Race Recap: California International Marathon Relay

3:41 PM

When running the relay just doesn't feel right...
Because it is the RUNniversary of your first, EVER, marathon! Okay, get over myself, I know...I know! For a different perspective on this race, please feel free to read my race recap from last year. However, before last year, this was a yearly staple race on the calendar. Ever since I started running in races, this one has been on my list to do. We always have pretty much the same team for the relay and I usually get to do the last leg and run through the finishing chute. We mixed it up this year. I am less apprehensive about running any of the legs, because after last year, I've run every leg.
This course attracts runner's from around the world. It is known for it's fast and net downhill course. Although, if you asked me (which you didn't) those rolling hill sure don't feel like net downhill at ALL! Runner's of all shapes, sizes, and ethnicity take over Sacramento. The city vibe changes, but it's a great feeling.

The Expo is my favorite, because there are SALES on everything running. That doesn't happen often, so I always make sure to drain my bank account on random running stuff, especially the stuff I've been eying but too cheap to buy at full price. SRA, who puts on the marathon, offered a free shakeout run. So of course I partook and after I met my team, Hot Mess, to pick up our packets and shirts.
SRA Free Shakeout Run Pep Talk

The Expo is fairly big, per Sacramento standards. There are tons of vendors there and anyone can come and go as they please. So if you want to try a bunch of free junk and get all amped up, I'd suggest you go visit the Expo next year. Bank of the West had a photo booth, which J and I partook in. Our old NP and #9Run6 crew was at the SF Marathon booth, we scored some free goodies and used a Selfie Stick (all of which I described yesterday, sorry).

Stopped at the Napa Marathon Booth
As Team Hot Mess parted ways from the Expo, we decided we'd have our traditional carb dinner together, later that night. It's always nice to hangout before the race and also talk logistics - rides, keys, paces, outfits, you know...all the important deets when you're racing on a four person team. As we consumed our dinner, less carbs more protein and booze, we were all pretty confident that we'd live up to our name this year. 2 sick runners and 2 who hadn't been training too much, so yeah, definitely a Hot Mess!

Gear Grid

Team Hot Mess - Open Division
Leg 1 - 5.9 Miles: Matt
Leg 2 - 7.6 Miles: Bryson
Leg 3 - 7 Miles: Ganeeban
Leg 4 - 5.7 Miles: Marika

We're all very familiar with the course, so we knew exactly where each transition section would be. Thankfully, since the relay had a lead sponsor the transportation was complimentary, which is something new this year. If you feel so inclined, here are the deets about getting from location to location. But here are some of the deets for the relay teams:

Distances: Each team usually consists of 4 runners, although teams of 2 or 3 runners are also accepted.

Relay Divisions: Relay divisions are for male, female or co-ed. A co-ed team must have a minimum of two women or have two legs of the relay run by a woman. Teams with three men and one woman will be categorized as a mens team. Teams with three women and one man are still considered a co-ed team. 
  • Open
  • Corporate
  • Military
  • Police/Fire
  • Fitness Club
  • Running Club
  • Family
  • High School (only for teams entered as high school teams at $50 price)
  • Political
Race day came quickly. I didn't have to be up particularly early, because I was leg three. I had said I'd be at my transition area by 8:30AM, to ensure plenty of variation in predicted pacing. My alarm went off around 7AM. I was up and downstairs eating my pre-race breakfast in no time. Very typical breakfast race, I devoured a whole bagel because I knew I'd be running a total of 10 miles. J got up and actually had breakfast with me, so that was an unexpected treat.

Dressed and really antsy to get to the race, we left around 8:10AM and we were there very early. Better on the safe side, which I'm always way to cautious...I would never want to be late for my partner or team, that's just horrible!

Leg 3 Start Section/Transition Area
My Cheerleader, My Ride Giver, My Running Partner
Bryson came blaring in his red shirt, as promised, screaming my name to no one in particular. Experienced as a team, we have a system for transitions. The next runner stands with their leg out and the runner finishing takes off the timing anklet and puts it on the next runner. However, B sucked at this, so not after two seconds did I have to stop and fix the timing device. Thanks, B!

