Santa Rosa Marathon

My realistic goal: finish this race.
My satisfied goal: get a PR (and hopefully sub 4)
My hopeful goal: BQ

To BQ, for my age group, I would have to run a 3:35 or less. According to my fast half marathon time, this is doable. But that race was nearly three months prior to this one. It meant I would have to run under an 8:12 pace the entire time. However, I didn't want it to be THAT close, so I thought I would shoot for a 3:30, which is an 8 minute per mile pace. I have to be honest with you though; after the last few weeks of training that I have had, I was not hopeful. I have been tired. I have been unmotivated, I have not been doing speed work and I have been running about an 8:45 pace for shorter runs.

I did not feel ready. I was ready to be happy to come in under 4 hours.

My strategy was this, and I often use this one to "trick" myself: I would start off at the right pace and if I got tired later, I would slow down. I had to try at the beginning though. I got in line right behind the 3:15 pace group and I thought in my mind that if I could only stay in front of the 3:30 group, I would be okay.

The race started and we were off like a shot. The beginning of the race was difficult. It was on a creek path with only a width of a few people and everyone was trying to get ahead and find their pace but there was no room to do so. As I was trying to get my pace, I passed under an overpass and my parents and uncle were up there, cheering me on. It felt great to have spectators, and to have someone to be accountable to, even though they would never say anything bad if I didn't make my goal. Still, I was running for them, as well as myself.

The first few miles I had trouble finding my pace. I wanted to stay under 8, but to not get too tired along the way. Mile 1: 7:43, Mile 2: 7:18 (otherwise known as the "what was I thinking" mile). The next few, I found my pace and kept at it for a while. Mile 3-6: 7:40, 7:38. 7:45, 7:48. After mile 6, I took two chews and used the bathroom. This is reflected in my pace, which was (Mile 7:) 8:00. After that, the next 6 miles were around (Mile 8-13) 7:50.

The course was a figure eight loop on the creek path that went around once for the half marathoners and twice for the marathoners. This was both good and bad. Good: my parents got to see me three times: once at the start, once at the middle, and again at the end. My brother also came and he got to see my 8 times, as his place was in the middle where the eight crossed over itself so he biked back and forth to cheer me on. Bad: I had to run the same route twice.

So I went around the loop once, saw the Parentals, waved, and started on the second loop. This loop was a little bit harder. I was wavering around the 8 minute mark, but still keeping it under. However, it wasn't much under, and I kept thinking, "DON'T let the 3:30 group pass!" Mile 14-24: 7:54 average. The good news was, at this point, I had hit no wall. I had taken two chews at mile 6 and then two more at each 3 mile mark after that. I had had water at all the stops, but only a sip or two. Around mile 19, a girl caught up to me, said she liked my pace, and we ran together for a couple miles and talked. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop.

The other thing was that half of this path was a hard packed dirt and gravel path. I wore my Saucony Kinvaras, which don't really have much of a sole. By the second loop, and especially by mile 18 or so, I was really dreading the dirt sections!

At mile 25, I slowed down a little. Mile 25: 8 minutes. At mile 26, my legs started to feel really tight and it was hard to keep up the pace. At this point though I kept repeating my mantra about the 3:30 group over and over. Just stay ahead of them! I may have mumbled, "keep going, keep going, keep going" under my breath (or out loud) several times. Mile 26: 8:06/mi

Taken by Dad - seconds before the finish line

Then I got to the last .2 miles and there was Dad, taking photos of me at my finest. I think I even managed a smile before rounding the final corner and totally chicking this dude right at the very end. My mom even has the pics to prove it.

Final time: 3:27:27 / 7:53 pace (official)

At the end there was a band and pancakes and wine, naturally. I mean, we are in Sonoma county after all.  But I decided to forgo those in exchange for a huge bacon and avocado omelet at the Omelette Express with the Fam.

Do you hit "the wall" when you race? Do you make hopeful and/or unrealistic goals that you sometimes end up achieving after all? OR Do you underestimate yourself sometimes?

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  1. YOU DID IT!!!!!! Seriously Kyria you are a speedy chick! Your recap makes it sound like a walk in the park! Way to go!!!!! So excited for you!

  2. So awesome and inspiring. And, I agree, your recap, even though you say there were moments where you were really pushing yourself, overall makes it sound like it was no big deal. Huge congratulations to you for crushing your goal!

  3. omg! awesome race and race report!! congrats on such a fantastic race and hanging tough!

  4. Ok, you are incredible! Way to go - aren't you glad you started strong and didn't JUST try to get under 4? This is so cool!

  5. You are awesome!! Not only did you beat 3:30, but you crushed it by almost 3 minutes!! Congratulations.

  6. Amazing, Kyria! I knew that you were going to BQ. I just knew it. Awesome and inspiring race report.

    In the marathons I've run, I have hit a wall somewhere around miles 17-20. I think it's in part because I'm a slower runner, so the time out on the course just means my body runs out of fuel.

  7. You are going to love Boston.

  8. Kyria!! That's amazing- you smashed your goal! I'm so excited for you- and so glad you ran such a strong race. I knew you had it in you. :) Congrats!!

  9. Amazing, amazing race!! Congratulations!! :)

  10. CONGRATS!!! I knew you could do it. Dang girl you are fast and your splits were so consistent. You should def be very proud of yourself. You have come so far since you started really getting into running.

    I set realistic goals for myself. I challenge myself but don't self myself up for failure as I hate the feeling of disappointing myself. I haven't set a goal for my marathon yet but am leaning towards 4 or 4:10. I willl decide once I see how the next month goes. Sept is honestly crazy crazy busy for me so I am a bit nervous about how it will impact my training.

    Again congrats!! I am so happy for you!!!!

  11. You are AMAZING! Congrats on the PR and the BQ! I think I underestimate myself more often than I set unrealistic goals. A fear of failure holds me back more times than I like to admit.

  12. Congrats! You are so inspiring! And how fun to have your parents and brother cheering you on in the crowd. And by the way, do you sweat? You look so fresh and clean in your finish line picture haha.

  13. Wow! I'm so sorry I'm just now reading this 10 days later. I love how chill you sound despite the accomplishment. I hope you are just glowing even now. Way to hang tough and stick to your strategy. I'm sure it wasn't easy, but you make it sound like it was. Congrats!

  14. Wow, absolutely amazing job! I'd say you definitely ran a sub-4 without a problem at all! That's so sweet that your family was there at the finish. Having family at the finish line always makes for a perfect end to a race!

  15. Oh wait, BQ = Boston Qualify, right? I get it now... you are such a rock star!!!


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