Held annually the first weekend in March, the Napa Valley Marathon is known for its fast course, beautiful scenery, moderate weather, and of course the post-race wine J. While many veteran E-team lady marathoners are racing this year, several speedy ladies are making their marathon debut in wine country next weekend. Diana Parets Jones, Jennifer Taylor Adams, Kristin Stith, and Debby Koch Bullentini will all be tapered and ready to race 26.2 miles on Sunday, March 2. They were all kind enough to answer a few questions prior to their big race:
What made you decide to do your first marathon?
Diana Parets Jones: I wanted to run a marathon because the idea of running that distance as a newbie runner is scary and challenging. I want to see the results of my training out on a long distance course. Going from couch potato to athlete in 2 years…I wanted to see what I can do. To prove I can do anything I set out to do.
Jennifer Taylor Adams: I’ve trained for two marathons that I didn’t actually run so it will be nice to check it off the bucket list.
Kristin Stith: The team made me decide to run my first marathon. Also, I knew that it would keep me motivated to train while I was in my last semester being stressed out with work and school.
Debby Koch Bullentni: Nearly 10 years ago I set a goal to run a marathon the year I turn 50! (a bucket list item). Well, I turned the BIG 5-0 a few months ago and here I am. Not really sure why I chose a marathon because I have NEVER been a runner! I hadn’t even run a 5k. I guess it just sounded like an incredible challenge at the time, and I do like a challenge.
Why did you pick the Napa marathon for your debut?
Diana Parets Jones: Napa was the place to debut because I heard it’s a great course for first timers and to PR and I have heard so many great stores from the team.
Jennifer Taylor Adams: If I’m going to run one it’s going to be with my teammates.
Kristin Stith: I didn’t pick Napa, the team did, so I guess Napa picked me.
Debby Koch Bullentini: I randomly chose the Napa Marathon because I’m in the wine business. It just made sense. If all else fails, I could at least enjoy some great wine afterwards.
What are your goals for the race?
Diana Parets Jones: I have a lofty time goal and that’s in my sights. But I want to finish solid and feeling like I gave it my all.
Jennifer Taylor Adams: I want to enjoy the entire experience. Finish a marathon without time goals, enjoy my teammates.
Kristin Stith: My goal for the race has gotten more aggressive as it is nearing. First my goal was to show up to Napa, then it was to just finish the race. Now, my goal is to finish in 4 hours. Like I said, I am starting to get aggressive J I am planning on dying after.
Debby Koch Bullentini: Initially my goal was just to run a marathon and finish. Sounds simple, right? Now that I have been training, and with all you elite, intense, crazy athletes I have stepped it up a bit. First of all, I want to finish and finish strong (in one piece). I have set a time goal of 4 hours and 30 minutes, or close to it. And I really want to embrace and enjoy the whole experience! It is supposed to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, however, I’m enjoying it so much, I actually caught myself on the computer the other night searching for other marathons to run. Yikes!!Did I really say that?
How are you feeling (mentally and physically) as you get ready to run your first marathon?
Diana Parets Jones: I’m feeling pretty excited. Mentally it’s hard to envision that I can hold a steady pace for that long of a distance. I know I am physically trained for it, but it’s the unknown. It’s hard to put it all together mentally when physically it has not been done yet. But I’m excited and ready.
Jennifer Taylor Adams: Physically I’m not feeling on par. I was hoping to figure out the breathing issues prior to going to the marathon, but that hasn’t happened. Due to this, I’ve had to alter my goals and my attitude to adjust to my limitations. I hate it, but love it. I’m still being active, but not where I want to be. Mentally I’m in it for the experience.
Debby Koch Bullentini: I had been struggling mentally and physically until about a month ago. I felt like I was so far behind on my training due to injury, sickness, and not enough time. Thank goodness all that turned around after I did my 22 mile run. I gained a tremendous amount of confidence, and feel ready to go. Bring it on!
Any words of advice for others who want to take the plunge and run their first 26.2?
Diana Parets Jones: Words of advice would be to find out your “why” and then sign up for the race. Train hard, consistent, and smart. Train with your body, mind, but most of all train with your eyes and ears. Ask questions. Listen to what is being said. Practice. And log those miles J
Jennifer Taylor Adams: Just do it. Seriously. Get off the couch and pony up.
Kristin Stith: Don’t think about it too much. I will only run if it is fun. The second that stops—I take a break. I don’t care if you are running 2 miles or 26.2 miles—it should be fun. Did I just say running is fun? I clearly have issues.
Debby Koch Bullentini: My advice for someone is to realize you can do anything you set your mind to. Work hard, train hard, and ENJOY the journey! Napa, I’ll see you in 7 days!
Best of luck to Diana, Jennifer, Kristin and Debby! Look for an interview with the E-Team men who are debuting in Napa in the next few days.
Coach Sarah #Enduworld