On December 4, 2010 – I intended to run the California International Marathon. I just didn’t intend to run it, I intended to PR at this marathon.
This was to be my 11th full marathon (12th if you count Ironman). However, due to an unforeseen issue I was having, my last 5 weeks of training did not go as planned.
My coach, Daryl, and I had a long discussion on letting the marathon go and focusing my attention on getting healthy for the 2012 TRI season. It was hard to let it go because I knew I could run 26.2 miles, I knew I could gut it out and just do it for fun and not focus on my time, but in the end, I agreed with coach and decided not to run the full marathon.
However …. there is a relay segment to this marathon. A separate entry for those wishing to put teams of two – four individuals together to run the point to point marathon along with the full marathon runners. ….I could do that! I mean, my friend Lora and I already had our plane tickets and hotel to Sacramento, and I was trained up, just not running as fast as I wanted …
…and Daryl did say I could run some of it! That’s it … I’ll find a team to run with! And, that is precisely what I did!
As luck would have it, I found a team! Or, they found me … we found each other. Her name is Joy and she is co-founder of Nimble Running, which is a running group training for marathons, half marathons and triathlons.
After a few email exchanges, we met at the expo and got our race packets. Joy was in charge of a lot of teams and ours would have 3 people. I was asked to run the first two legs of the relay. No problem!
I also met Dianne, and her husband Mike. Dianne was running leg 3 and another fella by the name of Yousuf was running leg four.
RACE DAY: The morning was chilly and I planned on running about an 8:00 min mile pace. I told Dianne that I would see her around 8:45 am that morning at the relay exchange. We were bused from our hotel to the start in Folsom. We were allowed to stay on the bus as long as we wanted, all the way up until the start. This was a nice amenity.
Also nice, was the amount of port-o-potty’s they had! I didn’t remember this many last time I ran this marathon in 2006. I had no wait time! Awesome!!
The start was not seeded and you could put yourself where you wanted. Of course, many people start out way too fast (me included), but hey, I was only running 1/2 of this thing anyway, right?!
The first 6 miles clicked by and I was feeling great! No pain, no “issues” like I had been having. My legs were fresh, almost too fresh as they hadn’t seen running shoes or pavement in two weeks. I passed the relay check point at mile 6 and wondered if the second relay check point would be at mile 12. DANG – I should have looked through the materials I was given at the expo! I guess I just assumed I would be running 13.1 miles.
….AHHH, I start to ache … and hurt. NOT muscle soreness, the other issue! SUFFERING SUCCOTASH. I am hating life and want to quit, but don’t want to quit because Dianne is waiting for me. I wish now I had only signed up for one leg of the relay. What was I thinking? I start to slow down and even walk a bit, but then talk myself into running some more just to be done with it.
I pass the 13.1 mat and do NOT see the relay transition. WTHell? Where is it? I’m hurting here!! I call out to anyone who will listen and ask where the second transition is. I hear someone yell back it’s a ways up. Great. Just Great.
Finally, I see the transition and find Dianne and her husband, Mike. I get my medal and Mike took a picture of us. I was happy to be done and happy to see her.
Mike was great and treated me to an ice cold water at a nearby grocery store before we headed off in search of transition #3, We found Yousuf and waited for Dianne to finish her leg.
After Dianne comes in and Yousuf takes off, we all head to the end. The unfortunate part was traffic and parking. We ended up missing Yousef finishing. 😦
Overall, we did great as a team. I was happy with my overall pace, roughly an 8:22 pace for 13.1 miles. And, although I had a rough go of it with my “issue,” AND I haven’t run since, I’m still really glad I met such wonderfully nice people and was grateful to be on their team.