California International Marathon 2012

subtitle: maybe someday I’ll learn not to start too fast.

It’s now quite comical to me that I signed up for this race right after Big Sur (which at the time was the hardest race of my life) to smash my PR. The running gods TOTALLY had something else in mind.

On Saturday afternoon I met up with some of my favorite people at the Expo.  We talked about our strategy, given the fact that it was going to be pouring rain with a crazy headwind. Pretty much everyone decided that finding a pace group was the way to go, so that you’d have people to draft off.

I decided I’d line up with the 3:30 or 3:35 group depending on how I felt in the morning.  There was my first mistake.

When we got to the start the wind was howling and the rain was blowing sideways.  I huddled under an awning with Beth and Jana until about 10 minutes to 7, when it was time to brave the elements and line up.  I had put on gloves, arm warmers, and compression socks, but at the last minute I decided to grab a $2.00 throwaway poncho to wear for the first few miles.

I spend the first couple miles with the 3:30 pace group, which under normal conditions probably would have been fine.  But running into the wind was so exhausting, I used up all my energy way too early on.  Miles 6-10 were the worst, and even trying to stay behind people didn’t seem to make much of a difference.  By mile 10 we’d run through some huge puddles and my shoes were completely heavy and full of water.  I started feeling a tightness in my right leg so I backed off the pace a little bit.

The tightness turned to some more serious pain in my knee, hip and ankle so I took my first walk break at mile 15.  I was relieved I’d kept my poncho because it was COLD as soon as I stopped running. That seemed to help a little bit, and I was able to start running again.  The rain was still coming down like crazy but fortunately the wind wasn’t blowing as hard.  Somewhere around mile 18, I heard my name and was thrilled to see these ladies cheering (even with the horrible weather. <3)

(thanks for the photo, XLMIC!)

I wish I could say that the rest of the race went perfectly, but it didn’t.  The knee pain kept coming and going and I took a few more walk breaks.  I swore I would never run another marathon again, but was still grateful to have the opportunity to run at all.

FINALLY we crossed the bridge onto J Street and I immediately started counting down the blocks. FIFTY + blocks.  It’s impossible not to look at those damn street signs.  I took my last walk break somewhere around mile 23 and the 3:45 pace group passed me.  I decided that I was NOT going to let that happen, no matter how badly my knee hurt.  I picked it up, finally ditched the poncho (it had actually stopped raining around mile 25!) and rounded the final turn to finish in 3:42:56, 10 minutes slower than my PR, but my second best marathon time (and faster than Big Sur!)

It was tough out there, and I honestly am not sure if I want to do another marathon again any time soon.  But I am SO grateful for my amazing friends and of course, my favorite cheerleaders.

 PS. I’m guessing no1curr, but here are mile splits: (7:38, 7:47, 7:26, 7:48, 7:43, 7:43, 8:00, 8:14, 8:01, 7:43, 7:33, 7:49, 8:03, 8:24, 9:41, 8:34, 9:42, 8:10, 8:28, 10:43, 10:18, 8:48, 10:08, 8:19, 8:14, 8:07, 2:21) average: 8:33. One of these half marathons was not like the other.

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15 comments to California International Marathon 2012

  • STUPID RIGHT LEGS ruining the weekend. You pulled out a great race you should be very proud of in those awful conditions… it was nasty out there! You looked so strong every time we saw you. Congrats on another hard fought marathon, now rest up and recover well <3

  • I’m in awe of all of you who ran this weekend, it looked horrific. You look amazing in the finishing photo too! Congratulations, you should be really proud of yourself.

  • jen

    i cannot believe you raced in those conditions and managed to get your second fastest marathon time ever despite rain, wind and knee pain. i’ve told you this a million times before but you are one of my favorite running role models. so down to earth, dedicated and smart about it. congrats and recover well! xo

  • Erin Crump

    Way to run and finish CIM in such a good time! I ran a leg of the relay for CIM and that weather was miserable. I’m so in awe of all you full marathoners for braving the weather.

  • Annie

    “I swore I would never run another marathon again, but was still grateful to have the opportunity to run at all.” I love this sentence. I really appreciate your blog – great recipies and running adventures! Congrats of a hard-fought marathon!

  • Man oh man it was brutal out there, but you fought hard and still did a great job. Get some rest and then celebrate — you deserve it!

  • I can totally relate to your race experience — battling body pains AND that weather….I saw the 3:10 pacer pass me around mile 21/22 and fought to keep with him but not hard enough…and also similarly, I lined up right in front of the 3:05 group…yeah right, wishful thinking!

    Either way there’s not a lot to learn from this race except to hope for better weather next time. Your race is totally respectable, you can tell from your splits how hard you fought at the end despite the knee problems. That’s worth some praise, to which, I say awesome job :)

  • You did a great job in those conditions! If I’d had a scale with me, I would have weighed my shoes afterward: I’m pretty sure that is a factor. As always, great seeing you and adorable Ellie (oh, and Mike, too). I’m pretty sure that tiny girl increases smiles by at least 50% no matter what.

  • Wow, your race sounds remarkably similar to mine (except that I stopped every single mile after 14 instead of just once)! Right down to the stupid freakish right leg.

    Great job pushing through for darned impressive time!! Maybe one of these days I’ll be able to run with you. :)

  • It may not have been your best race, but at least it wasn’t your worst!

  • Holy

    Way to go on the finish! I’ve been there and could feel your pain… although my best marathon is MUCH slower. You are a powerhouse!

    I haven’t gotten back to marathons (only one half) since my 18mo son was born. It is so wonderful and motivating to read about what you are doing.

    Congrats for a hard fought race and even more importantly many, many fantastic days of training leading up to it. What an accomplishment!

  • That is a great finish time you can be proud of in those conditions!

  • Renee

    It was so crazy out there that we all deserve credit for even showing up to start. And I love how you motivated yourself at the end to pick up the pace and nail those 3:45s! Great job, lady!

  • Those were some brutal weather conditions! My marathon in early October had about 8 miles into a headwind in the first half, so I can relate to how much that sucks up your energy.

  • You ran through a monsoon in pain and posted your second fastest marathon time. That’s some serious gumption! Congratulations – you are so amazing! (And Ellie is getting so big!)

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