This fall has been weird. I've run a lot of miles with little focus. It's been uninspiring to say the least, and bad for my general running ability. I've learned a lot of about what doesn't work for me. (running every day, long runs, low intensity stuff, etc.)
When the NYC marathon was cancelled I decided to jump into the California International Marathon that was taking place a month later. I figured, why not? Anthony has family there, I knew friends that were running it, and I may as well put all those long runs to good use, right?
So here it is. If you read other running blogs, you probably know the weather sucked, but damn straight I'm going to complain about it too :).
California International Marathon
The night before CIM I could barely sleep. It was a combination of nerves and of the wind whipping around the house. It was loud! I woke up and Anthony drove me out to Folsom where the race was starting. I think we both felt pretty crappy, and I took a Tylenol. Usually I have no problems eating before a marathon (or really any time!), but the most I could take down was a Luna Bar and half of an Espresso Gel.
Anthony dropped me off into the abyss and I took a quick shuttle to the start. Everyone was wearing trash bags and hair nets. I huddled under a gas station awning with hundreds of people marathoners as the wind blew sideways into us.
"This is f'ing crazy". I thought. "We are all completely nuts". I probably would have just not run, but I had already inconvenienced Anthony enough by asking him to spend the weekend in Sacramento, having him use his points to get me a ticket up there, been super lame all weekend, etc. that there was no way I could not run no matter how bad the weather was.
After a long time of trying to avoid the rain, it was about time to start and I moved to the 3:40 pacer. I figured running a 3:40 in my shape and in this weather would be good enough. I ran into Madison, Sarah, and Kristina there too! The race started and I instantly lost Sarah. About a mile in, I purposely fell off Kristina as well as I knew that I wouldn't be able to hang with her that day.
I just tried to duck behind people in the 3:40 group and not get blown away. The first few miles were pretty uneventful as much as torrential rain and wind is uneventful. A giant branch feel around mile 4 and everyone in that area of the race said "Woooooaaa" at once. Fun stuff.
The only major wind issue I had is that my hat blew off at some point and I had to go back and get it, nearly killing about a billion people on my way to get it. Sorry about that - I did not consider the logistics at the time, only that I couldn't survive the race without a hat.
|From the glorious XLMIC. What is this guy still doing in a trash bag?|
I went through the half at about 1:48 and started having dreams of negative splitting. I thought, maybe this isn't so bad! Maybe you're not in bad shape.
I told myself that miles 13 - 20 would be called "The Lonely Ones". (This is a dumb rendition of what Sweaty Kid called them in a blog post when she killed the Philly marathon. Check it out.)
Thinking about these miles as being lonely actually helped me to get through them. So much that I turned to the pacer guy next to me around mile 15 and said "You know...these miles are the lonely ones.". He gave me a confused smile and told me that I wasn't alone.
|Also from XLMIC. In the thick of "The Lonely Ones".|
I still felt somewhat confident around mile 19. I kept having fantasies of breaking off from the pace group and running a ridiculous negative split. I fantasized about being able to tell people I had a great negative split performance...and did absolutely nothing about it.
In fact, I completely dropped off the pace group at mile 21. I guess I hit the wall? I definitely was eating less on this marathon than on others that I've run. What really gets me is that there was no excuse for dropping off. I was tired, sure, but the truth of the matter was that in that moment, I just didn't care.
I just wanted to be done. I'm really disappointed in myself for this because I want to walk out of every race feeling like I've given it all that I had. I mean...what the hell was the point of running for three hours in the rain to phone it in for the last 5 miles?
I swore to myself that I would never run a marathon again unless I was properly trained and prepared to run fast and with heart. I still stand by that.
The bright spot? Right before the finish, I saw Paige, Aron, and XLMIC (and maybe others??) and Mason cheering. You guys are amazing for standing in that mess.
As I turned the corning to finish, one last woman came to pass me and with 100 meters left, for the first time I got some fight. I raced her in and she raced back and that was kind of a fun way to end. Because I'm sure it mattered whether I was the 319th or 320th women!
So my time was a 3:41 or a 3:42. It says it's a 3:42 on the website with unofficial results, but it also records my gun time as my chip time, and I'm pretty sure I wasn't standing at the starting line with the elites. And yes, I will try to claim that extra minute even if my time was nearly a PW.
So that kind of sucked. But I'm glad I did it. I felt completely miserable afterwards for hours which I think was from being out in the rain in wet clothes for hours. But it's all good now - the only thing I really have to show from the event are a few giant chafing cuts on my boobs. Hot.
It's hard for me to have a ton of emotion one way or another for this marathon, but it was an interesting experience to run a long race in bad weather. And I am infinitely thankful for all the volunteers and people who came out to cheer. And those of you who PR'd or came close to PR'ing at CIM? You are amazing. Those of you who ran your first marathon at CIM? Equally amazing.
As for me? It's time to find a real training plan, focus on my training, and try to improve. No more marathons for a while as well. It's time to change things up and get some speed.