The 30th running of the California International Marathon will be one of the most memorable in my running career. The pouring rain and 25 mile per hour winds alone would have made it a memorable event. The 11 minute personal record and my first Boston Marathon qualifying time made it one I’ll never forget.
After my performance at the Disneyland 1/2 Marathon my original plan was to shoot for a 3:05 but due to the extreme weather conditions I decided to play it a little safer and start with the 3:10 pace group. This was the first time I’ve ever run with a pace group but I figured that there was safety in numbers and if things got bad I could draft off other runners.
|Rain pours down before the start. (The Sacramento Bee)|
The first half of the race was incredibly difficult. After the first half a mile I was drenched and stopped caring about being wet or stepping in puddles. The real issue was the wind. We either had a strong head or cross wind for the first 12 miles. I honestly don’t remember much of the course. I often had my head angled down so the bill of my hat would block the rain.
As we crossed the half marathon mark I looked down at my watch which read 1:34:50. Not bad considering the conditions but I was a little worried about being able to run a even or negative split on the second half. I hadn’t been able to do it in my previous three marathons and I was doubtful that it was going to happen in these conditions. Our pace group leader reassured us that the second half of the course was easier and the wind had started dying down so I tried to push the negative thoughts to the back of my head.
During my last marathon I blew up at mile 18. This time I blew by mile 18. I felt strong and like I had energy to spare. I had started experimenting with a new fuel source prior to long runs and it seems to be working out well for me. Before runs of 20+ miles I’ve been taking Generation UCAN’s Sport Drink Mix. I’ve found that I haven’t needed to reach for a gel packet as often when I use this stuff.
Before I knew it we had reached the bridge around mile 21. Once we got over it I decided to break off from the pace group and try to finish with time to spare. After about a mile I realized that I hadn’t gained much ground on them and fell back into place with the group.
Around mile 24 I figured it was time to try another breakaway. This time it worked. I ran mile 25 at a 7:01 pace. Mile 26 was at 6:53! I have never felt so strong at the end of a marathon. With a monster PR and Boston Marathon qualifying time waiting for me at the finish line I picked up the pace for the final 0.2 miles and triumphantly crossed the finish line.
Now comes the hardest part. Waiting until registration for the 2014 Boston Marathon opens in September of next year. Until then I’ll dream about these…..
|Boston Marathon medals.|
Age Group (35-39): 71/527