Sunday, August 28, 2011

Santa Rosa Marathon

The 2010 Santa Rosa Marathon marked a very important running rite of passage for me. It was at this race last year that I qualified for Marathon Maniacs. If you had told me five years ago that I would join a club where people run 26.2 miles weekend after weekend, I would have urged you to consult a psychiatrist. Well, maybe I should be the one making that appointment. Immediately after crossing that finish line, I registered for Maniac membership. Within a few hours, I received my credentials, MM #2810, and two days later I got my singlet in the mail.

My first marathon was supposed to have been my one and done bucket list race, but that little thing called endorphins made me come back for more.  That qualifying race in Santa Rosa was not easy, and I had to work hard to cross that finish line. For this reason, I was determined to return for round two and beat my time! Hence, I showed up incognito, sans cape, so I could get the job done. Sadly, I was not able to beat my 6:45 time from last year. After running a half marathon the day before, my legs just couldn't do it. Once I realized that a PR was not in cards, I slowed down, had some fun, and greeted all the Marathon Maniacs who passed me.

I tried to dip. Really, I did try.
There's Marathon Maniac Cyndie Merten!
Bill McCarty is running without an arm sling this time.
Tyre Girl ran the whole marathon with a tire tied to her waist. Seriously. You can read all about her here:
Asian Gangsta and Asian Pop Star!

Things heated up at about mile 21 when the race director biked out to see how we were doing. He rode up to me and said that the timing folks were going to leave at 2pm, and if Ultra Woof and I couldn't make it to the finish line by then, we would get a DNF.  He did inform us that he would save a medal for us though. I was stunned. A medal means nothing without a finish time! I plead my case to him stating that I had all my miles recorded on my Garmin, and asked if the timing folks would take my finish time manually.  I panicked!  I really needed this marathon, and if I had received the DNF, the Titanium would have hit another ice berg! I plead and plead and the race director said he would see what he could do.

With that, I picked up the pace and did my best to get to that finish line! Believe me, I was stressed out. I plugged along, under the scorching sun, battling blisters and cramps. I just couldn't run any more and my legs were so shot that I couldn't even power walk. Nonetheless, I kept going. Flashbacks of last year's race haunted me. Nonetheless, I kept one foot in front of the other. After seven hours and 15 minutes on the course Ultra Woof and I crossed the finish line, fifteen minutes after the cut off time.  Fortunately, the timing folks were still there and they took down our finish times manually!  I let out a huge sigh of relief and then dropped to the ground! These close calls are always nerve-wracking, but the sweet victory is always oh so nice!

A finish is a finish. I got my medal and my finish time. Woo Hoo!
Thank you Ernie for cheering us in at the finish line!
Chewbacca's other doggie nanny, Kristen, and friends were there at the finish line! Thanks Kristen and Vincent, and Cappy too!
Here I am with race director Arthur Webb. This guys is a Badwater legend, having run that crazy sauna ultra race so many times that you'd have to use both your fingers and toes to count them!

Finishing any race is a big deal, and crossing the finish line at Santa Rosa was sweet success for me. Last year I ran my 3rd marathon here, so returning for #33 one year later marked an important mile stone.  I earned my Marathon Maniacs credentials here, so today I celebrated my first birthday in the Insane Asylum. This race also puts me at the half way point in my Titanium quest. I am confident that I will reach my lofty goal of 52 marathons in 52 weeks.  It won't be easy, but I'll get there. I am healthy, injury free, and mentally tough. By the end of 2011, there will be 10 stars after my name!

Titanium Scoreboard: 26 Down, 26 To Go! Half Way, Baby!!!!