I tell myself this after every race: “You should take up yoga, C. Even if you only do it once a week, I’m sure it would make a difference.” Usually, I ignore myself and don’t hit up a session. I’m proud to say that on Wednesday, I took my own advice and it has made recovering from last weekend’s California International Marathon so much easier!
The goal at CIM was to run a very consistent race pace. I just started truly working on speed in August, and I know that getting faster takes time and effort. I planned to go out with the 4:25 pace group, with hopes of running a 4:30 or better.
Prior to the race, everything clicked perfectly! We flew up to Sacramento on Saturday morning, picked up our bibs at the expo, found an incredible brunch at Firestone Public House, and then went back to the hotel to relax and watch the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie on OnDemand (LOVED IT!). Dinner was early at Maggiano’s, and we were asleep by 7:45 p.m.
The alarm went off at 3:45 a.m. Sunday and we slowly got dressed, made coffee, went downstairs to take advantage of the complementary to-go breakfast boxes the hotel provided (so nice!), and got on the bus scheduled to leave at 5:15 a.m. for the start line in Folsom. After what seemed like forever riding around in the dark, we made it to the start line about 6:15, giving us 45 minutes to stretch and get ready to run!
I lined up with the 4:25 pace group, and G hung back a little farther since he was treating the race as a long training run for the San Diego 50-miler in January. It was weird not to start with him, or consider that we might not run together at all during the race because we had different goals in mind, but even more so because it was our anniversary and I kept thinking, “It would be so sweet to finish the race together.”
CIM is a point-to-point race – thank goodness – and the first 10 miles or so takes you through beautiful countryside and rural neighborhoods. I LOVED this part of the course … a few rolling hills during this stretch, and I felt amazing. I was easily staying with the pace group, and actually had to remind myself to slow down a bit from time to time.
Miles 11-14 start to bring you into the downtown suburbs, meaning larger cheering crowds and wider streets. I was still with the 4:25 pace group until about Mile 13 when my left quad seized up and made it difficult to keep my cadence. I slowed my pace a bit, and around Mile 14 G caught up to me and offered to pace me to the finish. I was SO happy to see him, but fairly bummed that if my leg didn’t start feeling better soon, my goal of 4:30 or less was shot.
The next 12.2 miles were painful, and slower than I’d hoped, but G kept me motivated and reminded me that even though my original goal wouldn’t be met, I could still get one of my best marathon times – on our anniversary! That kept me going, and we got to cross the finish line together at exactly 5 hours: my second-best marathon finish time. The picture of that finish is so good, I actually ordered it – and I never order race photos.
Bottom line: I loved the course and the race was extremely well run; I can see why so many qualify for Boston there. Who knows: Maybe I’ll make a run for it next year.
In the meantime, we’re both planning our race schedules for 2015 and planning a WEDDING! That’s right, G asked me to marry him the Saturday after Thanksgiving so we’ve had a lot of wonderful things to celebrate lately. Running has been a huge part of our relationship – we know our longest and best race yet is just beginning.
Have a wonderful holiday season!
What about you? What are your plans (racing or otherwise) for 2015?