2021 Sub 3:00 Marathon Thread (Read 449 times)

Mikkey


Elite Jogger

     

     Will take any ideas people have.

     

     

     

    The 80%+ AG Thread?

     

    This will weed out all the pretenders as I only want to communicate with real runners next year.

    5k - 17:53 (4/19)   10k - 37:53 (11/18)   Half - 1:23:18 (4/19)   Full - 2:50:43 (4/19)

       

       

      JT - Wow that sounds awful after your booster.  Our 6 months of normality/no restrictions in the UK sadly came to an end last week as we have a new milder variant which gives you a runny nose. In pre COVID days we used to call it a cold which was quite common during the winter months. I’ve decided to donate my vaccine to someone who needs it more than me...like someone who is either obese or over 80 years old.

      不不不不不不不不不

       

      Darkwave: It's great to hear there was no bad news from the MRI.

       

      JMac: I'm happy you'll be running the thread next year.

      2:52:16 (2018)

      JMac11


      I spilled the milk

         

        The 80%+ AG Thread?

         

        This will weed out all the pretenders as I only want to communicate with real runners next year.

         

        That's a 2:32 for me. Ouch. Better ask my physical therapist to get moving!

        5K: 16:37 (11/20)  |  10K: 34:49 (10/19)  |  HM: 1:14:57 (5/22)  |  FM: 2:36:31 (12/19) 

         

        Next Race: Grete's Great Gallop 10K (8/27)

        Running Problem


        Problem Child

           

          I knew you wouldn't disappoint!

           

          (Were you around RWOL a few years ago, when MrMattM broke 3hours in Chicago?  His RR was so long he released it in daily installments over a two week period.)

           

          I wasn't. Heck, in the RWOL days I was trying to break 3:30 and 3:20. I don't think I ever commented in the sub 3 because it was a totally different language. I could probably release something comparable to MrMattM if I'd had written this in one sitting, and did it closer to race day. Back then I don't think it was possible to post them all at once without a blog.

           

          JMac I went with "20XX Marathon training" for 2020, I believe, and the purpose WAS to get everyone who wanted to marathon train in there. Beginners need help probably more than experienced runners. I'm nostalgic and benefited from the wisdom of others much faster than me so I feel almost obligated to help others if they want it or not. It's going to attract who it attracts regardless of the thread title. There aren't as many people here as RWOL had, and most people look for social media groups for training, but social media SUCKS for keeping track of things. Honestly, if you start it just go with what your heart says and what you hope as a leader to spread. "JMac's Marathon's Sandbaging Sack Serkul" has a nice ring to it. You'll need to design an award for the sandbaggers. 2021 came out with the Goose Mug so you'd better get a good one. I did like the "memorable quotes" from the sub 90 thread.

           

          As for CIM, y'all just JEALOUS. Don't be mad the West Coast is the best coast.

          Many of us aren't sure what the hell point you are trying to make and no matter how we guess, it always seems to be something else. Which usually means a person is doing it on purpose.

          VDOT 54.9

          5k19:35 | Marathon 2:56:07

          flavio1980


          Intl. correspondent

             

            The 80%+ AG Thread?

             

            This will weed out all the pretenders as I only want to communicate with real runners next year.

            Your marathon is only a 73% though. We'll miss you next year then

            PRs: 1500 4:54.1 2019 - 5K 17:56 2021 HM 1:21:59 2021

            Up next: Some 5k race in September

            Tool to generate Strava weekly

            Running Problem


            Problem Child

               

              The 80%+ AG Thread?

               

              This will weed out all the pretenders as I only want to communicate with real runners next year.

               

               

              Just like in school.....D+. <insert MISSED IT BY THAT MUCH meme>

              Many of us aren't sure what the hell point you are trying to make and no matter how we guess, it always seems to be something else. Which usually means a person is doing it on purpose.

              VDOT 54.9

              5k19:35 | Marathon 2:56:07

              flavio1980


              Intl. correspondent

                RP - Tell me about it my best is my 5k which is only 76%.

                 

                Homer disappearing

                PRs: 1500 4:54.1 2019 - 5K 17:56 2021 HM 1:21:59 2021

                Up next: Some 5k race in September

                Tool to generate Strava weekly

                Running Problem


                Problem Child

                  CALIFORNIA INTERNATIONAL MARATHON 2021 (well actually most of 2021)
                  Nobody wins afraid of losing
                  And the hard roads are the ones worth choosing.
                  Somedays we’ll look back and smile
                  And hope it was worth every mile.
                  It don’t bother me
                  Wherever we are is where I want to be
                  And Honey, for once in our life
                  Let’s take our chances and roll the dice.
                  - Chris Stapleton

                   

                   

                  CIM THE TRAINING PART

                  In March, or April of 2021 I said the words “I’ll just go sub 3 at CIM and run 2023. I have like 9 months until race day.” I had absolutely no clue what was about to happen was 6 months of “base building” with another Western States 37 mile pacing journey, and lots of canceled runs due to poor air quality caused by the Tamarack fire, the Beckworth Complex fire, illness, and physical inability to complete a run. Oh and self-doubt. LOTS of self-doubt.

                   

                  With how much time I had to train for race day, and the advice of runners more experienced, and smarter, than me I decided to tackle a 5k. I hadn’t broken 20 minutes ever and 5k training seemed like the perfect option. It wouldn’t require hours of running each weekend, it has speed work, and I could time trial (since everything was canceled) a 5k on a nearby ‘closed loop’ running path to get a basis of where I’m at. Experience says “using a 5k to determine your marathon pace/time is a bad idea” and I knew this. It is just easier to race and recover a 5k than a half marathon. As luck would have it I found a 5k to race, and it was as close to sea level as I could get. Roanoke, VA along their river path on Memorial Day weekend. “Sweet. Sea level. I’ll have so much more air this should be easy.” I PR’d (19:34) BUT the race was hard even with my Zoom Fly (shoes I ran CIM 2019 in) and pointed to a 3:07-3:08. This stuck in my head forever. “Marathon Scott is dead. He died in 2020.” Marathon Scott is this “fictious creature” (alternative personality) who doesn’t fuck around. He doesn’t want to hear your excuses, or your bitching. His favorite thing to say is “what are you going to do on race day?” Marathon Scott doesn’t actually know how hard the goal he has set it, and goes “checkers or wreckers.” He will literally ignore all red flags, warning sirens, caution signs and advice to maybe not go so hard because there is no option. Marathon Scott is who you want to go to war with because he doesn’t back down, get intimidated or scared, or really give a fuck what you think because Marathon Scott is just like that. He can also be helpful and understand. You just have to learn how to recognize he’s trying to help. Well he took all of 2020 off, and got fat and lazy because there was no reason to get off the couch. This 5k let him stay on the couch and say “meh, call me when you’re actually closer to really having a chance. I’ll help, but I’m not holding your hand and babying you the next 6 months.” Thanks buddy. Real helpful.

                   

                  After racing the 5k I had to make a quick transition to ultra marathon/trail running mode. Pacing Western States is something I’ve learned I enjoy. For some reason the event just has that “CIM” feeling and I’m not even doing the whole thing. This year wasn’t any different, and I think it got Marathon Scott off the couch just due to the difficulty. 39.14 GPS miles, in 11 hours and 34 minutes, with at least half of it at night, on trails, with no idea what kind of nutrition I’d need, and 1 week old shoes, with a guy capable of breaking 24 hours was just what Marathon Scott needed to be enticed to get off the couch. It was challenging in a fun way. It was also an opportunity for the suffering, and joy of running to come back. The cheers at the finish line, the joy on the runners face, the feeling of success and accomplishment, the aid stations, the crowds of runners and support crews, and just having a purpose to run really brought out a lot of old memories, and reminders of the joy I find in running.


                  CIM training, for me, typically starts the first week of August. I do the Hanson’s Marathon Method Advanced Plan. Hanson’s + CIM = success. At least for me. So much so I tell people “before I tell you what I’m about to tell you let me just say I’ve PR’d that race literally every single time I’ve run it. CIM is the greatest marathon ever.” Due to the Tamarack Fire, Dixie Fire, and the Beckworth Complex Fire, and probably another fire I’m forgetting, my August training was pretty much “run when you possibly can” which wasn’t often. I have a personal rule of not running when the Air Quality Index is 150 or higher. It just isn’t worth it to me, and TYPICALLY the air quality gets better in a few days. This wasn’t the case for this year. July I ran a total of 163 miles. August I ran 151. My 18 week training plan was going to become 12, and the possibility of a PR was mentally gone. “I’ve missed too much of the training, and I haven’t been consistent with TRX. There is almost no point getting excited about training because literally every time I get excited the air will be good enough and I go for a run, it’s back to AQI 200-300 the next 4-6 days.” Back on the couch. Twiddling my thumbs. Wondering when I’ll have a chance to just go run. I started to understand why people in Seattle talk about depression because it rains so much and there is nothing to do. Stuck inside like it’s March 2020 and I just tested positive for COVID 19. “Stay home. Stay safe” wasn’t just some “sharing is caring” phrase. It was literal. Unfortunately it was also what put Marathon Scott back on the couch, watching TV, saying “well maybe Boston 2022 will be your next sub 3.” Thankfully September was the beginning of clear air. I knew I had work to do, and 12 weeks to do it. I’d run CIM, use my 5k PR as training, and build up to Boston 2022 without knowing if I’ll actually be RUNNING Boston 2022.

