An unexpected but happy ending – CIM 2010 Race Report

It would be an understatement to say I went into the race this Sunday with high expectations or an overly positive attitude. To the contrary, I was on the fence if I should even run the race. This training season had it’s problems and the last three weeks leading to the race were less than ideal. In the end the results are something I can be proud of.

CIM 2010 – The Results
2:48:30 Finishing Time
Two and a half minute PR from Portland time of 2:51:08 in 2009
Ten and a half minute improvement from time of 2:59:09 at CIM 2008

CIM 2010 – The Lead-up
This blog catalogs a lot of the details of the season, from the race preps, to my inability to stick with the little but critical things to a successful training season. The last three weeks included a 40 mile week (target of 70), a quad strain, getting married :), and getting the flu. Since both Asia and I were planning to race CIM I was going to Sacramento no matter what, but if I would start or not was going to be a late decision. My hydration plans from Wednesday through Saturday included a decent number of servings of Theraflu, I even had a half serving Sunday morning before the race. I knew Steve and Ruth would be on the course so if I felt poorly I’d just stop and hitch a ride with them. I was finally starting to feel better on Saturday afternoon and after Steve’s team meeting at 6 I decided I would go ahead and toe the line and execute to my original goal and plan when the season started … try and finish somewhere around 2:45.

CIM 2010 – The Plan
My plan for the race was in line with Steve’s recommendation for Team Rogue. It was broken up into three parts. The first half, miles 13 to 18 and 19 to the finish:

  • First Half – Run 5 seconds slower than MGP (6:23)
  • 13 to 18 – Run MGP (6:18)
  • 19 to 26.2 – Close

This plan should have put me somewhere between 2:45:05 and 2:47:00, as you know from what I ran this isn’t quite what I was able to achieve. Don’t get me wrong I’m ecstatic at my actual time but want to be honest with everybody that it wasn’t my goal. Yes I can rationalize my results and there are many very good reasons for it but my goal was to get under 2:47 for sure … so let’s say I’m happy and proud of my effort and results but have some unfinished business.

CIM 2010 – Toeing the Line
As we got to the start I had one thought going through my head, it was that both Asia and I come out of the day not getting sicker than we are. It was weird to only have that thought in my head. Guess it’s the perspective of battling a bunch of things the weeks leading up to Sunday.

CIM 2010 – The Race
CIM is a very well organized race (my CIM review from 2008 holds, actually the C- for the water stops is now a B+). At the start we were probably in the 5th or 6th row, which in hindsight was way too far behind. The start involved a lot of weaving and getting around people who … well really didn’t need to lined up with the women trying to get their trials qualifier with the 2:45 pace leader.

I was on plan for the first half. My overall time was 1:23:01 which was a 6:23 pace. Spot on and I was feeling decent. Somewhere between miles 10 and 15 the sun came out and I realized I was feeling a little drier than I’d like to. I decided to take my extra GU and thermolyte pills at this point, something I’m glad I did. Miles 13 to 18 the target was 6:18 pace, I ran this section in 31:42 which was 6:20 pace. Still not too bad given a close is just that, as hard as you can go and making up 10 seconds isn’t unreasonable. Well the close was anything but that. The last 8.2 miles took me 53:47 at an average pace of 6:34. After 19 miles my pace just kept slowing, my effort didn’t, I honestly felt like I was sprinting the last 1.2 miles but the pace after mile 25 was 6:40 🙂

I’d already passed the last spot I’d see Steve and Ruth (mile 18) so hitching a ride with them was a no-go. It was really now a question of giving up or not. At each mile I made an agreement with myself on my “evaluation” criteria”. At mile 20 I realized I had two minutes to give to still finish under 2:50 so that was it. I made an agreement with myself that my pace started going over 6:40 I’d just stop. Each mile it felt like I was about to hit that point:

Mile 20 – 6:32
Mile 21 – 6:26
Mile 22 – 6:35
Mile 23 – 6:35
Mile 24 – 6:39
Mile 25 – 6:38
Mile 26+.2 – 8:00 (6:40 pace)

All those miles felt like I was running all out. My quads were burning and I went through attempts to surge and get my body out of the funk at every mile mark. My guess is I was running the first quarter mile of most of these miles closer to my MGP and then recovering and holding on for dear life for the rest. As I crossed the finish and the clock read 2:48 I was ecstatic, it was a great PR considering three days earlier I didn’t even know if I’d be able to run the marathon.

CIM 2010 – How the Hell?
After the race I have wondered how the hell I managed to run the time I did. Each of these probably deserve their own blog posts so this is just a list for now:

  • Consistency – I’ve been training with Team Rogue for two and a half years now and the accumulation over time and the 15 twenty plus mile runs early on this season have been a deposit I was able to claim some dividends on this weekend.
  • Will – This was a big part of Steve’s talk to the Team at the pre-race meeting. You just have to will it, it’s not about feeling bad in a race, you have to have the will to achieve your goal. Once I got on the line I think I did rely on my will … did it waver the last 8 miles, yes but it didn’t break.
  • Belief – This is really a matter of believing in the training we’ve all done as a team over the season and the years, it would be crazy to put in all these hours and not believe the effort will produce results.
  • Group based Training – There is no way I could perform at this level without the group based training I get from Rogue. It’s the programs put together by Steve, it’s having people to hold you accountable, it’s having people that push you to excel. There are too many of you to list, you know who you are so thanks for helping me this Sunday.
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