2013 California International Marathon Race Report
So a common theme for the last two years of CIM has been weather issues. Last year I ran through a Monsoon to finish 3:48:57. I told myself anything I run after this will be easier, and it was.. but that’s another story. For now I want to re-cap the events leading to and including the 2013 CIM.
So after finishing Twin Cities in 3:33 I realized I might be able to go a little bit faster for my next marathon. With a tight schedule of only 8 weeks inbetween October and December I knew I needed to rest and recover asap. I took a few days off completely and started my 8 week plan. I have used Pfitz for all my training this year and so far it has been right on track. I have the best results and consistently gotten faster. The plan called for some intense hard workouts, one week consisted of running 70 miles the highest I have ever done in a training cycle. My legs never really felt 100% during the plan and it seemed to wearing on my body over time. The only thing is I never really got injured.
Anyways, come race week I was very stressed about the weather. We had a cold front front into the area and a bad snow storm come in making my dress rehearsal consist of running on the treadmill. On top of that it was expected to snow Friday and Saturday morning VERY bad through the mountains, and since CIM consists of me driving up and through the mountains this meant it was going to be a very dangerous drive.
Saturday rolls around and I am as ready as I can be, I took the previous day completely off and ran a light 3 mile workout on Thursday. I learned I run better on completely fresh legs, and i figured an additional run wouldn’t help. I practice putting chains on my car, which happens to be a Prius. It’s a great car, but it’s not a 4WD monster truck. And driving through a blizzard isn’t the best of ideas. I attempt to make it the first chain control and after talking with the chain setup guys they said the roads required chains for then next 50 miles. I decided to leave my car at the next turn off and ride with some friends who were cara vanning with me up to CIM. They had a nice Yukon that handled the snow just fine.
We get to a section of the road where traffic is literally grid locked. So here we are in the middle of the mountain pass waiting… and waiting. When we finally start moving again we see that a semi jack-knifed on the side of the road.
Next, we get in a really bad part wear visibility is pretty low and then we see a SUV turned the opposite direction on the side of the road. It is a couple of runners from Reno that we know so we pull over to see if they need help. A cop arrives and assists them to turn the vehicle in the right direction. It was a very slow drive from that point on, no point in risking it.
We finally start to see the snow die down and make into the valley. A normal 2 hour drive turned into a 4.5 hour drive. Good times. We get the expo with about an hour to spare and pick up our packets, say hi to friends and off to dinner we go.
We ended up going to a place called buca di beppo’s I have never been there so it was an interesting experience. I usually am a person of habit and since I started marathon running 2 years ago I have always gone to Noodles and Company. Either way, great food and great company made it a great dinner overall. Even had leftovers.. lol
Got checked into the hotel after being dropped off and started laying out the race clothes for the next day, making sure I had everything set. Okay on to some race prep.
Now as some of you know ilana from the RR forums contacted me and asked if I wanted to run with her for CIM since we were around the same pace. I said I was planning on shooting for 3:25 and staying close to the pacer for that group. She was going for 3:23. After some number crunching and gut digging I decided I could probably push myself the extra few seconds per mile and go for it. My initial thought was I am going all out for this marathon, so why not run all out with someone else?
She described what she would be wearing and I did the same. I told her I would be around the 3:25 pace group and to meet up just before the race start. Right before going to bed I messaged her and said I would down for running with her in the morning.
So I hit the sack and toss and turn until about midnight, wake up at 3:40 AM to my wake up call and head downstairs to grab the free breakfast they were handing out to runners. I brought my own just in case. My breakfast consisted of a bagel with peanut butter, half a banana, and orange juice. Hopped in the shower to wake up and get warm and used the “facilities”. Got dressed and met up with another friend in the lobby who was going for a little over 4 hours. We waited in the lobby for the buses to arrive because it was freezing outside. Literally, the temperature was about 22 degrees. Frost and ice on the cars outside. Not normal for Sacramento.
The buses arrive around 5:40 AM and take us off to Folsom, where the race starts. It was an old school bus so not a of leg room. Arrive at the start and decide to wait on the bus as long as possible to keep warm. Finally get off around 630 and head to the porta pottie line. The good thing about CIM is they have over 300 porta potties at the start line. Sort of the Mile of a porta potties as it’s known to be. Which is a good thing because even with that many, there was still a small wait.