                   

                  All through training runs were tough. I kept listening to the advice I was given of “train where you’re at, not where you want to be” as well as “you need to be in race day condition/shape on race day, not today.” This resonated over and over during training and sometimes brought about some depression and self-doubt. I actually thought I’d finally embraced the idea “you don’t have to sub 3 every single marathon to call yourself a sub-3 marathoner. Heck, you literally never even thought you WOULD run a Sub-3.” I hadn’t. I was having a hard time accepting where I was at as where I was at. In 2019 I was on a high so high Kid Icarus, wait…no Icarus, Kid Icarus is a video game….ICARUS couldn’t have gotten close to me. This was the exact opposite. I thought my second Sub 3 attempt would be handed to me like “oh you’ve done this before. It gets easier every time after that.” Nah. It doesn’t. Not for me. Every training run was a challenge and just reassurance I wasn’t in sub 3 shape, which kept the self-doubt high. It sucked, BUT “it’s CIM. CIM is good to me because I put in the work. We don’t fuck around because it’s CIM and CIM is good to us.” Even on a group long run I was telling people “nah I’m not going to sub 3 this year. Probably 3:07 AT BEST.” Apparently unbeknownst to me the people listening didn’t believe me for one second, and were courteous enough NOT to call bullshit to my face. Oddly, this training run was the day AFTER a hard workout, and I was blazing along with the group who decided to drop 7:40 miles while I’m asking “what happened to like 8:00/mi pace? Like…I’m fine and it’s good to see I can do this after a workout. I’m just trying to make sure we all know this isn’t 8:00/mi pace.” Ever been on a group run where every starts talking about their great races and the pace picks up as if your body and heart get the passion flowing and joy and excitement from those days comes in? It’s contagious and when you have 4 runners doing it OH MAN….get in sucker. We’re going for a ride.


                  On a whim I decide to enter a local 10k. Everyone tells me a 10k is a great substitute for a workout, and it would give me an opportunity to practice racing. I hadn’t raced since 2019 so things like “packet pick up” and “having pins for your bib” were a foreign concept. I felt like someone who just got into racing with how much I’d forgotten. At least I knew (I thought) the course, and accomplished a 10k PR. After doubting I could break 20 in the 5k I (technically) ran back-to-back sub 20 5ks. At 4,400 ft elevation. Without doing 10k specific training, or targeting this race. Literally just signing up to practice what it’s like to race. Punch the finish time into my spreadsheet…..”FUCK. 3:02 marathon. I’m literally close enough to a sub 3 that all that bullshit I preach to other people I have to take and listen to my own advice. ‘if you put in the work CIM will be good to you’ blah blah blah.” I’m going to need Marathon Scott to get the fuck up off the couch and get shit together. We just committed to a sub 3 at CIM and there are 8 weeks until CIM.

                   

                  The Hanson’s Marathon Training Plan has a LOT of running at marathon pace, or slightly faster, for the last 8 weeks of training. Thursdays are 7-10 miles at goal marathon pace, and Tuesdays are 10 seconds faster. It’s what I like about the training plan. Lots of time to get the feel for pace down, practice eating and drinking, and find out what race gear I’ll wear. In the first few attempts at longer Marathon paced runs it felt hard. Unbearable hard. “train for where you’re at, not where you want to be” is a hard pill to swallow when you’re not at where you want to be for training. The Thursday runs are the ones I look for to get the most confidence. I was doing “okay” at them, but as they got longer I couldn’t hang. I even pulled the plug on what I THOUGHT was supposed to be an 8 miler, at mile 7, to find out “oh that was supposed to be 9.” Well maybe it was heat, or something else, or maybe you’re not in 3:02 shape even though the spreadsheet says so. No, that’s not an option. In one run I wanted to bail at mile 7 and forced myself to run through the pain to break through the quitting. Quitting in training makes it easier to quit while racing. This worked magically and I broke through to another level. Then I started bombing Thursday runs. I had truncated running weeks due to “life happening” but I’d reassured myself I got my long run, speed run, and marathon paced run it and those are what matters. The rest is just running.

                   

                  In come the “super shoes.” Nike Vaporfly Next%. Even at an easy pace these shoes just feel fast. 10 mile Thursday goal marathon pace run nailed. Actually faster than I was expecting. Goal was a 6:50 (same as I did for 2019) and I ran 6:45. Twice. Okay. I guess we’re good to go for race day. Hit the workout I put the most stock in, and got a BIG confidence boost. Marathon Scott was in full effect for another Sub 3 CIM. My favorite part about CIM and Hansons is Thanksgiving is the last workout day. I could run a 10k turkey trot, or another 10 mile marathon paced run. I could also take the day off of running because it’s too cold in the morning, and I’m too busy in the afternoon.

                  CIM required people to pick what time they wanted to enter the expo this year. Everything was digital, and there was no option to have my bib mailed to me. It would have been EXCELLENT to have the bib mailed out simply because I’ve been to enough marathon expos, especially CIM, to know I’m just going to grab my bib and goodie bag, then sit in a hotel room. CIM is also a birthday weekend for my son, so I picked the last expo time expecting to do “dad life” in the morning before leaving for the race. Well the birthday was rescheduled (no, not ENTIRELY due to CIM. Only like 40%) so I had the morning to double check and repack all my race gear and drop bag stuff. New to 2021 was no race start drop bags (due to covid 19) as well as requiring a negative covid 19 test or proof of full vaccination. If you were using a drop bag you had to put it at the finish line which made it a slight challenge since I’d never used “throw away” clothing and I had to panic pick stuff. “ah, old pajama pants I just found under the bed. OH SHIT! I kept the 2019 CIM jacket. PERFECT!” Throw this stuff into a bag, pack some stuff to wear after the race, and head for Sacramento. I noticed I was having some slight stomach pain/ache and it wasn’t due to hunger. It felt like I wanted to throw up. Then a cough started, and this wasn’t a “I have something in my throat” cough. This was a “I’m sick. Stay away from me” cough. Fan-fucking-tastic. After talking about it with my online friends, I’M THE ONE who is going into the race potentially sick, feeling like I’m going to vomit and have a cough the day before. Before leaving home I print out a 2:58 pace band. I like using pace bands because on race day the only thing that matters is race time. I don’t get to go to the officials and say “well my Garmin says I ran a 6:53/mi pace and the internet says that’s a sub 3 marathon so you need to change the race.” Total time, and race markings are the only things relevant to performance. IF you don’t hit the mile marker at the specific time, you’re not on pace. 2:58 would be a “soft” PR of about a minute. I mean…it’s CIM. I PR at CIM literally everytime. At SOME point I won’t, but maybe not this time. Weather looks ideal, and all my online friends are going to call me out for sandbagging if I run another 2:59. “6:47/mi pace. That works since I was doing 6:45/mi for Thursday runs.” Slap some packing tape front and back, and add an extra piece since using safety pins doesn’t work that well, and head for the hotel.

                   

                  Check into the hotel I wasn’t happy to pay for ($426/night, with 12 tiny parking spaces available on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. Oh and no late checkout. 11am on Sunday. So much for my plans for a bath/soak post-race. Also, no breakfast is served, no silverware is available, and the breakfast places they list aren’t open at 3:30 in the morning. So far this really does seem like “due to covid 19 we can’t offer the services we had in 2019, and you’ll need to pay more because we didn’t get what we needed out of 2020.” At least they were offering bus rides to the start where everyone who didn’t have covid, or had proof of being vaccinated could gather in close proximity to each other for a 30 minute drive, plus up to an additional 90 minutes because CIM allows you to stay on the bus at the start until about 6:30 am. No masks required. Yeah…I don’t make the rules. I just look at them confused. The hotel room itself was nice and quiet. It actually had blackout curtains, a fridge, DirecTV, USB charger for the phone (I literally ALWAYS forget a charging block), a nice bathroom area and an alarm clock. Remember when people actually used alarm clocks? Not the one in a cell phone, but the physical clock on the night stand with red numbers on it? Ah the 1990’s were a good time. The “main gathering area” was right outside my door so I was hoping no one would want to stay up all night. Not everyone here is running a marathon. I set the hotel alarm clock for 3:35 am, I set my phone alarm for 3:30, and I set my watch for 3:45am. The thought was “The alarm clock is farther away so I have to move more for it, and if I hit snooze on the phone (or worse…STOP) I’ll have the backup. The watch will probably be unnecessary, but it’s there and requires almost no effort. Built in redundancy. A phone call home around bed time to chat with the wife and tell her “yeah I’m not really sure I can do this. Like…I got all my workouts in, I know the training plan works, I’ve literally don’t this before, but I’m not sure I can ACTUALLY do this.” I still have no actual goal. Like, I have the 2:58 pace band, but other than “anything sub 3” there isn’t an official goal. Even though I said 2:58 would be the goal and I’ve done the Thursday runs, blah, blah blah. I’m still not sure I can actually do this now that I’m feeling sick.

