Posted by: Jen | December 5, 2010

California International Marathon :)

Well, it’s done. I have done it. I have run a marathon!!!! What an amazing experience.

I got on the bus at my hotel and it took us to Folsom. We arrived at the race around 5:45 with nothing but time. One of the best things about CIM is that you can stay on your heated bus until 15 minutes before race time. The weather was most kind to us – the rain stopped at around 4:30am and the sun came out for most of the day! 🙂 Of course we all performed the usual pre-race ablutions: waiting in line for the porta-potties (which, no kidding, stretched down the road as far as the eye could see. AMAZING.), dropping off sweat bags to the trucks that would carry them back to the start, drinking water, eating bananas, etc. I did all of that and still had time to relax on the bus. At 6:45, I made my way to the start (right up the street) and found my pace leader. I decided to run with the Clif Bar Pace Team, specifically the 4:45 pace group. Before I knew it, the gun went off and the race began!

We went out a little faster than I expected, probably because the first mile was downhill. Miles 1-4 flew by; I somehow missed the table with water at both aid stations, so I drank the Gatorade in my hydration belt and waited for the next aid station. When I got there, I dumped my 8 oz bottle of Gatorade and had them fill it with water, then drank two cups back-to-back. I felt much improved at that point. Some tropical punch Clif Shot Bloks and I was on my way.

Miles 5-8: Also very fast. Didn’t really notice the time flying by. We passed Relay Exchange #1 at about the 10K mark; it was exciting to see the ladies from the WOW Team handing off at the exchange points. All told, I ended up seeing four of them on the course. It’s always nice to see friendly faces!

At about mile 8, I went internal – headphones went in and I started to buckle down. From miles 10-14, it’s the section called the San Juan Hills, and while everyone said they were no big deal compared to San Francisco, I still felt it. We were also going WAY faster than our predicted pace of 10:51/mile – those were actually my four fastest miles of the whole race, so I tired out quickly. We passed Relay Exchange #2 at the half marathon point – where I saw Jenni, who cheered and rang her cowbell medal for me – and by mile 14, I was done with the pace group, it was just too fast. I started my 9:00/run and 1:00/walk interval.

Mile 15 was a struggle for me and I ended up having to stop at a porta-pottie because my stomach was bothering me. No major GI problems, thank goodness, but I did lose about 4 minutes waiting in line. (Bummer.) After the stop, I felt better, and miles 16-20 were pretty good. I found myself running pretty fast on the run intervals (10:30-10:45) and I walked as fast as I could on the other.

I knew Jenni would be at mile 20, and soon I saw it looming in the distance. A local real estate company built a faux wall and they had a balloon arch over it, so it was easy to see. Relay exchange #3 was just after mile 20, and I saw Jenni right after that. She got this great photo:

Somewhere between mile 20 and 20.5

I still felt pretty good at this point, I think it was all the Shot Bloks, gel, Gatorade, and water I was consuming. My feet were a little sore and my legs were definitely tired, but I didn’t ever feel “the wall” looming over me. Fueling is essential!!!

Miles 21-25 were through flat, scenic, residential areas. There were a lot of beautiful older homes and even an authentic German Christmas market along the way. The crowd support was fantastic! People were ringing cowbells, yelling, and playing music. I made the final turn onto L Street and I knew I was going to make it – I got a little choked up.

I passed mile 25 and texted my best friend (volunteering at the finish), Jenni, and my husband to let them know where I was. I passed Jenni and hubs with less than a mile to go – they were standing in front of our hotel. My husband got this great pic:

Mile 25+

I could see the big flag for mile 26 looming in the distance – then it was a left turn, a short straightaway, and another left turn to the finish. After the second left, I started running with everything I had. Another woman was running right next to me and I crossed in 4:57:38! 🙂 My best friend gave me my medal and space blanket, and we took this picture with another friend who helped her out at the race:

Friendly faces at the finish and the State Capitol in the background. Hi, Ahhhhnold! 😉

I met up with Jenni and the hubs after the race, changed into my wonderful new CEP compression socks (seriously, I highly recommend them) and hobbled back to the hotel.

Happy feet and legs!

After an ice bath, shower, and bed rest, the hubstar and I had a lovely dinner at Pyramid Alehouse. I’m beat, but I feel so amazing.

I thought about Steve, and my friend C’s stepfather, and all the other suicide angels and those who have been left behind. It was moving and inspiring to run for such a worthy cause. As of now I have raised over $1,100!!! Thank you again for all the support.

(In case you’re wondering – I don’t have any immediate plans to run another marathon. Maybe in 2012. :))



  1. Reading this brought tears to my eyes – i’m so proud of you and happy for you and glad that you had such an amazing first marathon experience 🙂

  2. Have I mentioned how proud I am of you? If not, I AM SO FLIPPING PROUD OF YOU!!!!
    Anyway, just wanted to let you know I included you in the Stylish Blogger Award! To check it out, go to:


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