Santa Rosa Marathon Results and Race Recap

I ran the Santa Rosa Marathon in 3:37:23!

santa rosa marathon results post (450x800)

Well. I don’t know where to go with this one because I’m really happy and really confused at the same time.

I considered myself a 4 hour marathoner until today. So, every PR that I’ve gotten this year has been a genuine surprise to me more than anyone else.

(Today’s race is not a PR, I ran faster at the OC Marathon in May which was 3:36:23.)

Now I’m questioning everything in the world. But, we’ll chat about that later.

Let me recap the race in my usual peanut shell style.

Pre-race – I stayed up way too late trying to figure out how to switch my ipod playlist. I’m obviously very smart.

4:30am wake-up call because the race started at 6am. I stayed a mile from the start so it was very easy to get there.

Ready to do this!

santa rosa marathon results pre race (450x800)

Santa Rosa Marathon Course: It started near the Santa Rosa trail path and from there went out toward the vineyards. The sunrise over the vineyards was gorgeous. I didn’t take my phone or I would have stopped to take pictures.

santa rosa marathon finish (800x450)

The trail bike path was okay. You had to go under a few streets so this added some small hills early and late in the race.


My race results:

I always say I just have to wait and see if I’m having a good day before I set a goal for any race (not a ‘real’ goal, but a goal pace/time aim) because I don’t know how I’m going to feel. Today I didn’t feel like I was having a good day in particular, but I wanted to try and push it so I could see where I am before I get into my Fall marathons (I have three races back to back).

I started out on goal pace and stayed about 10 seconds within GP until about mile 18. I had a bad mile but brought it back for about 3 miles.

Then, at Mile 22 I lost it and couldn’t get it back. I stopped looking at my watch because it was just discouraging. I started to run on effort instead of pace as a tool and it helped me keep going.

I also felt nauseous for a while and that scared me. I need to get better about being able to tell the difference between discomfort and looming death.

Ben came to the race and we had a small mix-up with our plans. He was going to refill my water, but couldn’t so I ran with a plastic water bottle that started to tweak my shoulder a bit. But I’m so glad I had it because I was very thirsty the whole race!

Thank you to reader Sonia who saw me two times on the course and cheered for me. I really needed that!

santa rosa marathon course (800x450)

Thoughts on my performance: I need to review tomorrow with a clear head.

rB59FIubJ_KRFWQ-Xajk8Ppdh7-rohWyxfx77RPDz6c (450x800)

Santa Rosa Marathon Race Review:

Great race! It was well organized. Expo was at a winery. Had enough porta-potties at the start. Started right on time. Decent weather (got a little hot toward the end). Fairly flat course (NOT pancake flat like their reputation is though). There are rolling hills around mile 10 and a few up and overs on the bike path out and back (so you hit them in the high 20s).

santa rosa marathon race course (800x450)

Plus, they have watermelon at the end!!!watemelon after a race (800x800)

Bonus: You get a jacket and a bottle of wine as swag! I love that! I have so many race tees this is awesome!

santa rosa marathon jacket (450x800) (2)santa rosa marathon jacket (450x800)

And then you get to celebrate or drown your sorrows with a whole bottle of wine! (Sadly, I had to give my bottle to someone at the airport because I wasn’t checking a bag.)de loche wines (800x450)

And this is the BIGGEST race medal I have ever received! santa rosa marathon medal for finishers (450x800)

Now I am headed home to collect my thoughts and eat a lot of pizza and fro-yo. See you there!

golden gate bridge foggy day (800x450)

Question: What did you do this weekend?


  1. says

    Wow, you look great and you did so well. Enjoy your post-race treats!

    We went to a music festival yesterday which was okay but very busy. My boyfriend an I shared a delicious coconut and banana brownie and a nut-packed oatmeal cookie. Yum. Sadly I also came home with some hearing loss in my ear after a very loud set. Hoping it goes away!

  2. says

    Awesome run! I’m a 4 hour marathoner hoping to break 3:40 this fall. Maybe I need to look back and see what you’ve been doing :)

  3. says

    Great job on the time!!!! I’m totally digging that jacket you got. AND a bottle of wine?!? How fancy! I can’t wait ’til I’m a marathoner and can get fancy swag too!

    This weekend I continued training for the Healthy Living Summit 5k. I’m up to 1.8 miles, with 1 minute jogging intervals! Farrrr from a marathon, I know, but I’m happy with my progress. :-)

  4. says

    I hope your fact finding mission was successful. Congrats on finishing your race and that huge medal. And I agree the jacket is awesome!

    And of course, I ran a race this weekend!

  5. says

    I thought I saw you before the race but wasn’t sure and didn’t want to be all stalker-y, then I saw my friend Sonja said she saw you and was cheering you on :) So, hi Monica, a day late!
    Awesome finish! So happy to hear you had a good race, minus the nausea. I ran the full, too, gunning for a BQ but ended up having a very bad day. Oh well, the views were definitely fantastic! Happy recovery :)

  6. theresa says

    your times just keep getting better and better! awesome job. i’m curious, what pace do you do your long runs at?