                  Race breakfast is always the same. 2-3 hard boiled eggs, and a plain bagel with peanut butter, or cashew butter, and some caffeine. This year it was dark roast (why the FUCK does everyone drink dark roast? Blond has the most caffeine.) in a tiny hotel cup. It just requires waking up. Like all marathons I really don’t sleep much. Around 1:30am I wake up, try to fall back asleep, use the bathroom once or twice, cough myself awake, and MIGHT have fallen back asleep around 3:00am. Phone alarm goes off and I hit snooze still tired. “I just want to lay here…..fuck…this is literally the ONE day I can NOT just lay here.” Watch alarm goes off at 3:45am. The alarm clock is flashing an orange light. “The fuck? Well I’m glad I didn’t rely on THAT piece of shit.” I messed with it later. Radio doesn’t work, like AT ALL. No signal or something. I can’t even get loud static. Whatever. A couple bathroom visits since I have a real toilet, a trip to the truck since if I do exactly what I hope to do I’ll have only 1 hour after finishing to walk back to the hotel (I’m unsure how strict they’ll be about 11am) and at least with my stuff in the truck I can just leave without finding out my key card literally gets cut off at 11:01am with all my stuff back in the hotel room. Hey, it’s 2021. Technology like that probably exists…at fancy hotels. On my way out I notice there was a much better (more room) parking space. “SWEET! I’ll park there so I can actually get IN the truck.” Somehow they expected me to get out of my vehicle with literally inches between cars. As I get fully back in (4 door ¾ ton truck) I’m told I can’t park there. “yeah…that Cadillac here all day yesterday totally wasn’t supposed to be here.” So I move the truck back. No joke, there was about 1 inch between my bumper, and the Lexus SUV next to me when I backed in. I had to fold in my mirror just to back up past their door because the genius who designed this fucking parking space put a fucking cement post next to the driver side door. I can’t imagine what the fuck THAT asshole drives. Probably something with a sunroof.

                   

                  I leave the hotel, find two other runners I call “MY PEOPLE!” who are looking left and right to figure out where to go, and I tell them “this way.” I see two blocks lined with buses as I approach bag drop, and call my buddy Kyle so we can ride the bus together. Typically CIM has school buses. This year they had a mixture of school buses and “tour buses” with the TVs inside, and nice full back individual seats as well as a bathroom in the back. Kyle asks if there is a logic to the buses to which I tell him I like to get closest to the front, so I get to the start sooner. We hop on one of the fancy schmancy tour buses (I’m thinking we’re going to get kicked off because they’re for VIPs or people who paid extra money), another friend running CIM asks what bus I’m on, and then our bus takes off. About 15 minutes later I say “I hope we’re not on a half marathon bus.” Some panic sets in, and then I see we’re in Folsom. Arrive at the start and already I notice it’s different. There is no VIP tent on the left of the buses. Another victim of COVID 19 because we can’t have people who are vaccinated, or have proof of a negative test, huddling around each other. Oh except for that tent over there which is either VIP, or for people who stayed in Folsom. Kyle and I walk to the start, I tell him about the first turn about ¾ of a mile in telling him to just swing it wide because literally everyone will want to hit the tangent, then walk the ¼ mile (no joke) of port-oh-potties. Oddly, the first 10 have long lines in them. You can stand in this line, look to your left, and see available toilets, and people still wait in this line. At 5:45 am. As if the race starts soon. Kyle and I walk to the shuttle drop off on the North end, walk back, and I start my warm up stretches, do a little ½ mile jog to check the shoe tightness, apparently scare some women who didn’t expect me to make a U turn as close as I did to them (again negative test/vaccine…wtf people?) and go back to where I left Kyle. He does his thing and I walk toward the starting line corrals to plan my start. Around 6:30 the corrals are pretty packed, and I decided to ditch my clothing. Another thing I’ve been told/learned is to get acclimated to the cold at the race start. Apparently it isn’t smart to try to stay as warm as you can, for as long as you can, then shed layers 5 minutes before the race starts. Mostly because you’re now elbow to elbow with racers trying to eat their last gel, get their GPS signal, or tie their shoes. Don’t be shocked if you’re hit with flying articles of clothing if you’re on the right hand side of the corral. Kyle makes a funny comment about “nothing like cramming a bunch of people into tight spaces on a cold morning” which makes me laugh, and then I realize it’s actually kind of warm with all these bodies here now. It makes me wonder about running with the pace group and just how much warmer THAT would be with 50-100 people tightly bunched up. Since I’m mixed in with the 3:00 pacing group I hear the pacer say they’re planning on running even splits. I think to myself “good cuz last time y’all went out at like 6:45 and ran like 6:50s to the final three miles” and plan to get ahead of them early so I don’t have to work THROUGH them. There is space along the course to do so, I just don’t want to do it. I eat my first caffeinated gel 10 minutes before the start because I was told the caffeine will kick in an hour later. Star Spangled Banner goes off and I start to get race ready. I’m not sure why it works for me, but I start getting psyched up when they perform this song at CIM. The singer was damn good too. We’re here. Race day is fucking here. After like 2 years of canceled races we’re fucking racing CIM bitches. Just don’t go out too fast. 6:45/mi. Even though a 2:58 marathon is mathematically 6:47/mi.

                  Many of us aren't sure what the hell point you are trying to make and no matter how we guess, it always seems to be something else. Which usually means a person is doing it on purpose.

                  VDOT 54.9

                  5k19:35 | Marathon 2:56:07

                  Running Problem


                  Problem Child

                    CIM THE RUNNING PART

                     

                    Start to Mile 1 (6:41)

                    The starting line for CIM is a magical place for it. It’s where all dreams I’ve had in running come true actually start. It’s changed slightly over the years (split lanes for starting vs opening all 4 lanes and pace groups being very wide) but it’s still the same place where dreams becoming reality start. As the start spangled banner played, as it does every time at CIM in various forms, I get excited. It’s fucking happening. We’re running CIM. Lets. Fucking. GO! Since it’s a downhill start I KNOW everyone is going to go out faster than ever, combined with this being a first race for me, so I check pace really often. I plan to take the first turn wide because the last thing I want to do us bunch up and have to slow down right before climbing a hill. Turn went fine, and I was on pace climbing the hill. I know in 2019 this hill felt like it was going on forever, and I just wanted to get to the opening around mile 1.5 or 2 where it merges with a much larger 4 lane road with center divide/suicide lane. I’m feeling strong up the hill and remembering Sage Canaday’s advice of pushing uphills and kind of coasting downhills. The logic is “you’ll lose more sandbagging uphill than you’ll gain bombing the downhills” and it seems to work for me in road races. It helps me get around a lot of people who I’ll never see again today, while also getting me into the mode of shifting gears all day long. No “set it and forget it” here. Constantly changing pace all day long.

                     

                    Mile 2 – 5k (6:44, 6:44; 21:07 official 5k 6:47/mi average)

                     

                    I look over and see the 3:00 pace group not only catch me (I didn’t start minutes ahead of them though) but they’re just hanging with me at a 6:45/mi (2:58 marathon) pace. I roll my eyes and can hear my online friend saying pacers go out too fast, while also thinking “great. The ONE thing I DIDN’T want to happen is going to happen. They’re going to run 2:58 pace the whole fucking time until the end, and I’m going to have to deal with bullshit every aid station again.” I go back to running my own race while checking my pace, and confirming they’re still to my left. I’m also checking out the scenery to my right since I’m usually so laser focused on pace and race day I’m seeing things I’ve never seen before. I’m also cold and kind of regretting not bringing my thin gloves. I really don’t like cold hands and keep telling myself I’ll warm up because it’s only been 15 minutes. (fun fact: I never warmed up and I had cold hands the whole day). Just rolling down Oak Avenue checking pace and trying to maintain a 6:45/mi average. The sub 3 pace group seems to have rolled back a bit, and I notice my heart rate is 140-145. Totally easy pace heart rate and I’m feeling good. It’s early. It kind of makes sense for it to be this low with downhill running on a really cold day. I have a LONG way to go before I’m hitting 160 and I’m begging for 140s. I do some back and forth with runners and hear them say “yeah I’m looking for like 6:37 to 6:42 pace” and do some back and forth with them. I’m 2 seconds behind pace when I cross 5k so I kick it into gear a little bit knowing I have a LOT of time to make up 2 seconds, and I’m checking my pace band mile marks against my time so I’ll know every mile where I’m at. What I DON’T know is “Is this a 2:58:59, a 2:58:00, or something in between pace?” In any other run I’d probably pull my phone out, google some stuff while running race pace, and get my answer. Since I don’t know what 6:47/mi pace equates to for a ¼ mile (400m) section I can’t just add it to the time for 26 and figure THAT simple math out to answer my own question. I’ll just keep going with a 6:45/mi pace and see what happens when it happens. I’ll probably fade in the later miles and slow to a 2:59. After all, even though I got my 10 mile marathon race simulator workout in, I’m not sure I can actually hold 6:45/mi for a whole marathon. It’s early.

                     

                    Mile 4-10k (6:44, 6:41, 6:43)

                     

                    Cruising down Oak Blvd there are a lot of people out cheering runners on. It’s actually something I look forward to each year. They’re in their front yard with firepits, chairs, coffee/drinks, cheering everyone on like it is a parade. Not every house does it, but enough that I feel like it adds a unique flavor to CIM. This isn’t Chicago where it’s LINED with people elbow to elbow three rows deep. It’s people who can’t go anywhere for a few hours on Sunday morning because a parade goes through their front door. I see a cardboard sign with FREE BEER written in sharpie. Being the redneck I am I know there is only one option so I yell out “hit me with a Coors Light!” the guy laughs as I raise up my hand looking for him to reach into a cooler and pump fake me. I’m on the left side of the road running away, while he’s on the right side of the road. Hand held high. Looking back at him….waiting….patiently waiting….as precious seconds go by. He laughs and I think “what a dick. Free beer sign but no free beer? Like…what in the actual fuck? Maybe I actually DO want a beer at mile 4 and I think it would look awesome to chug a Coors Light at mile 4 of CIM so this guy, and everyone around me, can have a cool story about seeing this guy run 6:45/mi pace chugging Coors Light. Such a missed opportunity. I’m pretty sure I’ll remember this in the future.

