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California International Marathon - RunMarathon

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Sacramento, California
United States
California International Marathon
34F / 1C
Total Time = 4h 28m 31s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Woke up to the alarm, some Christmas song on the radio, around 3:45. Then the phone rang with my wake-up call at 3:50. I always have two wake up systems, just in case. Got dressed, made my tea (tulsi and decaf black), checked email, and ate some dry cereal to get the body awake and functions moving along. Ate PB2 and some peanut butter with strawberry jelly on open faced Englsih muffin.

Went down to the lobby to meet the bus that would take us up to Folsom at 5 a.m.As I walked over in front of the lobby doors, the bus came into the parking lot and I ended up being the first one one. Score! A woman sat next to me, happened to be from San Diego. We chatted casually on the way up, which helped to calm my sudden nervous stomach. We got to the race start and hour and a half early. Not one lonely soul in line for porta potties, but most of the now full school bus stayed inside because it was 33 degrees outside. I dressed for it -- head wrap, hat, beanie, gloves, tech shirt, pullover and hoodie. Tights on the bottom half.
Event warmup:

My plan for this marathon was to break down the run into 4 6 mile segments and then the last 2.2 is just whatever. First segment was stick to the 9/1 interval and easy, second one, steady still 9/1 interval, third one is run how you feel, if I needed/wanted the 1 minute walk interval I could take it, if not, didn't have to. Last one steady run and break when needed.

Sat on the bus for a while, then around 6:30 came out into the pre-dawn light and mingled with the other 8,000 people around. I knew no one, so just found a rock in some landscaping by the side of the start to stretch and do leg swings. Walked around, visited the porta potty a couple of times and then stripped off my fuzzy warm pants to put in my bag. Dropped my bag off at the drop and headed up toward my time corral. It was self-assigned, you just went by the sign that had your projected times, so I placed myself between the 4:15 and 4:25 signs and pacers.
  • 4h 28m 31s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 10m 15s  min/mile

My grand experiment in this marathon attempt began with the countdown and a beautiful rendention of the Star Spangled Banner by a young woman (local, I presume). I started in the mid 9s and followed the 9-1 run/walk plan. This was my strategy going in -- do the 9/1 ratio the first 6 miles, even if I felt like running through the minute planned rest. I stuck to it and felt pretty good. The first part of the run goes through some rural areas and horse country. A couple of the horses seemingly picked up on the running energy and started running around their corrals. I didn't play any music the first six miles, which is unusual for me. There were a very few cars with some music for the runners in this first section. I tried to just take it in and look around.

Second 6 miles, continued to stick to my 9/1 ratio, as per the plan. Turned on my music I still felt really good and my overall pace was around 9:30. I thought, so far, so good. I started to warm up and shed my outermost layer and put it by the side near someone's arm warmers. Lots of gloves and a few shirts in the road. It was pretty chilly to start so many people had lots of clothes on to start. Anytime I saw a little kid by the side with their hands out for a high five, I'd try to make my way over to smack their hand. One lonely little boy, who didn't look happy to be out in the cold stood there with his family and no one was coming his way, I made sure to get over there and the parents thanked me. That felt good. At least we were staying warm by running.

We passed several dogs and then there was a guy on the side holding two leases at the end of a long driveway. I noticed one dog and then the other one looked different somehow...yea, different, it was a goat, on a leash and just hanging out looking around. So cool. I wanted to stop and talk to the guy and the goat, but by the time I realized it was a goat I'd already passed by.

Went by the 13 mile mark and the half marathoners finish chute. I think I ate my caffeine fix powerbal gel here. At this point and the relay points there were lots of people, both runners who were switching for the relay and their families and just spectators. I saw a couple guys over and over again on the course. They were apparently following runner(s). One guy had a 70s style poncho with a big 49ers label on the front. My walk interval came up right as we were around a relay handoff point, so I began my walk. People would cheer for me, I guess thinking I couldn't go on anymore running and had to stop and walk. I swallowed by pride and ego and kept to the plan. This was tough.

