California International Marathon 2014

Did you know that CIM is where I ran my very first full marathon in 2011? It was actually just over one month after that first marathon when I decided to start a blog. I couldn’t believe that my body (which I used to loathe) was capable of completing a full marathon!

Returning to Sacramento and seeing the sites felt so wonderful to me. I thought back to how far I’ve come in the last three years and it felt a little surreal. Anywho, we got to the expo on Saturday, and I hung out at the SA Modesto Marathon booth for a while:

2014-12-07 16.01.26

If you didn’t know, I was chosen to be one of the SAMMbassadors for Modesto Marathon 2015! I got to meet a few of the other SAMMbassadors and race organizers :).

There was also this super cool bell (photo cred: Linh):


Okay, so I didn’t actually ring it, but I held the rope because I earned it, hehe.

Afterwards, we checked into the hotel, then went across the street to Old SacTown!


There was music and a whole lot of people walking around. Never been to this part of Sacramento, and I super loved all the lights! (photo cred: Linh):


Also, ate a LOT of rice for that whole Saturday, haha. We (Linh, Amy, and I) were super powered up and fueled to max capacity with rice 😀



Fast forward to an okay night of sleep to race morning! It was pretty warm considering that it was like 5:00 or 6:00am!


Got to see my friend, Jennifer, wishing her a good race (she PR’d!):


And I started the race with the 3:45 pacers, Molly and Linh!


I knew that this was not going to be a PR race. I had a lot of problems with getting sick and having that weird hip problem. I was just going to run and do my best. My secret goal was to get a course PR (which would be anything under 3:40:30).

Anywho, I decided to start off the first few miles with the 3:45 group and see how I felt.


Miles 1-4: 8:34, 8:28, 8:23, 8:23.

After about 4 miles, I was a bit tired of having to run with so many people, so I stayed a tiny bit ahead of them… and then I just kept going. I actually didn’t look at my watch until mile 10.

Miles 5-10: 8:13, 8:16, 8:21, 8:31, 8:31, 8:11.

I was feeling good, so I was considering going a little faster when my hip started… groaning. It was not screaming, and it didn’t really hurt, but I became aware of it. I decided to just keep it at the same effort and run.

Miles 11-16: 8:15, 8:27, 8:22, 8:30, 8:35, 8:28.

It was nice to have my camera with me to enjoy the sites and take in all of the locals who were cheering for us!



I still didn’t look at my watch because it didn’t really matter to me. I just ran… and my hip kept getting tighter, but it wasn’t changing my running form, so I didn’t stop.

Miles 17-20: 8:23, 8:19, 8:24, 8:32.


This is when I looked at my time and did a quick calculation… “Oooh, I could definitely finish close to 3:40 if I keep up this pace… but don’t think too much. Just run.”

I saw a cool sign that read: “You guys are actually running a 10K (with a 20-mile warm up)!

This is SO TRUE. The real battle starts in the last 10K. On the other hand, I kind of knew that I could keep up the pace because I knew I wasn’t able to run too fast. My hip kept me from depleting my glycogen stores, so I was pretty confident that I wouldn’t hit the wall.

Miles 21-24: 8:27, 8:30, 8:24, 8:38.


There was this little bridge at mile 22 that every one was talking about… which wasn’t a big hill or that long at all, haha. After that, it’s definitely super flat and you can just run down to the finish.


Okay. At mile 24, I was still feeling strong. Two years ago, I was struggling at that point and walking because of ITB pain. I had to walk so much that I cooled down and a volunteer gave me a blanket thingy because I looked super cold (which I was). Now, I was still running strong, and I looked at my watch, and calculated about 20 minutes for the last 2.2 miles.

I knew I just had to keep a good pace, and then really empty the tank once I saw Jesus:


Miles 25-26.2: 8:04, 7:43, 6:58 (pace for last 0.34 according to Garmin).

Wow! I was running as hard as I could because I knew I was SUPER CLOSE to breaking 3:40:30. I went for it in those last 10 minutes, knowing the discomfort would be over soon.


Crossed the finish line, stopped the time, and what do I see…


… that’s like the exact same time as what I ran in 2011 o__O. I was hoping that with the chip time, it would read one second less… but there was some problem with the timing and it said I got like 3:42:XX. I emailed them and the timing people took care of it…

My official time: 3:40:26! COURSE RECORD by 4 seconds!!!

Hey. I worked super hard in the last couple of miles for those 4 seconds. I’ll take it!


My review about this race:

Volunteers: WOW, they were fully-staffed at every aid station (like at least 20 to 30 per station), there were plenty of course marshals, and cheerleaders. I definitely could not overlook how much the volunteers’ services and support helped me keep fueled and encouraged for this race!

Pacers: These guys and gals are fast, friendly, and extremely experienced runners. So many of them are ultramarathoners, or pace several marathons a year. I knew I was in good hands to stay with the 3:45 pacers for the first few miles. It was a great decision 🙂

Spectators: I love this race because a lot of the locals come to cheer and support the runners. As you saw from the pictures, a lot of them have awesome and hilarious signs. They were even out there two years ago when it was raining sideways! Gotta love that!

Fuel: They had nuun and water at pretty much every station… and there were 17 stations!!! I kind of thought it was overkill, but then again, more is way better than not enough. I think I used like 14 of the stations. Got nuun pretty much every time except for three of them where I drank water and ate a GU.

Weather: It is pretty much never consistent for this race, but we were truly blessed with awesome weather on Sunday. I’d say it was in the 50’s for pretty much all of the race. It was ideal for racing, and my long sleeve ended up being perfect for it.

Course: Rolling hills with a net downhill, and pretty much all flat in the last 10K. I actually really love the course. There are no hills that are too long, and with each uphill, there is an even longer downhill to follow. I think changing it up with the ups and downs helps me run well because the muscles are activated a little different. I think. I dunno. I love this course though.


I’m actually quite excited for my next race. I’ll attempt to get right back into a plan and hopefully have no hip issues/injuries.

My hip flexors were SUPER sore on Monday. That has never happened to me before! I think it may have been the Altras I wore… not that they are bad shoes, but I never did a long run in them. My body was not ready to run in those zero drop shoes. I actually plan on actually training and doing long runs in them for my next marathon in Napa (March 2015) 🙂

This was my last race of the year. What is/was your last race of 2014?

What will be your first race for 2014?

What is your usual pre-race dinner? (I love noodles/rice/glutinous rice cake).

12 responses to “California International Marathon 2014

  1. Congrats! Great recap. My last race was the Trenton Half a month ago. My first race for 2015 will be the Mismi Half, but I’m treating it as a fun run. It’s too hot and humid to PR.

  2. Pingback: Scenes From Recent Runs | blessed with thunder thighs·

  3. Pingback: Napa Valley Marathon 2015 Recap and Review | blessed with thunder thighs·

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