                     

                    The heart rate monitor is reading 130s. I think “that’s because it’s cold out. It does weird things sometimes when it’s cold out.” I also realize I should be warm by now, and I’m not feeling like I’m working hard for this pace. I’m just…running. It’s like magic. Marathon pace with easy run pace heart rate. Maybe I should take advantage of this. I mean, if I’m running 6:45/mi at 4,400 ft elevation and someone once told me training in Reno while running CIM could net you like 3 minutes I should take advantage of this, but not abuse it. Okay. If 6:45/mi pace is goal pace, and I’m using the +/- 5 second rule ANOTHER online friend told me about in 2019 when I broke 3 hours then I can run like 6:40/mi pace. 3 seconds over 26 miles is like 75 seconds so like an extra minute fifteen off the current time goal. After all, it’s 45F with a light breeze and full cloud cover/fog. If I don’t take advantage of a 135 heart rate and perfect weather and just run a 2:58:07 (1 minute PR) everyone is going to say I sandbagged the race. Aight. 6:40/mi. I have a group of people I’m with, I’m passing people, and it’s all going good. Let’s just hope the stomach stays put and I don’t end up vomiting and ruin this entire day. All I need is a sub 3 for Boston 2023 and I should be good to go.

                     

                    Since CIM is such an easily accessed course there are “coaches” as I call them (some are probably legitimately a coach) riding a bike or running, along the course. Some of them offer to take clothes, others want to check in with how runners feel and some even ask if the runner needs anything. I appreciate the concern for shedding layers since some of us have nice fancy expensive high tech road running gear we don’t want to toss into the street to never see again. Others, didn’t plan on warming up so fast so now they’d like to shed layers they might have planned on shedding with friends around 13.1. One coach is talking to the two men around me and says “try to get to the left side of the road.” I know this turn. In 2019 it was “the turn where the 9mph headwind was supposed to start.” It’s also a good spot for spectators to hang out so it gives runners a good boost of energy early on in the race. As we pass the coach I start inching over. The guys coach was talking to look confused. “why would he tell us to get to the left? It’s not like there is a difference in the road.” I tell them, while pointing, “See that light up there. We turn left there.” Sign says Fair Oaks Blvd. It clicks and all of a sudden they’re more inclined to get to the left hand side of the road. It’s a pretty wide 9- degree turn, but still some runners want the absolute most inside line for all turns. I get ahead of them so I can avoid them cutting me off at mile 5.8 of a marathon. After I turn the corner and hit mile 6 and I take my first non-caffinated gel (6 miles or 44ish minutes. Whichever comes first) I see red and blue lights. “well that’s weird for a marathon. Maybe someone got injured?” They’re on the left side of the course so I assume they moved the body so we don’t have to step over it. This isn’t a trail run. Paved roads the whole way. Actually, this section was like FRESH paved. I’m thinking CIM has some pull as to what roads in the Sacramento Area get priority for repairs. Turns out it was the one push rim participant. Cops on motorcycles are following her with the lights on as she pushes up a hill. I give her the same “you’re my hero” I’ve been giving all the blind runners and guides I’ve been passing for the past 6 miles because they really are. Even the couple pushing the very large wheel chair with a handicapped person (I see one just like it at local races) in it gets a “you’re my hero” because while I’m running fast today they’re actually dealing with not only pushing an extra 150 pounds, but a life I couldn’t handle. No WAY could I have the mental strength to care for someone needing so much care, and fuck yeah I’d be out there in a wheel chair if it was the only way I could do CIM. This shit ain’t easy, and people like those are what make my day seem easy. As I climb the hill after mile 6 I notice there is no 10k timing mat. “weird. I KNOW 2019 had one here. Maybe its’ because that was the Olympic trials and the OTQ requires 5k splits. Eh, maybe another COVID 19 thing and it costs money to have all those timing mats and stuff. Back to 2015 and 2016 when it’s 5k, half, and mile 20 updates. Besides, I don’t have a 10k split so I wouldn’t know what to do with the time. Oddly, right before mile 7 we pass Tempo Park and I laugh.

                     

                    Mile 7-10 (6:42, 6:44, 6:43, 6:41; 15k 1:02:56 6:45/mi average)

                     

                    Mile 7 is another good spectator spot. Ample parking, easy to access. There is an urgent care and a Jack in the Box. Everything you’d need around 7:30 on a Sunday morning. There is also a small concrete divide as you approach the intersection so spectators can stand in the middle of the road. This is literally the only reason I know it was there and I try to avoid it. I’m pretty sure there was a “tap for power” sign here and the person holding it wasn’t really paying attention. Why would they? They’re just holding a sign in a marathon with the words “TAP HERE” on it. Why? Because at 6am my wife text me a phrase from a tv show our kid watches. “For Blazing Speed say BLAZING SPEED.” They’re more concerned with what’s on someone else’s phone. Probably a runner update. Well I tap that sign. I decided in the moment I’m going to tap every single “tap here” sign I see. It literally takes little to no effort. Except this one. I TAPPED that thing with my entire hand and since the sign wasn’t being held flat, because someone wasn’t doing their job and paying attention, I actually pulled it out of their hands which caught the attention of a few people and I feel bad. It wasn’t my intention to rip it out of their hands. I just wanted some power/blazing speed. As I run one way I look back at them and say “I’m sorry. I’m really sorry. I didn’t mean to hit it so hard.” They looked shocked I could run 6:43/mi pace one way, while looking the other way, and apologize for being a dick. I’m actually capable of apologizing when it’s necessary. I also came up with my first strava title. “That time I was such a dad. For blazing speed say blazing speed. If you have toddlers you probably know.” I also think “ah my online friend is going to read this and be so pissed, while also not even shocked. I can see the text right now. ‘YOU’RE TALKING AT 6:45/MI PACE?!?!?! IN A RACE???!’ yeah….traditions and such I guess. Ah that was a good one.

                     

                    At this point I’ve settled into a little bit of a groove. Trying to keep it slower than a 6:38/mi but not much slower than a 6:45 and just checking total time to the 2:58 pace. At one point I’m about a half second per mile ahead of pace and think “well it’s really not THAT much and I’ll slow down towards the finish anyways because I’ll fade. I did negative split this one time. My heart rate is also pretty low and I’m still feeling really good. Oh wait….91. well I’m still cold so yea that makes sense. Watch just hasn’t warmed up or something. It does this. It was just 138. Whatever. I know it’s not 160 because I KNOW what 160 feels like and this isn’t 160.” I’m also in a group of runners who seem to all be doing about the same pace as me. This is where I want to be. Not in a big pace group. In with the other runners who probably run solo, or with one or two other people. It’s much easier to get in and out of aid stations in this small of a pack vs. a pace group while also navigating turns. As I approach the aid station at mile 8.5 there are people lining the streets and someone with a bullhorn is telling runners the order of things. I BELIEVE Gu was at the start of the aid station and they were announcing “Nuun first. Water Second.” Previous aid stations were on both sides of the street (I’m accustomed to right side only) and I pay attention to the runners around me. Since this isn’t a pace group, and the people kind of change between Relay runners, marathon runners and literally who I’m around because I’ve passed people or been passed, I’m not sure who wants what. I stay in the middle for the nuun (fuck that shit and 2015 or 16 when it made my stomach cramp every sip) and and start to move over for water at the second half. With less people it’s easier. Plus there is more available. I grab a cup, fold the top in half, take some sips and toss it when I’m done actively attempting to avoid volunteers, get it into the trash can, and navigate the cups previous runners threw as if they’re banana peels in Mario Kart and they want me to slip AT the aid station…fucking runners. I made it through and while moving back to my rightful spot in the middle of the road trip up a runner ahead of me slightly. He had a higher kick than I anticipated, and I was close than I thought. I FREAK OUT because I could have just ruined someone’s whole day. I put my arms out to catch him because no fucking WAY is this guy going down on my watch because I fucked up. He regains balance and I say “sorry. I’m so sorry. My bad.” I get away from him and tell myself not to get that close to another runner. There is no need. This isn’t the sub 3 group where we’re packed in here. I can back off ONE SECOND and give him some space. This isn’t some NASCAR drafting, professional training team, “we all run in the exact same stride and could run inches apart from each other.” This is CIM. This is also the sub 3 area so don’t fuck it up for someone else.


                    We pass the church handing out Kleenex (facial tissue) and I decide to grab one and blow my nose. I hold it for a bit between volunteers, then throw it to the curb. A few seconds later I see two kids with a trash bag….so they wouldn’t have to spend all day bent over picking up used facial tissue. Fucking idiot. “sorry. I didn’t know you were going to be there.” I actually felt bad in a “you’re kind of a dumbass, you know?” way.

