Leading up to CIM I didn't have a whole lot of time to rest. I had to work the entire week leading up to it (including Saturday) and since it's the big local marathon, it meant our local running store was pretty slammed. Like I mentioned before though, I didn't really feel like I was running a marathon, right up til the morning of. My training (or lack thereof) consisted of just 5 runs since Clarksburg a few weeks earlier, the longest being 10 miles. Whoops.
I was up at 5am and began my usual pre-race routine. I brought my toast with pb with me to eat on the way to the start up in Folsom, about 20 minutes away. It's kind of nice to run a local marathon for a few reasons:
1. sleeping in your own bed
2. no crazy early wake up calls
3. relatively easy to get to the start
4. familiarity with the course
5. easy for friends and fam to see you!
6. easy to get home after
Much to my surprise we didn't hit any traffic and I was dropped off about a quarter mile from the start line. I figured my next stop would be the line for the port-o-potties, but instead I was greeted with a long line of empty port-o-potties, just waiting to be occupied. For a moment, I thought it was a joke. Were they out of order? Locked? No and no, there were just so many port-o-potties that many of them had no lines! Talk about a runners dream : ) I quickly popped in one and then headed to the starting area. On the drive over I had looked up the hourly forecast, and despite the previous claims of rain, I was happy to see that it was supposed to hold off til later in the afternoon. Sure enough, as the sky began to lighten the clouds were breaking and we could see a clear sky emerging : ) And luckily, unlike last years' freezing temps, we were dealing with balmy temps in the lower 50s.
I walked toward the start line looking for my (faster) coworkers who were running as well. I found Crystal pretty quickly thanks to our matching bright yellow tops. We chatted for a while which helped keep my mind off what was coming, then we finally found Alex just before the start. We took a couple quick pics then I headed back through the throng of runners toward the 4:30 pacers. There were two of them, a guy and a girl, and they both seemed pretty enthusiastic. A few minutes later and we were off!
Fleet Feet buddies : )The first few miles I stayed just ahead of the pace group. I had heard the first 10 miles were rolling so I wanted to keep them in sight so I'd conserve my energy and not get carried away. Right off the bat, however, I found that their pacing was pretty off. I was running pretty close to the goal pace and yet they kept falling farther behind me. Then at other points in the race they were going nearly a minute faster than goal pace. In the beginning, my strategy worked pretty well. Since I was a ways ahead of the group I could walk short parts of hills or walk through an aid station to take a Gu. The course was indeed rolling, definitely more so than I was expecting, but I just tried to use the downhills to my advantage.
The race started near Folsom Dam and took us through nice, quiet neighborhoods with families out on their long driveways spectating. There was even a stretch of farmland, complete with that pleasant farm aroma : ) I took my first Gu around mile 4.5 but when I went to grab a salt cap from my pocket, I was greeted with powder - all 5 of my caps had exploded! Total bummer. Just before the 10k point we passed the first relay exchange which meant getting passed by lots of fresh legs. Around mile 10 we made our way into old town Fair Oaks with lots of spectators and a nice, long downhill. Around mile 10.5 I saw my first familiar face, my dad. I kept running along, feeling pretty good if a little tired. I reached the halfway point right on time - 2:15 - and somehow spotted another coworker of mine, Julia, who was out there cheering us on. The day had become much warmer than expected, especially in the direct sun, so I eagerly peeled off my arm warmers and gave them to Julia.
quick wave to dad!I don't really remember the next few miles, but I do remember thinking that time seemed to be going by fast and the miles seemed to tick by faster than usual. Despite my belief that the hills were over at this point, there continued to be some rollers as we continued along Fair Oaks Blvd. Just past mile 15 I started to get pretty tired and my stomach started to act up. I started burping up the Gu in my stomach and I just couldn't get it to settle. The 4:30 pace group was getting closer and closer and finally around mile 16 they had caught up to me. Based on how I was feeling at that point I knew I couldn't keep up with them for another 10 miles, nor did I want to. I started to feel a bit apathetic, so I forced myself to hang on til mile 17, then I let them go. I was feeling pretty miserable at this point, but thankfully around 17.5 my dad rolled up on his bike. I took several walk breaks as he asked how I was doing and if I needed anything. I was parched so he got me a water bottle from a police officer and I took another Gu. It was nice to have someone to
Run to Feed the Hungry course. J street was packed with spectators and had beautiful fall foliage as well as signs of Christmas : )
thumbs up on the bridge
J street bridge
fall colors along J street
My dad had stuck with me on his bike all this way but as we entered midtown some cops started hassling him to "get off the course". Let me explain. All four lanes were open for runners, but only the right two were being used. My dad was riding (extremely slowly) next to me in the inside left lane, away from all the other runners, not causing any problems. Being the type of person he is, he stopped to argue with the cops while I continued on, hoping he wouldn't get himself arrested. Luckily, he always caught back up to me : ) At this point I was ready to be done. I was running more now with only a few short walk breaks, and I saw more familiar faces, two coworkers and coaches, which gave me a final boost toward the finish. The last mile I picked up my pace and soon I spotted the Capitol. I gave my dad my race belt and said good-bye then followed the crowd and noise around the corner for the last .2 miles.
on to the finish!
I somehow found a finishing kick and sprinted to the finish right in front of the state Capitol, elated to be done. While I didn't quite get my 4:30 goal, I still managed my second fastest marathon time - 4:43:15. I got my medal and space blanket and made my way to a bench to sit down and wait for my parents. Per usual, my legs began to throb and I could feel 3 toenails ready to say adios. My folks finally found me and we took some pics in front of the Capitol and the giant Christmas tree before heading out. My calves were insanely tight, to the point where I had to walk straight-legged to the car.
oh hey, Capitol
me & dad, my personal pacer
CIM, marathon #8