Monday, December 5, 2016

California International Marathon (Race Recap)

Sacramento,  CA
Sunday, December 4
Marathon #30
Weather - Overcast and chilly

After running the California International Marathon in the 2012 monsoon, Heather really wanted to run it again, in better weather. We were originally registered to run in 2015, but after a lack of training, we deferred to 2016.


A was already at Heather's house, I had taken her over the night before. I got up a bit later than I should have, made coffee, and drove to the off-site lot to drop off the car. I arrived at the airport a little over an hour before my flight, but security was a breeze, so it was no big deal. Charged my phone a bit before boarding, and even though I was in "B," managed to get a window seat in the second row. Now that Netflix has the download option, I was able to watch the Amanda Knox documentary and the first episode of Bates Motel. Both were good.

Heather had already landed and was waiting outside my gate. We took an Uber to the host hotel, the Sheraton across from the finish, and checked in. We went to the expo and picked up our packets without any issues.
Phew! I actually registered!
"California fall" outside the convention center - this is the last quarter mile of the course
Neither of us had eaten, so we walked to The Patio and got lunch. Mmmm, mac and cheese and cornbread.
We were both pretty tired so we went back to the hotel and watched TV until about 5 when it was time to walk to meet some of my teammates for dinner at The Waterboy. The food was good, but it was a lot pricier (and more fancy) than I expected. Ah well.
Sunset from our hotel room
Spent the rest of the evening getting gear ready and watching TV. Lights out around 9.

Sunday, Race Day

Alarm was set for 4:40. However, I hadn't slept well and had gotten up around 4:15. By the time the alarm went off I was ready to go. We made coffee in the room and walked down the street to the shuttle bus pick up at the convention center at 5:00 am. The bus ride sure seemed long, and NOTHING looked familiar. Had we really run this before??
A billion buses and a California sunrise
We stayed on the bus until about 15 minutes before the race started. I had been using my addaday massager on my right calf all day Saturday because it was crazy tight and achy after my crazy training session with Junko on Thursday. We used the bathroom, I picked up gloves off the ground since I had accidentally left mine on the bus (wah!!) and squeezed in around the 5:08 pace group. 5:08 pace group? Such a weird time!
Start line
The first 5 or so miles were fine. We were running a fairly comfortable pace. I was pleased that my calf did not seem to be acting up. Shortly after the section aid station (maybe mile 5.5), Heather asked if I minded if we started a run/walk. I did not mind, and we began doing 4:1 intervals. This worked well for the next few miles. We saw Libby working the aid station at mile 8.4 (random to see a friend from Texas working an aid station in California), and kept going. We adjusted the run/walk a bit for aid stations and hills.
So pretty!
Turns out, Heather was NOT imagining chickens on the course (we saw them around mile 9 I think). Then, we saw a guy with two goats spectating. Of course we had to get a picture with them, HOW COULD YOU NOT?? We seemed a lot more excited than the goats, though.
There was  nice downhill after mile 10, and I made a comment that it was unfortunate that we had a walk break on the awesome downhill. That was when Heather told me that her left hip was bothering her and that running downhill was actually pretty painful. Uh oh. I've been there. I asked her if she wanted to walk a bit more, and she joked that maybe she would just quit. We did a few more intervals, and there was a climb near mile 12 where she said that she was indeed quitting. Oh no! I asked her if she was serious about quitting, if it was that bad. If she planned on just a lot of walking I had  no problems staying with her, but I did want to finish. She said the pain had spread to her IT band and that walking also hurt so she was going to walk to the relay exchange and stop. :(

Dang! Bummer! I told her I would text her later and hoped she felt better and moved on. I felt pretty good for a while, stopping around mile 16 to use the bathroom (the only one on the whole course that did not seem to have a line). Somewhere around mile 19 or so, my lack of road running and actual distance running caught up with me. I decided I would attempt to do intervals, running 5 or 6 minutes with a quick walk break.
At the "wall" around mile 20
The last "hill" - bridge at mile 22ish
This worked pretty good until maybe mile 23. I was really done by then. It was a lot colder than I had anticipated, and while I normally do really well in colder weather, I just felt... well, cold. I didn't want to put gloves on, but I kinda wished I had worn arm sleeves.
Action shot from Heather just before mile 26
I sent Heather a text at mile 24 to let her know that I was close, and she said she would be near the finish line. The last mile of the course seemed to go on forever.
There was a big blue arch that you would THINK indicated the end, but NO. The sign right after said mile 26, yet when I crossed the finish line I was closer to 26.5. The race has the strangest finish line ever, with men and women finishing in different chutes.
Got my medal and then met up with Heather. Thankfully, she had brought my jacket. We went and got some post-race food and beers before heading back to the hotel. I actually was not able to finish my brunch, which was weird because I was REALLY hungry the last few miles of the race.
This is actually a breakfast burrito, NOT a panini
Showered and checked out at 3:00. We didn't head to the airport until 5, and I was very sad to see my flight was delayed. By the time I got to the airport, picked up A, and got home it was 1:20 in the morning.  Blah.

Official Time - 5:14:23
Official 10K - 1:10:24
Official 13.1 - 2:35:29
Official 20 Mile - 3:57:31
Overall Place - 5186/6174
Gender Place - 2227/2838
Division Place - 401/505

  • The race caps at 7,500 runners. According to results, there were about 1,300 runners that either didn't start the race, or didn't finish. The race does allow deferrals, I believe it cost another $40 to register, on top of whatever we paid last year.
  • Expo is in a nice, spacious location at the convention center. Packet pick up was a breeze. There were not too many vendors I was interested in. Unsure what parking would have cost if we hadn't been able to just walk there.
  • The shuttles are organized incredibly well. They were loaded efficiently and got us all to the race in plenty of time.
  • PLENTY of port-o-potties. Supposedly they had 300! We only waited a few minutes to use one. They also had quite a few on the course, there were always lines for those though.
  • The course is very runnable - I didn't find any of the hills very long or unmanageable. 
  • Tons of aid stations. More sparse in the beginning, with two sections where there was more than 3 miles between them. By the second half they were pretty much every mile - 17 aid stations in all. Plenty of volunteers, with Nuun and water. There were also a few "food" stations - some had GU, bananas, oranges and even baked goods.
  • Every mile was marked, with a handful of timing mats on the course. Lots of crowd support and music and "energy."
  • Medal is big, but not very interested. Kind of wish the cityscape had a more "bold" outline.
  • Nice, long sleeve and gender specific shirt.
  • Finish are is a cluster. Super crowded. And the beer was non-alcoholic.
  • Would I run again? No. But it's more because it was just "meh" to me, and I've now run it twice. Too many marathons to run this one a third time.


  1. I know a ton of people who have run this race, so many that I don't feel the need to run it myself!

  2. Congrats! I ran too. It was my 4th CIM (my first was 2012, the very wet year). The bus ride wasn't familiar to me either, I think they took a different route in from Hwy 50. I'm glad you had a photo of the guy with the two goats because I saw those guys too and then saw a pair of animals a second time later on and thought they were a dog and a goat. Then I wondered if it was the same guy at both spots, with two goats, which would mean he'd have to pack them up in the car to get them to the next spot or if it was a different guy.

  3. Non alcoholic beer? Whats the point. LOL Sorry Heather was having a hard time. It seems like I hear so much about the CIM that I assumed it was bigger than that, although that is still pretty big, great job finishing another!


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