This past Sunday, my running buddy Megan and I completed the California International Marathon (CIM)! We have been training for it since August. My personal goal was to PR with a time of 3:11 or better and I can away with a time of 3:06:38! Here is a recap of how the race weekend went down :
On Saturday, Megan and our roommate Saige got checked in at the CIM expo. While there, I also met my coach Susan in person for the first time!
Susan recommended a place called Cafeteria 15L for lunch so Megan and I headed there, where I got a seared ahi tuna salad! Then we went back to our hotel to rest until dinner.
Due to traveling on Friday , I felt really dehydrated so I spent most of the day drinking a ton of water and I also chose to carb-load with a lot of apples (I ate about 5-6 through the day) and a packet of UCAN (about the same as 1.5scoops or 130kcals). I just ate by feel – I wanted to feel light and energetic for Sunday.
For dinner, Megan and I returned to a Pho restaurant we’d discovered the night before! Pho was a great fit- lots of broth (with salt to help retain water), veggies, noodles, and protein!
We went to sleep fairly easily that night and felt ready for race day. We read the busses looped continuously from near our hotel (close to the finish) to the start line which was 26miles away. So we (meg, saige, me) planned to get up at 4:15am to get to a bus at about 5:15am and get to the start line!
Sunday- Race Day!
- 4:15am: Wake up call/alarms— we got up, got our racing clothes on along with a set of warm “throw away” clothes that we could toss/donate at the start line. I also put to Clif gu’s into my short’s pockets (which were KEY later on)
- 4:45/5am- Food: I mixed up 2 packets of cocoa ucan (approx 3scoops- 260kcals) with a cold mocha cappuccino type of drink (the kind that comes in a can). I usually just do 1-2scoops of ucan but due to the time change, i decided to go with extra since the race start or 7am was about 10am on east coast time which is much later than I usually run.
- 5:15am- Finding the busses: We started heading out to the bus stop and quickly found out they’d all left at 5am and weren’t looping! Minor freak out moment for us!!!!We saw a line of busses at the front of our hotel and tried to get on one, but they told us we needed to go to the capital to get on the bus at the front of the line. (The Capitol was about 1/2mile from our hotel). So we did a quick warm up jog to the bus and hopped on! Whew!
- 6:25ish – Arrived at the start line area after a 30min bus ride: We had just enough time to hit up the port-a-potties and find our way to the start line! Saige and I had a similar time goal so we found our way up to the 3:12 pace group.
My original “race plan”:
- My original plan for the marathon was to stick with the 3:12 pace group until about mile 20, then take off. I didn’t follow this at all (sorry Susan.. lol). I think having the plan helped me feel confident to get to the start line but once the race started, I did something completely different!
- Miles 1-3: I started the race and mentally told myself to go 65% so I wouldn’t start too fast. I felt pretty good though and found myself just behind the 3:02 pace team. It was really tempting around mile 3 to try to stay with that pace group but they were pulling away and it was just too soon for me to push above a 65% effort.
- Miles 3-10: I had been warned that although the course was a negative net elevation change, there were rolling hills throughout miles 1-10. So I knew I needed to conserve since Hills can zap me if I am not careful. I kept my “65%” mentality going.
- Mile 11-21 : The Hills were supposed to be done after mile 10! (From what we’d heard). They actually continued until about mile 20! At mile 11, there was a large downhill. The 3:07 pace team had caught me at this point, but I pulled away from them at BIG downhill at mile 11- I suck at uphill but LOVE downhills. I just lengthen my stride and allow the hill to propel me down.
- Once I saw there were still hills ahead, I went with a new plan of keep it to 65-75% on the uphills and flat, and Eat up the downhills.
- I crossed the half marathon point at 1:33. So I felt I was in a good spot. And i just mentally decided to keep the percentage going in my head so I would stay in a good place until mile 21/22.
Course– You can see the total elevation in green in this photo but I think my pace is a good portrayal of the hills along the way.
- Food stops along the way: I grabbed water/nuun at every stop (every 3miles) & also grabbed Clif Gu at each stop – miles 7/14/21.
- Miles 21-26.2: This is where the course flattened out. (Relatively). During mile 22, the 3:07 pacers caught me again and I didn’t have enough left to leave them so I just stayed with them at that point and was just trying to hold on.
- Mile 22/23 – Near Bonk: Around this same time the 3:07 guys caught me, my legs just started to die! I have never bonked before but I suspect this was what it felt like. Fortunately, i had stashed those 2 Gels in my shorts and sucked on those over 1/2 mile just praying the energy would seep to my leg muscles! And it did!
- At mile 23, I mentally started going “80-85%” for the last 5k. It turned out the 3:07 pacers were about 30sec ahead of schedule so I kept them in sight and finished just behind them at 3:06:38!
- Saige – @runsaigeyrun on IG– finished about a minute ahead of me! I’m going to take credit for that partly because I gave her a breathe right strip at the beginning! 😉
A couple other things:
- I went into this marathon knowing it was my last. I respect the marathon & appreciate the training, but I just don’t have the desire to keep training for these long distances. My next races will Be 10ks or less. I love to run and workout , so I plan to keep running 5-6miles a day and including some type of cross training (30-40min of lifting or insanity) most days of the week. But I just don’t have the heart to keep pouring energy and time into the “long-distance Training”. And I don’t want to race in half’s or fulls unless I can do my best which would keep requiring me to put in 60-70miles plus a week.
- Mentally Battles during the race: There were about 4 points during the race where I mentally wanted to give up and just go easy. Each time, I’d say “No, you’re here, give it your all and finish with nothing left to give”. I’d focus on something besides how I felt- something with form & just keep going. During the last 3-4miles, I spotted a couple girls ahead of me and made it a goal to catch up with them which helped propel me.
- Percentages during the race: I am really happy that I went by percentage during the race! My pace was actually pretty much the same throughout as my effort changed, which is what I hoped for!
the CIM was run really well (aside from our misunderstanding of the busses) and it was a tough course, but we felt great afterward! I’m really glad Megan – @mclaybro on IG – and I did this together! It was such a fun experience!
On Sunday night, I went out with some Family in Sacramento:
Our Airbnb host recommended going to downtown Napa on Monday and Megan and I had a great day! We were definitely SORE from the hills but it felt great to walk around Napa and celebrate /shop!
Marathon training is hard but a goal that was fun to pursue! I’m happy to “retire for the foreseeable future” from half’s/fulls with a couple of PR’s. Coach Susan Loken (@runnerloken on IG) was such a huge help! She believed I could Pr and helped me finish these races with NO injuries and feeling strong!
Believe Train Become!
On my way home now to see my little Vizsla Nike and Chris! ❤️