For the past 3 months I have been training for my second marathon (read about my first one here). My friends Elise and Alisyn had signed up for the 30th Annual California International Marathon (CIM) and I decided, what the heck? I had wanted to run a marathon again and what better time than December in California, right? I have had a really great running year and thought that I might be able to qualify for the Boston Marathon. (For information about Boston & its qualifying time system, click here). I had a strong training period for CIM. I felt really good about this race until the weather reports for race day (Sunday Dec. 2) became available: heavy rain & 25-30 mph winds. At that point, I figured I should kiss a that Boston qualifying time away. Then it seemed like the wind might work in my favor as the reports said it would be blowing south/southwest, just the direction of the race.
Friday night Kevin & I drove up to Elk Grove (just outside of Sacramento) to stay with my best friend, Monica. We had a good dinner and Saturday morning I went to the expo. I got to meet fellow SF Marathon Ambassador Chris (who also braved the storm Sunday) and picked up my goodies. The rest of the day I just relaxed and snacked. Monica made a carb loaded dinner for us and then I was off to bed.
My alarm went off around 3:30am, I quickly got ready, and ate breakfast. Monica’s husband took me to the shuttle pick up (so nice, thank you again Kyle). After a few minutes, I headed to the start line in Folsom.
When we arrived it was pouring. I waited as long as I could before leaving the bus. One last bathroom break and I was ready to go. I was a little confused about the start. They didn’t put up the Starting Line arches (I’m guessing because of the rain). I saw some pace groups and positioned myself near them (standing with my back facing the start line for as long as I could to avoid the wind!). Somehow, I never saw them again! I ran the first mile with a trash bag trying to keep my core as warm as possible. And then, in the first mile, my shoe came untied! Seriously! I tied it, checked the other one, and continued on. The first 10 miles were the worst! That wind that was supposed to push me to the finish line? Yeah, it decided to push against the runners. For the first six miles, it was not bad but miles 7-10, yowzers! Even miles 10-13 were still painful. At times I felt like I was running in place (thanks a lot 40 mph gusts)! And the roads were so flooded! At one point we had several inches of water to run in! I followed my plan to stay within a 8:10-8:20 pace for the first 6 miles but at mile 7 when I had planned to drop to 8:01, the wind went crazy. After that I just couldn’t pick up the pace. I resigned myself to just do my best and carry on.
And just to give some idea of what kind of weather we runners faced, according to NOAA, there was approximately 0.9 inches of rain from 6:53 am to 10:53 am – with two-thirds of that in the first 2 hours. With that we faced 32 mph winds with 40 mph gusts! Holy rainstorm Batman!
Anyway, I felt pretty good for the next 20 miles, my legs were sore at points but much better than Big Sur a year and a half ago. I followed my hydration and nutrition plan pretty well. I opted to skip my last Sports Bean and had an orange slice instead. I didn’t regret it. I never had any stomach issues or dehydration, so good to know I had planned well.
I looked forward to hitting Sacramento a little after mile 20 (which had a big fake wall, haha!). Once you hit the city you follow the numbered streets so I could count down how many blocks I had left. I was tired and wanted to stop but pushed through. A little before the 26 mile marker I saw a dailymile friend, Jessica. And then at mile 26, just before the finish line I saw my hubs & BFF. I was so happy to see them!! I waved like crazy. (Thanks so much Kevin & Moni for coming out to cheering me on, knowing you would be there really made me push through the home stretch!) The last two miles were also good because I was passing other runners (my last full mile was 8:30). And I super sprinted that last tenth of a mile, I just wanted to be done!
After crossing the finish line, I saw volunteers giving out water and Coke. I never wanted a Coke as badly as I did then! After we got back to Monica’s house, we also ate In N Out. Those fries, chocolate shake, & a grilled cheese sandwich was the most delicious thing I had ever eaten! I knew this was a strong race for me just because I could actually eat after the race!
I finished with a time of 3:42:24. While this does not qualify me for Boston, it’s still a HUGE PR for me! And honestly I think I could have shaved off those 7 and a half minutes if I had better race conditions.
Here are some additional links from the Sacramento Bee‘s coverage of the race: California International Marathon and Americans Shine Amid Wind and Rain. And I want to give some shout outs to my friends both online and in person who also braved this crazy monsoon marathon: Alisyn (who made some difficult but ultimately the right decisions race day), Paulette, Renee, and fellow SC Endurance member, Laura, who was only a minute behind me the whole race!! Way to rock it ladies! Also, thanks to all the SCE members & my parents who supported me virtually, tracking the race online. I knew you all were watching and it kept me running!