The California International Marathon (CIM) will always be a special race for me, no matter if the finishing time is good, bad or in between. Last year, 2014, I ran my 3rd Boston Qualifying time at CIM, which punched my ticket for the 2016 Boston Marathon. This race is also my hometown marathon and one that I have completed 9 times.
Going into yesterday’s marathon, I had the goals of running it as a long training run finishing anywhere between 3:20 and 3:30, I finished at 3:24:07 which for me was a good day on the course not running too fast, or too slow, but running comfortable. The mileage going into the race was ranging between 50 to 70 miles with not really dedicating too many “goal marathon miles” into my workouts, I did this on purpose as to not to try to “throw down the hammer” come race day. With my Boston Marathon training plan starting up in just 2 weeks, I didn’t want to risk any injury going into training so I could really go after a solid time at Boston … should I dare say? …. Gulp … ummm …. SUB THREE … okay there now you know my Boston Marathon goal … let’s get back to the CIM …
The Marathon Health and Fitness Expo
The marathon for me started on Saturday December 5, at the Marathon Health and Fitness Expo. I arrived to the expo just after 11AM with a scheduled tweet-up going on from noon to 1PM. This was an opportunity to meet some folks in real life that we have gotten to know by ways of social media.
With some time to spare before the tweet-up, I was able to grab my race swag … the bib, shirt and gear check-in bag, before heading over to the Super Sunday 5k/10k booth where the tweet-up was going down. The Super Sunday 5k/10k run is a Sacramento race hosted by Sacramento Running Association (SRA), the same folks who put on CIM … by the way, interested in running the Super Sunday 5k/10k run in February 2016? Use code SRA13 to save a little bit of scratch when you register.
After getting my swag, I made my way over to the booth to tweet-up with some really cool folks. Got to see other SRA AmbasSRAdors, while meeting some friends and making some new ones. We had some pretty good giveaways during the one-hour meet-up, such as SRA Shirts, Bombas Socks, and other goodies. I was also able to meet in person @CaseyRuns, whom I had been Instagram friends with for a while but never have met her until Saturday.
With a little extra time on my hands fellow 9RUN6 homie Run BMC came through to kick it at the expo. Dude isn’t even running the marathon and found time and interest to come by … I always think it is cool when other runners support running events even when they aren’t running it.
With the hellos and the excitement of the expo under wraps … it was time to head home and get ready for the Sunday marathon that would take us from Folsom to the Capitol with a 7AM start time.
Here we go again my 27th marathon was ready to start … I’ll be honest even with it being my 27th and a non-personal best goal for me, the excitement is always the same. With a 3:35AM wake-up I had my morning bites and hydration before heading off at 4:15AM to go pick up Kevin (Buffalo Chips and 9RUN6), who was shooting to throw down a Boston qualifying time at CIM.
Just after 4:30AM we got to the 10th Street & N street area where our team party bus would pick us up and take us to the start.
Now up in Folsom it was about getting everything ready for the 7AM start time. I gave my hellos and good lucks and toed the line. I started with the 3:10 group just because I knew so many people trying to run that pace and get their personal best. After the first 2 miles I pulled back to an honest pace, which would keep me at my finishing time between 3:20-3:30. I felt comfortable through the run and did my normal chunking of the race to see where I was at, most importantly running steady and comfortable.
The first 10k for me was comfortable and easy to get moving into, honestly the first 10k was a blur for me except for seeing on of my buddies, John, along the course just before the 6-mile marker. I crossed the 10k mark at a time of 46.18.
From the 10k spot, my next goal chunk would occur in Old Fair Oaks, just before hitting the San Juan Hills, which is the hardest part of the course. This area would stretch from Old Fair Oaks to the half marathon point just before Fair Oaks Blvd. curves towards Sacramento. I would cross the ten-mile point at 1:14:56.
The next portion of the race would be crossing the half marathon point, without really have a strong “goal” in mind for me I knew anything that was comfortable based on feel would be a good time for me at the half. I found myself crossing the half marathon at 1:38:29 … this put me on track for around 3:17 … which for me would be pushing it, because I knew my goal was anywhere from 3:20 to 3:30 … so in a negative move I knew I had time in the bank to kind of “cruise” …
Moving towards the next target I would be pushing to the 20-mile mark, which was still on Fair Oaks just before the Watt Ave crossing. These stretches of rolling roads along Fair Oaks could sometimes get a bit long and repetitive, but I was able to see a few familiar faces along the courses along with running past the aid station that my running club would be managing (Buffalo Chips Running Club), just past the 15-mile marker. Unfortunately, during this stretch of the race is where I passed my training partner and teammate Kevin, who was shooting for a sub 3:10 to get his Boston Qualifying time.
With the longest stretch coming to get me to the 20-mile mark, I found myself crossing the 20-mile mark at 2:31:58. I knew at this point, I had plenty of time to spare to get between my slotted time ranges for the marathon.
With 10k left in the race, the only real “challenge” ahead of me was the H Street Bridge. Coming up over the bridge it would be smooth sailing in regards to the environment because the course support here really starts to thicken up and the counting down of blocks to the Capitol begins.
As the block numbers started to count down, there would be one left turn at Alhambra, followed by a right turn onto L Street before taking L Street all the way down to 8th. At 8th we would make a left then another left on Capital Mall before crossing the finish line.
There it was marathon number 27 in the books with a finishing time of 3:24:07, this would also be my 9th finish at the California International Marathon.