Every year I run the California International Marathon, I love the race more and more!
Race weekend started with volunteering at the expo Friday evening after I got off of work. One of the job descriptors of a CIM ambassador is volunteering at the expo. I never mind doing so, because 1) I love helping where I can 2) the energy at the expo is contagious 3) I get to meet so many great people!
Some of my highlights from Friday’s expo included meeting a couple who traveled to CIM from the Czech Republic and speaking Spanish with a family who came to CIM from Mexico City. Pictured above, some of my other highlights included arriving to the Sleep Train Arena (the location of this year’s expo due to construction at the Sacramento Convention Center), seeing Jenn at the Pro Compression booth, hearing, “Hey, I think I follow you on Instagram” from Vanschic, seeing Yuba City’s local running celebrity, Melvin, who recently set a world record for running the fastest half marathon while dressed as a fruit, and running into my friends Candice and Jennifer who was running her first marathon ever at CIM! Overall, a fantastic Friday night at the CIM expo!
Day two of my three day race weekend included running a 5k, changing in a bathroom at the mall, meeting up with friends at the CIM expo, and “fan girling” over a celebrity.
First up was the 5k. This was the second year of the CIM Capitol 5k and there seemed to be a fairly good turnout despite the risk of rain. I casually showed up about 20 minutes before the race started, parked for free on the street, and made my way to the starting line. The plan for the 5k was to run nice and easy since it my “skakeout run” for the next day’s marathon. In all of the CIM excitement, however, I ended up running all 3.1 miles straight without stopping (a first since having a baby).
It was so awesome seeing the finish line for the nest day’s marathon!
After the 5k, I had a choice… do I drive an hour back to my house to change/do my hair or do I stay in Sacramento and find a public restroom to change/do my hair. I called hubby dearest to see if he wanted me to come back home to get baby to bring her back down to Sacramento with me to meet up with friends at the expo. He said it was up to me. I deliberated for a while, but ultimately decided to take this opportunity to have some me time free of any kids.
I knew that I wanted to visit Lululemon to potentially purchase a pair of running tights, so I headed to the mall. I wanted to find a bathroom that had an outlet so I could blow dry and straighten my hair. The first bathroom I checked… no luck, but the second bathroom, located inside of Nordstrom’s, had exactly what I was looking for! Sure, people who entered gave me a weird look as I brushed my teeth, changed, and did my hair, but I didn’t really care. This wouldn’t be my first time getting ready in a public bathroom and probably won’t be my last time either.
Now that I was feeling fresh and clean, I made my way to Lululemon. My first time ever in a Lululemon store was in San Francisco before the RnR San Fran race back in April. At that time I bought a skirt, have loved it, so now I was in the search of some running tights.
A huge shoutout to the Lululemon at the Arden Fair mall because I was helped quickly and found exactly what I was looking for! I spent way more on the running tights than what I spend on everyday jeans, but that’s okay. Getting a pair of good fitting running tights that don’t fall down and don’t chafe is KEY!
Finally it was time to head back to the CIM expo for the We Run Social meet up. I can not tell you how much the online running community means to me and how much more it means to me to get a chance to meet people in real life!
I got to meet Roslyn and daughter who follow me on my Facebook page, see Vanessa from Vanessa Goes From Fat to Fit and her husband, see Holly (inkdchinagirl) again, and then see some fellow Pro Compression fans at the Pro Compression / We Run Social meet up.
Although seeing all of these awesome people was super great, probably my number one highlight from Saturday’s visit to the expo was getting to meet Scott Jurek, author of Eat & Run and one of the most dominant ultramarathon runners in the world! He inspires me to only run further, but also become a vegan (I’ve been a vegetarian since 2012).
Although I could have stayed at the expo all day, it was time for me to head home to spend some time with my family. It, however, wasn’t a quiet, relaxing night. Instead, I headed out with the hubby and baby to see the 14 year old play his saxophone in a Christmas Parade… in the rain.
By the end of that day, I was tired so it was a quick snap of my flat runner pic before going to bed. I knew that the alarm clock would be going off early the next morning.
The alarm clock indeed went off early the next morning. It in fact went off twice; both at 3:15am as well as 3:20am. I like to set more than one alarm clock because I’m always afraid I’ll sleep through the alarm. Fortunately, I did not sleep through Sunday’s alarm and I was able to leave the house by 4am so that I could drive down to Sacramento and catch the 5am shuttle to the starting line.
One of the reasons why CIM is so awesome is the great organization of the shuttles that take runners from the finish line to the starting line of the race. You park at the finish line, catch a shuttle to the starting line, and then run back to the finish line. I had a slight snafu trying to find a place to park, but after a few minutes (which felt much longer) I was able to park and make my way to the line for the shuttles. By 5:20am, I was sitting in the front of a school bus and headed to the starting line of my 20th full marathon!
Once at the starting line, we were given a choice to get out in the cold and wait for the race to start in the corrals or wait on the warm bus. Since this wasn’t my first rodeo, I decided to wait on the warm bus until it was time to meet up with some CIM first timers at 6:30am.
This was my third year as a CIM ambassador as well as my third year as a CIM First Timer mentor. I love encouraging others as they train for their first marathon. There’s nothing quite like crossing the finish line of your first marathon!
After a quick chat with the CIM first timers, I dropped my gear check bag off and headed towards the corrals. Since I was not looking towards any kind of PR, I decided to head to the very back of the pack and be one of the last runners to the cross the starting line.
In the days leading up to CIM, I saw a news article about a woman who would be running her 100th marathon at CIM. I shared the article to my Facebook page and said that she was my inspiration. Much to my surprise, I spotted her within the first .10 of a mile of the marathon and got a selfie with Janice Lally–Gonzales, as she was running her 100th marathon! I aspire to be just like her!
Other highlights from the course include:
- deciding to pass the 5:20 pace group at mile 2.5
- seeing the same man, Michael Ong, wearing a different Hawaiian shirt and taking a selfie at mile 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 (there must be a story behind this… anyone know?)
- reading all of the awesome signs
- smiling at all of the amazing volunteers
- taking a selfie with the alpacas out on the course
- getting passed by the 5:20 pace group at mile 17.5
- seeing first time marathoner, Jennifer Horton, out on the course at mile 3 and then again at mile 22
- hugging Ashley Behnken, founder of @everyrunnercounts, at mile 24
- seeing the state capitol building after rounding the corner at mile 26
Going into the race, I said my “A” goal was 5:40 and my “B” goal was under 6 hours. I was shocked to see that I finished in 5:33:17! My last marathon was Santa Rosa at the end of August where I crossed the finish line in 6:23:22! Did I train really hard between Santa Rosa and CIM to improve my time? No. Were the race conditions vastly different? Yes. I can not tell you enough how much I love CIM for the course lay out (my body prefers a net downhill course versus a completely flat course), the colder weather (my body does NOT do well in heat), and for the crowd support (I gain so much energy when people line the course to cheer on the runners)!
Once crossing the finish line, I enjoyed some hot veggie soup, an ice cold Sierra Nevada beer, took some pics, and walked back to my car. While on my way to my car, I spotted Vanessa coming into the finish line!
After arriving home and taking a hot shower, I was stiff and sore, but surprisingly felt pretty good. Must mean I’m ready to set my sight on my next full marathon… the Oakland Marathon on March 22nd!
Do you have a passion for CIM? Consider applying to be a CIM ambassador. Applications are currently open. Apply HERE
Until next time,
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