Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Race Recap: California International Marathon

Way too much has already been written for me to chime in on the disastrous conditions of the California International Marathon this year. Too many pictures have been posted of the downed trees, flooded streets, pouring rain, and whipping winds. Too many DNFs happened, too many goals were altered, too many old injuries flared up. And despite the harsh conditions of this year's race, a lot of great things happened, too. 

Groups of people banned together to beat the wind and shelter one another from the rain. Spirits remained high, hands of fellow runners were shaken, hugs and jokes were shared, beer flowed, pizza and pasta was served. A few magical PRs erupted (I'm looking at you, Renee!). A sense of accomplishment shone across every person's face at that finish line -- from the people finishing in just over 2 hours to those finishing after 6. We had all just been through something truly epic.

CIM 2012 happened. I got my goal. I crossed the finish line. It was my worst race time-wise, but it was one of my most meaningful mentally.

Courtney and I started off 2012 running an impromptu marathon in Hawaii, crossing the finish line full well realizing we were capable of accomplishing something most "normal" people would consider crazy. Over the course of the year, we've gone through a lot -- with jobs, travels, boys, cats, apartments, each other. We ended the year crossing another finish line together in something even fellow marathoners consider crazy. 

Courtney makes Hefty bags cute. Me? No.

We were both undertrained, I was injured, and the weather didn't want us to be out there. We questioned our own sanity, but we never gave up.

Everything hurt so unbelievably bad that I wasn't able to focus on my gimpy hip. Instead my water-logged feet, tight IT bands, sore quads, achy ankles, slouched shoulders, and hunched-over back pain acted as a good distraction.

And yet every time a glimpse of pain or suffering got so bad that the idea of quitting seemed like the better option, I switched my mind back to Chachi. I reflected on my best little buddy, the great years we had together, how peacefully he passed away in my arms, how much I love him, and how terribly I miss him. A number of times I teared up (and I realized how hard it is to cry and run at the same time!) and Courtney was there to tell me that Chachi loved me, too. We hardly spoke a word to each other during this race, and yet when we did, she had the right thing to say. While I was struggling, Courtney never once complained. She just stayed by me with a smile.

We ran to mile 6 -- a distance PR for me during my recent "WTF is up with my hip" streak. Then we ran to mile 12 & I was so out of it I thought we were at mile 9. I knew I could make it to the halfway mark, and I knew I had banked enough time to walk the rest of the race if need be. We ran mile 14 -- "Chachi's mile", the age of my cat when he died -- then ran to mile 15. I then started taking walk breaks at every mile marker, and Courtney never once urged me to push beyond my comfort, but instead just kept telling me I could finish.  

I did.
I had a truly great time running with a friend who's been here for me all year. I'm so happy and proud of how we did. I am ending my year feeling good about my running life despite this unknown injury. I can't wait to rest, recover, figure out a long-term solution to my hip, heal, get stronger, and set new goals.

(Hopefully this goes without saying, but I also want to thank my friends who were out there spectating in the storm & for all my Internet people who asked to track me online & sent me some "you can finish" vibes. I thought about you all during the race, too!)

I ran CIM with Chachi's picture pinned to my side. And even though we were sopping wet, his picture barely absorbed any water. I thought about him lots -- and still think about him lots -- and that race was for him. 

My 10th marathon. Chachi In Memory. 2012.

Official finish time: 4:42:03
1: 10:16
2: 9:58
3: 9:42
4: 9:25
5: 9:32
6: 9:34
7:  9:36
8: 9:38
9: 9:46
10: 9:33
11: 9:39
12: 9:34
13: 9:33
14: 11:47
15: 10:28
16: 12:08
17: 10:04
18: 12:52
19: 10:00
20: 13:02
21: 12:56
22: 13:19
23: 12:23
24: 11:50
25: 10:11
26: 11:21
.44: 3:59 (8:58 pace)


  1. I think you did amazingly. Well done on a brave run.

    I had to laugh when you mentioned crying. I've cried a few times during races and kind of stop being able to breathe, so I identified with that!!

  2. Congratulations on finishing! The day was so miserable, it would have been easy to DNS, but you not only lined up, but you finished. Great job!

  3. So proud of you, showed great strength!

  4. 5 hours. Liar liar, pants on fire :D

  5. Congrats on meeting your goal!! It looks like it was a very meaningful race. <3

  6. You did great A! I am so, so glad that you went through with the race - the weekend would not have been the same without you! (and thank you for the nice mention) :)

  7. You guys are the best. So glad you were able to finish (knew you would!) and run it all for sweet Chachi

  8. Look at you, finishing the year strong against the odds. Good luck with your injury, and much love to Chachi who sounds like the best cat that ever was. missing my Chachi (chihuahua) too still, after...4 years

  9. so.. your post made me cry. i am so so so happy that you were able to cross this finish line. you have such a wonderful friendship with courtney && i'm so glad that you guys were able to cross it together. i read your blog post on chachi after dinner (marathon eve). i teared up then too. must be a cat lady for life thing or something. ;) :) it was wonderful meeting you this weekend && we hope to visit very very soon. if we decide to do a race... can i be the first to vote like 5k or a beer mile?? again, congrats! you're one heck of a woman!

  10. Congrats! :) Chachi sounded like a great buddy.

  11. My heart is with you, friend.

  12. I am so glad we got to share this race! (I first wrote I had "so much fun" with you, and while I did have some fun, I will not be writing CIM off as a "so much fun" race - but rather, an extremely memorable one). You beat the odds, you are so strong and I am honored to have gotten to cross the finish line with you. I look forward to more marathons (not in typhoons) and life adventures to come. xoxo

  13. You made it, not that I doubted you would. Can I say I'm proud of you? Because I'm proud of you, and I can't wait to catch up with some lake loops once you're healed and ready to take on 2013!

  14. Congrats on finishing despite it seeming like the universe was against you!

  15. Way to go getting through it despite all of the hard parts - you rock!

  16. I think you did awesome- congratulations. You finished in less than ideal circumstances and that is something to be very proud of!

  17. So glad you were able to cross the finish line! Hopefully your hip and everything else is on the mend. Loved reading about you and courtney running together! :) I've run one marathon with a good friend and we ran at hear pace and it was one of the most enjoyable marathons I've ever run! Don't tell my boyfriend who has run two with me. ;o)

  18. I'm so happy you decided to run CIM. The weather was nasty but I hope it was a cathartic experience to release all the stress you had been dealing with for the past few months. What a great way to end the year. I'm sure Chachi is so proud of his Mom! (and great finishing photo with Courtney too!)