Thursday, December 12, 2013

California International Marathon - Race Report

It was cold... for a road marathon in California.  I love cold weather when I'm running around mountains in the snow, but it's not as fun when you're running on 26 miles of flat road.  I'll take it over the heat though any day.  I've never finished a race before and wished it was a little bit warmer, but I did after this year's CIM.  It was in the mid 20's at the start and low to mid 30's at the finish.  I wore a buff over my hat to keep my ears warm, gloves and arm sleeves.  Why was it too cold for running?  My muscles and joints never really warmed up to the point of feeling loose like they normally do.

Every couple of miles or so I tried to grab a paper cup filled with fluid from a volunteer, then tried not to spill all of it while running 6 minute miles with numb hands and finally get a little bit down the hatch.  I couldn't help but laugh at how difficult this was, and how funny it had to appear.  Good thing the cool temperature kept me from needing much fluid.  I can't wait for my next race, where I can drink easily from a handheld water bottle.  Those road runners have it tough.  Not as tough as swimmers though:

Why I don't swim.

It was weird stepping out of my comfortable cocoon of trail racing where I recognize a lot of the field, to jumping into a sea of 6,500 strangers to run through cities on asphalt.  Luckily, this was a well organized race with quite a few aid stations that were flush with porta potties.  Unfortunately, I had to stop and use said facilities twice during the race.

Before I started my road marathon training my original goal was to run 2:29.  I strained and or ripped my calf at my first track workout, then I got sick for a couple weeks.  So my first month of training kind of went down the drain.  That, combined with the fact that running fast was a little harder than I remembered led me to scaling back my goal finish time to 2:39.  As the race drew closer I thought I'd finish in the 2:36-2:39 range.  I didn't.


Looking back at my splits, I was right on track to finish 2:36 or 2:37 until mile 24, that's where the wheels fell off.  Negative thoughts crept in shortly after I started to crumble.  I kept thinking that I was pushing it hard, running okay, but I'd look down at my watch and see a pace in the 6:30's.  I did some quick math in my head and realized that I had to speed up and hold that to the finish to get there under 2:40.  I pushed it harder, my legs were already feeling heavy and I started to get a feeling in them that they were about to buckle and I'd have to cross the finish line like this:

The race wasn't a total loss by any means.  While I didn't finish in the time I wanted to, CIM was a great experience.


I hung out with my wife and awesome in-laws for a couple days.  My dad, aunt Karen, brother Danny and his girlfriend Vanessa, all came to the race to cheer me on.  My good friends Megan and Mike hung out the night before and Mike ran sub three hours for the first time.  Way to go Mike!  Can you please send my your HRM data for the run? Ha!

Lunch at the Rio City Cafe

My new shoes, the Hoka Conquests were amazing.  Hoka has definitely stepped it up in the road running department with these shoes.  They are not as soft as Bondi's, but still absorb a lot of impact.  They're a lot more responsive and feel very fast on the road.

Can't wait to try these puppies out on the trails.

Nate and Gina were selling Hoka's like hotcakes at the expo.


It's easy to throw out a bunch of lame excuses but I just flat out didn't meet my goal, and no one or anything else is to blame but me.  I usually execute races pretty well,  I don't have too many bad issues arise, and I achieve my goals.  It is good for me to fail every once in a while.  I'm hungrier and fired up because of it - I try and maintain a habit of saying that I am going to do things, then doing them.  I don't like coming up short like this.

I should have logged more miles while training for this race.  I peaked at 90 miles one week, which felt good, but many other weeks were right around 60 miles.  I should have logged more long road runs instead of running long mountain runs, but the long mountain runs are too fun!  I should have worn calf sleeves.  I  should have slowed down at an aid station or two to drink more than a little swig out of the cup, and not spill most of it during handoff.

I have some unfinished business with road marathons, but I'm going to put that on the back burner for now.  2:29 will have to wait.

Next up, SEAN O'BRIEN 50M!  Can't wait to run with Dylan Bowman, Timothy Olson, Chris Vargo, Rod Bien, Jesse Haynes, Jason Wolfe, Jorge Pacheco, Erik Schulte, James Walsh, Dom Grossman, Ricardo Ramirez and others on February 1st.  The entrant list is growing every day, but I'll post some predictions before too long.


  1. Nice work man. I'll see you at SOB in some capacity (volunteer or run) if not sooner.

  2. It was fun hanging out with you guys as well. Thanks for the good read and congrats again on a great run. Looking forward to your speedier legs racing at SOB! Get that WS spot! Btw, HR data will be revealed when I type of my report! :)

  3. Thanks Chan and Chamoun! Can't wait for the analysis of your HR Mike, % of max, lactate threshold, affect of temperature throughout the race on everything... it's gonna be fascinating I know it.

  4. I wish I could "fail" like you. :) Kidding aside, sorry you didn't hit your goal but that transition from trail to road is tough mentally and physically. I'm sure the speed you picked up during training will help you kill it on the trails in 2014! Congrats!

    1. Thanks Josh, I hope the road speed will carry over to the trail, we'll see soon enough. See ya out there!

  5. Great friggin' job dude. About to start my own marathon training for LAM right now. Hope I can come within 40 mins of this time...ha.

    1. Thanks Billy. Hope you enjoy transitioning from all the mountain running you've been doing onto the road. You've been out there a lot, it'll be interesting to see how much you shave off your PR this coming Spring =)

  6. We are looking for people to Join the 15th Annual Team Spirit Long Beach 5k and 10K marathon and help put an end to breast and ovarian cancer today!. You can help distribute brochures and yard signs to local stores, offices, and restaurants! Are you a people person? We have many community events where Team Spirit needs a presence. Volunteer to work a table at one of these events to hand out brochures and spread information about Team Spirit, and recruit participants! Already attending the marathon? Then help volunteer the day of the event. We need groups to assist with set up, participant check-in, new registrations, and drive or co-pilot shuttle vans. We will also need people to man water stations, and course monitors to assure participants’ safety and morale.