My A goal for CIM was to PR, which would mean basically a 3:59 and a few less seconds than my prior "just break 4" PR which was done at CIM last year.
I was not sure what I could or would do. My training had been up and down. I had a lot of travel the last 6 weeks due to the illness and then death of my grandmother and due to my work schedule. Due to the travel my weekly mile totals were much lower than I wanted. I did get three 20 mile runs in - 1 (the first of them) was a horrible, hard and slow run, 1 was one of my fastest 20 mile runs ever, and 1 (that last one) was a solid run. Which meant, if you go by the 20 mile training runs, I could have a great race, a horrible race or a solid race.
I was also running my first marathon in my five fingers (picture below) so I was very unsure how my feet would hold up and my calves (these tend to get very sore after my 20 mile runs). I have never ran more than 20 miles in them.
I wanted to spend Sat with my daughter before the race so I had someone from the SF Training program pick up my bib for me. I made it Sacramento about 8:30 on Sat night. Got my race gear organized and then tried to go to bed early. Our hotel shuttle was leaving at 4:30 am to take us to the Sheraton to get the buses that took us to the start line. I could not fall asleep though until about 11:30pm. Then, I was woken up at 1am by a vivid dream that it was 4:45pm and I missed the shuttle! So not the best sleep, but I made it to the 4:30am shuttle and got onto the buses for the start line.
We were enterained by the conversations with what appeared to be a number of "lost buses". Now I see why they get you to the start line an hour or so early, just in case your bus gets lost. :)
On to the race: My plan was to start about a 9mm pace the first few miles, then increase to about 8:30pace, then try to get some 8 mm in if I could and try to have have too many "bad miles" where I hit a wall and fall off.
1 - 9.03
2 - 8:48
3 - 8:34
4 - 8:31
5 - 8:20
My first mile was good, right where I wanted to be. Mile two was solid also. I basically just kept a bit in front of the 4 hour pace group. Tried to not go too fast. My plan was about miles 3 to 5 to drop to the 8:30s so I was right on schedule (maybe a little early with mile 3). I felt good and basically was just trying to control my pace at this point and not go "too fast" too early. I was trying to run a smart race (as I am known for starting off way too fast only to fall flat on my face).
6 - 8:20
8 - 8:16
9 - 8:22
10 - 8:09
Miles 6-10 were strong. I was feeling good. I was planning to keep about 8:30mm pace to mile 8, but had picked it up a little more (but I felt fine). However, I could feel my stomach starting to act up. I have at times (during training runs and during races) had major stomach cramps. At the SF marathon my stomatch cramps were so bad that I had to walk accross the GGB. Later during the SF marathon, I had to stop and wait about a minute from my stomach to calm down. So I was worried.
11 - 9:47
Thus, I made the decision to stop at a porta potty and lost a good minute and a 1/2 to two minutes.
12 - 8:25
13 - 8:22
14 - 8:16
15 - 8:08
After the stop and restart, I just tried to get a good pace going again. I was running great before I had to stop, but I was hoping it would pay off and not cause problems later in the race. I was worried about the "fall off" so again tried to slowly build my pace back up. After 15 miles, besides the stop, I was having a great race. I felt that I could easily PR and maybe have a massive PR. But, I knew the key would be miles 16-20. If I fell off and started walking or had major stomach cramps, then the last 11 miles could be horrible. So my goal now became let's push to mile 20. No stopping. No walking, just push forward.
16 - 8:11
17 - 8:16
18 - 8:15
19 - 8:12
20 - 8:11
These were very solid miles but very hard. I was tired, but I kept pushing to keep my pace up. I kept telling myself "you feel great" and "you are doing awesome" (even though I felt tired and little thoughts were in the back of my head telling me to just take a walk break). But, I made it to mile 20 without stopping or walking. I carried my hand-held water bottle and just grabbed water at the aid stations and dumped it in the bottle. I felt if I slowed down to walk through the water stations it would be very hard to get my pace back up. I felt that I could have a huge PR, could break 3:50 and maybe even 3:45.
Now that I made it to mile 20, my mind shifted to just take one mile at a time and get through this 10K. My feet were sore and my calves were starting to cramp up. I focused on 1 mile at a time. Each mile I told myelf let's just make it to the next mile without stopping.
21 - 8:19
22 - 8:36
23 - 8:33
24 - 8:32
25 - 8:31
26 - 8:38
.2 - 8:04
My splits were falling off, which was okay. I was trying to keep my pace about 8:30ish which I did! And, these were hard miles for me. My legs were tired. My left calf was killing me. My feet were sore. But, I knew as long as I did not walk, I would be fine. I was struggling the last mile, but I saw the 3:45 pacer. I worked to catch him (he was very nice and encouraged me to stay in front of him, which I did).
As I got close to the finish, I knew that I easily broke 3:45 and I looked at my Garmin (which I had often) and then picked it up a little to break 3:43.
Official Total: 3:42:54
Garman total: 26.36 miles, 3:43:53
A PR by almost 17 minutes.
Further - I ran CIM in my VFF, without a knee brace! My calves are very sore (my left one was killing me the last mile) and my feet are sore, but they are slowly getting better (no injury).
Lastly, I am limping around the office today! Within 2 mins in the office someone asked me if I was okay! Yes, I'm great!
A picture with my VFF: