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California International Marathon - RunMarathon

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Sacramento, California
United States
45F / 7C
Total Time = 3h 29m 27s
Overall Rank = 1100/5200
Age Group = 45-49
Age Group Rank = 120/466
Pre-race routine:

Rachel and I arrived in Sacramento early afternoon on Saturday and headed to the expo. Parking is always a bit trying when you don't know the area, so we decided to just do the parking garage. Words of Wisdom: Never let a tapering marathoner, especially one who hasn't run in over a week due to injury, drive the vehicle with a bike on the roof rack. Thankfully, the frame is intact, but I'll be springing for a new wheel and probably shifters. Could have been worse.

Picked up the packet at the expo, but didn't hang out due to the bike "incident". Rachel intended to ride her bike and follow my progression on Sunday, so I was hoping to get the bike fixed for her. Nope, nada, uh-uh... wasn't gonna happen. Got to the hotel without incident... surprisingly. Rachel was a real trooper about all my madness!

We drove to a friend's house in Folsom for a little wine, then back to Sacramento for dinner. Erin (Fielding) was dining with her friends, and she even made the reservations for our group. Thanks, Erin!!

Went to sleep around 10:00, awoke at 4:00, took a nice hot bath to loosen the muscles, stretched, then downed a bagel and banana.
Event warmup:

We drove to our friends house about 1/2 mile from the start. Gotta love easy access! I then jogged for a bit and decided to give the groin/hip a shot with no expectations other than to listen to my body and do as it says. It wasn't real happy, but I was there so no backing out now.
  • 3h 29m 27s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 07m 59s  min/mile

My hopes for this race were to qualify for Boston, but I had been battling an injury for 2+ weeks and had run very little (none in the last week) since. Boston 2009 was a pretty big deal for me as it would be unbelievably special to get back to Vermont for my folks 50th anniversary, and run Boston on my mom's birthday. My sisters and I are planning an anniversary celebration for April IF I happen to qualify. If not, then August it is. Deep down, I'm really hoping for an April celebration! ;)

The pre-reace warmup didn't go real well and there was still pain in the hip flexor/groin area of my right leg. This is the hand I'm dealt, now I need to play it to the finish. I really have no idea if I can make it 2 miles or 26, but I do know I'm going to start the race.

It was pretty cold at start time, ~38 degrees. I looked for Erin with the 4:00 pace group, but there were so many folks that I didn't find her. I ended up near the front of the pack and tried to stay loose. The gun went off and within about 15 seconds I was crossing the timing mat... my second marathon, first in 19+ years (3:19:09 - Burlington, VT 1990), had started. Frickin' Cool!

I settled in to an easy pace the first mile, right on 8:00. The leg/hip was sore but not unbearable. There was hope! The second mile went by in 7:46, the third in 7:28, and the fourth in 7:40. Whoa, time to reel it in a bit. The next 4 miles averaged 7:50, a much better pace for me. Without the injury I had hopes of a 3:24ish marathon, with the injury 3:30 seemed doable but probably out of reach. Getting through 8 miles in a 7:50ish pace gave my some confidence, but it was far too early to get cocky.

I stopped at a porta-john in mile 9 and ended up with an 8:25 split... no worries. Four more miles at 7:50ish had me through the first half in 143:43. I was feeling strong and getting more confident by the mile, but that would change soon enough.

From miles 14 through 17 my pace dropped to 7:57, 7:58, 7:58, and 8:03. I was starting to feel the tightness in my right groin area and my left quad was not a happy quad. I'm sure it was from compensating for the injury, but I was starting to get a bit concerned. Then mile 18 passed in 8:05 and I knew the race was on. It was here that I seriously considered whether I should continue or not. My left quad was screaming. I had a bit of a talk with myself and decided that if my body wouldn't allow me to run 8:25's or better in, then I would call it a day. I really didn't want to stop, but I also didn't want to do damage that could ruin my 2009 season. Plus, Rachel and I are headed to Machu Picchu on Christmas day for a trek, and I need working legs for that!

Miles 19-23 sucked: They hurt. There are times when you learn what you're truly made of and this was one of those times. My pace was 8:08,8:00,8:10,8:18 over this stretch. Still hanging on, but both quads are now screaming for relief. Then an 8:08 in mile 24. It was here that my thought process changed, as did my outlook. I knew the finish was within reach, and that I would make it. A 7:57 and 7:53 left me with .2 to the finish and a BQ. The feeling of that last stretch was unbelievable! I had thought of Boston for quite some time and now I was achieving that goal. The clock read 3:29:44 and my watch said 3:29:29 (unofficially 3:29:27). It was over and I was ecstatic... and very, very sore.
What would you do differently?:

I can't think of anything I'd do differently. Honestly, this was one of the most satisfying experiences of my life. To have the adversity of the previous 3 weeks and not knowing what to expect made this race a very special one indeed. I learned much about what I need to do in the future, training-wise, but more importantly I learned how to continue despite the hardships.
Post race
Warm down:

Did some light stretching, ate, drank and found Rachel. The smile on her face was awesome! She's been such a wonderful partner, always supporting me along the way.

My legs were fried. Within 20 minutes it was difficult walking up or down stairs, but the draught porter sure was good! Rachel, my friend Pete,and I had lunch at a British pub in downtown Sac. Talked to Erin on the phone and her voice revealed a successful first marathon. You totally rocked it, Erin!!

