mid 13 pace. Which was also earning me comments from other runners as I passed a few- I was walking faster than they were running. Couldn’t tell if they were impressed or irritated.
But it was all for naught. I heard the voices I had been fearing. The 2:50 group caught up and dropped me. Wah. But that also took away my crazy push which may be why I suddenly felt a massive side cramp as well as the continuous leg cramps. At this point I was trying everything and even walking backwards at some points. Now I was just making people laugh. 12 and 13 were my slowest- 14:31 and 14:52.
This is the first finish line I have ever walked across. Even when I’ve had horrible GI races or rolled my ankle on the side of the mountain, I’ve found a way to at least jog across the finish line. This time? Nope! I just kind of struggle walked across the finish.
But I finished! 2:56:58– ten minutes faster than Idaho.
While this race was flat- and flat is not my fave- I would totally run it again. It reminded me of me, if that makes sense.