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California International Marathon - RunMarathon

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Sacramento, California
United States
37F / 3C
Total Time = 3h 32m 51s
Overall Rank = 944/3789
Age Group = M35-39
Age Group Rank = 161/384
Pre-race routine:

DW and I drove up to Sacramento on Saturday afternoon. Stopped off at the expo and picked up bib, chip, shirt, and goody bag (which doubled as sweat bag). Checked out the expo. DW bought some clothes and accessories and I picked up a nice pair of pearl izumi glove liners that I knew would be useful since the race temperature was forecast to be mid 30’s and only hitting the 40s by race end.

We decided to stay in the Larkspur suites hotel in Folsom. Most of the hotels listed on the CIM website were at the finish and those were all booked long ago or were very expensive. In the end, it actually made more sense to be close to the start (could even sleep in longer) and there were many other marathoners at the hotel who thought the same. The hotel was nice - being a suite it even had a full sized refrigerator, 2 burner stove top, cookware, utenstils and they had a “no partying” policy that they made guests sign upon check in…very nice. It was even nice to get hot cider and warm cookies in the lobby when we checked in. Highly recommended. The hotel is located in a strip mall across from the Foslom Premium Outlets.

We ended up eating at the Chilis in the strip mall near the hotel. It was crowded (Saturday night), but we were seated quickly and the food came out quickly as well. I had the guiltless grilled chicken platter (hold the parmesan cheese), a side of mashed potatoes, and an IBC root beer.

I haven’t had to run in temperatures like this all year (I only picked up training in March this year), so I wasn’t sure what to wear so I brought 4 different tops (two long sleeved of different weight and 2 short sleeved), arm warmers, and 2 different jackets to give me options. In the end, I chose to go with my heavyweight long sleeve Nike shirt (I’ve had this shirt since I started running 10 years ago), running shorts (I might have worn tights if I brought them), my day glo yellow pearl izumi cap, the glove (liners) I bought at the expo, balega socks, and my lace up (non Yankz) pair of Asics.

I woke up at 4:45AM and started the coffee machine, which kicks in DW’s pavlovian response to get up. I ate 2 Luna bars and a mini cliff bar for breakfast. I also prepped 2 small bottles of water with Clif Shot drink (one for before the run and one for after). I also stashed 3 Gu’s into the hip of my shorts and one luna bar. My plan was to consume one gu every 30 minutes and the luna bar at the halfway point (I get hungry and am fortunate that I can stomach solid food on a run).

At about 5:45 or so, we drove over to the runner drop off point. It was definitely cold. The LED displays on my car were doing something funny (this is a german car, you think it’d be used to the cold). DW brought an extra scarf for me. We hit traffic as we approached the drop off point. DW drops me off. The drop off point was about a mile downhill from the start area, but a shuttle pulls up. I debated whether or not I would be better off walking the 1 mile to warm up or to try to conserve energy, but the shuttle was there so I took it.

Many port a potties, but still a bit of a wait to use them. I strip off my extra clothing and drop off my sweat bag. It doesn’t feel too cold thanks to there being no wind and masses of people around. Race is ready to start soon enough. My race strategy was to start with the 3:30 pace group and figure things out from there. This is a bit of where my inexperience shows since I wasn’t sure what pace I could do, much less which pacing strategy would work for me (e.g. even pacing, negative splits, etc.). I’d have to RPE it.

Event warmup:

I didn’t warm up other than to do some light (cold muscles…) stretching.

  • 3h 32m 51s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 08m 07s  min/mile

So, we start and it takes me about 20 seconds to get to the start line. The group moves fairly well and spreads out just a bit. The first mile is downhill and it feels fairly easy (although my heart rate data would show that going from no warmup to race would push me to 180). I wanted to take it fairly easy for the first couple miles and reassess how things were. Things seemed to go fine although my left shin had tightened up. (this reminded me of how my shin tightened up during my first oly and just like that run, it worked it’s way out by mile 4). The sun had just come up and it was cool to see the long snake of runners ahead and as they exhaled, the low morning sun would light up the fog of their breath.

The crowd support was very good, far better than the support I saw (or didn’t see) in the San Francisco Marathon. There would be numerous spectators, music, cheerleaders, belly dancers, and such along the course.

