Archive for August, 2011
The Santa Rosa Marathon started at 7am this morning. Since Bill and I had run the Park City race only last week, we both approached the starting line with some trepidation. I was glad to be back at sea level, but my muscles were still tired: sleepy and heavy.
The course looked on the map like it was a double out-and-back, but once I was on it, I could see the course director had runners straddling two sides of a creek in a tight double loop. (The race director, Arthur Webb, is a bit of a legend, it turns out. We discovered this later while wine tasting with some local runners at the Windsor Tasting room in Healdsburg. In 2009 he was recognized as a ten-time finisher of Badwater!) Bill and I were going to get to pass one another at the turn around as he started the second loop.
All summer I’ve complained about the weather in Bellingham – how it’s been cool and cloudy and moist – but this morning just a touch of Bellingham in California felt perfect. We had low clouds at the start of the race that lasted until just before noon. The course was very well marked and supported. It ran past cornfields and vineyards following the water most of the way.
My goal was to run every mile in under 12 minutes. A meager goal to those who race their marathons hard, I realize, but a good goal for me. I managed this up until mile 18 and then my legs started to talk to me. Particularly my left leg was saying things like, “What’s up lady? Why are you doing this to me again?” I’ve been nursing a tight hamstring/quad combo for weeks. Today I had to speak back, coaxing: “Relax darling. You’re almost done and I appreciate all the work you’ve put in this past week. I promise to let you rest as soon as we finish.”
Following everything I’ve learned in Carol Frazey’s running group about form, I kept my cadence regular, my steps small, and my arms swinging parallel to the ground. I leaned forward just a bit and kept my head up. All this helped me keep going when everything in me wanted to curl up on the side of the road for a nap.
As I tweeted (and yes, I did this from my regular old cell phone), I finished the race in 5:18 and Bill finished in 3:56. I’m off to bed now as I’m so tired I hardly have words for it.
It’s Saturday, August 27. We’ve been in Yosemite for several days–unplugged and totally disconnected from all that keeps us on schedule or organizes life. I camped with Bill, as promised, until I could camp no more without feeling anxious and crabby. In spite of the fact that we sandwiched Yosemite between two marathons, we managed to put in about 20 miles of walking and hiking throughout the week. Highlights for me include a hike up to Lembert Dome, a dip in Tenaya Lake and the Giant Sequoia grove. Just before we left the park an RV exploded near one of the gates and knocked the power out in the whole park.
On camping: I know so many friends who love the smell of campfires, the feeling of sleeping in the open air, and the sound of the wind rustling just outside their tents. As for me, I do not like having to bundle up and put on shoes to pee in the middle of the night and I cannot sleep wondering if a bear will smell the insect repellent on my skin and scratch its way into my tent. I apologize to all outdoor adventurers everywhere. I love nature, but I I think there is a reason why humans build shelters to protect themselves from certain aspects of it. I was most delighted to check into a Motel 6 last night with an en suite toilet. Still, in a couple of days, I’ll be back in the tent with my beloved (with a smile and my best “good sport” attitude).
We arrived in Santa Rosa, California today and picked up our bib numbers and swag bags for the Santa Rosa Marathon. For the second time (the first time was in Boston), Bill and I got the chance to talk to Marshall Ulrich, author of Running on Empty. Bill finished his book within a couple of days of buying it. I read part of it and then got waylaid by my own writing projects and other reading that seemed pressing. This time, we met Marshall’s wife, Heather, too. They are both lovely, warm people. Look for a review of his book in the next couple of weeks. I’m often asked what running books I’m reading… so now you know. And I’d love it if others would read along with me and share in the discussion.
Tomorrow, I may Tweet while I’m running: http://twitter.com/#!/camiostman. It mostly depends on if my phone still has a charge in the morning. The race begins at 7am, PST. After the race, we’ll have the chance to come back to our hotel, shower and then get on the road again to head north for a little wine tasting. More later.
Bill and I decided to stay in Park City for an extra day, so enamoured were we of this place. Today we visited three very cool sites.
1. Olympic Park. We took a tour for $7 a piece which gave us the inside scoop on Olympic winter sports. Did you know that skiers practice in the summer by jumping into a pool of water? Or that the Park City bobsled course is the third fastest in the world?
2. The Park Silly Sunday Market. This open air market is full of hippy energy and paraphernalia. If you need a tie dyed shirt or a pair of feather earrings, this is the place to get them. Bill and I spent a couple of hours poking around the booths and culminated our visit with some heavenly tacos and burritos sold by one of the street vendors.
