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California International Marathon 2021 Race Recap - 2:58:03

Posted by George Parker on
California International Marathon 2021 Race Recap - 2:58:03

Another great experience at the California International Marathon. I was able to set a new PR at 2:58:03 while enjoying CIM's come back year. 


Good afternoon runners hope all hauled the holiday season is going well. This past weekend, I ran the California International Marathon and want to give a recap, this will be longer than normal. So I'll do it in three parts. The first part will be race weekend, then I'll talk about the race itself. And then finally, thoughts going forward. And I'll put timestamps for each one of those if you want to jump around. So the race weekend itself, this is the 20. This was the 2021, California International Marathon CI M, and it was marketed as the comeback year. And that's because they didn't hold the race last year, because of COVID. They did an outstanding job. The expo was well organized, the entire event felt safe with people having to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test, people were masked on the transport there, everything about the race was just wrote organized. And it felt like the CI m of old, I personally stayed at a hotel in downtown Sacramento. And for any of those who are thinking about doing in the future, I highly recommend it just because you're at the finish line. And so when the race is done, you can quickly walk back to the hotel, you are close to the buses in the morning that transport you to the starting line. And so it's easy to get out of the bed, get your nutrition in and quickly get to the bus and then kind of rest until you get to the start line. It's very convenient. And there's a lot of fun things to see, right. And so the not the day before the race or the day before the race or even after the race or things you can do to kind of walk around and check things out. And it's just really convenient. There's a lot of options, the home race normally does a good job getting blocks of hotels, at least three different options to give you choices and price ranges as you're thinking about staying in Sacramento. So very well organized events. You know, once again, outstanding job by the CI Mt. Now for the race itself. Couple things that I want to talk about. So overall, I had a good day, my finishing time was 250 803, which was a 51 second PR for me versus my previous PR the 2017 ci M Performance. And so I am four years older, and so I feel pretty good about being able to still run faster on the course, I basically ran 648 miles, if you look at the splits, and I'll put it up in a second, I kind of held that pace for most of the race. And so my, my first half of my second half or basically identical at, you know, little over 129 for them for each half of the race. So Well, Ron from that perspective. Now, I know this isn't official, but I'm not a pro. And so I can I can I can count these things. But technically, because I ran long and then 26.2 Any one of you guys, you know, run big races. They know how this works. I ran 26.35 miles. And so that means that I average 645 pace for a 257 11 marathon. Like I said, it's not official, I know doesn't count. But that lets me know that I am capable of running slightly faster and get into DEF 257. Mark, which Yeah, which I think is awesome love to go do. So that's sort of the the overall thing. Now, let me show you. Let me show you the splits here. So those are the splits. And I'll talk about them in a second. But my strategy for the race was is that what I was hoping to do was to run with a three hour pace group up until about mile 18 or 20 and then accelerate for the last 10k in the marathon. That was the strategy. Now. The pacers at CI M are amazing. If any of you are trying to run a boss a qualifying time, they do a great job setting up their paces to help you go achieve that objective. And a very large pace group has a three hour pace group to break three hours. So it's a lot of high pressure on the two gentlemen that are picked to run this pace group. It's the fastest pace group there. And you know, it's a lot of a lot of pressure right to run that race.

They did an outstanding job. I think they ended up finishing the race a little over 259 Which is maybe faster and they want to go do but it's probably in the range you're looking for. But so that was my strategy. And what I noticed early on in the three hour pace group is that coming through the first 5k We came in at about 649 a mile which is about 10 seconds faster than gold pace. So a little bit hot a little bit faster than the three hour pace And then we came through halfway in 648 pace. And so we came through about a minute little over a minute faster than gold pace. Now, that was fine with me because I was hoping to run somewhere between 645 and 650 miles. So I wanted to be faster than three hour pace anyways. And so I stuck with the pace group, because I knew they're running hot. I knew they're running faster than 652 pace. I don't know. I'd be curious if other people saw that. I don't know, if a lot of people that were in the three hour pace group and there's a bunch, I'll talk about that a second, I don't know, if a lot of them get burnt out because the pace was too fast. I mean, we came through halfway in 258 pace. And if you're not ready to run that, it's a big difference. And so I don't know, if a lot of the group was able to make it through the second half of the race or not, or if they kind of imploded. But that's that's the challenge, right? Well, you're pacing years different strategies. For years, when I ran in the three hour pace group, and ran 258. Hi, they came in basically 10 seconds faster, basically, right on three hour pace, you know, right at an hour, 30 minutes, halfway. And that's, that's a way to run it. And then this time, they came in a little over a minute hot. And that's another way to run it, or your banking time. But that's always a risky strategy, I think, especially if you're trying to break through for the first time you're pushing it. But anyway, that's what they did, they did an outstanding job. And so I stuck with them. Shortly after halfway though, they started dialing back the pace. And so from mile 13, until about mile 18, the pace started dropping to about 651 a mile, which is exactly where they wanted to go do right, they were dialing that pace back. But as right about that point that I knew, you know, if I really want to have a good race, I'm going to have to leave the pack. And so around mile 19 is when I found myself ahead of the group. And I just took off and I went from there. But a quick thought about the pace group in general, one of the hardest things about running in the three hour group at CI M that's worth remembering is it's so big, and there's so many people there. And it's challenging when you have a huge group like that, because unless you're right behind the Pacers, you're going to get kind of this yo yo thing where the pace varies throughout the pack. And it's hard because you get these mini accelerations. So that's one problem. The second one, which I think is a bigger problem is this huge mass of people all at the same time, is approaching the eight stations to get water and Gu and electrolyte train. And that makes it really challenging because it's hard for all those people to serve us as once against that table. It's just not popular enough people. And so what you end up having to do is either run ahead of a group approaching these age stations, so you can make sure you get your nutrition and hydration or you are slowing down as the group go past it to grab these cups of nutrition. But then when you're done, you have to accelerate back up to the pack. And so there was a lot of that that was happening for the first, you know, 19 miles from Maine. It's frustrating, and it's hard and you get these mini accelerations and it's no fun. And it makes it stressful. And so if you run in this group in the future, know that it's big, know that you're going to have these challenges. And what I would say is you kind of need to just pick the side where the nutrition is going to go be and I'd see him see Iam this year it was on the right hand side and pastures has been on both sides because they had more volunteers. They weren't able to get all the volunteers this time. That's why volunteers are important.

