Sunday, December 2, 2012

California International Marathon

CIM = California International Monsoon. Yes, that is exactly what it was like out there today. Mother Nature sent us the memo early on, so we all knew it was going to be cold and wet. Yet, we maniacal marathoners braved the harsh weather and ran 26.2 miles. Some may say this is dedication while others call it insanity. I like to think it's a little bit of both.

I have to admit, I was a bit annoyed by Mother Nature for choosing this day to water the plants. CIM was supposed to have been my PR race. Months ago, when BEAST MODE shifted into high gear, I set my sight on this race as being my first sub-5 marathon. I made that bold announcement right after The Giant Half Marathon when I nailed my 2:14 half marathon finish. Mind you, I had not seen finish times like that in over three years, so that really boosted my confidence. A few weeks later, I got that sub-5 marathon at the Two Cities Marathon in Fresno, clocking in an astounding 4:56 finish. I readjusted my goals to hit another PR at Santa Barbara the following weekend and then again at CIM a month later.

Being on that PR high got me cocky, and I went out way too fast at Santa Barbara. I did manage to squeak by with a 5:14 finish, which is my second best marathon time. I felt great about this, but I really wanted that sub-5 repeat. Hence, I put a lot of pressure on myself to do it again at CIM. There's actually more to it. You see, this is my first CIM. I have skipped this race for the past three years because I was never able to make the six hour cut off. Things are obviously different now. I fitter and faster now, and this was my year to shine at CIM.

Thanks for the down pour, Mother Nature!

With all that said, in hind sight, it doesn't surprise me at all that I did not PR at CIM. I had put so much pressure on myself that my mind pretty much imploded half way through the race. I lost my PR at mile 16 and for two miles, I pretty much gave up. Fortunately, a fellow Brazen runner caught up to me and lifted my spirits. He knew I was struggling, so he encouraged me to run with him. I still struggled, but this runner gave me enough of a boost to get my mojo back. He stayed with me to the end, and we crossed that finish line together. Even though I did not get that PR, I am proud to say that I earned my third best marathon finish time.

Thank You Stephen! You saved me!
The lens on my iPhone camera was all fogged up!

I could have completely given up and walked to the finish line and still made the cut off. Instead, I kept pushing for the best finish time I could. Am I bummed that I didn't PR? Of course. Am I going to let it bother me? No. I did the best I could and for that I am very happy. When I crossed the finish line, all my running friends cheered me on. Any negative feelings of not PRing went away.

Woo Hoo!

In closing, I'd like to share a funny little story. I can laugh about this now, but at the time it was pretty traumatic. A few miles into the race, there was major flood on the course. While some runners tried to go around it, I ran through it. Well, I slipped and face planted into that pond! I looked like seal in an inflatable kiddie pool trying to escape. After flopping around for a few seconds, I was able to get up. And yes, I swallowed some muddy water. Yuck. In no way am I saying that this fall affected my overall performance. I will say, however, that it probably does explain why I threw up after the race!