Monday, December 3, 2012

California International Marathon Recap (CIM)

I don't know how to start this recap because I don't really know what to think about this race. 

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?

Throughout miles 1-10, I pretty much convinced myself that the only way to survive this race would be to stay with the pace group.  I also told myself not to expect too much of myself on this one. 

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'm pretty sure at least 40 women passed me during the last 3 miles or so and I didn't want to chase any of them.   Lame.

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.


  1. Well, I had fun :) And it IS all about me, right ;-)

    I am so glad you saw us! WE were so glad you saw us!

    I have similar fantasies before and during almost every race I've ever been in. I see in my mind an amazing performance...something completely beyond what my training or fitness or history would indicate...but it looks so real! But it never happens the way I see it :P

    Truth be told, you did an amazing job with it all. A-MAY-ZING. Survival out there was not guaranteed...and you came out the other side intact (except for some unnecessary boob skin) and with the full race distance on the record. GOOD JOB, Bunny!

  2. I just think anyone who ran CIM is amazing. It looks horrific. Maybe not your best or favourite marathon - but there are stories to tell your grandchildren there. Well done.

  3. what are you wearing?!?!?!?! you look like you're out for an easy 5-miler along redondo beach (or wherever you fancy LA people run these days). i'm cold just looking at you!!!!
    what would your mom say!

  4. I can't believe how crazy marathon weather has been this year. Not just CIM, but NYC getting cancelled, the heat wave in Boston...just weird! Even if your time was nearly a PW it was still a good time. My PR is 3:21 and my PW is 4:17. I pray to god I never get close to 4:17 again! Great job for finishing a marathon that I am sure you will never forget.

  5. Those are some fun pictures of you in the monsoon! Glad I got to see you, even if it was just at the airport. (I would have gone back for the hat too).

  6. Very impressive for gutting it out. I had a few friends who ran and were more than 10 minutes off their goal times.

  7. I can't believe your bunny ears stayed on!!!! I want to do CIM maybe next year as it looks to be a fast course as people PRed EVEN IN THAT WEATHER. UGH. I agree with you about not doing any half-assed marathons anymore for myself. I know I can run 26 miles. I want to run it faster. Yay for surviving tho :)

  8. Just so you know, I still find your time totally amazing even if it wasn't a great race for you! You totally inspire me good race or not :)

  9. I think anyone who finished in that weather is amazing. And a 3:4x time? I think that's fantastic!

  10. You were wearing bunny ears? I think I saw you!! My time was a little bit slower than yours. I love your honesty with the post. "So that kind of sucked." Took the words right from my mouth. I was one of those people that kept original goals and suffered through it, just barely making a new PR. Tuesday today and I still can't walk very well.

  11. I laughed out loud at your interaction with the pacer!! "You're not alone!" hahahah thanks dude. I do think those have been the lonely miles to me in every marathon... you sort of float through the first half, and even if the last 10K sucks you're kind of magnetized to the finish at that point. But those 13-20 miles are a no-man's-land where you're on your own.

    Also, F CIM and that snotty weather. Onnn to the next thing. I'm excited to hear about your next plan of action!

  12. Congratulations! When you said you fell off pace I was expecting like a 3:50+ but you were right behind them silly. That is an incredible time considering the conditions. Seriously I'm not sure I would have hacked it. Maybe kuddos to everyone that suffered through CIM.

  13. Well, you did a much better job staying in the vicinity of your original pacer than I did staying with mine! :^)

    Yes, it was a lousy day, and the "badass points" don't quite make up for it. But it's another notch in the bedpost and I did learn some things. Hopefully next time I head out that way I will meet you, and we'll both have a better day.

  14. It was my first! I sucked but I did it. At least I know I'll PR next time for sure! All you fast runners really inspire me.

  15. Way to gut it out! I would have for sure curled up along the route and taken a nap. It reminds me of some horrible cross country race in high school where it was pouring and gusting. Remember Coach C stood with us at the starting line and tried to shelter us all under his enormous golf umbrella?!

    1. THAT WAS THE PENN STATE INVITATIONAL!!! Omg. Actually I flashed back to that day quite a bit during this race.

  16. Oh man- a marathon in torrential rain?! I cannot imagine. Ughhhh- I hate when weather gets in the way! Well, you ran hard and I am impressed you finished so close to your original time goal. You really did not fall that much off your pace. :-)

    Maybe a little marathon break is all you need. Have you ever used a training plan from Advanced Marathoning? I would highly recommend them.

    1. The 3:40 pace group was really going about 3:36 pace, so I did suck it up pretty bad at the end :). About a minute / mile extra I think :(

      I think I'd really like to try the Brooks Hansons or RLRF next year for New York! And never tried Advanced Marathoning but I've read it. Maybe it's time to give it another look.

  17. I'm convinced that anyone who ran in that weather deserves to shave 20 minutes off their finish time because that was INSANE! Enjoy the holidays, rest and you'll be back.

    Glad we got to cheer for you!!

  18. wow! WAY TO GO with how well you did considering that nasty, naaasty weather. seriously, I'm soooo inspired!

  19. Congratulations! Not the race you wanted, but nice job sticking it out. Can't wait to see the "real training plan". No seriously I want a copy. K, Thanks!