Tuesday, December 04, 2012

CIM -- the real race report

So lets just start at the beginning and I'll keep it as brief as I can.

I showed up in Sacramento around 1:20pm Saturday and went straight to the hotel.  I was staying with Terzah so I just needed to grab a key at the desk and go up to the room. She was at the pacer's meeting at the expo so I just dropped my stuff and went over there to get my bib and goodies.  The expo was okay -- not very big but I managed to get a CIM half zip and noticed they didn't have much stuff to purchase which was too bad, I was in a spending mood given this was my first. I also signed up for the Oakland Running Festival Half (in March).  So all in all -- was a good hour trip.

By the time I got back to the room, Terzah was back and we spent the rest of the afternoon chatting, chatting and more chatting.  Mostly consoling ourselves to the weather.  Oh yeah, we also ate the pasta dinner buffet at the hotel and watched The 40 Year Old Virgin on tv.  And maybe chatted some more.  Lights were out at 9pm.

I'd set four alarms to make sure we were up at 4am but naturally not one of them was needed.  There were some party goers making their way back to the room around 2am and thus both of us only dozed from then on.  We made it downstairs around 5, caught a bus to the start and that is when the real fun began.

From Sacramento Bee 

(For more pictures go to the Sacramento Bee slide show) It is hard to tell from this picture, but the rain is horizontal and these are runners huddled under a gas station canopy in an attempt to stay dry.  After a requisite potty stop, we made our way into the convenience store directly behind the gas station that was filled with people attempting to stay dry.  It was pretty useless because we were already soaked from the walk to the porta potties and then to the store but it gave us a chance to apply more vaseline to our feet and stay out of the worst of it for 10 minutes.  Before we knew it, it was time to line up. I knew I needed at least one more potty visit but it was so miserable out I just figured I'd deal with that problem later.  I really didn't have a strategy -- I was super tense, and just wanted to start.  But in an effort to stay in a group, I lined up with the 4:10 group and huddled in.

The start was pretty uneventful -- National Anthem, wheelchair start and then I think there a 'ready, set, go' and that was it.  A woman standing next to me looked over and asked if it started and I said yeah, I think it did and sure enough we started moving a few seconds after that.

I just couldn't settle in. I just couldn't.  The combined stress of this being my first one and the horrible weather and there was nothing relaxed about me.  I kept telling myself to relax -- but I just couldn't and I think honestly that, combined with any effects of the weather (while it wasn't cold, thank god, it was chilly and the dampness just settled in) and my legs really weren't interested in running.  The highlights:

Mile 6 -- oh right, running into a strong headwinds is hard
Mile 7 -- shins?  really?  hurting?  you never hurt! stupid shins
Mile 9 -- will somebody please yell Marco so I can yell Polo.  I think that might be funny
right before mile 10 -- oh good, a lake because running through rivers wasn't fun enough

(what was funny, every time we'd come across a particularly deep puddle there was a collective moan from everyone as they hit it -- we were obviously already soaked but somehow hitting the puddles was just insulting)

Mile 10 -- cute little town, lovely spectators, thank god for crowded relay stops, oh and a long winding river to navigate, nice.
Mile 11 -- damnit, I do have to pee --
Mile 15 -- knee?  no way.  How long is it possible to limp run?  Oh this can't be good.  Don't limp run -- just run and deal.
Mile 19 -- is the rain gone?  do I take off poncho (which early on was stuck to me providing an insulation layer). Nope, don't have energy.
Mile 20 -- Maybe I should cry.  I'm tired.  My legs hurt so bad.  I've never done this before.  I want to go home.  I've still got more than an hour at this pace.  What the hell was I thinking.  Oh, f#@% it, I don't even have the energy to cry.  Just run. AND STOP LIMPING!!!!!!
Mile 22 -- okay, so I'm totally doing this again.  Next year.  I hate my life right now but this really is a great race.  Okay legs, just keep moving.
Mile 23 -- I want to stop, I won't stop, I can walk, I won't walk, if I walk I'll never get done, keep the pace below 11min/miles, I want to stop, I won't stop.....
Mile 24 -- I should have put my music on -- I want music.  But that would require me to reach into my bra, grab the headphones, put them into my ears and press play on my shuffle.  Nope, too much work. I want to stop, I won't stop...
Mile 25.5 -- Damn, how frigging long does it take to run mile 25 anyway.  1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8.......

The next thing I know is someone is shouting 'women on the left/men on the right'.  I hadn't realized there was a segregated finish but at that time all I could think of was thank god my turn into the first finishers chute was saving me probably 1.5 seconds. I didn't care about my time at this point, I just wanted to finish sooner.

