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California International Marathon - Sub 3:00 - Run

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Sacramento, California
United States
California International Marathon
40F / 4C
Total Time = 2h 54m 58s
Overall Rank = 79/3249
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 15/ Many
Pre-race routine:

Flew into Cali around noon the day before race day... rented a car, drove to the expo, had a light lunch then drove the course from start to finish. I am really happy that I did this as the first half of the course was much more hilly than I thought. I developed my strategy and I knew where to make my break!
Lilia and I had a nice dinner at the hotel restaurant... I had Spinach pasta with wild mushrooms and a light creamy marinara sauce. We shared some fried calamari to start and I had one Amstel Light. Asleep early for once - by 10 PM.
I woke up pretty early - 3:00 AM and started drinking Gatorade, H20 and coffee... I had a danish in the lobby as we waited for the bus to take us to the start...
Event warmup:

It was very cold at the start... around 32 degrees F. So Lilia and I hung out in the 7-11... About 15 minutes before the start I dropped a Banana Blitz Goo and at 10 till the gun walked up to the starting line... met Ted and found our 3:00 pace group and leader...
  • 2h 54m 58s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 06m 41s  min/mile

Well, I ran a great race! Really. I ran the second half a full 5 minutes faster than the first half and I beat my goal time by a full 5 minutes... It doesn't get much better than that!
I ran with my friend and training partner, Ted for the first 24 miles... then picked it up for the last two and finished about 45 seconds faster than him (more on that later).
As I said before, we started out very slow... We got worried, and Ted picked the pace up a bit around mile 8. We didn't break away from our group, but gradually pulled away and by mile 13, we could not see them... This had me worried, as the plan was to stay with the group until mile 20... Regardless, we were still on the slow side at the half-way point and I figured the hills were gone and the temp was warming up so everything was cool...
The second half of this race was a trip... We basically averaged around 6:50 per mile for the first half of the race... the second half was another story... Mile after mile our splits were like this: 6:30, 6:29:6:25, 6:31: 6:29, etc... We were talking a lot at this pace and feeling really good... around mile 18 or so, we were commenting on how we were passing people like they were walking... I mean, some of these guys were studs... It felt great!
Throughout the race I was amazed with the comfort of my new Saucony Fastwich Racers... no blisters, and a very slipper like ride... Ted's GF and Aunt cheered us on at mile 10 and mile 19. By mile 20, the lactic acid build up was beginning to show its ugly head... To fight it, Ted and I would surge for a few hundred meters and then relax. This had a weird effect as we never really slowed that much... At around mile 23 I felt like Ted was trying to drop me (the conversations dropped a few miles back) and I remember looking over at him to see if I could see what was making him run so hard. At this poing we could have simply cruised to the finish and that would have suited me just fine. As we neared mile 24, a race official said we were in 130th place but that we were on pace to catch "a lot" of people...
I'm not sure what happened, but I started running to catch people... I counted each one off as I went by them... I ran mile 24 to 25 in 6:01, I ran mile 26 in about 5:45... i did not slow to the finish... at mile 26 - some guy passed me! Seriously, I couldn't belive it! I had not been passed since mile 5 or so... I almost let him go, then I saw Kim and Donna screaming (Ted's GF and aunt) and I exploded into a full out sprint and crossed the line with the guy who passed me! It turned out that my net was 4 secs faster than his so I felt great about my finish... In fact, I didn't have the energy to stop my watch and didn't know I broke 2:55 until later that day...
Yeah, I was stoked... But it wasn't just about me... Ted, who ran his PB on that course last year, took 9 minutes off this year and busted a 2:55:42, My sweetie, Lilia, chopped off over 5 minutes off her PB with a super swift 3:19!!! I couldn't have imagined a better day... It was great.

What would you do differently?:

Nothing... maybe run the first half a minute or two faster...
Post race
Warm down:

had a bottle of water... some choc. chip muffins and celebrated with Ted, Lilia, Kim and Donna

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I performed faster...

Event comments:

Awesome race... not too big, but big... Could have used some beers at the finish

Last updated: 2005-12-07 12:00 AM
02:54:58 | 26.2 miles | 06m 41s  min/mile
Age Group: 15/ Many
Overall: 79/3249
Performance: Good
Because I was involved in conversation for the first 13 miles, I screwed up my splits, but I do know that I ran a very conservative first half of the race... 1:30:05. My first mile was 7:20. This was very unusual for me -even though I know that I need to go out slow, I never do... I'm afraid to I suppose. This time - with the help of a pace group - I started really slow. My AHR for the first half was around 142 or so. Even though the cold made my thighs feel stiff, I knew that I was in a comfort zone... Also, because I drove the course, I knew the second half of the course was pancake flat and if I felt good, I could open it up on my pace group...
Course: The course has a net elevation loss of around 300 feet... It has a reputation as one of the faster marathon's and dubs itself, "The Fastest Marathon in the West". Basically, the first half is very hilly... It feels like you are always approaching another uphill... It is not the steepness of them, but the frequency of them that can be a bit of a drag... The second half is flat and the last few miles might even be slightly downhill...
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2005-12-07 10:59 PM

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Conifer, Colorado
Subject: California International Marathon - Sub 3:00

2005-12-07 11:16 PM
in reply to: #301536

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Subject: RE: California International Marathon - Sub 3:00
Awesome job! The only problem - now you have to run even faster in the next race! It'll be hard to beat such a great time
That's why I left some room to improve for myself
I knew you were fast, but 2:54.... Oh my!
2005-12-08 6:55 AM
in reply to: #301545

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Extreme Veteran
Tokyo, Japan
Subject: RE: California International Marathon - Sub 3:00

Awesome job mate, I knew you were going to blow 3 hours away!!

A 5:45 for the last mile!?!?  Holy smokes!!  I wont settle for anything less than a sub 2:50 for your next marathon.


2005-12-08 11:11 AM
in reply to: #301536

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Broomfield, Colorado
Subject: RE: California International Marathon - Sub 3:00

Nice race Richard!  You crack me saying you went out slow at 7:20.  I'd kill for a 7:20   LOL! 

congrats on the PR!

2005-12-09 7:20 AM
in reply to: #301823

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Cycling Guru
Fulton, MD
Subject: RE: California International Marathon - Sub 3:00
Congrats on the great run and PR!
2005-12-09 11:14 AM
in reply to: #301536

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Subject: RE: California International Marathon - Sub 3:00
Great job! Congrats on the PR. Are you going to Boston?

Hey, where did you get chocolate chip muffins? There was practically nothing left at the finish line when I got there in 5 hours.


2005-12-09 8:26 PM
in reply to: #301536

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Evergreen, Colorado
Subject: RE: California International Marathon - Sub 3:00

GREAT race!  You trained HARD!  And you EARNED this one!

I can't wait to see what you tackle next!  And remember this pacing strategy for the next time around, okay?

2005-12-12 10:52 AM
in reply to: #302923

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Conifer, Colorado
Subject: RE: California International Marathon - Sub 3:00
Actually yes! The strategy works...
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