Napa Valley Marathon – 2011

What a day out on the Silverado Trail! The 33rd annual Napa Valley Marathon represents a gateway event for Point Positive athletes. Ted Neal, pictured below, knocked 20min off his personal marathon best today and is now eager to see what he can lop off of his American River 50mi time in April.  The Borg boys were out in full force, minus one or two, but grow collectively stronger with each passing day. All told, we had four Point Positive athletes complete the marathon today. Congrats to Rod, David, and Matt for their hard work and great attitudes. All these guys are just good fun to be around. Although, we all agree, Greg G.’s support from start to finish was incredibly helpful, we’d all rather see him in the race, suffering with us, if for no other reason than this way he can’t catch us doing stupid sh*t on the course, like timing us in the porta-john or almost running off course, etc. (not that these things happened today).

Ted Neal talking to a potential shoe sponsor after his marathon.
Rod Matteri and David Tett after doing battle on the marathon course.

I’m fading fast here but will say I enjoyed myself out there today. First time I ever used my Garmin in a road marathon; pretty easy to throttle back and set pace. Went out at 6:00/mi and held pretty well through 13. Took gels every 30min; decaf at 30 and 60 and 100mg Clif Shot at 1:30. That Shot and running legend “Boston” Bill Rodgers telling me to “Drink my drinks!” around the same time really got me fired up through some tough middle miles. Right around 16, I was thinking to myself, “This is great. I’ve really missed running road marathons.” Those thoughts faded about a mile or so later. Back to work.

My endurance has never been more rock-solid thanks to the last 3 years of ultra-running. I’ve built some great base, but base built running relatively slowly, compared to my pace today. All in all, I was pleased with the effort I was able to muster over the final 10k. Looking forward to running off the bike this year. Give me a good day, and I might just be able to string together some 6:52 miles for my first sub-3 Ironman marathon. A guy can dream.

Well, probably the craziest thing that’s ever happened to me late in a marathon was getting smoked at the finish by a guy dressed up like a superhero. Some guys worry about getting beat by the gals. I don’t really mind getting “chicked” since I “grew up” in Ironman racing getting chicked all the time by the female pros. But, howabout a guy dressed up like Spiderman!?! I just wasn’t having this. Turns out, this funny scenario of running down ol’ Spidey turned into some serious motivation late in the race. “I just can’t get beat by that guy, whoever the h*ll he is.”  >>>

So, I pushed and pushed and noticed the web-slinger seemed to be slowing some. With only a few hundred yards to go we were shoulder to shoulder. Yes! Wait, NO!!! Our super-hero put on a spurt to beat the band and left me trailing many seconds behind, leaving me completely bewildered and wondering how it’s possible to lose to some dude in his pajamas.

Read on…

I’d had messaged with an acquaintance, Ian Sharman, the day before on Facebook. I had looked around at the start and did not see him. So when the mask came off at the finish and I made the surreal discovery that Spiderman was Ian and Ian was Spiderman, I thought for a second I might be dreaming this whole bizarre chain of events.

Like they say, expect nothing and be prepared for anything; you just never know what will turn into a huge source of motivation late in a marathon. No doubt, without being taunted to dig deep, I would surely have run a minute or two slower today. All thanks to our friendly neighborhood Spiderman.

“Nobody knows who you are!”  (photo by Brett Rivers, another nemesis!!)
Cruising down the Silverado Trail, in pursuit of a superhero… (photo by Brett Rivers)
An unmasked Ian Sharman, complete with new/reclaimed Guiness Book world record: “Fastest marathon dressed as a super-hero.” I’ve come to find out he does this on a regular basis!!  (photo by Brett Rivers)


Back in the classroom tomorrow. Time change next weekend. And time to change gears from running to full-on triathlon training. Looking forward to my first Wildflower Long Course in May!!

Point Positive!

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