                     

                    Mile 9.95 is at a school. There is an S turn here. It’s downhill. I know this turn well. It means we’re entering a loud cheer section with drummers. I LOVE drummers. I actually forgot to mention there was a group of about 10 drummers in front of a fire station early on in the race on the right hand side that just had this beat going. They were the single drums that lead warriors into war in movies. The big boomers. Just RAPPING away in a rhythm that just had me going. Anyways, entering the town of Fair Oaks on what feels like “Main Street in a small town” there is a small climb, an aid station PACKED with volunteers, elite tables, and the high school band getting ready. I’m not sure why but I fucking LOVE this part of CIM. It’s super short, it had a good number of spectators in the streets cheering runners, it has the marching band along with anyone else who wants to setup and perform for a few hours. It’s just good to me. I’m happy. I know it’s short and leaving is another S curve to another climb, and then a bunch of boring fucking “middle miles” of a marathon through business/industrial area with shitty “not recently paved” roads. Well at least half marathon is coming. I get another snack at half marathon. Exiting town on the right hand side of the road I see another cardboard sign with FREE written on it. It’s a kid’s hoverboard. I find amusement in someone offering a free hoverboard on a marathon course. Reality sets in and they just want it gone. I say “Oh man that would be awesome.” Everyone around me is silent. Probably annoyed. “oh-KAY. it’s the serious crowd.”

                     

                    Miles 11-13.1/half marathon/21k (6:41, 6;40, 6:42/ 1:28/20 6:45/mi average)

                     

                    Since I have been checking GPS pace during the race, and I’ve been checking total time to each mile marker on the course I see I’m speeding up. I’ve gone from 13 seconds ahead to 50 seconds ahead. “What the fuck? How the fuck did I get 50 seconds ahead? Well…5 seconds per mile, 10 miles….would you like a calculator?” Yeah, no I get it, but HOW? Like…really. That’s like 2:57 pace. I did 6:50s when I went 2:59. If I’m almost a minute ahead of that I’m pushing 2:57 with half way to go. Okay, so like 3 seconds per mile to a sub 3. By that I mean I can slow down 3 seconds per mile over the next 15 miles and still be on sub 3 pace. Since at this point I don’t expect what’s about to happen to actually happen. I’m the guy who didn’t think he could break 20 in the 5k and ran 19:34 and said 3:07 was the best. I’m the guy who couldn’t break 40 in the 10k and put together back to back sub 20 5ks and said ‘well yeah but that’s different because 10k.’ I’m fucking one minute AHEAD of 2:58 pace with plenty of time to blow up even though I’m looking at a 140 heart rate and a light breeze. Shit….I bet everyone tracking is having their mind blown right now. We’ll see how we’re doing at half way. I remember in 2016 when I dropped the hammer there and went 3:13. Maybe I should wait until mile 20 or even 23 and see what’s left with 5k to go. 13 miles is a long ways to go, and I have 3 miles to get there.

                     

                    Through these “bullshit middle miles”, and specifically right after the mile 11 beep there is an excellent fence to urinate next to. I’ll never forget seeing a runner stop there, then pass me shortly after. This year they put up a port-o-potty. Neighbor probably complained enough. Runner comes out, and takes off. It’s a downhill, then a rolling uphill and I’m just doing what I do. Don’t drop speed on the uphills, then see 6:37/mi on the downhill and back off. It helps me get around a lot of runners. No one likes running uphill. Fuck uphill running. Uphill running should be banned. I look ahead, and confirm on the watch mile 12 is coming. 6 miles, gel, 44 minutes. Caffinated gel time. Plus there is an aid station so if I take my gel here I don’t have to shotgun slam it. I can chew on it a bit. So I reach into my left pocket, since like a sane person I sorted my gels by caffeinated and decaffeinated, and start eating it. Fold up the used wrapper starting with the open end first, so it doesn’t leak/ooze out remaining expensive gel goop, and place it back into my pocket. I imagine how much of a nerd I must look like carrying my trash with me to the finish, but also folding up this gel packet 5 or 6 times to make sure it’s as compact as I can get it while running PR marathon pace and stuffing it into my pocket all nonchalantly. I’m like the Grey Poupon guy with a napkin to wipe the corners of my mouth post gel chew fest. Well THAT made the stomach ache go away for a bit. Slightly reminiscent of 2019 final miles when I’m negotiating with the stomach and just giving it a gel to shut it the fuck up for literally 15 minutes like a kid throwing a fit on the way to a family dinner because they’re hungry. Good times. Never going to forget it. Fucking sucked. Thankfully, the feeling of vomiting hasn’t come up yet, and the stomach that I’m thinking is filled with little kid germs is at least happy if I feed it. Please hold on. Please. Mile 12 aid station was uneventful and I’m continually happy with my choice to start ahead of the sub 3 group and go for it. Yeah I’m still cold, and maybe that’s why my heart rate has been under 150 this whole time. I’m also wearing a tank top in 45 degrees and 95% humidity in December. Like, what did you expect?

                     

                    Coming up to mile 13 I start thinking about 2016 when I passed a pace group and one guy running literally scraped his foot on the street every step. Only his left foot too. It distracted me from all the business/industrial area I was running in and reminds me the half marathon left hand turn is coming. It’s also where I catch up to a group of female runners running elbow to elbow across the entire course. It is the weirdest thing to me for a few reasons. One, why the fuck are you taking up the ENTIRE fucking course? I get it there are two other lanes to the left we could use to get around you, but what the fuck? Is this how you trained? Why don’t you get in a pack and draft each other and change up who leads? Wouldn’t that be a little more efficient? Also, move the fuck over. You don’t own the fucking road and you’re kinda being a bitch making us move so you can run elbow to elbow. Yay team, but also there are other people here too. This is just the weirdest thing I’ve seen runners do in a marathon. Run elbow to elbow as if they’re going to hold hands crossing the finish line or get the most epic running photo of the whole group and be featured on some CIM social media post. Three or four of them are wearing orange tank tops (I refuse to call them a singlet because a singlet is for wrestling, plus they were more like sports bras) and one or two have other various colored tops with what appears to be some kind of club written on it. I can’t really make it out, I don’t really try, and I notice there is a random guy playing music from a parking lot al by himself with a DJ setup. I mean….I guess it’s good practice performing in public. I appreciate the music as a fan, I’m not really going to judge you because I can’t really stop and chat, and you get to do your thing. Keep on keepin on man.


                    As I approach them I have some MORE thoughts come into mind. One, I’m breathing REALLY loudly. I’d be annoyed as fuck if some asshole caught me then wouldn’t go around me and was just HUUUUUHHH! HUUUUH! HUUUUH! Every other second. I check up my breathing and relax it. It actually feels better and almost like I was wasting energy breathing so loudly/hard. Two, I don’t want to get too close because I don’t want to trip them up. If they’re doing the relay the exchange is coming. If they’re doing the full I’m not doing THAT again, and they’re also female so I really don’t want to be “that guy” who gets super close and makes it awkward. I’m not out here to hit on anyone, while at the same time I’m sure they’d appreciate some respect on race day. Plus they’re isn’t a need to draft. I kind of pick a spot between two of them and just hang out here so I don’t trip them, and don’t make it seem like I’m trying to check out their ass for a few miles. They’re also LOCKED into a 6:40-42/mi pace. I could roll with this for a while. Good little group working together. I’ll be a self-proclaimed honorary member of the team and should they take me to the finish line I’ll thank them for their help. Just don’t make it weird. It’s just running.

                     

                    As we run through the relay exchange point the race has volunteers announcing “marathon on the left, relay on the right” as well as multiple signs. The relay exchange, and easy access to parking makes this another BIG spectator spot. I’m pretty sure spectators line a half mile of the course here just cheering runners. I’m looking for a “somewhat local to me” ultra runner spectating but with the number of people here I know it’s a SLIM chance of seeing him. Maybe if he has the dog, but even then…nah didn’t see him. The girls ahead of me stay with it. A couple other “coaches” run along side the course to cheer on their friends/family and signs such as “only a half marathon to go” line the streets. No “tap here for power” and I’m feeling good after the other tap. I got these girls to lock in with and go for a while. Hopefully they don’t decided to drop the hammer any time soon and drop me. I’m now looking for the Burger King on the right hand side. Because ironically I noticed it in 2019 and it’s burned into my head as a funny “oh yeah I need some food right now. Might want to stop.” It’s actually a McDonalds and I feel confused when I see it. I’m also remembering 2016 when I decided to speed up at halfway because one of my online friends doubted me, while also remembering 2019 thinking “I thought the course was downhill at half way. What the fuck is with these hills?” I cross the half marathon 1 minute ahead of 2:58 pace. “okay, so like 4 seconds per mile. What the fuck? Let’s wait until 20 and see how we feel then. Long way to go and we’re only halfway there. Maybe after the bridge when it’s pancake flat, or the last 5k. Figure it out later.”

                     

                    Miles 14-22, and across the bridge to “The Final 4” (6:40, 6:42, 6:39, 6:39, 6:36, 6:36, 6:40, 6:38; 30k 2:05:14 official,)


                    For most of this part of the run I stay focused on pace, and hanging with the girls. There are a few people I’m going back and forth with, hitting aid stations perfectly where I’d grab a cup, fold it in half, drink what I could and toss it without hitting a volunteer. A few times the group would get stuck behind some slower runners, I’d charge through the blockage hitting a 6:37/mi pace uphill, create some distance between me and the group, then slow back down to race pace. No need to be running 6:37/mi pace with so much to go. It seemed like every time I’d surge past a blockage at an aid station the girls would come with me as I slowed down to get back on pace.

