Sunday, December 10, 2017

CIM Post-Race Tears & Post-Race Planning

The marathon will humble you even when you have a strong finish, but the ground of the finish chute is extra humbling.  I wasn't quite sure if I wanted to die, celebrate, or wallow.  Another runner helped me to my feet; God bless her for picking up a sweaty stranger from the ground.  She and a volunteer helped me walk, while my husband, who had seen me go down, ran to the side of the chute.  It's all a blur, but I told them I was okay and adamantly and repeatedly refused the med tent and a wheelchair.

Once I saw Jon, I burst into tears.  I was in so much pain, and I was so relieved to have finished and to PR, yet I was also upset that it all came crashing down at the end.  I'd envisioned a strong finish to this race many, many times, but I couldn't pull it off.  It was a mental trip to finally be confident that I could accomplish my big 2:45 dream, only to be punched in the gut (actually, in the neck) and come up 2:14 short.  I held onto the side of the chute and cried, while Jon again tried to get me to go with a medic.  I was able to gather myself and walk out of the chute holding onto the side.
I was coherent enough to know I'd want this
The neck pain subsided enough that I had a photo taken and picked up my gear bag to change into dry and warm clothing.  Walking from the gear check we ran into Courtney Frerichs, who I'd met in November in my neighboring town where she is from.  Fingers crossed that she can join our running group for some easy runs when she is visiting her parents for Christmas!
I was shocked she wasn't much taller as
a steeple-chaser (I'm 5'7")
I then managed to change and we began walking to the car.  A volunteer had given me a banana in the finishing chute, but I hadn't picked up any other food due to the state I was in.  I asked Jon for my banana to eat while we were walking to the car, since I'd handed it to him when I was exiting the finish chute, and he told me he ate it!  I'd recovered enough to laugh at the irony that he thought he needed it more than me.  Then neither he nor my parents could remember where they'd parked, so we were walking for what felt like hours, and I had to stop at a CVS and buy food.  I think the excessive amount of walking helped my recovery though.  My phone said I walked 8 miles between the lost car debacle and our afternoon/evening on Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, giving me a PR of covering 35 miles on foot in a day!

Although I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed with missing the 2:45, I am still thrilled with this race.  I lowered my PR on a course that was "fast but not easy" (I completely understand that descriptor now!).  Strava does the nifty grade adjusted pace calculations that I often rave about, and it said that my 2:49:20 performance at Phoenix grade-adjusted to 6:39 pace (actual pace was 6:27.5), whereas my 2:47:14 performance at CIM grade-adjusted to 6:22 pace (actual pace was 6:22.7).  This is because Phoenix has greater net downhill and less climbing than CIM, and means that grade-adjusted I took off 17 seconds/mile, making the 5 more seconds/mile I need feel less intimidating.  I am really glad I didn't look at the Phoenix GAP before CIM or I probably wouldn't have had the confidence to try for the pace I did!  I am not sure what the difference in cadence means, but I think it's a positive thing.
CIM elevation profile & GAP

Phoenix elevation profile & GAP
I strongly believe that you will always run a faster marathon with a negative split, so I probably could have gotten a minute or so more out of this one if I had stayed at 6:20ish instead of dropping to 6:15ish.  My halves were 1:22:57/1:24:17, so not ideal but also not the worst.  The BPPV came into play, but there is no way to know if it would have hit me no matter what towards the end of the race, or if it hit me because of how much I was pushing, or if I even would have run any better without it.  You have to run within what you have each race day.  Regardless, I'm still glad I took the risk and went for the 2:45.  My body has now traveled about 22.5 miles at the pace I need it to go for 26.2, and I hope it will build back up stronger in order to give it a go. 

Annnnnd, I am going to give it a go again sooner rather than later!  I knew that after CIM I would have a strong feeling one way or another about whether or not I should run Houston on January 14, six weeks later.  I knew that the scenario that would direct me to run Houston would be not getting the 2:45 at CIM but feeling like it was possible off of this training cycle, and I now feel that it is within the realm of possibility.  It will take everything going perfectly, and I have to get completely over the BPPV (last night was the first night I slept flat instead of at 45* in weeks), but why not try?  I've historically run a little better in the second marathon when I've done two off of one training cycle before, I came away from CIM completely healthy and I'm recovering well, I trust my coach will find the magic formula to give me the best chance at it, and I'll pray for the strength and wisdom to try!  After all, taking no chances means wasting your dreams.
Houston here I come!
Additional links:

  • There is a great article about the race here.
  • Another article about the race and the record number of OTQs it produced is here (there were more women under 2:45 in this race than at the 2016 Olympic Trials!).
  • My results are here.
  • Results in what is possibly a more user-friend format are here.

Well, I came close age-graded (which I feel like just makes me old!)
Bye, Sacramento!
Race swag
I loved that Sara Hall won!  My dad said she gave a finish line
speech about giving all of the glory to God.


  1. Wow, that’s crazy! More women under 2:45 than the Olympic Trials!!!

    1. I was floored by that statistic. The weather was a lot better at CIM than at the Trials, but still.