California International Marathon – Uninspired and All Work

I keep telling myself not to run roads and here I was, at it again. After the Dick Collins 50M, I figured I’ll give California International Marathon a go in the hope of getting faster. I don’t know how that thought got into my head. From having injury-free fun with gorgeous views on scenic single tracks, I had decided to take on black top. California International Marathon would be my third road marathon and I’d never been a huge fan of pounding that much asphalt. I even made a itty-bitty bet with my 12yo just to get me out of bed. Maybe this whole thing was busted from the beginning. A had a bunch of people tell me that running at goal pace was a formula. You make a spreadsheet, stay aerobic for a while, pound 70 miles of asphalt and then add on tempo runs, intervals, yada yada. And so I did. For two weeks. By week three, I threw out the spreadsheet and went back to running how much ever I felt like where ever I felt like. That fun-driven training totally works for me even on 100Ks. The hammer fell after I ran the Whiskey Hill Half Marathon as a little R&R.  Holy moly, I missed redwoods already.

California International Marathon

And so with all this negativity building up, I pickup my bib at the expo. A dread settled over me like the dark clouds looming in the sky. It was supposed to rain the next day and I was frantically Googling to see what the best way to run in rain was. Had dinner with fellow runner Jeroen Domensino, who was going for a 3:22 (and made it!) and crashed early. Early morning, yay no rain! I Body Glide’d every little nook and corner, doubled up on my Injinji socks and laced my awesome $30 PR shoes. Boarded one of few two dozen buses that hauled us to the start line.

Post bib pickup

Post bib pickup

Anil Gorti found me at the starting line, said hello and moved up to the front. He was shooting for his sub-3:00. The light drizzle began and we started promptly at 7:00am. From mile-1, it felt like work. At least in the San Francisco Marathon, there’s gorgeous views most of the way. I got nothing against Sacramento, but endless miles in suburban Sacramento wasn’t exactly my thing. And whoever claims California International Marathon is a net-downhill is just downright sadistic. It’s a roller until about the halfway point and then pancake flat. If you don’t pace yourself, the hills suck you dry by the time you hit mile 13 and then you got no gas left.

Mile 10 of Sacramento Suburbs!

Mile 10 of Sacramento Suburbs!

Mile 21: Bridge over troubled waters

Mile 21: Bridge over troubled waters

3 road marathons down!

3 road marathons down!

I wasn’t taking many pictures (not a good sign if you’ve ready any of my other blogs), not smiling a whole lot and staring at the watch incessantly to check on my pace. Mile. By. Mile. I kept a 3:20ish pace until about mile 16 when the wheels fell off. A bad case of cramps caught up with me. I stopped by an aid-station and asked for salt pills and they looked at me funny. Ah joy. Welcome to road running. Should’ve packed some S caps. From here on, it was cramp-city all the way to the finish. Rida Chow and Kelly Poe passed me at some point. Rida goes “I’m dying” and then she happily goes on to BQ!  Walking, crawling, I made my way slowly to the finish line and made it just below 3:45. Wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for, but hey at least I didn’t DNF. I think the best part of the run was eating the Spicy Vegan Mole at John & Makiko’s house. He’s sent me the recipe and I’m so going to try soon.

I seriously want to know: What motivates you to pound mile after mile of asphalt?


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