California International Marathon 12/5/2010

I’m always shocked by the rapidity with which epic meltdowns occur.  Especially when it occurs early, or somewhat early, in a race.  Unfortunately, CIM is a “point-to-point” course…which means it starts at one point and finishes 26.2 miles away at another point (as opposed to a “loop” course which starts/finishes at the same place).  When you crash and burn on a point-to-point you really have no choice but to make your way to the finish line.  That pretty much describes my race on Sunday.

I approached this race much more conservatively than St. George.  I had zero intention of attempting to run a qualifying time for Boston…and it’s a good thing.  I was hoping and expecting to come away with a PR somewhere in the 3:39 range.  I strapped on the Timex and slapped on a 3:40 pacetat and headed out the door.

My splits were perfect through 10 or 11 miles.  Even at the half I was within a minute of where I needed to be.  That would be the extent of the positive news from the split front for the duration.  By mile 15 I went from running mid 8s to mid 10s (though I still wasn’t feeling bad).  By mile 16 I was taking walk breaks.

Shortly thereafter, my running buds started passing me.  Hillary had already gone by when the 3:40 pace group clipped me at mile 11, then C/M, then Sandy.  Sandy, of course, had to “check on me” (by bumping me with her shoulder) and “encourage me” (by issuing me a little nah-nanny-boo-boo).  As she sprinted off down the course (more hopping with joy than running) I yelled out that the RACE WASN’T OVER YET and that she’d better be checking over her shoulder for the next 9 or so miles.  A guy walking next to me on the side of the road (aka the shoulder of shame) looked me square in the eye and said, “Dude, your race is over.”  Why thank you, complete stranger!

Vance, POJ, Linda, Jerie, and Amber all must have passed me as well but I never saw them.

An interesting twist in this race was the fact that Kel was running the relay with Linda and a local girl (Ruthie, who Linda found via a relay matchmaker web site).  Kel had the final 5.7 mile leg and Linda thought she’d be handing off to her at around the 3:30 mark in the race.  I quickly adjusted my “plan” to try to arrive at the relay exchange within a few minutes of Linda and run in with Kel.

What felt like three weeks later, when I arrived at the relay exchange point, I made sure to make eye contact with every runner that was waiting for their partner.  I didn’t see Kel.  About 50 yards past the exchange I did see Linda.  That meant that Kel had a head start on me…and, depending on her lead, I may or may not be able to catch her.  Linda informed me that her lead was about 4 minutes.  I gave myself about a 1% chance of closing that distance over the remaining miles.

I ran continuously for a mile and a half and did not see her anywhere ahead of me.  I decided that I would try to pick it up a little more for another mile in a last-ditch effort to close the distance.  Within a half mile or so I finally saw her up ahead.  When I had closed the distance down to about 50 yards she took a little walk break.  When I got within 10 or so yards she started running again and I really wasn’t sure I’d be able to reel her in.  Fortunately I did and we made our way to the finish line together (kinda, this race has a split finish line…one for chicks and one for dudes).

I clocked a 4:38:47…about 56 minutes slower than St. George two months ago.  My streak of sub 4 hour marathons  in 2010 is over.  CIM was my 20th marathon in my 11th state.

An hour or so after the race we headed over to Pete’s and, you guessed it, ate well and pounded lots of beer.  I split my burger with Big Jerie who arrived a little late (after most of us had ordered) and was looking might hungry.

After an awesome night’s sleep, Kel and I met Corey and Ashley for breakfast at Capitol Garage.  Corey was raving about the tamale omelette that he’d had on Saturday morning.  When we arrived we discovered that their weekend menu is different from their weekday menu and there wasn’t a tamale omelette to be found.  Our waitress, Crystal, offered to “check with the kitchen” and came back with the best news I’ve heard in quite a while.  They would, in fact, be able to produce for me a tamale omelette!

Peer closely between the light, fluffy layers of whipped egg and tell me what you see.  Your eyes are not deceiving you…that is a whole tamale wrapped up in there!  What a treat!!  I am now a huge fan of the tamale omelette.

After breakfast it was off to the airport.  Kel was heading home and I was heading to DC for a couple of days of work.  Somewhere around midnight on Monday I arrived in DC.  Sometime around 4:45 pm on Tuesday my luggage arrived.  I did all but one of my meetings on Tuesday in blue jeans (dirty), a 2005 New York Marathon shirt (dirty),  and running shoes.  The hotel did have a toothbrush/toothpaste but no razor.  I hadn’t shaved since Saturday.

Next up is the National Marathon To Finish Breast Cancer in Jacksonville, FL in mid February…unless I squeeze in Running From An Angel in Boulder City, NV in early January.


2 Responses to “California International Marathon 12/5/2010”

  1. Joe T Says:

    Sometimes we suffer through these, but we are always stronger on the other side.

  2. Marathon Me Says:

    Running from an Angel is a tough race. I was pretty messed up after it, until a DQ Blizzard saved me.

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