                    Mile 16 is an S curve and I’m wondering why everyone is staying on the right hand side of the road. Screw that I’m hitting tangents. I look ahead up the hill to the masses ahead of me. It kind of reminds me of Chicago. There are just runners everywhere. If I’m passing people I don’t recognize it because I’ve just gotten into a groove with these girls, and one other, along with a guy who has his mask wrapped around his forearm. “wtf? Dude runs with his mask like we’re going to need it at the finish? Did I miss something, or do I just not run places requiring masks often enough? Seriously, we’re all negative or vaccinated. Must be a California thing.” In running with these girls for as long as I have I notice one has a tattoo. “ah that must be the one I saw at halfway. She must have caught up or something. Some guys passing us say ‘oh wow, you all have the same tattoo.” They reply with “yeah, we’re on the same team” (or group. I can’t remember right now). I think it’s kind of an awkward pickup line, because past marathon reports have shown how men can actually try to hit on women during a race, and I spout off “Oh I thought you all were just 90s wrestling fans” throw up the Wolf Pack hand gesture with both hands, which brings a chuckle out of all three including the blonde girl who was fucking LASER FOCUSED on racing, and then say “or North Carolina State fans.” I guess they don’t follow college sports with their red and black Wolf Pack tattoos. Again, I’m thinking “yeaaaahhh…..talking at marathon race pace and it’s even faster this time. Whatever.” I mean, if I’m going to run with these girls as a tiny pace group I’m going to have to get comfortable. A little later they have some people cheering for them by their name, and a coach on a bike is encouraging them. I say “wow y’all are popular.’ Yeah, we’re kinda local. “shit you’re like one step from having your last name on your bibs.” The super serious blond haired girl laughs. ‘GOTCHA! Aight you’re having fun now.” I think as we’re running. This girl was LOCKED into pace. I’m thinking she is the ring leader and the rock for these other two girls.

                     

                    Along the course there is a DJ playing Linkin Park’s Bleed It Out. I party dance while running (hand gestures of bleeding from the chest, digging with a shovel, and throwing something like a water bottle or gel I don’t want anymore) and it keeps me going and keeps the energy high. I’m here doing 6:42/mi pace with 8 to go. Lunch run. About an hour to go. I glance at the watch to try and figure out what official time that would be but can’t really figure it all out because GPS miles, plus course distance, and adding one is hard. And then it happens. The one thing I’d NEVER expect to happen, that I SHOULD have control over and there is absolutely NO explanation for occurring at this point. After all this training, practice, gels, shoes, hotels blah blah blah. LOW BATTERY. WHAT THE FUCK? LOW FUCKING BATTERY? HOW? This thing was fucking fully charged. It isn’t even going to last 3 hours. Well, shit. I can either hang with those girls, who are starting to pull away and might be planning a faster 10k finish, hang with this other girl I’ve yoyo’d with all day, or pull out my phone and start recording it on Strava. LITERALLY no one will be shocked if I post two runs on Strava, with one of them being less than 8 miles. I’ve text. I’ve called. I’ve ordered Chipotle. I’ve done a LOT of things with my phone while running something other than easy pace. No one who knows me would be shocked to discover I pulled my phone out to record a run. “but what if it’s in walk mode? How am I going to know pace? Fuck. Umm. Fuck. Figure it out. Just roll with it. See what happens. Slam another non-caffinated gel at mile 18 and keep rolling. Check the time and I’m just over 2 hours for mile 18. I’m still ahead of a 2:58 and a 2:56 is becoming a real possibility. I just need to get to mile 20 and see how it’s going. Stomach has held on this long but there is a lot more to go with 8 miles. Simple lunch run. By “lunch run” I mean “The Ocho” which is an 8 mile loop I did for 2019 CIM very frequently and it ALWAYS brought out some extra gear to push harder on an easy run. I’m also at a spot where in 2016 I came up to two runners chatting and thought “the fuck? They’re just chatting away at my race pace? HOLY SHIT!” Back then I was chasing a sub 3:20 and asked them what they were going for. They politely told me I was way ahead of them, and I needed to “go chase her” (female Impala runner from the San Francisco Bay Area) which I did on my way to a 3:13. This spot holds some memories. They’re all coming back.

                     

                    I keep seeing these 6:40 miles and keep telling myself there is a lot to go. When 6:36 comes up across the screen of my watch telling me it has a low battery I have to slow down consciously. At this speed it’s really hard to figure out what 4 seconds feels like, while controlling the breathing, and not focusing on how screwed I am as soon as my watch dies. I chalk it up to the panic of everything, combined with good memories, and knowing mile 20 is coming. “The Wall” I remember seeing the first time. I actually took a photo of it, I think in 2016, as I ran by it. I remember seeing a social media post of a guy plastered on it saying how he “hit the wall” and do an overall check of how things are going. Some people are fading, some are passing or starting their final surge. I’m hanging on. I don’t feel like a 10k kick is in me right now and 6:40/mi pace is working. I’m ahead of 2:58 on my way to another sub 3, but 6.25 miles is a LONG WAY TO GO from here. A LOT can happen in these final miles. Lets just get to the bridge. In 2019 it was starting to rain when we got here, and thankfully the trees made coverage better that year. This year it is crowds, runners, and excitement. Right before the aid station at mile 20 I see two women sitting on a brick wall looking at the runners. They have a sign with “it’s great to be running marathons again” written on it and I point right at it, look at them and say “it really is.” I’m so in love with this race and it’s so perfectly time to remember a time when racing wasn’t allowed. Shortly after this I see a “tap here for power” sign. I missed one before so I GOTTA get this one. Two choices though, and the kid holding it is totally ready. Star on the left. Mushroom on the right. Mushroom makes me twice as big, but the star can run through everything. I take the start and start singing “DUN DUN DUN DAH NUH NUH DAH NUH NUH NUH NUH DUN DUN DUN DA NUH NUH DAH NUH NUH NUH NUH.” I made it through two verses before I had to bottle up the star power. Star power doesn’t last forever and if you use it all up at the beginning because you’re excited you’re going to regret it.

                     

                    Approaching the bridge there is a sweeping left hand turn. Runners are spread all over. I’m pretty sure it’s a mix of relay runners, friends/family, and marathon runners. I just keep following the same girl I had yoyo’d with since the girls in orange took off. I see them ahead in the distance but they’re too far for me to use as a pacer. I consider asking this woman what her pace is, and if she would mind running with me to the finish because my watch is about to die. I decide not to because it’s kind of an awkward spot to put her in, and I can just dig. The only problem is if SHE fades, then I fade, and I think I’m on pace for a when I’m really just losing time. I can see the bridge, and as I start to climb it I just look down. I always look down. Going up the bridge I start to think “shit, this is a lot steeper than I remember. This is worse than the one in Chicago everyone kind of jokes about.” Since I know there is a camera man on the far end of the bridge I try to put on a good face. Underneath the bridge there is USUALLY a bunch of people screaming and yelling for runners. This year it was two drummers and they seemed to be warming up. Snare drums and a big bass drum just rapping out random beats that keep me going. I see the photographer and give it my best “I’m feeling good at this point” face.

                     

                    Mile 22-24 (6:38, 6:43, 6:43)

                     

                    “okay. 4 to go. Maybe wait until 5k to put in a kick. This is too far to try and speed up, and I won’t really be able to tell the pace I’m actually running. Pancake flat to the finish, A left, a right, under the bridge, a left, the capitol building, two left hand turns and the finish. Just make it to the capitol.” The streets at this point are two lanes, lined with runners slowing down, stopping, taking off, or just hanging in. I’ve seen runners sitting on the curb with their heads in their hands and wondered “why the fuck would you just stop in a marathon?” I know why. I know exactly why. I’ve done it. It fucking sucks. Just hang on. Remember 2019 when you had stomach problems at 40k? we have a long way to go to 40k. Just hang with this girl. Except, now it’s not just this girl. It is as if a new pack has formed and we’re all excited about the possibility of this being over soon. We’re in the final 4 miles of a marathon so now is the time to start going for it. It’s a bunch of random houses, businesses and trees. The streets are narrow and I’m thinking “people actually run here? There area a lot of blocks. This would suck.” I’m also noticing the aid stations are practically every mile, and I’ve decided I’m not taking anything else. I know there is a bar coming up on the right hand side and I think they offered free booze to runners one year I ran this. I have been told the streets are numbered and the painful thing is counting them down because if you’re having a bad day it will make everything worse. Just run. Just hang with this girl and run. You pretty much have a sub-3 if you hang on and keep running. Then before I know it I can’t. The pace is saying 7:15s. “umm what? We can give the course some time but not THAT much time. Especially with this much left to go.” Then it gets worse. The legs just won’t move. “noNONNOOONONNO!” SHIT! THIS is what people mean when they say they just couldn’t go faster. There is literally no reason not to be going faster. The legs just won’t GO faster. Shit. Not now. Two miles. 15 miles. Literally 15 minutes left. Not right now. 2:56 is there if you want it, but you have to WANT it. It’s not a gimmie. You’re going to have to earn it. Four guys go SMOKING past me. “LATCH ON TO THAT! COME ON. LET’S FUCKING GO!” Kick it into gear. Get up on the balls of the feet. You practiced this with the super shoes. If you’re on the balls of your feet you’ll get more spring, and you can do this. Come on! 2:57. LETS GO!

                     

                    Somehow, from somewhere, I find the strength to ignore everything telling me it’s good enough. Marathon Scott won’t accept good enough. Marathon Scott wants everything you got, and wants you to know you gave it everything you got. I don’t have 5k or 10k PR pace right now, but I gotta have 6:41 or at least 6:45/mi pace in me.