    • says

      Most of my long runs are on effort not pace. I just run how I’m feeling for longer runs since they’re a lot harder and my distances are so high at this point. If you want a ballpark, I’d say around 9 minute miles.

  7. says

    Did you even CONSIDER running a little faster and clocking in at 3:33:33? Don’t you realize how much cooler that would have been? All those 3’s lined up like that! Sometimes I don’t think you’re listening to me at all. AT ALL!!!

  8. says

    I’m very disappointed that you gave wine away. Just chug that sucker right in front of the TSA agent and then had them the bottle. Really, where is your dedication? I guess you can learn from your mistake this time and do better next.

  9. says

    I love reading posts like this, it’s so motivational. Spent the weekend training for my first half marathon. At the moment I can’t imagine running a full marathon in 3 and a half hours! Baby steps…

  10. says

    I ran my first ever double digit distance race! I did the Crim Festival of Races 10 miler and did it in under 2 hours! I was figuring more than 2 easy! It wasn’t all that bad except the last few miles my legs were kind of hard to move! I hadn’t ever run more than 7 miles so I’m kind of impressed with myself! Everything else should be cake now! :)

    That jacket is awesome! I’m jealous!

  11. april says

    congrats on another great mary! that is definitely the biggest race medal i’ve ever seen. i love the finisher’s bottle of wine, but it sucks that you couldn’t keep it, though. maybe you should have chugged it before going through security – i hear that red wine is good for post-run recovery 😉

  12. Eugenia Byrne says

    GREAT job! I love reading your blog…I have run so many half marathons (I seem to do one every weekend). I usually run it in around 1:40. For some reason, I have convinced myself that I can’t do a marathon. (I think it is the fueling thing, because I can easily run a half without taking in much or any fuel, but a full is a whole different beast!). Anyway, I finally bit the bullet and signed up for the Portland Marathon in October. I hope I follow through! Your posts are so informative and inspirational! Again, outstanding job :)

  13. says

    Great job and it shows your training is working. The next 5 minutes may be the difficult ones to cut-off. You are a marathoner. It may be your best distance. It must be the Tarahumara in you. I hope I can catch you but I am more of a trail racer. Congrats!

  14. Steph F. says

    Congrats on your fabulous marathon time! So did you take gels during the marathon for fuel? I’m training for my first full and have used them on runs over 10 miles, but on my 16 and 18 miler runs I noticed that they made me a little queasy. Not quite sure what else to try since I tend towards GI troubles and don’t think I could stomach solids on a run. Who knew race fueling could be so tricky! Anyhow, you obviously did something right with this one – great job!

    • says

      I took chomps and one gel. I pretty much always take the same every 5 miles. Not sure why I was nauseous this time! Race fueling is very difficult and everyone is different, so it’s hard to figure out.

  15. says

    I love your jacket! That’s awesome they give something other than a t-shirt. And wine?! Perfect way to celebrate your race time! I got in a 10 mile training run last Friday in preparation for my half marathon next month.

  16. says

    Fabulous job! And – DANG, I have medal envy big time for that sucker! (But alas, I’m not a marathon kind of girl)

    We had to give up a bottle of wine at the airport that was given to us in NYC by the hotel we stayed at during our anniversary trip. But we don’t drink wine so it didn’t matter that much to us.

    We went to the Little Big Town / Keith Urban concert Saturday night. It was sooooooo good!

  17. says

    I’ve read that it’s really hard to run a marathon on feel especially in the later miles because your legs WILL feel heavy. I’ve been debating getting a heart rate monitor. For now I just try to keep a certain pace but don’t beat myself up too much if I don’t get it every mile.

  18. Christine says

    Congrats on your time! I am working on the Couch to 5K program at our rec center and we’re about half way through. Can you tell me what kind of shorts you are wearing for the race? I need some like that since all running shorts do is ride up and annoy me!

  19. says

    Congratulations on such an awesome time/run!

    I can only hope to accomplish a similar time when I run M2B next May (to BQ). You’re an inspiration!

    If you have any advice on getting faster, I’d listen!

  20. says

    Congrats on the amazing time! I am interested in hearing your thoughts about this change in your perspective on not being a ‘4 hour marathon’ kind of gal anymore. I find that the mental aspect of running is so important!!

  21. Laura says

    Wow way to go on the marathon! Nice swag, I’ve contemplated doing that race but the time of year seems like it would be hot, I guess it was okay? Congrats again!

  22. Christopher says

    Good job Monica! I really enjoy all of your post, and I’m so happy for you and Ben. I was reading some of the 08 09 post. I’m not sure when I started following you. I think it was around 2010. It’s nice to watch your progress with your miles and the weight that you have lost.