Although this race is a net downhill, it’s definitely not all downhill. The first half of the race is rolling hills. As I would climb a hill, there were many runners who passed me. I don’t know I this was because I was slow (I was trying to manage a somewhat even effort level, which meant I would slow on the uphill) or not. At mile 7 or so, I recall one guy huffing and puffing hard on the uphills and I wondered how he would make the distance at that exertion level. DW drove over around mile 8 or 10 or so and cheered me on and ran a couple hundred yards with me. That made me feel good to have her support like that.

The first 10 miles came and went without incident. I managed to stay comfortably ahead of the 3:30 pace group, so I was feeling okay. The biggest downhill followed by the biggest uphill stretch of the course was here. I had kept to my plan of consuming 1 gel every 30 minutes and had something to drink at most of the water stops. Weather was still nice and cool although my hands still remained cold.

I continued the run to the halfway point and DW appeared a bit afterward. She gave me info about how far ahead water and bathrooms were. I took my first bathroom break; the 3:30 pace group would pass and I would not catch up to them again. It felt good to take the 30 second break from running and my legs temporarily felt renewed, but I could feel the fatigue creeping in.

By mile 18, there was a permanent level of fatigue in my quads that made itself present at every stride. This is where I started thinking about how LSD training runs helped with endurance, but only hinted at the muscular fatigue of a race. There was still a long way to go. DW popped in again to run and cheer me on.

Time for my second bathroom break. Just after mile 20, there were banners with bricks printed on them and labeled “The Wall” which was amusing. At this point, I knew that this is where the race really began. I tried to convince myself that I was just starting a 10K race now or I was just exiting T2 in an Oly and was starting the run. It only worked somewhat. There were many times when I thought to myself “why the hell am I doing this?” and “I’ll never do another marathon again!” I felt a little discouraged as the 3:35 pace group caught up to me. I tried keeping pace with them, but they pulled just a bit ahead.

Miles 21 then 22. The countdown begins, but based on exertion level, it feels like I’m in some anomaly in the space time continuum where time is stretched out and things are moving in slow motion. I embrace the pain and in it’s own way, the pain makes me aware that I am alive. It’s not a sharp pain, but the dull pain of deep muscular fatigue from the cumulative pounding and exertion. I manage to keep the 3:35 pace group within 50 feet. DW appears again to pep me up. I tell her I have the finish in the bag, I just need to push through the pain, and I’ll see her at the finish.

At mile 23, I know I only have just over 3 miles to go. It’s only another 25 minutes or so, I tell myself. Mile 24. The finish is drawing me towards it. I want to finish strongly so I push myself a bit harder. I am passing a few people here at the end who obviously started much stronger than I did, but are finishing weaker. At about mile 24.5, the pace leader waves his followers on (as it turns out he was ahead of pace) for the finish. A young blonde woman from the 3:35 pace group and I go stride for stride for the next mile. So close now. I reach down inside just a bit more and put a little more effort into my run. I’m at 14th street and the turn in towards the finish is at 8th. I make the turn. I pass the women’s finish chute. I turn in towards the men’s finish line. I muster as much of a sprint as I can at this point and I cross the finish line.

Time - 3:32:51 (chip time), 8:08 pace
Rank: 944/3789 OA, 161/384 M35-39

Below is the pace data by mile extracted from my Garmin (BTW, this was a pain to do. There must be an easier way). My Garmin read 26.36 miles for the course, so the splits are ever so slightly high (the mileage differential represents only a 0.6% deviation).

1 0:07:31
2 0:07:44
3 0:07:43
4 0:07:44
5 0:07:58
6 0:08:05
7 0:08:01
8 0:08:00
9 0:08:05
10 0:07:41
11 0:07:32
12 0:07:53
13 0:07:56
14 0:07:57
15 0:08:34
16 0:07:56
17 0:07:59
18 0:08:12
19 0:08:14
20 0:08:43
21 0:08:13
22 0:08:05
23 0:08:04
24 0:08:12
25 0:07:49
26 0:07:53
26.36 0:02:37

I was very happy with my finish time peppered with only a mild disappointment at missing the 3:30 mark. This was a 27 minute PR for me and only my second mary. I was possibly a bit undertrained, since I only did 3 and occasionally 4 runs a week. Still, according to the McMillan race calculator, based on my most recent 10K (although it was a trail run), I was aerobically capable of running a 3:32:07. So even though that was based on a trail race, I’m in the right ballpark for making the most of my capabilities at this point.