Then it was over.  What is the biggest shame is all I felt was relief but not the good kind of a relief knowing it was a job well done.  I didn't feel any sense of accomplishment or even any kind of pride.  I was just so happy to be out of hell.  That kind of made me sad (later) because I remember the awesome feeling of finishing my first half marathon. At that time, I was more tired than I knew possible but I felt really good about the run.  I wanted that feeling again so bad but all I felt on Sunday was that I managed to survive and thank god it was over.

The requisite splits:

Avg Pace

Clearly given the day, I started out too fast.  But at the time I really didn't feel it.  But I just fell apart in the second half.

But enough of the fuss -- there was good as well and now that it is 2 days in the past, it finally dawned on me I RAN A MARATHON!!!  Wow!  How cool is that.  The other good plus things I've learned:

1.  Saturday night slumber party with Terzah -- we were definitely well matched roommates and I look forward to the opportunity to do another race with her. She went from blogger friend to real friend.  And that's pretty cool.

2.  I totally get why people love that course.  The rolling hills were nothing (I was prepared) and the course had very few turns.  The volunteers were most fantastic and even in the horrid weather, there were quite a few spectators out.  The finish was beautiful -- right at the base of the capital with a huge beautiful decorated Christmas tree.

3. Vaseline.  Who knew?  Beats Body Glide all to pieces and I don't even have one blister.  Thanks Paul.

4.  Running shoes empty out of water pretty quickly.

5.  It is possible to run 21 miles with a rain poncho on.  Eventually it just sticks to you and no amount of wind can move it.

6. It was NOT freezing.

7.  I believed miles 20 to 26 were going to be hard.  Now I UNDERSTAND.

8.  Beer and burger's are just as good after a marathon as a half marathon.

9.  A space blanket works well as a cover up while one completely strips on the steps of the capital building.

10.  Terzah was right, nothing beats a post marathon shower.  Nothing.

11.  I have fantastic friends both in and out of the blog world.

Did I have fun?  Not really.  Am I glad I did it?  You betcha.

I'm a marathoner!!  And that's all that really counts.


Terzah said...

Paul gets my thanks for the Vaseline, as do you! I should have said that on my own post: THANK YOU for bringing the Vaseline. I can't believe I'm totally blister-free, but I am.

You did great--and congrats again! It was so fun to have you there and endure that experience--just the right mixture of "real" and "motivated" (without too much of the former to be a downer or too much of the latter to be overdone). I hope our next marathon is in the same place, too. Keep me posted on your plans, and meanwhile enjoy the downtime this week.

Nelly said...

I had no idea about the lakes and puddles that were on the course, that sounds awful. The whole experience does sound like hell to me. So don't feel bad for feeling weird at the finish line. You survived the worst race conditions I've ever heard of, so it can only get better from here!

Anonymous said...

Congrats on finishing your first marathon! CIM was also my first marathon -- I can totally relate to the mixed/lack of emotions at the end. I thought I'd be crying and overcome with emotions, but I just felt relieved and sort of numb (I prefer think of it as calm and peaceful- ha).
See you at the Oakland Half!

XLMIC said...

What a great recap! You did a great job out there! I am so excited to see you and run with you sometime in the next few months :). And yay for Oakland ...here's hoping I am healthy for it!

Huge congrats on enduring on Sunday...you are now a marathoner! Woooo hooooo!!!!

SF Road Warrior said...

CONGRATULATIONS MARATHONER!!! Just think, this was probably the hardest marathon you'll ever run, and it's out of the way! Great job pushing through & not giving up. (And I totally agree -- my feeling at the finish was also something along the lines of just being glad to be out of hell.)

So happy for you, and can we please meet up at Oakland? It would be so cool to finally meet you!

Cap'n Q said...

Nice work! The Stormathon Redux of 2012 was my first marathon too :) I think the storm helped make it more memorable, and it probably slowed us down, making that PR all the more attainable next time around. Please, check out my version of the events:


And again, great job and welcome to the club. No one can take the 2012 CIM away from you (or me).

Anne said...

Well, well, well ... YOU DID IT! (My first marathon was run in similar weather and let me just say the next one will seem so much easier if there isn't a downpour.)

Paul Rodman said...

So fun to read this 8)
Yup. Went out too fast...got some world of hurt from that but u kept running!


Now u understand the last 6 is half the race' no?

Glad the Vaseline worked for the feet :-)

So Eugene, yes.