Hit up the restroom one more time and head to the start line to meet up with ilana, find her with her hat on and ask if she ready to do this! She replies with an excited yes and we are off for my 3rd CIM and 6th marathon.
Mile 1: 7:55
Although this seemed like a very fast mile it was one of the slowest because of the amount of people at the start. It was very hard to get into a moving pace without running people over or being run over. I told ilana at this point that we could make up the difference in the next few miles. She agreed. They marked off an area at the turn that was literally a sheet of ice and put cones on top if it.
Mile 2: 7:40
We got to the first hill that I knew was the first turn, I told ilana I would take the hills kind of slow and save my speed for the downhill portions, she was sort of opposite. But it worked out as she would go faster on the hills and I would catch up for the downhill.
Mile 3: 7:40
Wow, it felt like we just started and already we were 3 miles in. We read pace times off to each other at each mile marker to make sure we were on pace.
Mile 4: 7:43
Cruising right along. I forgot to take my blok here so I took it a bit later, I think 4.5 miles in. I think I also got rid of my $4 good will jacket I was wearing. Even though it was cold still I felt it was weighing me down a bit too much.
Mile 5: 7:37
Ice… Ice everywhere! A lot of runners were polite enough to point out where ice patches were as they ran by, I in turn did the same thing hoping they would follow suit. The early miles were the absolute worse for ice patches. Every water station was essentially a war zone. I literally saw 5 people fall flat on their butts throughout the race. This was one of the races I was very happy to have brought my own water belt (filled with gatorade). Essentially, every water station I would go to the far left or right and do my best to avoid the ice all together.
Mile 6: 7:40
The first relay station was around this marker and tons of runners waiting for their comrades to come running in. Sorry ilana and I were not what you were looking for. She mentioned we should slow a bit, I agreed. A nice long run left to do!
Mile 7: 7:43
I put on my headphones here as I was starting to get into a rhhythm and didn’t want to lose the pace. I took them on and off to chat with ilana as we had been chatting for the first 6 miles or so.
Mile 8: 7:44
we pass by a lady who was loudly cheering on the side of the road. This was very nice to hear as most if not all the crowd support had been subdued by the frigid temps. She yelled at us in particular, screaming…”HEY, STOP CHATTING YOU TWO AND SAVE YOUR ENERGY FOR THE RUN!” I take my 2nd blok around here.
Mile 9: 7:42
ilana and myself would take turns taking the lead but I said I would probably stop talking less and listen that lady’s advice and concentrate on running from here on out.
Mile 10: 7:28
Headphones on, pace going up. Still having to avoid water stations and running into people in general. Some runner decided he had enough and literally stopped in front of me, really nice that he DIDNT turn around to see if anyone was near him. I proceeded to bump shoulders with him and kind of side swipe him on my way.
Mile 11: 7:34
The crowds are dead compared to Twin Cities… I miss the support… =(
Mile 12: 7:46
I remember saying to my self that I thought this would be mile 13.. I was mile behind in my mind and it started playing tricks with me. I decide I need to wake up so I take 2 sport beans with caffeine.
Mile 13: 7:43
Pass the halfway point and saw all the crowd, thinking they would cheer us on. It was like crickets… So instead I cheered at them and said COME ON! make some noise!! I got a few yells and claps and some high fives as I waved my hand out. Kind of depressing to be honest. take my 3rd blok here.
Mile 14: 7:37
I thought about what Mac said to me about making sure I run my own race and I knew ilana would say the same so at this point on I just ran. I didn’t look around to check if she was there but I know she was. She wanted that 3:23 way more than me. =)
Mile 15: 7:37
My right hamstring and quad was really fighting against me at this point. I mentioned to ilana that it was starting to tweak around mile 10. She told me not to push it trying to run, not worth getting injured. I mentioned that I was going all out and if I got hurt.. oh well. lol
Mile 16: 7:46
Okay, home stretch we only have 10 miles to go. I think I saw Frosty the snow man on the side of the road, with a group of people saying high five frosty. I remember that he was blown down last year face planted in the water. So I ran up and high fived the crap out of him! lol
ilana came up and mentioned she was going to say I did that. lol. I said it was good to see her and asked how she was doing, and she said good, but her legs were hurting just like mine.