Another woman ran up by me and said her watch had stopped. We chatted for a while and she told me she was aiming for a 4 hour finish time. I told her she'd better pick it up then because we weren't on course for that and she was running the same as I was. I skipped some of the intervals while running with her because it was really nice to have someone to talk to. She was in her 40s I estimated and seemed like a nice gal. My watch vibrated signaling the walk interval again, so I told her I was going to walk, but hoped to catch up with her. Damn! I wish I would have kept running with her because she managed to negative split and ran a 3:58! I just wonder if I would have and could have kept up with her if I didn't walk. I'll never know.

I stopped here somewhere in here to pet a dog -- a very cute medium sized terrier faced dog. I needed some doggy love. It helped.

Around mile 18 or 19 I was feeling much better than at the same point as any other marathon I've ran. This is where I have slowed down historically and this was similar. I saw my avg. pace was creeping up though, which meant I was slowing down. Double damn! I got water, at least a sip, or some to wash my mouth out at almost every station. Plentiful volunteers at aid stations is nice.

Mile 20 had a pretend brick wall with a female grim reaper trying to look scary. Not so much. I felt pretty good, I mean considering I'd run 20 miles. I remembered the last time I ran this course thinking that all that lie before me was unchartered territory because I'd never run more than 20 miles at once then. Now, at least I knew the potential discomfort I might be in later (or not). I put my arms out and pretended to fly across the mile 20 timing mats.

Now, miles 21 and 22 were tough. I must have really slowed down because I heard a bunch of people running up behind me and it was the 4:25 group. At this point, I had been ontime for a 4:15 to 4:20 time, probably closer to 4:20. Now, I'd dropped back and was running with the 4:25 peeps. I kept with them and it kind of deflated me because I was just slowing down. I think I might have eaten another powerbar gel at this point trying to gain some energy. But, I have to say I was feeling a bit deflated, mostly mentally, but my backside felt really heavy. I guess I was hoping to sprout wings and simply fly through this marathon with only 8 weeks of serious training and doing a run/walk interval and an experiement. Not just NO, but hell NO! I learned that in order to run faster in a marathon, you have to train faster and you have to give your body more time. I began debating myself in my mind, which I'm sure slowed me down even more. I became disappointed in myself and felt like I was letting myself down. HUH? Where do these demons come from? Maybe it was the grim reaper energy come to take me down. There wasn't going to be anhyone at the finish to catch me if I pusehd harder either. I knew from previous experience, that when I pushed, I needed help afterwards, and relying on the medical tent didn't sound appealing.

I let the 4:25 group go and just did my best to pick up one leg and then the other. By this point my left IT band was making some noise and I felt like I had something poking me in my right arch. With each step I felt like I was brusing myself and I probably was. I remembered to move my arms and use my core. My low back started to ache. I knew the aches and discomfort would come, just wasn't sure when or what it would be.

I passed a woman and asked how she was doing. She replied "this sucks." I thought, yep, it does, it sure does. I nodded and told her to just keep that smile on her face and gave her one of my own. Why do I do this to myself? More self-doubt creeping in. I wasn't in my zen space to just let the mind chatter and allow it to pass like clouds in the sky or as I recently read, like you're just watching the bus go by and it's not your bus, so you don't ride that thought. You just watch it go by. I got a bit caught up in my physical discomfort and allowed it to slow me. More disappointment.

I had to go to the porta potty and while if I thought I would be PR-ing, I would have skipped it, but I just decided to pop in. That probably took at least 2 minutes.

This is a very good lesson in expectation and attachment -- do neither, have neither.

By the last couple of miles there were lots of spectators cheering. One couple had two Bernese Mt. Dogs who were just hanging out. I waved and thanked them for cheering and asked about the dogs and told them I had one at home as well. I needed some doggy love. It made me think of Sadie and I felt good inside from the love I have for all of my animals. That helped me find a semblance of a kick for these last few miles.

Another man on the sidelines told me to drop my shoulders...yep, I was tightening up and needed to relax. The right message at the right time. We always get them, we just need to be present to receive them.