So, according to the damn elevation map I was running downhill. It lies, because when you're running you feel every uphill! I started out way too fast, which is always the case. So, I tried to reel it in, but as you'll see, I had positive splits for most of the run. I knew that J was going to try to be on Walnut Avenue to say hi, which is where is friend lives. His friend estimated it was 4-5 miles from my start point, however it was really only 3.35 miles from there. So, as I ran passed this highly crowded spot on the course I couldn't see him. I figured with my predicted pace being way slower than what I was actually running and the shorter distance (than predicted) I was going to miss him. I was right. I was a little bummed, but kept on trucking!

Mile 1 - 8:17
Mile 2 - 8:42
Mile 3 - 8:38

It's all really a blur, besides the fact that I was getting slower. I was trying to remain strong, but I could feel each mile going a tad bid slower. Downside of running while sick, means that your body still does what it wants. For about a mile, I fought with a mucus that was stuck in my throat. Totally TMI! I was making all kinds of noises to get it out, I'm sure a few runners looked at me crazy. I was also choking during some of this mile, bad gag reflexes :/ Needless to say, when I finally spit it out I was relieved! Damn you sinus infection, you suck!

Mile 4 -  8:46

Mile 5 - 8:85
Mile 6 - 8:47

At mile 20 they make a huge deal of it being the "wall"! This year's set up was highly disappointing, when compared to last year. This year they had a dinky sign to run under. Last year there was a huge blow up arch to run through and people making a tunnel to cheer you on! Last year was the winner for the wall, by far. Shortly after the wall was my transition area for the next leg. 

Mile 7 - 8:44
Total - 7.07 Miles - 1:01

Marika knew I needed a few extra miles. But when I reached her, I was exhausted. I told her to go on and I was going to take my last few marathon training miles slow. Off she went, as did I. Until about a block or two did I realize I didn't get my medal. So I stopped, turned around and grabbed one. Then I was back on the course again. I had to go about a mile on the course before the street "Y's" and I would run off the course. Because of the unexpected pace I held, J was slightly late to meet me. No biggie on my part, I was just cheering my little heart out for all the runners!

My race was done! I do have to say Thank you, thank you to the awesome people of Sacramento. Although I wasn't trekking through the entire marathon, your cheers and awesome signs keep each mile interesting. From the "smallest high five station" along the way, to telling me my ass looks good via a sign, you all are amazing. Sacramento really shows up for this race, year after year, and supports the runners!

The women's record for this course was broken and re-set this year. Yeah, so that happened too...I didn't partake in the post race party stuff, but J and I did make our way to the end to cheer on a family friend. She was on the course cheering me on last year, so it was only right that I cheered her on. I was able to run about a block with her, and part ways with her right at the 26 mile marker.

Running a marathon is emotional, as much as I hate to admit it, so when we were cheering at the end we saw all of the raw emotion of these finishers. They were so close, even though they had 0.3 of a mile left. You could see the triumph and smiles with each stride, it's a pretty amazing feeling. J thought I was slightly crazy for cheering for everyone so loud and crazy. But as I told him, until you actually do this, you don't understand how each smile, clap, or cheer helps you get to that finish line. It's something you can't put a value one, it's even more invigorating than a GU/gel/shotblok!

The first weekend of December should be officially called CIM weekend...

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  1. I had such a fun time in your city, exploring the downtown area and waterfront. I think my favorite discovery was the path that runs for mile and miles and miles along the Sacramento River. Please tell me you take advantage of this luxury and use it?? I would be running and biking on it every day. :)

    The downtown area was definitely interesting and had a huge mix of people and characters. We discovered a lot of great restaurants and dining areas. The area around the capitol building is gorgeous. I love all of the holiday decor. Do you spend a lot of time in the downtown area?

    Loved CIM and the racing environment Sacramento provided. It was probably the nicest expo I have ever seen and the weather on race day was perfect. Wish I could have run into at some point - looks like you had fun at the expo too! Congrats to you and your relay team for an awesome performance out there. If I lived in the area, I would run CIM every year! :)


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