Happy New Year!
CIM was over a month ago. During the first half of the race, I was writing my recap in my head. I was beaming, thinking about how I would describe that I took risks and exceeded all expectations!
So….what happened in the second half of the race and the last six weeks?
On Saturday, I headed up to Sacramento. I checked in at the adorable Citizen Hotel. The Citizen was very welcoming to CIM runners. They are a couple blocks away from the Sacramento Convention Center which serves as the expo location and one of the bus pick-up spots. They offered a special runner dinner in their restaurant as well as a verrrrry early morning breakfast. Did I mention it’s adorable?
Went over to the expo, found my name on the sweet CIM board, got my bib, and headed back to watch junky TV with my legs up.
There are tons of restaurants in the downtown area to get your carb needs met. I went with sushi at a place with decent Yelp reviews (totally unmemorable) and grabbed my secret weapon ice cream from a liquor store. Curled up with ‘Bridesmaids’ and got to sleep by about 9:30.
Woke up feeling good, rested, nervous. Did all the typical morning things and rushed out, leaving my sunglasses and water behind. Then I waited in 40 degree weather for the bus for like 20 minutes. I’m an idiot. My bus stop was probably the busiest one but there were buses for everyone. We were definitely a big herd of cattle but overall, CIM is a very organized race. The buses were warm and I had a lovely seat-mate to chat with during the 30 minute ride. When we arrived, the sun was coming up and I opted to stay on the bus before finishing my bathroom business (PHEW) and lining up at the start. Note about the start: CIM does not have corrals. Runners self-seed based on anticipated finish but I didn’t experience any bottlenecking! Also, they have the longest row of porta-potties I have ever seen.
Perfection. Beautiful sunrise. Perfect weather. The rolling hills play perfectly to my mental and physical strengths. I was aiming for about 10:07 pace but I felt so good that I allowed myself to run many of these miles in the high 9’s. This was my perfect race day.
Except…I was kind of thirsty…. I’ve never felt thirsty while running before. Maybe this was because I’d had half a diet coke at 5am and started running at 7 (I KNOW). No matter, I would begin my fueling strategy (2-3 chews every 3 miles) at the first aid station and all would be well! Tra la la!
Right at mile 14, I began to feel TIRED. I was so pissed at myself for going out so “fast”. I’m such a conservative runner. I couldn’t believe I was squandering a marathon on such a stupid mistake. I made sure I was taking electrolytes (yay NUUN!) at all of the aid stations and walking through them to give myself a mental break. I had a bit of stiffness in my left leg but mostly, I was just really tired and bummed out. My pace dropped to about 10:30 in these miles. I was still on pace to meet my A goal of sub-4:30 but I left the miraculous 4:20 at mile 13. Okay…
Death march. F*ck. It was all I could do to keep running and not just walk the whole rest of the way. I was exhausted. During mile 20, I went to get my Honey Stinger Chews out and discovered that I had eaten about 1/3 of what I was supposed to. F*ck. I took several with NUUN and felt an upswing. At this point, I was so tired and demoralized that I just did everything I could to get there. I knew that if I ran/walked about 50/50, I would still PR. With each mile, I slipped further and further away from my goal. It was sad. I wished I were injured so I could stop. But I wasn’t. I was just under-fueled and bummed out. But still able to turn on the joy for a race photographer at mile 22:
The last couple miles, I just chanted “just run, just run, just run” and occasionally mixed in “PR, PR, PR”. Finally I made it to the finish.
4:33. An 8 minute PR. 3 minutes off my A goal. All things considered, a success.
I got my medal, grabbed water, and shoved some chews in my face. I walked around for a bit but I was pretty woozy and nauseated so I sat down and guzzled. When I could stand up without barfing, I took one more “happy” picture.
The two blocks to my hotel took longer than the last mile. I stretched, texted, tweeted, showered. Citizen generously gave us late check-out so I wasn’t rushed at all. That was wonderful. After a bit of foam rolling, I got in the car and headed home, by way of In-N-Out and the largest Diet Coke in the world.
CIM is a wonderful race. I love the course, the organization, and the energy. My weather was perfection and I was well-trained. I’m disappointed that I made such an unnecessary error with my nutrition. I’m also bummed that at mile 13, I didn’t believe in myself. I assumed that I went out too quickly; that I wasn’t strong enough to run a 4:20 marathon. I wish I had realized that I simply wasn’t eating enough and corrected that instead. I learned several really important lessons that I will grow from in the next one. Not sure when that will be but I still love marathon training and the incredible challenge of 26.2.
My favorite sign was one that read “Someday you might not be able to do this, TODAY IS NOT THAT DAY.”
Any marathon day is a good day.