CIM 17 and my Top 10

It’s been 4 years since my last California International Marathon, and 5 years since my first. I swore off road races after completing this race in 2013. I have noticed, over the last several years, that the base I get from training for the December marathon prepares me for the Spring Ultras way better than not running, so I decided to invest my Fall time and energies to training for this 26 so I’d be better prepared for upcoming 50k and longer.

After 17 weeks of training and getting in almost all of my long runs and most of my midweek runs, but not enough core or speed work, time is up and it’s time to run. I’m never completely satisfied with my training, but this has been a pretty good season and I’m feeling prepared.

My running buddy, Dave, and I are dropped off by his wife at the bus loading point and, coincidentally, end up riding the bus with Edd and Lisa. 

Dave and I arrived at the start line early enough to grab a mocha and wait inside the warm Folsom Grind coffee shop until the time came to line up.

It is warmer at the start than in previous years and the sky is clear. I start with a long sleeve over arm warmers and shorts with compression socks and a buff from my first CIM. I’m planning on starting with the 5:07 pace group and see if I can push at the end. I’m hoping for sub-5 hours and trying to match my first marathon time of 4:52.

It takes me less than a minute to discard my plan, as the left side moved faster at the start than the right and I end up running with the 4:22 pace group. I am feeling good and moving easily with the group, so I keep going.On to Fair Oaks Blvd, I am still feeling strong and a little surprised at myself. In Fair Oaks Village I avail myself of the temporary relief facilities and continue on with the 4:30 pace group, still ahead of my intended pace.

I see my daughter, Sammy, son-in-law, Jared, and my granddaughters, Emma and June at San Juan and Fair Oaks and they propel on to the half marathon mark in 2:20 (10 minutes ahead of my Urban Cow Half time two months ago.

At mile 15, however, I begin to slow and I can see my goals slipping away. Still hoping to finish at my original goal (5:07), I am encouraged by Single Track Running’s aid station, Joel Carson and friends (with the ultra aid station), and Clint Welch and Matt Brayton, et. al. with the Fireball at 16.4.

By the time I hit the wall at mile 20, I’m feeling the resigned to simply finishing. I have lost track of all pacers and too tired to do the math, so I have no idea where I am in the pace. I see my wife, Alessandra, at mile 21 and I walk up the J St. bridge and shuffle down the other side. My pace is slowing with each mile.


My slowest mile is mile 24 and I am completely on empty. Entering midtown, I am running, but just barely. I notice a pace team member to my right, but she is not holding a sign. Another comes up on my left and I see that he is the 5:07 pace leader. I’m shocked! I am certain I am well behind this pace. With two miles left I decide to run in with this pacer, but as I try to increase my pace, I find that running faster is a little less painful than running slower. I pick up the pace and decide that, regardless of how tired I am, I can run 2 miles. Pushing through to the finish, I made my goal of 5:07, just in front of the pacer.

Truth be told, I learned a lot from this race, though I didn’t expect to, I’m still looking forward to being back on the dirt.

My CIM Top 10

10. The weather was perfect! (Maybe this should be higher on the list)
9. Aid stations every 3 miles – no need to carry anything
8. Spectators!
7. Single Track Running
6. Fireball!!
5. Joel Carson and friends
4. Clint, Matt, Lindsey, …
3. Seeing family on the course
2. No Plantar Fasciitis, no Achilles pain, no injuries
1. Learning that I can still run when I have absolutely nothing left!

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