On a chilly Friday morning, I took Amtrak up to Sacramento to run my first marathon in 28 years. I was nervous beyond belief and excited! It was finally time; I just hoped that I’d be able to finish and that everything would go OK.
I stayed at the Embassy Suites right next to the Sacramento River and Old Sacramento. It’s a beautiful hotel with very large rooms. I’m not used to having a whole living space just to watch TV and eat when I travel! The view from my window couldn’t be better; I had a magnificent view of the Tower Bridge.
It had been a few years since I walked through Old Town. If you have an interest in history and don’t mind more touristy areas, Old Sac is interesting. It’s done up like how the town was during the Gold Rush of the 1860s, with wooden plank sidewalks and old fashioned shops and people dressed in costume. There’s a terrific Railroad Museum as well. I found a decent pizza place and settled into my room for the night. It was a chilly night in the Valley; I was very happy I bundled up for cooler weather.
Saturday morning I woke up with a sore throat and I felt a bit tired. “Oh no!” I was getting a cold! I did NOT need this the day before my marathon. On my way to the race expo, I stopped off at a drug store and picked up some throat lozenges and cold medicine.
The CIM Expo was the best race expo I have ever attended. I was there over two hours scoping out everything. There were so many races represented and so many products! I got lots of samples and bought some Wright socks (my favs) for a great price. I meandered back to the hotel to rest for the afternoon and hope my cold didn’t get any worse.
The alarm went off at 3am (!!!) Sunday. I was sleepy, but I felt OK. No sore throat, very little congestion and hardly any sickness. I was so relieved. But nothing was going to stop me from running today. I had too much invested in this race to stop now.
The buses to the starting line picked us up about a block from the hotel. It was cold out, but with the forecast calling for rain, it probably wasn’t as cool as it had been the past couple of days.
The marathon starts in the small resort town of Folsom, which sits at the man-made Folsom Lake. Folsom is a quaint community that is a lot more active in the summertime than in winter, but the Christmas lights and decorations made things much more festive in the early hours.
The race starts a couple hundred feet above sea level and gradually goes downhill into Sacramento right in front of the state Capital Building. There are some uphills, but they’re of the gentle, rolling type and never last long. It’s a very forgiving course, and one that’s known for producing very fast marathon times. I myself am not fast at all, but it was a great course to conquer for my first marathon in a very long time.
I’m going to guess it was because of my cold or maybe the cold meds, but I had to visit the porto-pottys three times for the first third of the race. I’ve never had any problems like that before! Thank goodness the race was well supplied and I never had to wait for long, so maybe at the very most I lost 5 to 10 minutes. (Sorry of that’s TMI!)
The rain started weakly at the start, but enough to dampen my feet and socks for the entire 26.2 miles. They felt fine though, the entire time. My Brooks Ghost 8s did fine work. I’m quite pleased with my shoes and socks (Asics).
I also wrote my Ultimate Direction hydration vest which always comes in handy in the longer races. I was surprised by how much water I drank though, my bottle was nearly through when it was over. And I ate Black Cherry Clif Shot Bloks, which I prefer over Gu.
I finished completely exhausted and sore, but victorious. I absolutely LOVE the medal and the shirt! I stuck around and cheered runners who finished after me and then waddled slowly back to the hotel that seemed a lot farther away than it did previously.
I took an Epson salt bath and rolled out my sore muscles. Then I ate a bacon cheeseburger. It was delicious! The bath really helped with the muscles, because the next day I was sore, but not overly so and by the second day I was nearly back to normal. And my cold was completely gone.
This was the best race I’ve ever done. I will do this one again sometime.