Sunday, December 11, 2011

Race recap #3: California International Marathon

The race started as promised at exactly 7AM. It was way more crowded in the beginning than I had anticipated. I felt like I was doing more shuffling and dodging of other runners than running.

Mile 1: I spoke to a couple of the pace group leaders about their strategy for the first mile of the race since a lot of runners go out too fast. I had really been debating how to start out myself so I wanted some feedback from runner who had run CIM multiple times. The 3:15 leader said that his first mile would probably be an 8:30. Really an 8:30? I was thinking of an 8 min mile, but 8:30? Okay. Well, he lied! His first mile was a 7:40!

Miles 2-5: Felt good, it didn't take me very long to brush off the nerves I had. Took my first GU just after mile 5. Yep, got a sweet shot of myself eating some GU.

Miles 5-9: Felt so great that I almost started to push my pace a bit more, but decided not too in case I died at mile 13. The weather for CIM was just absolutely perfect. I couldn't have asked for a better day to run 26.2 miles.

Mile 9: My right foot started to hurt...NOT GOOD. It felt like I had a charlie horse in the ball of my foot. I tried to think of unicorns and pink flowers- eventually the pain went away.

Mile 10: A nice downhill stretch leading into mile 11. No pain in my foot- I felt pretty good!

Look it's me and I am SMILING!

Miles 11-13: I know that I was almost mile 13 and that I had just a "training" run left. I kept on telling myself to slow down so that I would have enough left to go all out in the last 10K.

Mile 13: Hit the halfway mark and I felt AWESOME. The pain in my foot had subsided and I was just slightly off my Helvetia Half Marathon time.

See ya later boys!

Miles 13-18: I couldn't help, but to notice how awesome the crowds were. I know at this point I was on pace to run a great race.

Mile 18: I noticed that my hands were hurting. I looked down at them and my fingers had literally doubled in size! They were throbbing! It hurt to even bend my knuckles. I could tell that my wrists and arms were swollen also. Since I have never had this happen I didn't even know what to do.  I drank plenty of water the day before and had been drinking water along the course. I couldn't possibly be dehydrated, right? I really started to get worried.

Mile 19: Stomach started to feel like it was revolting against me.

Mile 20: This is where everything fell apart. Literally. I think about it now and I just want to start crying. I worked so hard to get to CIM. So, so hard. I could see the aid station in front of me and it seemed like miles away even though it was probably less than 400 meters. My stomach was killing me and I was doubling over it hurt so bad. I wasn't sure if I was going to throw up or not, but it definitely felt like it. My stomach hurt, my hands, fingers, and arms wore swollen. I felt like crap. After what seemed like forever I made it the aid station and yep, I threw up. I threw up and then I threw up some more. Luckily since I was at an aid station it all went to a lovely garbage can. It was not my finest moment. When I hit mile 20 I had been running for 2:30 hours. I was doing so good. I felt great up until this point and I guess I hit the wall. It isn't fun hitting the wall when you had worked so hard for something.

Miles 21-26.2: After I threw up an insane amount of I don't know what, I struggled. I struggled so bad I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes. I just wanted to curl up in a fetal position and cry. I couldn't move. I was having to tell myself to bend my knees and put one foot in front of the other. It was just horrible. I ran with a group of guys for a while who so graciously encouraged me to keep going and that I had a good pace. I think that they were just trying to be nice, but I appreciated it just the same.

The Finish: I definitely had the look of defeat when I crossed the finish line. Yes, I cried. I was so thankful that my parents were there. When I finally made me way through the maze at the finish line and spotted my mom I cried some more.

The look of agony crossing the finish line

No, I can't stand up straight

Chip time 3:21:35, 7:41/mile

Even though I feel way short of my goal, I had a great race. I loved CIM so much that I will probably go back someday. I don't consider myself to be an experienced marathoner by any means. I think that you learn something new and something about yourself in every race that you run. My lesson at CIM? Maybe I shouldn't have eaten PF Changs for dinner the night before. I believe the sodium in my system is what had my all out of whack on race day. Valuable lesson learned. 

What CIM did right and why I would recommend you running CIM someday:

1. Great expo & presentations
2. FRIENDLY volunteers
3. Well executed bus transportation to Folsom
4. They let us stay on the buses until the race started so that we could stay warm
5. Tons of port-a-pottys at the start that meant short wait times
6. Race started ON TIME
7. Great spectators
8. FUN course
9. Aid stations in all of the right places
10. Chocolate milk at the finish line...yum!



  1. Incredible that you still ran such a great time after such a difficult second half the race. Strong Girl!! Wow. To throw up that much...uggh. I can only imagine how difficult that must have been. But you did finished strong despite this painful ending. You'll get that sub 3:15 soon!! At Eugene?

  2. You are a warrior girl!! Way to finish after throwing up....that would be the hardest thing to do and I don't blame you for crying either...I would of done the same thing! I'm still amazed with your time and I know you'll accomplish your goal soon because you are hardcore awesome!! You're such an inspiration for me, how you went from 11 min miles to this in a year is phenomenal!!

  3. I know it was not the race you had your heart on but I think you accomplished a lot! I cry after races, during...don't blame yourself for feeling the emotions of something you put your heart and soul into. I think you did amazing in light of all the physical issues you delt with. Great job!!!

  4. Thanks everyone for your kind comments. Still thinking about Eugene....trying to decide if the only reason why I want to run it is to get a faster BQ time. I probably should just be happy that I got a BQ time, right???? I should be happy that I accomplished so much in one year and not worry about running another marathon....but....I still want too! :-)


I love your comments & inspiration