What looked like a homeless man said only 385 yards to go. I think it was a bit more, but the cheering crowds helped. I knew though that none of the cheers were my loved ones. I came up for this alone and no one was was there to "catch" me at the end. I don't think I'll do this again. Things are always better shared.
What would you do differently?:

I would keep my head on right and not allow self-doubt thoughts take root. This wasn't for "time." It was for the experience of another marathon, and to boost fitness.

I would have tried to keep with the woman whose watch stopped and see how I could have done.

I would have had support up there and insisted my husband and/or son or a friend come up with me. It might have made a huge difference.

Do not think you're going to PR with a 9/1 run-walk interval (at least not me).

Remember, this one wasn't for time or a PR. Remember it was for the experience. Remember the numbers on the clock don't define us. Hard to do when you're in discomfort and your brain is glucose deprived. But doable. Learned a lot here.

I'm giving this a below average because of some of the above issues.

Post race
Warm down:

Got a yummuy True Moo lowfat chocolate milk right away after my medal and space blanket. Walked to find my bag with stuff in it. Went to food tent -- yummy tomato soup -- brilliant idea -- and a warm fluffy pancake found their way to my mouth. Drank some water and had 1/2 a banana.
I've never been able to eat after a marathon, so maybe I didn't work as hard, and/or am in better shape.
BTW, the aches and pains weren't noticeable, but my right arch still bothered for a few days post-marathon.

Ice bath at hotel and stretching and hydrating until lemonade colored urine again. I just kept moving around the hotel room.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Mental and limited 8 weeks of training and the 9/1 interval.

Event comments:

CIM does a very good job with this race. Plentiful volunteers, aid stations stocked and regularly spaced. Great post-race munchies and chocolate milk/tomato soup (not at once) were treats after the run.

Final thoughts after several days post-marathon. I recovered quicker than I ever have after a 26.2. I was no where near as sore as I have been. I did fine. I'm not as disapointed in myself. I see what the mind was doing and I learned some things. I will do another stand alone marathon but the next one may be in another Ironman. They are very different. I'm okay with my run and accepting I didnt' do it for "time" but for the experience...and I had an experience. Check #4 off the list. Never in a million years thought I'd run one, let alone four. Thankful and grateful I can do this and I'm healthy and injury-free. Namaste

Profile Album

Last updated: 2011-10-08 12:00 AM
04:28:31 | 26.2 miles | 10m 15s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Below average
Actually my watched showed 26.44 miles
Course: Start up at Folsom Lake and make your way down to downtown Sacramento at the Capitol building. It's net downhill, but really a rolling course for part and some straights...actually more straights than I would have liked. The first part is rural, then suburban, then mid-town, then downtown.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 2
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race? Ok
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] 4

2011-12-10 4:48 PM

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Vista, CA
Subject: California International Marathon

2011-12-11 11:00 AM
in reply to: #3933648

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Melon Presser
Subject: RE: California International Marathon

Super job on your 4th (really 5th) marathon and with like, practically NO training!!!

You are awesome.

Dog breaks are mandatory. It is good you know this. Goat breaks are okay, too, and now you know this.

Your head messing with you is mandatory. I think that's in the Official Marathon Book, rule #473: "Thy head shalt mess with thee." Way to go to just keep running.

2011-12-11 9:13 PM
in reply to: #3933648

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Subject: RE: California International Marathon

Finally! Wink I have been waiting for this race report for like...ever.

Just teasing!

Really, you had a GREAT race. 8 weeks of training is nothing for a marathon (and you know that) and you still did a great job. Not to mention you were doing it as an experiment.

There is no sense dwelling on what could have been. It sounds like you gained a lot from this race. There is a hell of a lot more to running than PRs and it sounds like you learned a lot in this race (such as the importance of stopping to pet goats.

2011-12-12 8:31 PM
in reply to: #3933648

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Liverpool, New York
Gold member
Subject: RE: California International Marathon

absolutely loved the RR!  you made me feel like i was there with you every step, up to and including the dog break and the homeless looking man

super congratulations on a job well done!!


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