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26.2 Miles of Awesome

Dylan Wykes of Canada celebrates his first marathon win

Watching any endurance sporting sport on TV is fun, but watching endurance sports live is a whole different ball game. Last month the Fleet Feet Davis coaches had the privilege of watching the California International Marathon in Sacramento. Viewing the race at different points along the way offers contrasting perspectives of marathon running. At mile 6 people are feeling fresh, smiling and waving as they go by, posing for photos, and joking with the crowd. At mile 20 (location of the infamous “marathon wall”) people are no longer so peppy. Some runners look great, charging by, smiling at the crowd, and having a blast. Other runners are more subdued, some are tired, some are walking, and some are in the “survival shuffle” mode, just working to put one foot in front of the other. It is inspiring to watch people work so hard to achieve their goal of running 26.2 miles from Folsom Dam to the California State Capitol building.

Kevin at mile 20

The Fleet Feet Davis coaching team was in attendance at the race to watch their marathon training group complete the race. This group has trained since mid-August for the 26.2 mile event, running countless miles around Davis, through August heat and November rain, all so they could be well prepared at the starting line. And prepared they were. Watching the runners go by, and finish their race, was a joy for the coaches and a thrill for their families. We are so proud of all of their running accomplishments, and wanted to take this opportunity to share some of their thoughts on running the marathon with you.

Laura R. and TJ get ready to hand off unwanted jackets

These folks were all first time marathoners, and the joy they communicate after finishing the race is an inspiration….plus these words kind of make everyone at Fleet Feet want to run a marathon with them.

Karen is all smiles at mile 20

From Laura Wheeler:

“I cannot believe these words are coming from me, but I actually had FUN during the marathon!  It was my first one, and I had been really nervous, and even dreading it.  As I started out, I kept thinking-this is fun so far, but I know pain and fatigue will come soon. Mile after mile I kept waiting, but those dreaded feelings never took hold.  Everyone was so relaxed around me (I was obviously not out in front with the top finishers!), and the two Pace Team Leaders were a kick-great advice and senses of humor.  My amazing experience is due to them, all of the coordinators and workers at the event who helped it to run like a well-oiled machine, the cheering crowds on the sidelines, and especially the Fleet Feet coaches who assisted all of us to be absolutely prepared mentally and physically for the race.  Thank you to all of you!”

Matthew Botting throws the coaches a mile 20 wave

From Greg Loge:

“It’s hard to put something super eloquent together that can summarize the experience of training over the past few months for such a huge distance.  The race day was great but really I think its the whole journey that makes it something special; from the first ten mile training run (“double digit” distance!) to commenting to your fellow training group runners weeks later after an 18 mile run that “ahh next week is easy, it’s only a 10 mile long run”.  Sunday was a great day, and crossing that finish line felt fantastic, but not just because it was accomplishing running from the Folsom Dam to the Capital (which sounds crazy in and of itself when I think about it), but it is a culmination of the hours of hard work put into the getting there, and all the support you have received over the months from your family, friends, and the new bonds and friendships you gain along the way through the people you train with.  I have to say too, that Niki and Chrisse, our coaches through the whole training program, have been fantastic.  Their advice, encouragement, and genuine love for what they do makes showing up at 7:30 AM on a rainy, cold, Saturday morning for a 22 mile run not seem so bad after all (not to mention awesome homemade baked goods at the end of the run).  As I write this, my legs are sore, I can easily be outrun by my two year old, I am going to lose two toenails shortly, and yet I have spent the last couple days after the race emailing others in the group about picking our next marathon to train for in the coming months.  It really can be intoxicating, or maybe we are all just crazy and we have found others with the same illness to commiserate with, either way I am feeling pretty good.”

Fang Chen is in the zone

From Anne Marquez:

“These were my thoughts about 8 hours post-race that I sent to the girls (her running buddies from the training group), after I had gotten past “I want to amputate my feet”, which not surprisingly has turned into, “oh, I’m going to lose that toenail, and oh, maybe that one too!”

  • Do not trust people drinking beer to tell you accurately how much longer you have in the race.  They are not correct.
  • People who say “you’re almost done” with 5 miles to go are mean people! These were sober people, a part of the race crew.
  • If I hear “this IS the last hill” one more time, I’ll scream!
  • Volunteers (bless them) apparently cannot tell the difference between water and not-water!
  • When running a race where the streets have numbers and you’re going from 56 to 8, it’s best NOT to look at the numbers.
  • Don’t even think about trying to calculate how many streets you have left at said race, as math is nearly impossible at this point.
  • The only song I ever want to hear when I’m running is “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey.  That was the best mile and the highlight of the race.  Too bad it was like at mile 9!

Kelly and Daphne engage in interpretive dance around mile 20

From Kelly Arispe:

“This was my first marathon. Finishing 26.2 miles was a life goal for me and something I could not have achieved without the support of my husband, great friends and wonderful coaches at Fleet Feet in Davis. Yesterday’s race was an incredible experience for many reasons. However, looking back, it was the training that made this whole experience better. I learned a lot about myself and feel stronger than I ever have in my life. I looked forward to “long runs” on the weekend and gleaned a lot of knowledge about running, health and nutrition in general from my coaches. My legs are pretty sore today, but I’m looking forward to getting back out there and enjoying the bliss of running without having to even work at it. 26 miles makes a 4 mile run on Monday feel like a breeze! I am so thankful I gave this a shot- it has been worth every single mile.”

We are so thrilled for these runners, and it was great to see them accomplish their goals. What are your fitness goals for 2011?

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