                     

                    Mile 25 to the finish (6:43, 6:48, 2:10; 40k 2:46:55 official)

                     

                    The bank is here. Okay. It’s a left, a right, the bridge, and then the capitol building. Just get to the capitol building. It’s much closer to the finish than you think because last time you saw it you thought it was far away and then the race was over. Just get to the capitol building. I clear the left hand turn making sure not to hit the curb, cause someone else to fall, slip on the non-existant leaves in the gutter, and cut the tangent to the right hand turn. Again, avoid other people and any kind of hazard possible because fuck that shit right now.

                    Under the bridge there is another DJ. He yells “where are my hip hop fans” and I wanted to say “right here” but literally my only focus at this point is getting to the capitol building. Sorry man, I’ll chat some other time. Besides, this bridge messes with everyone’s GPS. It always looks funny on strava. It’s like a bunch of Zs and Ws. What that has to do with running a marathon I have no idea, but it pops into my mind as I’m looking for the capitol building. Except it isn’t there. I thought it was right there. It’s supposed to be right there. I’m not sure how much longer I can hold this pace, but I can’t burn out now. 2:56 is right there and you’re going to have to earn it. Mile 25 hits. I look at the total time and know it’s a sub 2:58 unless something major happens. One mile. Well actually more than that so like 10 minutes. Just hang on. Look at those runners ahead and go get them. Don’t let them pull away. FUCK! THE CAPITOL BUILDING! I can see it out of the corner of my eye which means I’m close. 800 meter sign. “Fuck. Three twenty. Three twenty and we’re done. Wait… what the fuck is that? They put a fucking BARRIER in the middle of the fucking course? WHAT THE FUCK?” It’s for spectators to cross the road. The volunteers are chatting about something, I assume it’s about when to let people cross the road because it really is a long walk around and out of the way just to cross this street, and I think “yeah, fat fucking chance of crossing THIS street for a while.” I’m looking for the 400m sign. I don’t see it. I see the first of the two left hand turns. FUCK….okay don’t slip. Remember that time there was a bunch of leaves? Look for them.

                    Hit the first left, remember the crowds from when I ran 3:23, and have a runner to go with. We’re CHARGING to the finish line. I give him space, take the inside (high/low from my BMX days) and nail what Garmins says is a 5:59/mi pace for a brief moment because the timer above the finish line says 2:55Tight lippedx. “HOLY SHIT I GOTTA GO NOW!” fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucckkkk. Stop the watch, check the time. 2:56:10…..the fuck? Ummm.

                     

                    I reach into my pocket to grab my phone for a few reasons. Number 1 being to check on how other friends are doing today, and another is to see how many text messages I’m about to receive. “oh yeah, I put it in airplane mode so I wouldn’t get text messages during the race. THAT would have been fun to deal with around mile 18 when the watch wanted to die. I load my run, pick my Strava title completely forgetting “that time I was totally a dad” and read my wife’s text message. “that was really fast.” “3 minute PR.” I wait around for the first friend to cross, but he hasn’t crossed, and the timing says 3:02. “Hmm…must have missed him.” I walk around looking for him, call him and leave a message. All I know is he’d be the guy in the blue zip up hoodie that says CIM on the back…that all finishers are being handed. Fuck it. He has my number. I’m going to grab my drop bag because maybe he is over there, and I kinda want to change. I think they have a changing tent (they don’t.) I walk over to ring the bell because I wanted to ring that bell for so long I’m ringing it every time. I’ve earned it. I bump into a guy I spent a bunch of Sunday’s running with and I’m shocked when he tells me he finished 3:02. Apparently his wife saw me a few times, so I check their signs, and I don’t recognize them. Check in with a few other friends before realizing I have about 15 minutes to walk 1/3 mile to check out of my hotel. Good thing I dumped everything in the truck because I’m pushing that 11am check out time to the max. I walk back feeling physically great. I’m not as destroyed as I would have expected and I’m remembering all the marathons where I WAS destroyed and COULDN’T walk after. It’s no sprint, and I already walk slow, but the goal is just to get to the truck. If they want to charge me another $426 for 15 minutes that’s bullshit. I HOPE they’d take pitty on a person who literally just ran a marathon. They did and I PROBABLY could have asked to take a shower before leaving, but I just want to go home. CIM is in the books. My post-race 45-60 minute hot bath/nap will NOT be happening this year. It’s probably better because with no adult supervision I’d probably drown.

                     

                    As I leave the hotel I use my cell phone to give me directions. I have Google Maps, and apple maps. Amazingly Google Maps actually has an iphone app. Both maps tell me to cross J street to get to the freeway. I, being a dumbass, follow the directions towards J street and realize my stupidity as soon as I turn towards J street. J Street is blocked until about 3 or 4pm Sunday December 5, 2021. There is an event going on. I was a participant in that event so you’d THINK I know the street was blocked. “ fucking runners. Blocking the whole damn street for your stupid parade. I mean, TECHNICALLY I’m a participant so I should be allowed on course, right? Do I get a free pass because I’m part of the reason the streets are closed? Aaaahhhhhh I wouldn’t do that to another runner.” Hit the freeway, head for home and get a call from my buddy. It rips my heart out because he tells me he had a bad day.


                    Back home my kid isn’t interested in my medal. He’s happy I’m home, and ready to go to grandpa’s house for a birthday celebration for him. Literally no one at dinner really cares that I ran a marathon, and I’m moving around more than the average person would expect someone who just ran a marathon to move. Oddly, I’ve lost my voice and I sound like the coach of any kids athletic team who spent all Sunday yelling at the kids. My voice sounds like my body should feel at this point.

                     

                    Somewhere along the course there was a sign I won’t forget. It looked like the 1960s “VOTE HERE” signs with the red, white and blue coloring and red and blue bars. It said “Let’s go Brandon Runners” and something else below it. From a distance I’m thinking “ah, funny time to be named brandon” and as I get closer I saw Brandon was crossed out in a single line sharpie. I told the woman “I like it” because it was like a 2021 version of “you’re running better than the government.” The phrase “lets go Brandon” has been labeled as a chant actually meaning “fuck Joe Biden” so it’s good to know politics don’t stay away from marathons. This one was just creative to me and stuck out. Just like the FREE BEER sign.


                    What worked:

                    1. LOTS of self doubt. Literally the entire training cycle was filled with self doubt and finding flaws in my running anywhere I could find them. I missed too many runs, training wasn’t the full 18 weeks, races didn’t say I could break 3 hours. It kept me going and the body just wanted to prove the mind wrong. Even when I had positive encouragement from people around me I probably took what they said and absorbed it just enough to get through the next hard run which then seemed to bring in more self doubt.
                    2. Gels every 6 miles organized out by type, and drinking early and often. Perfect for me at CIM because of the number of aid stations. It’s simple math too. Knowing caffeinated was on the left, and decaf was on the right I didn’t have to think about things. Since they’re all the same non-flavor there isn’t the “eww not what I wanted” regret in a race. Staying on top of hydration probably helped digest the gels and avoid some type of bonk due to living in the desert and racing in 90-100% humidity.
                    3. Superstitions and old habits. If wearing orange didn’t make me faster I wouldn’t wear orange. If Chipotle wasn’t so beneficial I wouldn’t keep eating it. Doing a short warm up to make sure all systems are go for lauch. Tapping for power signs only work if you believe in them otherwise they’re fake. Like Santa and Tax Returns. Not stepping on cracks in the road. Yes I’m serious about the last one. If I don’t see the crack then I can’t step on it thus not breaking my mother’s back.
                    4. Super shoes. I absolutely believe these shoes helped. Not only with picking up the pace at mile 24, but also keeping the pace the entire time. This might be a supersitition though since I’ve never NOT run a sub 3 without super shoes, and I’ve never tried because why risk it when I know it works, right? Shoes are kind of important for a race, and what else am I going to spend money on? Jeep parts make $220 shoes look cheap.
                    5. Not knowing what I was doing, while still having some rules to follow. With a 6:45/mi training run I bracketed this race as a 6:40-6:50/mi pace. Without this bracket I could have been running 6:35 because downhill + weather + low heart rate and bonked at mile 21. Running controlled downhill, and uphill with gels mapped out and a pace band for reference really helped this race go perfectly. Knowing what heart rate is a danger zone, and having paid a lot of attention to my training run over the years made this probably as close to “run by feel” as I will ever get. Even if it had a goal of “sub-3” I made up the pace in the race because of what I saw and felt on race day. It was like 2016 all over again where I got so far ahead of the goal everything was a bonus and all I had to do was “just run.”
                    6. Aiming for 70 miles a week and Hansons training plan. 70 miles just seems to force me to go run. It probably helped with endurance, along with training on tired legs. I did a few 20s (I HATE 20s, and Hansons doesn’t put them in their cycle) this cycle and those contributed to the 70 mile weeks. I wasn’t able to stick to the schedule as much as I possibly could like in 2019. Life has changed. Still, aiming for the 70 miles got me off the couch and serious about running.
                    7. Being a dad and making marathon training work around life. 4:30-5am long runs allowed me to have more time with the family. After a 2-3 hour long run I had a full day of dad activities. Parks, grocery shopping, museums, walks, whatever. I didn’t have the option to recover on the couch like I did years ago, and I think this forced the body to acclimate to long term pain. I think it helped build up some more “dad strength” because kids don’t care you just ran for 3 hours.
                    8. Avoiding the pace group as much as possible. It felt hard to get away from them in the beginning, and as soon as I was free of them the race just came together. Aid stations were smooth. People grouped up and seemed to work together more, or were at least conscious of “I’m not the most important person on the course.” I believe the “organic pace group” I worked with were better than the actual ones.
                    9. Marathon Scott. He’s a bad mother fucker. He is most likely the reason I ran a negative split. 1:28:20 (88:20 International Units) first half. 1:27:43 (87:43 International Units).