3. The Town Lift. For $11 each, we took a half hour ride in a ski lift from the center of town to the top of the mountain. On the way up, we could see much of the marathon course we ran yesterday and the numerous resorts and lodges in the area.
As we pack up and get ready to move on to the next leg of our journey, we’ve already promised ourselves to get back here for an extended stay some summer in the near future.
The story of the Park City Marathon starts back in March of 2010, when Bill and I were visiting Punta Arenas, Chile. We were staying in a little hostel for a few days before we were invited to stay with a family we’d met through the Sister City Association. While we were still at the hostel, we met a couple from Park City, Utah–Todd and Jennifer. Chatting in the common area one afternoon, Todd and Jennifer told us that Todd had been instrumental in designing the Park City Marathon course. We made a mental note to get to Park City someday for the race.
A few days later, we were eating dinner at a restaurant with some of our Chilean friends. When the check came, we discovered we were short by what amounted to a couple of US dollars. Fortunately, Todd and Jennifer were dining at the same restaurant, and they loaned us the money to pay our bill. Since they left early the next day, we never had the chance to pay them back so, again, we told ourselves we needed to get to Park City to buy them a drink someday.
And here were are.
Today was the Park City Marathon. This is the first race I’ve ever tweeted while running. It was awesome to be connected to friends and readers while I was out on the course, especially because this was a tough race. The first 13 miles were actually fine. The course took us along some of Park City’s terrific and well planned trails, both paved and unpaved. When I hit the half way point at what is for me an average half marathon pace, I felt encouraged about the rest of the race, but the altitude and the heat started to really suck the energy out of me by mile 14.
I’d come into the race worried about the altitude, but I was expecting it to bother my lungs, maybe make me short of breath or cause burning in my chest. Instead I felt like there simply wasn’t enough oxygen in my muscles. I took nearly an hour to get from mile 13 to mile 16.
Miles 17 to 26 were basically downhill, but by the time I had the chance to take advantage of gravity, the sun was up full force and hot (especially for people like us who have barely seen the low seventies in Bellingham all summer). I couldn’t get my miles down to my usual pace ever again after the half way point. Bill told me later he had the same experience.
Still, we traveled past some spectacular resorts and lodges, through upscale neighborhoods, and along well-maintained sprawling trails. Park City is spectacular!
One of my favorite things about this race: The Marathon Maniacs. I’ve been a Maniac since last year (#2294) but this is the first race for which I wore my Maniac jersey. At least ten maniacs approached me before or during the race. They shout out their numbers at you, you know. The Maniac number tells you when you joined. A number lower than mine means they joined the club before me; a number greater than mine means they joined after me.
Once again, I felt the camaraderie of the running community today as other Maniacs shouted out encouragement to me on the course. I’ve never been, nor will I ever be, a natural athlete. The Maniacs have really fostered a mutual appreciation between runners of all skill levels and have made us into one team of marathoners conquering as many races as we can fit in in a year. So, to the guy from New York who is shooting for 25 marathons this year… to the local group who insisted I join them for a photo (wish I had a copy of it)… and to the Maniac who took the early start and passed me on mile 17 – thanks for your shout outs today.
After the race, Bill and I joined Todd and Jennifer for an outdoor concert (the March Forth Marching Band - soooo cool – even with a thunderstorm brewing all around us). If we’d arrived a few days later we would have missed them; they’re off to Europe in a couple of days. Predictibly, they wouldn’t let us repay them the money we borrowed in Chile, so we’ll just have to hope they get up to Bellingham so we can offer some hospitality sometime soon.
Well, we’ve arrived in Park City, Utah. Long hours of driving and adjusting to twenty-four hours of compromising with another person’s rhythms notwithstanding, we’ve had a good trip so far. The first night, we stayed in Oregon along the famed Oregon Trail.
Did you know that there are still visible tracks left by the wagon wheels from the thousands of emigrants moving west in the 18oos?
We had to make time to get to Park City in time to pick up our race packets, but we did make a stop at the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center near Baker City. It’s shocking to think that whole families brought their belongings over such rough terrain, walking most of the way.
As I’ve probably mentioned. I’m not a huge camping fan. Tonight, we’re at a (glorious) Holiday Inn, but I’ve been keeping a good attitude. The second night we stayed at a campsite at Crystal Hot Springs which boasts one of only two places in the world where hot springs and cold springs come out of the earth side by side. While the bathroom was too far away from my campsite (for my taste), the pools were really quite awesome.
The race starts at 6:30am Utah time (that’s 5:30 PST). If you care to follow, I’ll be tweeting from the course. http://twitter.com/#!/camiostman
‘Night all. Must get to bed early.