Returned to SF with a major glow and some wonderful pain... and a BQ time to boot. Sweeeeeeeet!!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Injury. Still, no complaints. I went as fast as I needed to, and as fast as my body was able.

Event comments:

Well organized and enthusiastic volunteers. This is a very good event and I highly recommend it.

Last updated: 2008-10-30 12:00 AM
03:29:27 | 26.2 miles | 07m 59s  min/mile
Age Group: 120/466
Overall: 1100/5200
Performance: Good
Course: point to point with net elevation loss of ~350 ft. This IS NOT a flat course, nor is it as fast as many would have you believe. That said, the weather was perfect for a fast time.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2008-12-08 9:45 PM

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Subject: California International Marathon

2008-12-08 10:00 PM
in reply to: #1844927

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Lafayette, CA
Subject: RE: California International Marathon

I was thing about you and the other particpants. You had a great race in spite of the challenges brought forth by your injuries.  Congrads and I look forward to watching you on TV in Boston!  

 Woooooo!!!!!!!  HOooooooo!!!!1

2008-12-08 10:30 PM
in reply to: #1844927

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Subject: RE: California International Marathon

Good job at the race and on the report.  Best of luck in 2009


Matt Cazalas
Technical Writer

Network Cables


2008-12-08 10:55 PM
in reply to: #1844927

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Berkeley, Calif.
Subject: RE: California International Marathon
Whee!!! I'm so f-ing happy for you, Jim! What a spectacular race -- made even more awesome by all the crap you had to deal with leading up to it. I knew you had a BQ in there if your leg would just give you the day, and I LOVE that you went for it. (It was also awesome racing "with" you again. *g*)

Major, major congratulations!!
2008-12-09 8:11 AM
in reply to: #1844927

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Atlanta, Georgia
Bronze member
Subject: RE: California International Marathon
Congrats on the BQ!
2008-12-09 8:20 AM
in reply to: #1844927

Subject: ...
This user's post has been ignored.

2008-12-09 11:33 AM
in reply to: #1844927

Subject: RE: California International Marathon

CONGRATS!!!!!  Way to fight through the pain to get that BQ slot!

Now you can enjoy MP

2008-12-09 2:44 PM
in reply to: #1844927

Northridge, California
Subject: RE: California International Marathon
Congrats on the BQ! Well done!
2008-12-09 4:26 PM
in reply to: #1844927

Melon Presser
Subject: RE: California International Marathon

It's a fast course, but by no means an easy course, and YOU KILLED IT YOU ROCKSTAR!!!!!

I am so excited for you! Super congratulations on your BQ ... injured! It's just wonderful you have this opportunity, especially to schedule a special family gathering around it.

Mile 19-23 indeed. Truly did show what you're made of and you are made of some serious HTFU.

Well done! Well done!

2008-12-09 5:01 PM
in reply to: #1844927

Carlsbad, California
Subject: RE: California International Marathon

Pffft, I knew you had a BQ by the end of the first half; You still had an extra 1:32 to spare at the finish

Seriously, this is a very technical course with lots of variation, traps and pitfalls to trip up the runner; especially late in the day. You turned a 2:01 Positive split which is essentially an even split since it is well within 1% Difference.

Way to stick this one out and make it happen. I am sure it helped to have something driving you forward toward your goal when things did get tough.

Rest up, recover well and see you in Boston :cool:

Edited by WaterDog66 2008-12-09 5:02 PM
2008-12-09 5:23 PM
in reply to: #1844927

Extreme Veteran
Denver CO
Subject: RE: California International Marathon

Man, I am SO stoked for you! Way to go! Sounds like it was a real experience. Bravo.

 a few other things- why such a long break between marahtons? and maccu picchu for christmas?? I am jealoussss!

2008-12-09 8:45 PM
in reply to: #1844927

Subject: RE: California International Marathon
Thanks everyone! I'm still pretty high from the experience...

Bridget, I'm not sure why there was such a lag between marathons. I got away from endurance sports and was involved in lots of backcountry skiing, backpacking, and peak bagging. I turned 45 last year and really missed running, so got back into it after the New Year. Lost about 25 lbs, and here I am now. Feels pretty freakin' good!

Machu Picchu and Peru will be my first trip outside North America. Rachel and I have many travel goals in the future, though, so it's an exciting time for sure! She's the world traveler and I get to follow her lead!

See you in Boston!!
2008-12-09 10:24 PM
in reply to: #1844927

san francisco
Subject: RE: California International Marathon
JIM-You are a true rockstar! You threw that HAG DOWN and just ran through it all! I am so proud of and happy for you.

Plenty of time to heal for april, your HIM and now Boston, that is truly an accomplishment.

Congrats again
2008-12-10 12:01 AM
in reply to: #1844927

Durham, CA
Subject: RE: California International Marathon

Awesome job running, completing, and BQ'ing even with an injury.

Way to "tough it out".


2008-12-10 8:52 AM
in reply to: #1844927

South Florida
Subject: RE: California International Marathon
Congrats on your BQ!!!  It sounds like it will be a really meaningful one   Impressive performance.  I think the porter was an excellent post race choice!  Kudos!!
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