It has been sometime since my last post, in fact there has been a number of runs (some good, some bad) since my last post. There have also been a lot of good training runs as well as set backs. However 2011, ended with some very good races. This is exactly what I needed, after a number of frustrating marathons and some other runs over the recent years, just getting a good couple performances to end the year is all I could have asked for. Logging in the miles, staying injury free, and taking care of myself through the months leading into the California International Marathon paid off!

A couple of weeks before the recent California International Marathon, I ran the Run to feed the Hungry, however rather than running the 10k like I did last year (which I used to PR in the 10k with a 40:59), I opted to run the 5k this year, hoping to PR in the 5k. The decision paid off as I ran a 20:04 (6:28 / mile pace), I was actually a bit upset with the extra four seconds because I was trying to hit the 20:00 mark or even go sub 20, if I could. But nonetheless, I was still pleased with the PR, running 3 seconds faster than my previous 5k PR which I ran in the spring time at the Folsom Run With Nature. What was the difference, to be honest I think the trick was to focus on my speed workouts, to get quicker for the shorter races. For those of you that have followed my blog in the past, you know that my speed workouts happen on Tuesdays, so the Tuesday workouts were a key part in running a decent 5k leading into the California International Marathon.

With the solid 5k finish in at the Run to Feed the Hungry, I was able to accumulate enough points to finish 24th out of 241 in the Buzz Oates Run Sac Race Series. Now 24th doesn’t get me any money, but I am still happy finishing in the top 10% of the race series. In fact, I was excited to look at the final standings to see that I was the highest amongst CHIPS men to finish in the race series. Next year I am going to try to also compete in the Buzz Oates runs with the CHIPS with goals to collect more points in the series by posting some better 5k times as well as focusing on my 10 mile time, which hurt me this last year in the series.

Now to the big marathon. The race that I circled on the calendar and will continue to run every year that I am able to run. The California International Marathon, held on the first Sunday of December, is a fast marathon with a drop at the end. Starting in Folsom, we make our way through the city of Citrus Heights, Fair Oaks finishing in Sacramento. The 26.2 mile trek has been fortunate to have great weather the last few years. The sun coming down keeping us warm through the run, and probably most importantly keeping the roads dry to allow for some quicker times. This was the year I told myself, not to go from marathoner to BQ’er, but rather to just have fun with it. Respect the distance, enjoy each step, each crowd, mile, check point, view, and cheer. With it being my 5th CIM, I knew this was going to be a special one, because I told myself just enjoy the moment. That I did, I enjoyed the moment, I ran each mile enjoying everything the marathon and the crowds had to offer. I listened to my legs, sped up when I could and held back when I needed to.

Perhaps one of the biggest things that helped me this CIM was paying attention to my consumption of calories throughout the run. Every 40 minutes, it was like clock work a gel pack followed with some water, every so often downing a little more water with some sports drink that was offered at the water stations. I hit mile 20, feeling good, now the true test was going to be could I get over the H street bridge which had haunted me in my previous 4 CIMs. There it went I climbed the monster, the final hill and still had my legs. And not until mile 24 did I feel tired … but that is all it was … fatigue … by the time 25 came around, it was all about finding it from within … making the most out of it and kicking it into gear for the final 1.2 miles left that the course had to offer. There it went I just kicked the legs and finished strong … I looked down at my watch and saw 3:30 and some change … I knew I was going to PR this CIM, run my best marathon time after 8 previous attempts … crossing the line at 3 hours 32 minutes and 8 seconds … completed the job … and now it was time to collect my loyal runners award … a travel coffee mug. Yes, nearly 2,500 miles of training, 131 CIM miles, aches, pains and frustration, and it was all worth it to get the travel coffee mug.

I hope all of you had a good finish to the 2011 year with a CIM or any other run you had on your calendar. I hope that you continue to track my blog in 2012, I will have some new interesting post that you can read up on, especially with the goal of running 3 marathons in 2012, including Big Sur, SF Marathon and my 6th CIM. 5 more CIMs and I am on my way to a CIM 10-time finisher hat!!!

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