I was also reasonably happy with my somwehat even pacing. My splits were fairly even with the exception of the two miles where I took bathroom breaks (miles 15 and 20). I do wonder how much better I might have done with more even pacing. Chalk it up to inexperience.

My time at the half was 1:44:35 (which would have been a half mary PR for me if it had been a standalone race) which places second half at 1:48:16. I was able to dig in a little bit for those last 2.2 miles and I was pleased that I finished strongly.

Post race
Warm down:

Finish was very crowded and I couldn’t find DW. One reason I wear my day glo yellow cap is that she can find me easily. I walk around a bit. Get a bottle of water. Still can’t find her. Head over to the clif bar booth. I get some food and drink there. I stretch a bit. I head over to the post-race food and eat half a banana, a quarter bagel. I go get my sweats. I put on warmer clothing. I stretch. I get some more food to eat. I walk around all over the place. I still can’t find her. I go back to the finish area and look around, but it’s too crowded to really find anyone. By now, nearly 30 min. have passed. I end up asking a guy if I can borrow his cell phone to call my wife. Just as her phone is ringing, we see each other. I thank the guy and DW and I are reunited.

Post Race
We went back to hotel in Folsom. Went back to the Chilis since it was convenient. I was amused to find a Ferrari parked there. I told my wife, when we get a Ferrari, we have to drive it to Chilis to go out to eat. She indulged me by saying okay knowing that we’ll never have a Ferrari.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2006-11-23 12:00 AM
03:32:51 | 26.2 miles | 08m 07s  min/mile
Age Group: 161/384
Overall: 944/3789
Course: The California International Marathon is a point to point race that starts in Folsom, CA and ends in front of the capitol building in Sacramento. It’s a relatively fast course with some rolling hills for the first half, mostly flat on the second half, and a net downhill of about 340’ for the entire course. It’s a well supported race with about 5000 participants.
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2006-12-05 2:29 PM

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San Francisco
Subject: California International Marathon

2006-12-05 2:59 PM
in reply to: #616559

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Kansas City, MO
Subject: RE: California International Marathon
Wow...great race! Congrats on the PR.
2006-12-05 3:13 PM
in reply to: #616559

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Subject: RE: California International Marathon
Nice job! Your consistent pace is very impressive. And great race report.

2006-12-05 3:39 PM
in reply to: #616559

Columbus, Ohio
Subject: RE: California International Marathon
Great race!  I really enjoyed reading your race report, especially towards the end when you were describing your finish.  That's so nice of your wife for heading to all those mile markers to meet up with you!
2006-12-05 3:49 PM
in reply to: #616559

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West Chicago, IL
Subject: RE: California International Marathon
Great run and great race report!

Nice job of jockstrapping by DW, too!
2006-12-05 4:27 PM
in reply to: #616559

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Sherman Oaks, CA
Subject: RE: California International Marathon
Great race report!

2006-12-06 12:39 AM
in reply to: #616559

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San Mateo, CA
Subject: RE: California International Marathon

Lightning fast!  Congratulations

2006-12-06 8:08 AM
in reply to: #616559

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San Francisco
Subject: RE: California International Marathon
Thanks everyone. I was happy with how I did (can't complain about a PR!).

Yes, DW was great supporting me before, during, and after the race. She's the best.

Usually I have pictures courtesy of DW, but bonehead me I forgot to bring the camera. I'll just have to add a couple of the race proofs.
2006-12-06 8:33 AM
in reply to: #616559

Subject: ...
This user's post has been ignored.
2006-12-07 12:25 PM
in reply to: #616559

Subject: RE: California International Marathon
Great race report and great race.  Saw you signed up for WF as your first half.   It's a doozy (or so I hear)!!
2006-12-07 2:56 PM
in reply to: #618620

Cycling Guru
Fulton, MD
Subject: RE: California International Marathon
Congrats on the great time and huge PR!

Train more than 3 days a week and you'll have a BQ in your future.

2006-12-20 5:08 PM
in reply to: #616559

Subject: RE: California International Marathon

Congratulations on the PR! A very entertaining RR!

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