I suppose I had a more spectacular time in that storm than I realized, because I am grinning like a goof in every picture that the marathon released.

oy mate, jolly good time 
Follow me, chaps! Away we go, fun times ahead
Chip chip, cheerio! I can't rub off me smile blokes, blimey!
I got a pocket, got a pocket full of sunshine

Evidently, I equate goofy smiles with a chimney sweep accent or something of that sort.

I'm feeling gently hesitant about posting these photos, because this time the race slapped DO NOT COPY on every picture.  Buuuuut this is only a small dip into the proof of my goofy smiles....there are many more.  If you think this is really terrible of me (i.e. you are the photographer or a party pooper), let me know, and I'll think long and hard about taking them down (41 seconds long, hard like marshmallow texture).

Photographs courtesy of here.  Buy a picture if you like.  Find a beautiful person and just buy it.

Finish line.  Happy-ish?

Another reason I know I must have been having fun, is because although for several months I have been tinkering with the notion of running the Napa marathon in March of 2013, now the idea thoroughly excites me.

Reasons why I was planning on running it:

1) It is in my hometown.  Very convenient, and the one and only time during the year I can get my family to watch (if I'm lucky.  My dad has come to the finish line both times I ran it, and my mom cheered from the sidelines one year.)

2) I ran it in 2007 and 2010.  I'm really into this 3-year pattern, so it looks like I'm on the hook 2013 and 2016.

3)  I knew I wasn't going to be in top shape for CIM due to my time off in October, and thought it would be nice to find a different marathon later in the winter that I would feel more confident about.

Reasons why I am now even more interested in running it:

1) I was going to decide on Napa after CIM, to learn if I would desire a marathon that soon afterwards (about 12 weeks).

I usually only do one marathon/year, because I sense from the soreness afterwards that it is too intense on my body, and because that 'I WILL NEVER DO THIS AGAIN' feeling that sneaks up on you at mile 23 is usually too fresh in my mind to try it again within 10 months.   I did two marathons in 2011 (Eugene and CIM), but they were 7 months apart.

With CIM now behind me, I feel spritely and ready to jump into another marathon soon.

Speaking of spritely, I'm kind of into the idea of not going "all out" in marathons anymore.  Remember my love/hate post about the marathon? A huge part of the hate was my fears, which were based largely upon concern that marathons are unhealthy for my body.  Because in the past, it has left me absurdly sore, and unable to really run like myself again for 2-3 weeks.  That's concerning to me.  Having finished this marathon feeling so....normal, and not facing that 'I WILL NEVER DO THIS AGAIN' moment during the marathon, I have so much less fear for it.  So much less.  I can run a marathon at 88% effort, and be relatively kind to my body.  This is a relief to me.  And a huge epiphany.

Three cheers for running timidly!

2) The never-ending hunt for a PR.

To be sure, I'm not going to run Napa to avenge what could have been at CIM.  I'm not expecting anything BIG out of Napa.  I just want to be there.  This event has been a big part of my running life and I want to revisit it and my hometown streets.  I won't be disappointed at all if I land on another 3:11.  Or another rainy day.  If it's rainy AND windy again, I will cry.  And run naked to avoid chafing.

3) I had so much fun at CIM.  Mostly because of the friendly faces I saw everywhere.  So please, I beg, sign up for Napa with me! It will be so much more fun this way.  You can stay at my parents house with me! Or we can rent a comfy room in Calistoga.  Do it!

Napa looks like a fast course, but in my past two experiences, it is not a guaranteed PR course.  Kind of like the Healdsburg Water to Wine half marathon I ran, the "net downhill" rolling hills knocks you off pace, because it always feels like the uphills are longer (or harder to recover from) than the downhills.

Also, it is monotonous.  Vineyard, vineyard, oh boy, another vineyard.  It is directly into the morning sun, so wear a visor--and, it seems to rain every few years.  The crowd support is great in about 3 spots, and lonely as can be elsewhere.  It finishes at my high school, which is....oddly depressing to me.  I don't know why.  But I don't feel like a champion when I'm walking around the "senior row" where I acted like a douche 10 years ago.

CIM aftermath.

shiiit, my chest chafing marks still hurt! I think I forgot to mention, these are from my t-shirt, NOT my sports bra.  So I'm confused why not EVERYONE got this kind of chafe mark?  That bright pink Target running shirt is either trash-bound, or I will only wear it inside-out now.

I'm taking it easy this week, just some light walking and movement to loosen the legs up (no running yet).  I was going to swim this evening but work kept me later than planned.  I will likely swim Thursday, run Friday, and am feeling optimistic and excited about this graceful recovery and refreshed body (minus the chafing).

I have some things in mind to get my leg-lock issue settled before jumping back in to running hard.   Most of it involves stretching.  Maybe less speed work.  Possibly doing some Jillian Michaels dvd's.

Napa: who's there, who's square?