|Isn't she a beauty?|
Back from Weott, CA in Humboldt County, my training partner, Heidi, and I took a weekend trip up North to quelch our long time fascination with this marathon. It's been in our bucket list of marathons to do in CA. Since Weott is ten hours from SLO, we decided to break up the drive and stayed with my relatives in Santa Rosa on Friday night. On Saturday we drove 4 1/2 hours from Santa Rosa to Weott to the expo. It was a no-frills kind of Expo. We received our bib numbers which had the timing chips attached on the back of it, our race shirts (in women's sizing) and a "green bag." For $60.00 registration, this was well worth our money.
|Don't blink, otherwise you'd miss this Expo|
|Let's get the show on the road!|
|Me and my Redwood just before the start|
On marathon morning we arrived at the staging area in Weott under the Dyerville Bridge around 7 a.m. We were glad that we got there one hour early because as we found out the parking area filled up and became a stressful issue for some runners who had to start late because they had to park a little further down the road. While waiting in the car, Heidi and I realized that we needed to dress more appropriately for the cooler temps at 43 degrees. At the last minute, we decided to change our attire to anticipate the windy conditions. We changed into our long sleeves New York tech shirts on top of pairs of arm warmers for wind protection. But as we'd find out later, it turned warmer than we anticipated and the wind died down. The weather turned to be unpredictable in such a short amount of time.
|They don't seem cold.|
It was on this first half of the course that I first noticed the Giant Redwoods. For the most part it, in the beginning it seemed like just rows of regular trees. All of a sudden, you're plodding along and the scenery sweeps you off your feet with the Giant Redwood trees towering over you. The rows of giant trees stood majestically tall ,as if guiding the road. It was like a painting and the only difference is that you're in the canvas. I had to stop in awe and take my shots. I couldn't bear to just pass these reverend trees. They were magnificent. And just like that, it was back to the regular trees. As I came closer to the first turn around, I spotted Heidi as she completed the turnaround. We gave each other high-fives. She looked very focused and strong, even without her ipod! Incidentally, running with ipods here were also frowned-upon, just like it was in Napa.
|I almost fell backwards taking this shot!|
The second out and back onto The Avenue of tthe Giants was in better condition than Bull Creek Road.
The road was not as cambered and it was smoother than the first half. At some point there was an opening in the canopy of trees and sunlight beamed so brightly that I worried about the heat. But before I could even complain, I was back in the cooler shades of the Redwoods again. The turn around point was mile 19.5 and I was anxious to get there. I knew at some point I would run into Heidi again at this second turn around, as she was running strong ahead of me. Eventually we would see each other again and another high five!
|Crowd thinned out by this point|
The final 10K was rough. It always is, and I expected it. My pacing dropped and my legs and feet were tired. My quads cramped but it was manageable. I was soon passed by folks whom I had passed in the first half. That was demoralizing. But they did a better job pacing themselves, so as they passed me by, I yelled out "Great Job!" At the same time, at mile 24, I also passed a guy whom I raced early on, between miles 10-12 and where I was soon dropped. When I caught up to him again on mile 24, he was walking. I got some surge of energy back and managed to run the rest of the way to the finish. Soon I would find myself running behind a guy wearing huaraches but not for long, because he took off. As I kept my eyes on him in the distance, I noticed an all too familiar gait. Could it be? It was Heidi! What was going through my mind was, wouldn't it be great if we can finish together? But I was running on empty. I didn't know how I could possibly run any faster on tired legs. To top it all off, looking forward, there appearred to be a steep hill near the 25th mile. Luckily, previous reviews forewarned us about this optical illusion and that hill was really the bridge over the freeway. I was glad to see that it was true. As I crossed over the bridge, I could hear them announcing Heidi's name as she approached the finish line, "From Paso Robles, CA". Then they called out my name, "From Los Osos, CA." Heidi turned around in surprise, and we greeted each other with the biggest hug! We did it! Heidi finished in 4:19:44 and I in 4:19:49. We came in 8th and 9th in our age group, respectively! We receved our medals, got our water and we were out of there. Finally, Avenue of the Giants, checked.
|Heidi with her medal|
|Me with mine|
|Heidi and I post-race back home in SLO|