23rd Marathon
Hotels! TG tossed and turned in bed and finally got to sleep at about 4am, after she threw herself onto the floor to stay cool. She normally finds beds too hot to sleep in. She managed to wake up at 6am and forced the food down that she had bought last night. Unfortunately perhaps Mexican with chili was not the best thing to eat before a race and soon her stomach began to churn. To circumvent any problems, TG drank a litre of water to flush out her system. Fortunately she was able to empty her stomach before leaving the room to feel more settled.

From the Marriott Hotel, the start point is a short 10 minute walk however not having checked out the walking route yesterday, TG got directions from a couple with Mickey Mouse ears (really!). It was a lovely walk to the start along the riverside in the cool morning mist.

Runners at the start
7am the hooter went, and we waited behind until everyone had gone over the start line. Both full marathoners and half marathoners start together. The full marathoners would do a second lap when the half marathoners finish.

After the heat of yersterday, it was thankfully a wonderful cool morning. But we were warned temperatures would rise and reach into the 30s by the afternoon.

Back of the pack
At the back of the pack, I slid quite easily on damp tarmac, enabling TG a better drag. As we headed towards the river, we soon caught up with the straggly back line of 1/2 marathoners pacing themselves. For the next 5 miles we would be overtaking participants.......and then we hit the hard packed trail. Yes we could finally get moving and I glided with joy. Between miles 5 and 6 we overtook our first full marathoners. Between miles 6 and 7 we overtook another couple of full marathoners, who we would meet again at mile 14. I would later find out they were called Endorphin Dude and Ultra Wolf!

Lone musician
Ssingers and musicians playing a variety of instruments to entertain the runners were peppered along the route. And as we ran along, I wondered if we were the moving entertainment. ;-)

Bystanders and supporters were encouraging, and some would try to stop TG to ask her what she was doing! And when she slowed down to respond, I told her to keep going. There wasn't time to waste otherwise we'd suffer the same heat exhaustion as in West Virginia in the Hatfield McCoy marathon. TG does not like it in the 30s and my rubber feels hot with the blazing sun shining on me.

As always the volunteers were supportive....errr high five to the dudes!

Between miles 9 to 10, the lead bike warned me the lead runner was about to pass. To my surprise a "gazelle" of a woman passed us. Yes a woman (who I would later find out was a home grown runner called Julia Mallon) was the lead runner. She was looking really strong at mile 21. I could not see any man behind. Soon, a second lead runner passed us and she too was another woman! She also was looking strong and determined to catch the lead runner. But the lead runner looked much stronger. The third lead runner to catch us was then a man. He looked like he would have no hope of catching the first 2 women. TG laughed and held her thought about a man letting 2 women slip by!

After a glorious run on hard packed gravel, we hit back onto the tarmac. By mile 10 TG began to walk a little and run a little. We got to 13.1 miles by 10:28. The temperatures were rising and TG was slowing down. By mile 14 Endorphin Dude and Ultra Wolf had caught back up with us. Between mile 14 and 15 TG carried me, and Endorphin Dude turned back several times as he could no longer hear me scrapping on the tarmac......and am glad Endorphin Dude (ED) called out "I couldn't hear you any more!".

Ultra Wolf and Endorphin Dude
TG responded, "Yeah Rec is pressing on my bladder and want to go but there is no cover around"
ED: "Hey we'll cover you"
Ultra Wolf (UW): "There's a good spot, we'll keep look out"

So we went down along a short trail off the main trail .......
ED: "Hold up there's a bike coming"
TG: "Urgh"
ED: "Okay you're good to go"
TG called out: "Thank you!!!"

Rec: "Just don't eat Mexican next time"
TG: "It wasn't the Mexican!"

Anyway so ED and UW were about 200m ahead until we got onto the hard packed gravel. Then away we flew passing ED and UW. TG: "Don't worry, I'll see you on the next stretch of tarmac...."

They kept TG in view all the time......waiting. The temperatures were still rising and TG was back on a walk on another stretch of tarmac. I felt a little hot and the ground was holding on to me a little more than the early morning. Between miles 18-19, ED and UW overtook TG back again. TG could not move any faster until the next hard packed gravel trail and soon ED and UW were no longer in sight.

The sun was beating down and TG was unsure of what nutrition to take. Her head was a little light. I admit I was dragging my treads. I too don't like hot sun.....which means sucky tarmac. Between miles 19-22, TG became distracted with a road runner, an egret and some big bird flying above. However, fortunately she only looked and did not try to take a photo as she normally does. We completed the the event in 7:33. A new PB for us :-)

And as Orhan offered TG a large wine bottle, TG offered me in return! And so I am now in a sunny new home. No more snowy winters!......hope to send some photos :-) and hope TG will come back again so we can race this event again in the future!

Notes from TG:
Rec was loving Santa Rosa. It would have been selfish of me to have packed him back to the UK when he could be enjoying better weather. Sad to part with him, happy he was happy and hope he inspires more people.

Organisers Arthur and Orhan
Santa Rosa Marathon Overview
Organisation: Excellent
Type of race: Chip timed
Course: Flat and fast along a pathway that is on the side of a river. About 1/3 on hard packed gravel and 2/3 on tarmac.
Volunteers: Excellent
Drink points: Water/gatorade @ every 2 miles; gel/fruit stops
Goodie Bag at start point: Technical t-shirt, energy drinks and food
Goodies at finish point: Very cool changeable medal; food and drink
Weather: 7am @ early 20s C and by 10am got to the late 20s C/ 70s F
Mid-day about 35 C/ 95 F



19/09/2011 21:11

AWESOME! Ultra Woof and I love you! So glad to be there with you at the finish line.


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