    Thank you for sharing with us:)

  23. says

    Awesome job! A bunch of my running group friends ran that one (I think it’s one of the last races before Boston Marathon sign-ups). Glad you could get such an amazing time, considering that you didn’t expect much for this race :)

  24. Lucy says

    Congratulations! I am hoping to find our your tips to being so speedy. I was looking out. I ran the full as well yesterday and did not do was well as I hoped to. It would have been great to meet one of my favorite bloggers – maybe next time.

    I agree on the jacket, wine and huge medal. And as for the course, it was not flat and fast as I thought it would be…
    Looking forward to the race recap!

    • Lucy says

      Oops. I meant to say looking forward to your race thoughts on why you were confused and as to why you did so well. I guess I am curious on how fast you are getting…

  25. says

    “I need to get better about being able to tell the difference between discomfort and looming death.” <—- YES!!! My husband is an athletic trainer and I am constantly pestering him with anxiety-ridden questions about every abnormal sensation. I think he prays for the day I finally sort out the difference.

  26. says

    Congrats on making a new time, Its really inspiring to see your progression with running half marathons, I someday wish to run a full marathon without stopping to rest every 5 miles. I did a lot of relaxing during the weekend, just so that I can push myself hard throughout this week.

  27. Dan Reisner says

    I remember seeing you there. I was a bystander at the race as my wife was running the full. I paced her 15 miles and actually liked the path. Wasn’t too bad. My only complaint was that they didn’t have enough medical staff on the trail. I work in cardiology and I am a medic. I saw a guy go down under the bridge on mile 25 so I assisted with helping out until the paramedics arrived. Right after that a lady almost went down and Myself along with an off duty nurse picked her up, assessed her and walked 1.5 miles to the finish arm on arm and got her through. All in all a great day of racing just wished more “Paid medic staff” was on course.

      • Dan Reisner says

        Im not sure if it was a blessing or a curse lol. 2 people in the same spot wow! At any rate It was so nice to meet and see new faces at this race. I love the running community! Such amazing people.

  28. Samantha says

    I was almost a half hour behind you…Saw you at the expo and was too star struck to come say hi! LOL My husband made fun of me for that….anyhow, Great job on the time! It was my first full + had a sprained ankle and was not able to run most of July… so I was happy with my 4:04 time. :)
    PS. Sorry you had to give away your wine…there’s a number on the back (707-526-9111) you can call and purchase another bottle.

    • says

      Hello Samantha! You should have said “hi!”, I was already super drunk anyway. Kidding 😉
      Great job on the first full! Isn’t it the most awesome accomplishment?!

  29. says

    Great job!! I’ve done a few long runs on the Santa Rosa course and always wondered how it felt to race it. Around these parts, it is considered pancake flat, but maybe not as much as where you’re from. Do you think it is worth traveling for?

  30. says

    Congrats on a great time!!! I ran Santa Rosa too! I had many of the same feelings (including losing it at mile 22 too… I had been so good at staying on pace until then! err!). I also wished I had a way to take photos while running because there were some spectacular views! Too bad you couldn’t take the wine with you because it is yummy!

  31. says

    Ugh, hate getting nauseous. Happened to me the first time in a half marathon last November. I think it was mostly nerves (I was really gunning for a PR!) but I got a side stitch and wasn’t able to calm my breathing to take deeper breaths and I got sick somewhere around mile 9-10. Good news is I felt better after, and managed to still finish in 2 hours. It’s happened on a couple long runs since then (just the nausea) but I hydrate/refuel pretty consistently so I can’t figure out why it’s a problem some times and not others.

    I know what you mean about mentally considering yourself a certain kind of runner. My HM pace has dipped into the mid 8’s, and I’ve done many double digit runs at a 9 or faster pace, but mentally anything <9min miles for long runs still SOUNDS faster than I can run. I need to get over that.

  32. says

    One of Phil Hann’s favorite lines is “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” Whether it’s finishing a marathon, qualifying for Boston, running a 50K or 100 mile race, at some point it’s going to feel hard, maybe impossible. But you have to break it down, “one bite at a time”. You could see this at Big Sur. At mile 20, the pack starts to thin. You can hear some on the edge, their breathing heavy, the salt stains forming down the sides of their faces. Now they are trying to eat an elephant and they just need to take one bite at a time. Just get to the next mile. Pick an object off in the distance and run toward it. Then pick another one. Simplify the task. Small goals. Manageable targets. Keep moving.

  33. Tom W. says

    Congratulations on a fabulous marathon effort. :-) I like how you persevered through the trouble-spots. I ran the marathon as well, and really enjoyed the course and the expo. I am so sorry that you couldn’t keep the wine. And that medal…it’s almost a dinner plate, isn’t it? :-)

    I noticed that your Garmin showed 26.38 miles for the total distance. Mine was very similar (it read 26.40 miles), even though I was deliberately trying to take as many tangents on the course as I could. Do you wonder if the course might have been a tad long?

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