Take my 4th blok here.
Mile 17: 7:37
Kept running with my sole intent on keeping my pace going forward. Since i just ilana I knew she would stay with me.
Mile 18: 7:43
High fives while I still had the strength to give them.
Mile 19: 7:46
I know the wall is approaching… How am I feeling? Take another sport bean here, but just 1.
Mile 20: 7:43
Okay it’s wall time, This is the most energenic point of the marathon, people are screaming and dancing and having a good time. I loved it. Pushed through the wall with no problems and waved to the crowd. Took another blok here.
Mile 21: 7:49
Oh man, things are starting to hurt I can feel my legs tightening up I know if I stop I am done. I decide to make sure I get water at every station from here on out.
Mile 22: 7:58
The good ole bridge.. was around here. The first time I did CIM this bridge was the monster that forced me to walk. I knew it was coming and I was prepared for it. Saved some energy and was able to push through the lip and power up and down the last “hill” of the course.
Mile 23: 7:49
Flat, the roads are so flat this point, we have entered Sacramento…
MIle 24: 7:52
Take another blok and mix it with 2 beans I am hurting badly, and my form is suffering.
Mile 25: 8:07
My worse mile and it felt like it. My legs felt like jelly, it was a struggle to get them to keep moving but I knew the finish line was coming up, that was the only thing keeping me focused. I was doing numbers in my head at this point and saying just maintain an 8 min pace and you have this!
Crash! CRACK! I turn around and think to myself oh no…. no no no. I see a male runner take a face plant. I was scared it might have been ilana I felt terrible for the person as I know it must have been hard to recover from that.
After the race ilana said she was RIGHT behind him and he tripped on one of those reflectors that sticks out from the road, she had to bank around him at the last second to avoid a collision.
Mile 26: 7:46
I put everything I had into this last mile, the crowd was helpful. Even Jesus turned out with his sign. He was absent last year, but he was there waving his sign saying “The End is Near”.
I skip the last water station. I can do this, final push.. MOVE IT! COME ON! I yell these out loud to myself as a few runners turn around and give me weird looks. lol
Last .32 according to watch… 7:04
I see the capital and turn on the gas, everything I had left into the final turn and sprint into the finish chute. Raise my hands in the air and look at the clock. I AM IN SHOCK! so much in fact that I grab onto the railing to my right for balance and can’t walk… lol Paramedics come up to me and help me over to the side, I insist I am fine, but they insist I am not. I don’t fight it because I have no strength left too. I get my shoe tag cut and tell him I am good to go. He says congratulations, a lot better than last year huh? “Yes“. A lot of better than last year. =)
Last year I was swept away in a Monsoon crushing my goals of achieving under 3:45, cutting it short by about 4 minutes at 3:48:57. Not this year. It was cold, I was prepared, mentally, physically and I had some help pushing me along and keeping me in check in the first half from ilana.
Final Chip Time: 3:23:27
I shaved 20 minutes off my first marathon I did this year in Salt Lake, and 10 minutes off my time at Twin Cities.
I still couldn’t believe what I did. After walking around for a bit dazed and confused I saw ilana and said DID YOU GET It!? She replied, with yes, I was RIGHT BEHIND YOU! I gave her a high five and congratulated her. I think she ended up placing 3rd in her age group. Amazing!
Got my bag, some hot soup and headed back to the hotel for a nice warm shower.
This year has been a running transformation for me, I have learned so many valuable lessons on diet, pacing, and what NOT to do and what works well. I will do my best to share them with whoever wants to know. And yes, I’ll do a year end summary recapping from the start to the end.
A couple quick shout outs of thanks go to… my knees, icyhot, my massage therapist Kelly, foam rollers, recliners, pizza (cause damn’t it’s good), Reno, and my job for allowing the flexible time schedule
Thank you to everyone the 3:45r’s RR forums for being my coaches and ears as I trained this year. Thanks to ilana for pacing with me for the first half. Thank you to my friends and family for supporting me along the way and listening to my rants and raves about races. Even coming up this year to a few of them and making the effort to be there when they could. Nicole and Hans, thanks again for driving through the storm!
Thanks to my wonderful girlfriend who has supported me even when she is mad at me. <3 you babes.
Until next year Boston… I am coming for you.