Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Race Report: California International Marathon (with pics)

I arrived home yesterday from California, and I had a blast!  Here is a quick recap on my time in the San Franscisco area,  and ofcourse the highlight of the visit, the California International Marathon.

This race was really special since my sister was also running it.  As many of you know,  my Dad also lives near San Franscisco in the town of San Ramon, so it was the perfect opportunity for me to get a visit and run a marathon that I had heard so many of the Cal runners rave about last year,  and maybe get a chance to meet a few of these ladies as well!

Friday I had plans to meet Jolynn but awoke after travel, with a headache and a really bad case of pre-race nerves, so unfortunately I did not get to meet her! :(  Hopefully I will get to meet her when I return possibly in March.  I spent most of the day Friday low key catching up with family and trying to rehydrate after feeling very dehydrated after the 5 hour plus flight on Thursday.

Saturday morning came and we made the 1 hour trip to Sacramento.  We got there had lunch,  and then hit up the expo!  It was a small expo and rather unremarkable,  but well organized none the less.


We had a quiet afternoon and evening,  and went to bed early to ready ourselves for our 4 am wakeup call.  When the morning came,  I felt really calm.  Usually I dread the start of a marathon,  but today I felt calm.  I just went over the messages I had gotten from friends and family prior to the marathon in my head.  One good friend in particular told me "Stay strong out there, we are with you with, you can do this".  It really stuck with me and became my mantra whenever I struggled throughout the race.

This race is a point-to-point course (which I loved),  so we stayed on the warm buses until 10 minutes prior. I said goodbye to my sis (who lined up at the front - she ran a 2:53 marathon),  and went to stand in line at the bag check,  which was poorly located close to the start line.  This created a mob-like jam in front on the trucks that would transport our gear back to the finish,  and people began to push each other towards the bag check.  People also began tossing their bags towards the trucks in spite of being told not to.  It was kinda hilarious,  like a bad comedy skit.  I manuvered my way through the crowd (benefit of being short), and dropped my bag and got the heck out of there!  Nicole said they lost her bag,  CIM work on this organization please!

The race started out and I felt a little crampy but since I started slow, I told myself not to worry,  it would be OK (which it was, but I had lingering mild cramps throughout the race including a calf cramp - maybe dehydration?)  Aron had warned me the course was rolling hills and she is right.  The course is really quite challenging,  and one must do proper hill training to run a good race.  I found myself LOVING the rolling course,  it was never boring,  and everytime you ran up (which was endless),  it was usually followed by a downhill. 

As you ran past each mile marker, there were gentlemen in top hats that would yell out your total time and splits and pace.  I love this!!!  What a great idea!  At first my splits were in the 10's but after I got onto to pace,  they were either high 8's or low nines,  and I loved hearing "you are on pace to run a 3:58 or 4:00 hour marathon"  It helped motivate me to stay on track and I vowed to hear them say that until mile 20 at least!!

I ran my first half in 1:58 (gun time),  and felt a little tired,  but I just kept telling myself I can do this,  and before I knew it I was at mile 20.  My mile 20 split was 3:08 (gun time),  and I was told, "you are on pace to run a marathon in under 4 hours).  I decided I needed to go for it.

Ahhhhh the last six miles,  I ran my best,  only taking my very brief water breaks at the water stations,  but past mile 23 I could hear people yell "yah 4 hours!".  I knew the 4 hour pace bunny was on my tail.  I could hear the mob like "clump clump clump" of the feet behind me,  and honestly,  I tried to hold them off as long as I could. 




When the 4 hour pace bunnies (there were 2) passed me at mile 24,  I was a little relieved,  it was easier to chase then to have them breathing down my back.  I did my best to keep them in my sights,  but man those last two miles are tough.  I really felt like I was outside my body watching down..  I really and truly gave it all I had,  and crossed the finish line at 4:03:20,  with a chip time of 4:02:01.

 I missed seeing my dad, sister and brother in law at the finish -it was so crowded!!  I am so proud of how I ran this race.  I never gave up,  and I know I have a sub 4 hour in me.  After this race,  I know I can eventually chip away and get my 4 hours and maybe a BQ with alot of training and hardwork.  That is what I love about running.  The constant challenge!!



The next day I met up with AronTara,  Danica and Nicole for breakfast in Walnut Creek.  It was so fun meeting these people, and hearing about their marathon experiences.  Everyone ran awesome races!  Aron BQ'ed, Nicole had a PR, and Danica and Tara are now marathon maniacs.  Congrats also to roadbunner who got a great PR race day. 







After breakfast I went to Napa to sample wine, and had an awesome day.  Sigh.... Napa is so beautiful. (sorry I only had my blackberry so excuse the crappy pictures!)




I flew home Tuesday and when I got home Hubs surprised me with this min chocolate cake:



It was so yummy!! What a sweetie!


