California International Marathon Recap

Okay. You ready for a thorough race recap???

Well, too bad. I’m going to give it anyways.

The day before the race, I went up to Sacramento with a Running Addict friend, Cynthia. We got to the hotel room first and I got super excited about how swanky it was (Hyatt in Downtown. Super swank).


Here’s Cynthia in our room… casually standing in the corner, hehe:


We picked up our race bibs at the expo and were kind of sad that there really wasn’t much swag. Not to worry, we ate a bunch of samples at the Clif Bar booth:


For dinner, we met up with four other Running Addicts (just one block from our hotel. Love how I didn’t have to drive!).


The dinner conversation was naturally all about running, racing, and I got to learn a lot from some super fast runners (we’re talking 2:50-something, 3:15ish PRs). We were all pretty optimistic about raceday and meeting our goal times (but as you know, we would get totally pwned, haha).

I ordered a Margherita pizza. It was a little soggy in the middle, but whatevs. I ate about half of it because I got super full off the bread.


We went to bed around 10:00pm and Cynthia fell asleep mid-conversation (I’M SO JEALOUS… and perhaps my answer to her question was too boring that she passed out).

Fast forward to 3:55am and the alarm goes off. We start prepping some coffee right away. I used this stuff, similar to Vaseline, to rub on places that could possibly blister and chafe. I put it all over the soles of my feet, between my toes, sports bra line, rear pocket seams, yadayada.

Last year, I double-socked it with compression socks and normal thick ones. This year, with my PureFlows, I decided to just try with only the compression socks. I had a throwaway jacket and a garbage bag to keep me somewhat dry. I brought 4 GU’s with me, just in case. They were all flavors that I liked.

By 5:00am, we were out the door and in a bus, which departed around 5:15am? We got to the starting point in Folsom around 6:00am where it was raining heavily with high wind. I’ve never wanted to linger in a porta-potty before… but it was nice and dry in there… shelter through the storm. Anyways, like I mentioned in my previous post, coffee didn’t work its magic. I knew today’s race was going to be kind of sucky from that point.

The race pretty much started on time (7:00am) and I wanted to keep it conservative for the first few miles. That I did: (Miles 1-5) 9:02, 8:32, 8:13, 8:31, 8:20. (Peanut butter GU a little after mile 5).

Actually, at mile 3, my right ITB started tightening up. I knew from that point that this was just going to be an “easy” marathon… I would go at an easy pace for as long as I could and walk when my form started altering from the tightness.

It was weird because I never heard the beeps from the Garmin, so I actually didn’t know my mile times. I decided not to look at it much when I knew I wouldn’t PR. I just ran at a comfortable pace: (Miles 6-10): 8:29, 8:26, 8:40, 8:30, 8:18. (another Peanut Butter GU a bit after mile 10)

Now remember, during all of this, I am stepping in to giant puddles, getting whipped by stinging rain (<–wimp), and the gusts of wind make me lose my breath and I panic. My ITB is getting more and more tight, but I keep on going at a comfortable pace. Miles 11-15: 8:31, 8:21, 8:26, 8:25, 8:44. (Espresso Love GU after mile 15. Actually, I never tried it before and it was kind of gross, haha).

By now, we are supposedly over all the hills, but there are certainly gentle rollers throughout the whole course. I try to just maintain a steady pace but I have stop completely on the side of the road to adjust my right sock because I was feeling a hotspot. Miles 16-19: 8:39, 8:32, 8:47, 8:35. 

Now, if you own a Garmin and run a race, you can see exactly where things start to fall apart in a marathon. Mile 20 was when my form turned into hobbling because of the right knee and I had to start walking. Miles 20-24: 10:00, 9:34, 10:36, 11:14, 12:06. 

12:06??? Yeah. By that point, I had stopped at some medical aid stations to see if they had Vaseline to put on that hotspot on the sole of my right foot. I kind of knew it was too late anyways and I would have a huge blister, but it was worth a shot (and no, they didn’t have Vaseline). I walked some more and tried to jog whenever I could.

Also, I stopped to have a little cup of beer around mile 22? It was fun! I’ve never done that before, but I figured that I might as well enjoy the spectator aspect of the race since I wasn’t going for time.

Just after mile 24, I realized I could technically get under 4 hours if I jogged easily to the finish. “Nah, you’re already way behind. Just walk to the end.” But a part of me knew I could just jog super easily and tolerate the pain in my knee without getting injured.

So I jogged with a slight hitch: (Miles 24 to 26.2): 9:46, 9:49, 8:48. 

About half a mile from the finish, my Running Addict friend Tammy zooms by and pumps me up. “C’mon, Michelle! Let’s gooooo!” She has such great energy and I said, “Awww crap” because I knew I had to run without stopping to the finish. Turned out well because my official time ended up being 3:58:14. 

Now, this is NOWHERE near last year’s race of 3:40:30 (in ideal conditions). I’m still so proud to have been able to make it through in under 4 hours after dealing with constant ITB injuries during training and with the weather.

Also, these kinds of races only means I have lots to learn! First off, since I’ve gained weight since last season, I know I have to lose some weight to run more efficiently and not get injured. High mileage with more weight is probably what caused my ITB issues (and perhaps the weird way I used to sit in my chair). I also learned that even if I don’t PR, it’s not the end of the world. Having fun and enjoying the crowd was something I didn’t think about too much when I just went for time. A good race is not dependent on the finishing time.

… but I’m not gonna lie. I want a really good time for my next race, hehehe. 😛


The Running Addicts got to celebrate afterwards at the Pyramid restaurant:


Unfortunately, my stomach was feeling all sorts of funky after the race (probably all the sugary GU’s and such… considering I didn’t even run that hard). Oh, well. It was still fun to hear all the stories from the finishers 🙂


Congrats to all the finishers!

To everyone, have a blessed week!

13 responses to “California International Marathon Recap

  1. Pingback: Post-Marathon Week | blessed with thunder thighs·

  2. IT issues and crazy weather, girl you are incredible! I think I would have stayed in my hotel room with hot chocoalte. YOU ARE INCREDIBLE!

  3. what a tough day at CIM. That weather, man. But you had some awesome splits until things started to get hairy… hopefully the next one your IT will be good to go and you can shoot for a PR! Congrats on the finish!

  4. Pingback: Marathon Training Hath Beguneth… Again | blessed with thunder thighs·

  5. Pingback: I Must Be Excited/Nervous | blessed with thunder thighs·

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