California International Marathon 2012
Photo is courtesy of the Sacramento Bee. Runners were peeling ponchos and littering the street with them. It was a bit of a dilemna to make sure you didn't trip on the ponchos, etc., that were all over the ground. We dodged tree limbs, standing water, and each other as the rain poured down!
This was my A race for 2012. I trained for 14 weeks for the race. I logged my first 100+ mile month in November. My biggest total since I started running, with my longest run at 18 miles. We planned a family get-together around this race as it is 5 hours from home but near one of our married daughters. It was a great plan up until the time that we got close to race day and the weather predictions were getting worse by the day.
Amanda and I enjoyed a pre-race dinner with friends, some of which I had run with before, and others who I met for the first time, but all were very nice and we enjoyed the dinner immensely. From left to right: Josam Mulinyawe, Mike Dasalla, Beth Esternon, James Storlie, Frederika Villacarlos, and Alvin Sotelo. Even on our way to the dinner it was already raining pretty hard, and the water was starting to pool up in the streets.
Race day started out well as I woke up on time and prepared to meet the challenge ahead. I had attended a seminar at the Race Expo the day before where I was told not to overdress, but to wear a lightweight poncho and not change much else from my regular routine. The poncho should be cheap and disposable. As I dressed, I couldn't get past the fact that I didn't want to get sick or drenched or cold, etc. So against what I was told, I wore a shirt and a long-sleeved shirt and a running jacket that I bought after the dinner that night. (There were no ponchos to be had at Target, as they sold out to other crazy runners like me!). I wore the race gloves that I received with my packet, shorts with sweat pants over, 2 pairs of socks, and a hat (and I don't wear hats). I started out well, running about a 61 minute first 10K. Right on pace. Goal time was 4:30-4:45. I was hitting every hydration station. Other runners were stopping to get in line at coffee shops, gas stations, etc. It was cold and wet and they just wanted to get through. I saw more runners vomiting along this race course than I have ever seen. It was crazy! I should have started slower probably but I knew my family and friends would be watching the updates online, so I didn't want to go too slow. Then it happened. I had felt it a few times during my long runs as I trained for the race. There is a tendon that is attached to your hamstring and it runs along the side of the knee. By mile 7 or 8 I was completed soaked and the extra weight of the rain-drenched sweat pants was wearing on my legs. I could feel the tendon getting sore. I started to run/walk, watching for hills ahead. I tried to run up to the hill and walk the hill to save my tiring legs. I hit the halfway point around 2:24, which was by far my worst half time ever. I was already about 10-15 minutes off my pace. Around mile 14 or 15 the rain was stopping but I didn't want to peel any layers. I had just bought the jacket and I really liked it. The hat was a souvenir from another race. The gloves were nice and Amanda wanted them. So I made the decision to walk as much as necessary to ensure that I finished. I had to FINISH! I had to come to grips with the fact that the race course was only guaranteed to be secured for 6 hours, so I knew I had to stay ahead of that time. I walked as quickly as possible and soon I was near the back of the pack with the walkers, somewhere I had never been in a race before, but I was going to finish this. I made sure that I ran and tried to smile for the camera stations and the finish line so I got some good pics to remember this race by. Otherwise, I was a walker at this point. It hurt to run, so I saved it for the finish. I finished in 5:42:11, at least an hour off my goal. I had to limp to the food line and to the car. Then when I got to the motel, I had to climb the stairs because I had gotten a second floor room with my family. That was a tough climb, but I did it with pride and with a nice shiny medal that I will be proud of for a long time. I had literally survived the storm and finished what I started. That was good enough for me for that particular day. I'll probably run this one again sometime and I'm sure that I will be closer to the 4:30 that I was hoping for. Since this race my legs have regrouped and I am running as well as I have in over a year. I feel great and I can't wait to prove that this race was a fluke. Next time I'll start a little slower, work my way into my pace, and dress for success. Tshirt and shorts!