                    So what DIDN’T work?

                     

                    Besides the alarm clock in the hotel…

                    1. running without gloves. My hands were cold the ENTIRE race. I cannot stand cold hands and I wished I would have brought my thin gloves just to keep the chill off the hands. It wasn’t painfully cold. It was just “OH WOW! You have cold hands.” For three hours.
                      Storing my fifth gel in my back pocket. Somewhere between miles 20 and 22 I grabbed the 5th gel. It was in a pocket with the truck keys, hotel key, credit card, and my license. I had to open the back pocket with so much concern as to not lose anything. Even while doing it I thought it was a stupid idea and I either should have shoved 3 in one pocket, or just held the first gel for 6 miles. I can run with a water bottle for that long so I don’t know why I thought putting a gel in the back pocket was a good idea.
                    2. Waiting very long to book a hotel. Worst decision of my life when I could have canceled the reservation, and I knew I was running the race. Poor decision.
                    3. Staying in Sacramento. If I do this again I’ll stay in Folsom. Even if my wife comes with me Sacramento has parking garages you can pay for a spot ahead of time. The race announced shuttles were going back to the hotel starting at 11 or 11:30 (it was around the time I was walking back to the hotel) and parking for my truck is a million times easier. Plus they offer a late check out, and typically have a “Stay in Folsom” tent at the start. This would be nice for the years it is colder. Folsom is also easier to get on the freeway, and closer to home. I could have done my normal post-race routine and left around the same time. I lollygagged at a non-running friends house post-CIM.
                    4. COVID 19 measures. By this I mean cutting out the drop bags at the start. Thankfully it was perfect weather. Typically it is much colder, or raining, so having no option to drop gear at the start sucked. It didn’t lower the price of anything, and everyone had to be negative or vaccinated so I just think CIM was cutting costs to save money. People still walked around with masks on so mandating the vaccine or negative test didn’t stop people from doing whatever they would do. It also screwed up my hotel because literally nothing was available for breakfast. They can’t even provide plastic utensils or salt and pepper packets “due to covid 19.” With how many spectators were at the finish who WEREN’T required to provide any sort of COVID 19 ANYTHING it just looks like California isn’t ready to move past 2020. Oddly, California is bringing back a mask mandate for all people indoors because they have the Omicron variant, along with rising cases. Not a single article has been written about the marathon contributing anything to the spread which obviously means I can’t say it didn’t NOT spread the virus. I can just say “due to covid 19” a lot of services weren’t offered and thankfully I could ride a bus with a stranger for 30 minutes without a mask on followed by exercising with people I’ve never met for an hour or two in close proximity.

                    So now what?
                    Take some time away from the marathon. Every time I complete a marathon and get the following weeks to re-enter life I see some of the things I’ve been missing, as well as the sacrifices my wife makes for me to do these things. I was fortunate enough to get almost all of my training done during the week without any impact on my family life. I don't think this will happen ever again, unless of course I'm allowed to work from home long term. I don’t think I’m officially done with the marathon. It’s a love/hate relationship and (apparently) I love the hate. I might just put it on hold and go after a half marathon NYC attempt, or try to PR some other distance. I've already PR'd the 5k, 10k, and technically the 13.1 (twice, in the same race.) so maybe I'll move into other events, take up pacing more, or just run for the fun of it. There is always that March Leprechaun Chase I can train for, and a POSSIBILITY I could figure out how to get into the NYC marathon 2023 with a time qualifier. Boston, AND New York, in the SAME YEAR?!?!?!?! Not bad for a guy who said he'd never run a marathon after his first half marathon.

                    Many of us aren't sure what the hell point you are trying to make and no matter how we guess, it always seems to be something else. Which usually means a person is doing it on purpose.

                    VDOT 54.9

                    5k19:35 | Marathon 2:56:07

                    SteveChCh


                    Hot Weather Complainer

                      Holy shit, this sets a new standard for race reports although you did have 2 weeks to do it....I've gotten through the pre-race and will work through the race during the rest of the day.

                       

                      One note - those f**king hotel car parks with concrete beams/poles in already tiny spaces are a bug bear of mine.  Last time in Auckland my partner spent 15 mins helping me navigate the carpark with very little to spare.

                       

                      Looking forward to living every minute of the race!

                      Net Downhill PB Southern Lakes Half Marathon 2022 1:27:32, Flat Course PB Christchurch 2016 1:29.25

                      Recent Races:   Southern Lakes Half Marathon 1:27:32 May 7, 2022, Motorway 10km 40:49 February 27, 2022, Selwyn Running Festival Half-Marathon 1:29:32  November 7, 2021

                      Race plan:  Melbourne Marathon October 2, 2022.  Queenstown Half Marathon November 19, 2022

                      Running Problem


                      Problem Child

                        Holy shit, this sets a new standard for race reports although you did have 2 weeks to do it....I've gotten through the pre-race and will work through the race during the rest of the day.

                         

                        One note - those f**king hotel car parks with concrete beams/poles in already tiny spaces are a bug bear of mine.  Last time in Auckland my partner spent 15 mins helping me navigate the carpark with very little to spare.

                         

                        Looking forward to living every minute of the race!

                         

                        It was actually only three days, and I’m pretty sure I got through the half marathon in 6 hours. I just let it sit and lost some motivation to finish which makes the story suffer. 

                        as for the concrete post in parking lots…ironic.

                         

                        wdit: my supervisors actually tell me I need to pay better attention to detail. They obviously haven’t seen my race stories, or given me freedom to do my own thing because they’ve only been shown work with ‘continually needing correction because the same errors keep coming up.’

                        Many of us aren't sure what the hell point you are trying to make and no matter how we guess, it always seems to be something else. Which usually means a person is doing it on purpose.

                        VDOT 54.9

                        5k19:35 | Marathon 2:56:07

                        Marky_Mark_17


                          RP - that was epic.  An actual epic, not like the way the kids today use the word "epic".

                           

                          I also got the Blaze and the Monster Machines reference.  And what the hell, you didn't fully charge your watch the day before the race?  That's near the top of my race-prep list.  It's quite a long list.

                           

                          I feel like Marathon Scott and Chuck Norris would get along well.

                          3,000m: 9:07.7 (Nov-21) | 5,000m: 15:39 (Dec-19) | 10,000m: 32:34 (Mar-20)  

                          10km: 33:15 (Sep-19) | HM: 1:09:41 (May-21)* | FM: 2:41:41 (Oct-20)

                          * Net downhill course

                          Last race: Southern Lakes HM, 7 May, 1:12:42 (May-22)

                          Up next: Auckland 10km Road Champs, 21 August

                          "CONSISTENCY IS KING"

                          JMac11


                          I spilled the milk

                            RP - I am very excited to read your report. I think tomorrow night over a couple of beers will suffice 

                            5K: 16:37 (11/20)  |  10K: 34:49 (10/19)  |  HM: 1:14:57 (5/22)  |  FM: 2:36:31 (12/19) 

                             

                            Next Race: Grete's Great Gallop 10K (8/27)

                            Running Problem


                            Problem Child

                              RP - that was epic.  An actual epic, not like the way the kids today use the word "epic".

                               

                              I also got the Blaze and the Monster Machines reference.  And what the hell, you didn't fully charge your watch the day before the race?  That's near the top of my race-prep list.  It's quite a long list.

                               

                              I feel like Marathon Scott and Chuck Norris would get along well.

                               

                              I DID! I actually commented to CommanderKeen about "gotta make sure the watch is 100%. It will probably only use like 40% but I made sure it was charged." I think it's actually going bad due to short charges after this training cycle. I'd charge it if it was at 30-40% because I didn't want it to die during a workout, and I think it just did the whole "battery memory" thing where short charges kill the battery life. I charged it Sunday. I've used it for 2:03:27 of running, and it looks like it is at 20%. I might be buying a new one soon.

                               

                              Marathon Scott would respect Chuck Norris while also knowing he'd go to within inches of death in a fight, as would Chuck, and thus mutual respect would negate such an epic battle ever needing to occur. "You wanna roll? Let's roll, but don't go there unless you're willing to go there."

                               

                              JMac I don't think you need any beers. I actually think you should cut BACK on the beers until training actually starts and you're healed up. You're getting older and the body doesn't recover like it did when you were 30. Those beers are the equivalent of running in the dead zone. Plus the last thing YOU need is extra pounds. You sandbag enough without having an excuse like "I haven't recovered after being hungover last month."

                              I will say I was thinking about you during the race a fair amount. I forget where but there were at least two points I was specifically thinking of you getting updates on my splits and wishing I could see your reaction.

                               

                              EDIT: CIM is now $155. The $140 re-run is sold out.

                              Many of us aren't sure what the hell point you are trying to make and no matter how we guess, it always seems to be something else. Which usually means a person is doing it on purpose.

                              VDOT 54.9

                              5k19:35 | Marathon 2:56:07

                              Mikkey


                              Elite Jogger

                                Your marathon is only a 73% though. We'll miss you next year then

                                 

                                Goodnight John-Boy, goodnight Elizabeth, goodnight Jim Bob, goodnight Flávio.

                                5k - 17:53 (4/19)   10k - 37:53 (11/18)   Half - 1:23:18 (4/19)   Full - 2:50:43 (4/19)