|Maybe I started off too slow this year?|
I went back again in 2014 after following a marathon training plan and sticking with the 3:55:00 pace group. That should work, right? Wrong! I added two minutes. I was so bummed. Part of my problem was (I thought) that all of the running I had been doing as part of my training finally took its toll and caused my calf to cramp with less than 5 miles to go. I had to walk it out and missed my goal. I was completely defeated as I watched the pace group run away from me.
For 2015 my plan was to stick to a more diverse training plan with more swimming and cycling. I was done with running 5-6 days a week. I also decided to splurge and get a hotel room at the Hyatt right across from the starting line. I also convinced Lindsey and Max to come stay at the house with the dogs. This move should remove any race morning worries about driving from Stockton, finding parking, dropping the dogs off at the kennel, etc. I should arrive at the start line well rested and ready to go...NOT!
Day Before the Race
HS and I got to Sac a little after 1:00pm on Saturday. We parked at the hotel and headed to the convention center to pick up my race packet. There were no lines and I was done within 10 minutes. Since we couldn't check in until 3pm, we wandered around the expo for a while longer, I bought some of my favorite GU...Salted Watermelon and HS snapped a pick of me standing by a CIM sign. By then it was still only 2:30pm. We walked back to our car, grabbed our bags, went to see if we could check in a little early.
|This sign had the shortest line|
There was a line of runners at Registration but the clerks were efficient and it was our time before we new it. To our surprise, The #Hyatt had our room ready and allowed us to check in. The Hyatt also had a goodie bag for the runners, a bottle of water, a banana, some Nuun, and a pack of ear plugs LOL
Our room was very nice. I went through my bag and starting laying out the gear I would need in the morning. Once that was done, I double checked that my Garmin and my LifeBEAM hat (for tracking my HR) were synced. I then triple checked my alarm and flopped down on the bed. HS warned me about taking a nap and not being able to sleep later on, so I did a little channel surfing before we decided to go get dinner.
I had been craving ramen for over a week so we headed for a sushi restaurant that was just around the corner from the hotel. I ordered the House Ramen and was not disappointed. It was just what I wanted.
|Carbo loading with House Ramen at Osaka Sushi|
We were back in our room by 6pm and HS was asleep not too long after that. I, on the other hand, was not ready to sleep. I was preoccupied by the race and could not wind down (not even after some #MichaelDavid Inkblot Petit Verdot). I tossed and turned, hot and then cold. Comfortable then uncomfortable. Eventually I turned off the TV and tried willing myself to sleep. This was not good.
I think I finally fell asleep around 10:30pm. It's not bad, but it would have been nice to be asleep at my normal bedtime of 9:00pm. The alarm would start ringing before I knew it.
My alarm sounded at 3:55am (I just realized that I set my alarm for my goal time LOL) and I wished I could just keep sleeping. I rolled out of bed, started some coffee and hopped in the shower (my hair was a sweaty mess that even my hat could not hide). I ate a Clif Bar and a banana and finished my coffee. I had been thinking about bringing some bagels, but didn't get around to picking some up. At 4:50am, HS and I walked down to the bus line. It was a little on the windy side and chilly. HS wanted to go get his jacket but didn't want to miss sending me off, so he endured the cold.
|I love my number!|
A couple of buses appeared from the opposite direction and I was lucky enough to get on the second one. As we headed east on Highway 50, the rain started to fall. I told myself that it looked worse than it was because it was a big flat bus windshield. The funny thing about riding the bus from the finish to the start is you get a very good idea of just how long 26.2 miles is! Even though this is my third time running CIM, I'm always humbled about how far it actually it is!
Once we arrived in Folsom, the bus driver took a couple of wrong turns, but eventually he got us to the start. I got off the bus immediately and headed to the port-a-potties. Once that was taken care of, I wandered around a bit, helped myself to some free GU Chomps and looked around if I could see anyone I knew. No luck.
Before I knew it, we were singing the national anthem and on our way. Immediately I noticed my HR was too high for my race plan...even though I had been trying to keep it at the right pace and we were running down hill. I didn't want to slow down anymore and prayed that I wasn't dooming my race before the first mile was even over. Eventually, my HR started to come down a bit and I got into my rhythm as we made our way up and down the rolling hills.
The race progressed as I had planned, and according to my Garmin, I was at the pace I wanted. I ate a GU about every 5 or so miles and was drinking at the aid stations. I was happy that I was able to grab the cups of Nuun or water offered and drink without slowing down much (I did get water up my nose at one station LOL). However, at around mile 18, things started to change. I noticed that my quads were starting to ache. This was new for me because I usually don't even notice my quads until about a day after the race.
My legs felt like they were on fire, so I took another dose of Sport Legs (I had one prior to the race and again at mile 10). I also had some Aleve in my bag so I took one of those too. Unfortunately, this had no affect on how my legs felt and I only succeeded in upsetting my stomach. I told myself that if I slowed down to walk I would feel worse tomorrow about walking than I did at that moment. I hate looking back at a race and wishing I would have pushed more, endured more, or not given up. So I kept running. I told myself it was just a little pain and that I wasn't going to die from it.
The 3:55:00 pace group caught up with me at around mile 21 or 22. I tried to hang with them knowing that as they moved past me my goal time was also slipping away. As much as I tried to muster more energy, I just couldn't go any faster. My goal at that point became not walking and instead pushing until the end. I ran past the spot where I walked last year. Every step after that became a victory. Before I knew it I saw the 25 mile mark and I started to run with everything I had left. Looking at my Garmin data I was running around 8:20 pace down to 7:34 when I rounded the corner and saw the finish line.
Thanks for capturing this moment, HS!
After I crossed the finish line I walked over to HS. All I could say was "I didn't make my time." That was it. No tears, no anger, just sort of matter of fact. I guess the fact that I gave it everything I had, that I had no regrets made it easy to accept that once again I missed a Boston Qualifying time. I really didn't think about this moment again until the next morning when HS remarked "I was really proud how you handled yourself yesterday."
I was floored. It meant so much to me to hear this, to know that it was remarkable enough for him to notice!! It was another victory for me. I had finally learned to handle defeat and to shrug it off. I was moving past that race and looking forward to my next challenge :-)
Of course, one of my next challenges is CIM 2016. As soon as I got the invite for the $89 re-run I signed up. HS even signed up too and so did my sister, Trisha; my teammates Dani and Nancy; and one of my co-workers!
Here's to 2016...BQ or no BQ :-)