All in all I LOVED this marathon,  and I just may have to come back and run it again!  The state of California is now done (8 states total down!)

So what's next?! I have a few plans I am mulling over,  which I will post about in a few days.   I am considering another marathon in 3 weeks also.... :)

Thanks for reading!

35 comments:

skinnyrunner.com said...

congratulations! i love the cake. ok, pretty much any cake, but still....

Heather said...

Congratulations!!

Mel-2nd Chances said...

Congrats on a great race! Great that you got to meet so many bloggers, too bad you didn't meet Jo Lynn though, she's awesome. Sweet of hubs to get you the cake!

Stephanie said...

Wow! Great story - thanks for sharing! Awesome time . . . maybe someday I'll get in the 5 hour zone.

Runner Leana said...

Awesome job on your race Marci!! It sounds like you had a great trip. The chocolate cake looks yummy too!

aron said...

YAY so glad you loved the race!! congrats again on the PR :) it was sooo nice to meet you!

Lily on the Road said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

Wow, what a great mini vacay, family, friends, new friends, bloggers, marathon memories& a PR....awesome!!!

Lacey Nicole said...

wow Marci!!!! i'm so glad you had such a good experience. do you think most runners rave about CIM b/c of the course and the rolling hills? or b/c of the guys in tuxedos? or are there other attractions about it as well??? i'm always looking for new races... :) of course i'd go to cali for any reason, really.

i'm with you, i like the constant interest of rolling hills, esp uphills rewarded by downhills.

and the hubs' cake is out of control delicious looking!!!!!!!!! he made that?! nice work!!!!

Heather said...

Great job on another marathon - you ran an awesome race. Cute pics too.

ShutUpandRun said...

Great job!! And congrats on the PR!

Nicole said...

1st of all- GREAT JOB! I know you have a sub 4 hour in you- if i would have known we were so close together, I would have snagged u up to run with me!!! :) I love the cake! 2nd of all- What a sweet hubbs you have!

3rd of all CIM fail for losing my bag & for not being very nice about it either! Hopefully we can meet up and run a race again!

joyRuN said...

Huge congratulations to you & your sister!

Props to your hubs for such a sweet surprise :)

Jill said...

I just found your blog and wanted to say give you a huge congratulatory hug on your marathon!! That is an awesome time and PR! I will enjoy following your running journey, thanks for sharing!

Melanie said...

Congrats on another great marathon! You rock!

D10 said...

You ran a great race!!! Well done. So cool that you got to meet all those fun bloggers too. The mini cake looks so good.

You definitely have a sub 4 in you. Go for it.

Janice {Run Far} said...

YAY! Congrats. and what a fun bloggy meat up. Those are some fast chicas....

Marlene said...

Great report, Marci! You ran strong and pushed through. That is a huge PR. Congrats again! Love the cake from hubs - so sweet!!!

The Happy Runner said...

Awesome job!!!! Congratulations on a great race. Love the pics :-)

Amanda said...

Congrats on your race! Isn't Napa just beautiful? We did the Napa to Sonoma half last year and have vowed to come back and run just about every big race in the area because we love it so much. Sweet cake too:)

Chic Runner said...

Congrats! that is so exciting about the cake, that is the best part :) It was fun meeting you too, and breakfast was delicious! :) Glad you made it home safe and had such a good race in those conditions!

Jess said...

Great report! And congrats again on such a strong race!

Kristen said...

Yay, congrats on a great marathon! I have really enjoyed reading other peoples CIM recaps and hearing about their experiences.

What a sweet husband!

Ali said...

That cake ... yummy!

You are wearing a lulu top for the race? I love it!

Congrats again on another state and a fabulous race.

Mel -Tall Mom on the Run said...

OK did I read your sister's Marathon time right?? Holy fastness..

Congrats on a GREAT time! That is awesome and already ready to do another one in 3 weeks.. Sounds like a plan.

I am ready for Marathon redemption...which I HOPE to get in early May..

EndorphinBuzz said...

Congrats on the great time. I would have melted on the spot seeing that beautiful and thoughtful cake :)

lindsay said...

i need to get a paper towel to wipe off my screen...

DANG THAT CAKE LOOKS GOOD! your hubs can send me one anytime :) yum yum.

loved the pics, the ones of you running are great!

MCM Mama said...

Congrats on a great race! And how sweet is your hubby!

Can't wait to hear where you are racing next!

MCM Mama said...

Congrats on a great race! And how sweet is your hubby!

Can't wait to hear where you are racing next!

X-Country2 said...

Congrats!! Everyone looks so cold, but it sounds like everyone ran really well.

Missy said...

Congrats, that rocks! ...Napa and a cake too??!? Sounds like a banner weekend to me.

RoadBunner said...

I am so belated on catching up with blogs!

But CONGRATULATIONS!! What an awesome time!! Sub-4 is definitely within your grasp.

Wish we could have met up, but I think you'll be back for another CIM ;)

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