CIM Expo Saturday December 7
The beauty of a hometown race is the convenience of everything that comes along with the event including the easy accessibility and travel to the marathon expo. I started my Saturday fairly early with an easy 3-mile shakeout run around my neighborhood. Then I was ready to gather my #CIMTweetUp giveaways and head to the Sacramento Convention Center, which is just a 10 minute drive on the freeway away from my house. After finding some parking a couple blocks from the expo, I made my way to collect my race swag which I have become very accustomed to since this is my 7th CIM.
One thing about the CIM Expo is that is very well organized and easy to get in and grab your stuff. After finding my last initial clearly posted on the left side of the building, I got my race number, timing chip, safety pins, gear check bag, and zip ties. I was then directed to do a timing chip check then head over to grab my t-shirt.
|gear drop bag|
Once I had all of my important stuff in hand and secured into my back pack it was time to get all of the fun stuff going. I did the typical walk around to see what was around, then hit the booths I actually wanted to check out. I visited the Nuun Hydration booth as they were supplying me with some giveaways for the #CIMTweetUp, the Buffalo Chips Running Club booth to renew my membership, the Skechers booth to say hi to some folks there, then finally to The San Francisco Marathon booth where I would help out for a couple of hours with Lark and host the #CIMTweetUp.
|this shoe is a size 40!|
Just before noon some awesome tweeps started to gather for the noon scheduled Tweet Up. For some of us this would be the first time we would meet in real life. Over the last few months, weeks, and days we have been supporting one another on social media and now finally meeting to share stories and wish one another good luck in person would happen. For some people this would be their first tweet up which was especially exciting because many people would walk away with some awesome swag courtesy of energyBITS, TrailHeads, Nuun, and The San Francisco Marathon.
|Lark informing people of the Tweet Up|
The group of people that met up during the one hour long Tweet Up consisted of first time marathons, runners completing their 99th and 208th marathons. Tweet Up runners also came from all over the country with goals of just finishing to trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon.
|some awesome folks at the #CIMTweetUp|
With the fun times of the expo fading, I made my way home to get some solid rest before the next day.
Race Day Sunday December 8
With a 7:00AM start time I had my alarm set at 3:45AM to get myself enough time to get up get a bite and make my way out of the door. Before heading to the start line I met with my running club at the finish line area in Sacramento. From there a party bus would take us to the start line area in Folsom, where we could hangout in the bus until moments before the start.
|Rolling in the party bus to the start!|
After the well wishes to other team members, a quick trip to the porto, and a throw of my gear in the sweat check truck, I was now ready to make my way to the start. I would linger between the 3:05 and the 3:10 signs moving to keep warm. While in this area, the groups started to fill together and pacers started to take their spot.
Boom we were now off and started our 26.2-mile journey to the state Capitol! The morning start temperatures were between 25-28 degrees, so I opted to run with a face mask to cover the lower portion of my face, I also had arm sleeves, gloves, a beanie, and long sleeve to shed somewhere along the course.
For me the key to tackling a happy time in this race was to run smart. That I did, in the first mile alone I ran nearly 35 seconds slower than marathon pace, to allow for a warm-up without making too many squiggly movements getting around other runners. Knowing the course a little all too well, I knew I would be able to quickly make up the time with a couple faster miles within the first 8 miles.
By the 8-mile mark I was running around the 7:06/mi pace, which is where I wanted to be. For me keeping it comfortable was going to be the key a successful race. The goal wasn’t run a fast first half and hold on for dear life for the second. My training and time invested into this race wasn’t designed for that strategy, it was about running fairly close to even splits between the first half and the second half. I crossed the 13.1-mile timing mat at time of 1:33:22, I was very happy with this. I was feeling good, the only issue at this point was the cold and wither to dump the long sleeve top at this point.
I opted to stay layered up for 3.5-miles more where I ended up shedding the top long sleeve around the 16.5-mile aid station. I remember this because one of the marathon supporters yelled at me “Yeah baby take it all off”, I laughed when I heard that. I still opted to keep the gloves, arm sleeves, beanie and face mask. These items would stay on through the duration of the race.
After shedding my top layer, I wanted to focus on each and every mile at this point, but rather the course in chunks. From here my goal was to stay comfortable and get to mile 21. Little chunks allow me to just run off of feel rather than being overly concerned with pace, there were stretches where I would pick it up and stretches I would run a little slower. This strategy would pay off.
Getting over the final bridge at H Street would get me into East Sacramento, Mid Town, and then finally into Downtown Sacramento. These to me are the easy miles in regards to running with extra energy. The course is lined with tons of onlookers, supporters, friends and family. I saw plenty of familiar faces that would cheer me onto the finish. After a left hand turn then a quick right onto L Street, it would be time to keep pushing these last few miles.
From 20th Street to the finish seemed like an eternity only because at this point I started to count down the blocks rather than kept in mind I was in the home stretch. Finally the 26-mile marker was visible, and I would just be a couple turns away from crossing the finish.
I gave it a good final push to the finish line and saw I was going to get under the 3:10 marathon time, which for me is my new Boston Marathon qualifying time since I will be 35 years old on race day in 2015! Finish line crossed with an official time of 3:09:25, 35 seconds under my BQ! My first marathon time that met the Boston Qualifying standards.
After crossing the finish line, I quickly found my father-in-law who was awaiting my finish, where he had a phone ready for me so I could call my wife with the great news. I suggest to my wife that she stayed at home with our son due to the cold temperatures that they would have to stand in at the finish line area.
|Buffalo Chips Running Club finish line tent|
With the 17th marathon medal around my neck, I layered up with my gear and even headed to my car where I kept some extra layers. After getting warm it was time to go celebrate with my running clubs finish line tent, with some beer and soup. When I got there I would find out that many of my running club teammates ran personal best and achieved their BQ standards! One of our team members is a CIM streaker and he would finish his 31st California International Marathon! Great job Ernie.
This finish line area would also mark a first. It was the first time I have ever purchased race swag at the finish line. Not because I needed extra layers, but because I saw a shirt that I HAD TO HAVE! After running my my sub 3:10 I had to purchase the shirt pictured below.
The CIM festivities would resume that evening as our Annual Buffalo Chips Running Club Bash would take place with our friends and family. We gathered at Hot Italian, where we would drink some beer, eat some food and share stories. That evening I was awarded with the clubs Outstanding Improvement Award!
How did your CIM or other race go this last weekend? Did you run the race you wanted to? If you have a race report feel free to share it on the link-up.