Posted by: Jen | May 23, 2010

Windsor Green Half Marathon!

Half Marathon #8 ~ Road Race #50!!!!!

Official time: Not sure yet! (Still waiting.)
Garmin time: 2:08:13 (avg 9:47/mi)

Temp at start: 45? Somewhere in there. Cold!
Temp at finish: 63!

It went from brrr to whoa nice day REALLY quick in Windsor, a small town 10 miles north of Santa Rosa, which is about an hour north of San Francisco. My friend J and I drove up the day before, picked up our race packets, and spent the night in Santa Rosa. We explored downtown and historic Railroad Square; roamed around antique stores and used bookstores; ate delicious food at Caffé Portofino, took photos of all the Snoopy and Woodstock statues we could find (Charles Schulz is from Santa Rosa so the statues are all over the city), and wore ourselves out so we’d sleep well. We were in bed by 8:30 and asleep by 9:30.

The alarm went off at 5:30 and we were out the door an hour later after bananas and oatmeal (for me). I was drinking water, but kind of wished I had had more (this would later prove to be important). We hit the port-o-lets after arriving at the race start, got ready to go, and we were off at 7:30.

The first two miles were pretty flat and shady. I felt nice and cool and was happy to have my armwarmers. However, by mile 3, we had already gone up a hill and there were no aid stations in sight, so I was getting warm AND thirsty. I always carry my own water, but I use it to supplement the aid stations, not as a primary means of hydration. We finally saw an aid station around the 5K mark. I greedily drank my water and wished I had more, but wanted to keep moving. J and I were running at a good pace, averaging about 9:33-9:36/mile. However, there were more and more rolling hills and honestly, I hadn’t expected so many. I knew there was a relatively large incline at mile 5, so I was getting ready for it. However, there were still no aid stations! In bigger races, you get used to seeing water every 2-2.5 miles at the most. So far, we’d only seen the one at the 5K mark.

The big hill came and it went up for a good half mile – not too steep, but very long. Finally, we reached the top… and farther down the street, just past mile 6, we saw another aid station. I somehow ended up with Heed instead of water, but didn’t realize it until I had passed the station and was taking my Accel Gel and the water didn’t taste quite like water. Ugh! I drank some of my SmartWater and kept moving. We had a slight downhill and a nice breeze, which helped a lot because I was starting to feel really warm.

Mile 8 came and went, and then mile 9… finally, another aid station. I’m starting to feel really thirsty by this point. I’m almost out of SmartWater and almost out of my sport drink. I grabbed two cups of water and kept going. I could feel myself slowing down, but at the same time felt like I was pushing as hard as I could.

Mile 10… and my legs suddenly don’t want to turn over. I looked at my Garmin and I was suddenly running at 10:45/mile… yet I felt like I was really pushing. Every step was a struggle. I felt like my legs weighed 300 pounds each and I was running through sludge. Was this the mystical WALL? Had I finally, after 50 road races, met the nemesis of all runners? The feared enemy? If this was it, then it sucked. I had to slow down, and then eventually walk. I only walked for a minute before I started again… but I started feeling hotter and hotter and more and more thirsty. Thankfully, another aid station was available between miles 10 and 11 – I needed it!

The mile between 11 and 12 was probably the longest. It was a lot of time in direct sunlight and all I wanted was water. A girl ran by me holding a nearly full bottle of Crystal Geyser. It was all I could do to not rip it out of her hand and drink the entire thing. I started freaking myself out, thinking about heat exhaustion and DNF and being picked up in an ambulance and IVs. I thought more about water. I walked some more and ran again. Mile 12 came and went and I started telling myself I could do anything for less than a mile, but my legs weren’t buying it. I had to walk again. Another girl ran by me and tried to pep talk me, and it helped. Kinda.

I started running again but it was barely better than a shuffle (in my mind) – however, Garmin said it was around 10:00/mile. I started trying to calculate my finish time based on the distance remaining. I had to distract myself from the increasing lead feeling in my thighs and IT bands. Nothing hurt, per se, but it just felt heavy. My left foot felt weird, but not exactly in pain. More like achey.

Finally, I saw the turn to the town green and knew the end was in sight. We passed one last  photographer; I pasted on a fake smile and tried to look like I was having a blast. (I can’t wait to see how that turns out, haha!) The town green appeared and I found a little tiny measure of energy and kicked it into the finish. The woman who finished ahead of me stopped abruptly and turned to hug her coach, which nearly caused me to collide with them and probably messed up my finish photo, but hey! I was done!

They only had cups of water at the finish – what the hell? – so I grabbed one, got my finisher’s hat, and went back to see J cross the line (she finished about 5 min. after me). I stretched and stripped off my knee sleeves while I waited. After she crossed, we grabbed bottles of water at the expo, free bags of Pop Chips (I love them!), and went off to stretch…. another race in the books. 🙂

(For an inaugural race, it wasn’t bad – but they have a few things to improve on!)

Post-race photo, representing the Half Fanatics!



  1. congrats! bummer that you felt so thirsty in the late miles but way to tough it out 🙂

  2. AWEOMSE JOB, Jen!!! You really pushed through when things were tough!

  3. Great job!!

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