So I think best practice here would have been to run on the right hand side and maybe try to run up front abreast with the Pacers. But that's a prime position. A lot of people are competing for it. So it's not like it's easier. It's easier said than done. But anyways, that being said, Mo 19. I found myself ahead of the group and I knew that this was the point I just got I just kind of had to go. So seven miles left, I put my head down. And I just tried to run as good as I can I try I tried to run my 645 miles I ended up averaging 648 miles for 30k through 40k. So for those six miles, and in the last 2k So the last little over a mile I ran 636 miles and so I close strong. So I didn't really accelerate, which is what my plan was around my 19 or 20. Instead, I basically just held pace. Finished in 250 803 I would have loved to have been, you know three seconds quicker to be able to say 257 Hi, and just say two fifths in America. Um, I didn't happen. Although according to my watch the asterik, I'm gonna go ahead and claim it just for for the non Strava reporting of it. So so that was the race, I would say, I had a really good training block where normally in past races, your limit to it can be your heart rate starts escalating, especially in heated when races are hot. That didn't happen to me this year, the weather was perfect. And my pace was always within the comfort zone. So it wasn't a cardiovascular thing. It wasn't a breathing thing, my breath always felt under control. I never felt like I was hitting a glycogen wall I fueled well, and I think I trained well, so my body was adapted to the distance, including too long runs at 23 miles. Really, I think he was just my body executed what he was trying to go do run right around 645 for 26 miles and I executed the plan. I wasn't able to accelerate as much as I wanted to the end because I could feel my hamstrings get tighter, and I was getting the fatigue and the tightness in the legs. That's what happens. That's what makes the last 10k hard is that you have to somehow power through that. And so I'm proud that I didn't slow down. And so I got that going for me, I helped pace. And I picked up a little bit the last 2k. So overall great race, a fantastic race would have been if I was four seconds faster, and get to 57. But you know, it is what it is. So that being say, looking forward. I'm taking at least two weeks off from my from any reading at all give my body a chance to heal. I've been training for the last six months hard for this race. And so I think it's time just to give my body and my brain some time to relax. So I'm looking forward to that. When I get back to running, I need to pick some more goals. And one of the things that I'm struggling with is about to turn 40 A part of me wonders, you know, are my days are running marathon PR is over? I don't know, maybe right. Maybe I'm too old now. This is my 11th marathon over, you know, about 10 years. And so maybe I've hit my peak. And if that's true, you know, I'm not chasing fast marathons anymore. What do you go do instead? Right? Do you go run fun races? Do you go do other things? I don't know. If I did still want to chase time goals, what I would say is, fortunately with my time, that gives me 12 minutes B Q buffer for the 2023 race. And that should be enough to get in. I've never broken three at Boston, I've run three Oh to low or three Oh, to kind of check at Boston. That's my best time there. Just a harder course I think breaking three would kind of feel cool at Boston. Another goal is I've always wanted to run to 55 in a marathon like 255 59, which is only a few seconds promoted quicker than I have been running in so maybe that's an option. But then again, I don't know if I can go any faster. I don't know maybe ages finally came up to me or maybe what I go do is I just run smaller races to set PRs there that I haven't done before. Or

you know, just run other cool fun races and kind of have fun with it. But a lot of things to decide. I'm going to get some advice, maybe some feedback from coaches and see what things were like But overall, thank you to the CI M team. Thank you to all the volunteers. Thank you to Sacramento the city. It was a well orchestrated race thank you to the Pacers to all the runners to all the people in my pace group that I ran with for the time that I did. It made for great experience a great result for me. And aside from just completely trashed quads right now. I feel pretty good. So best wishes chasing your any goal member. It's not luck. It is training

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