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If you do call yourself a runner, can you handle the truth?
2013 Napa Valley Marathon

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"I thought about wearing a robe with 'Rage' embroidered on the back…but, Shoe wouldn't sit with me on the bus."

Rage Race Report: Double Fantasy
California International Marathon
Napa Valley Marathon

2013 Napa Valley Marathon

Tom Watson

Album Cover: Hacker Nation Live @ Napa

Orin Schumacher, Mike Logan and Mike Tyler had some other numbers in mind...all starting with a "2"
(Photo by Gordon Cully)

Ninety days went by pretty fast and the Napa Valley Marathon was already upon us.

Alan Whalen, who also runs with the Eugene Hackers and still holds the 5th fastest time in the 40-44 age group, with a 2:43:09…suggested we consider "punching the card twice" on the same training cycle, and I was listening to his every word. He thought I could go lower…much lower. Say what?

Gordon, Orin and I were in, along with Mike Tyler, a Salem, Oregon runner who grew up in the Napa area and veteran of 7 Napa Marathons.

Orin was looking for somewhere around 2:35, and had just run a 1:13 half. He ran the 2012 Eugene Marathon in 2:36 and was seeking to lower his PR. Mike had run 2:42 in his twenties on his "home" course, and was believed to be capable of something in the low 2:50's.

Gulp. Tough crowd.

I was hoping to go about 2:56…and I couldn't believe I was talking THAT low. So what the heck was all this 2:53 chatter?

I was in better shape than CIM, with a 1:22:58 half four weeks earlier. Gordon was ready, too with a 1:28 and Mike had also run a 1:23 half in mid-January. Workouts were going great and the last 22 miler heading into Napa was solid. Unfortunately, Gordon tweaked a calf after running 3 half marathons in 5 weeks, and had to scratch.

Okay. Let's do this. And this time, we had a lot going for us.

First, the conditions were perfect…perhaps even a tad warm: 53 degrees at the start with what felt like a slight tail wind!

Second, we could even put our own refreshments on the course. I felt like an elite runner! I thought about wearing a robe with "Rage" embroidered on the back…but, Shoe wouldn't sit with me on the bus. Shoe ingeniously devised a way to transfer / siphon Gatorade into our selected plastic bottles, affixed with shot blocks and gu packets. A couple of colorful straws taped to the bottles for identification purposes and we are set for our own "elite" table.

Orin Schumacher with Joe Uhan enroute to a 2:35, with Uhan coming in at 2:42 (Photo by Gordon Cully)

Three, Gordon would be making the trip anyway….a huge bonus for us as he provides the best on course support ANYWHERE and takes awesome photos.

As expected, Mike and Shoe took off fast…while I sat in the cheap seats. Our half splits? 1:17 and 1:25 respectively with Rage slogging through in 1:28:16…about a minute fifteen seconds faster than CIM.

Snagging the bottles off our own Elite table was a contest within itself, identifying your bottle and successfully snagging it off the table without knocking over the other competitor's bottles. While I was successful on both fronts, I must have looked like an idiot to the volunteers.

At 20 miles, I came in at 2:15…two minutes ahead of CIM....but, I clearly felt better at CIM than Napa. Thoughts of Mr. Bonkosauraus started creeping into my head, but I pressed on and hit 25 at 2:49…about the same time that Shoe was getting a massage in the school gym at the finish. He had already finished in 2:35. Mike Tyler came in at 2:55.

Gordon rode nearly 60 miles on a rented bike, calling the action as we progressed down the course and saying all the right stuff at the right times. Him being at mile 26 conjured up a final push that otherwise wouldn't have happened…and I would have had to report a 2:58 instead of a 2:57…which sounds a helluva lot slower, don't you think?

And that's The Truth.

The Rage

Vultures look for carcasses at Napa Valley Marathon.