Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Fire Hose of Moisture - The Story of CIM 2012

The Weather Channel wasn't wrong.  The Atmospheric River pointed a fire hose of moisture at my face and turned it up to high for about 3:35 on Sunday morning.  Which means that if I had hit my A Goal I would have been running in the rain for the entire time.  But thanks to that fire hose of moisture and approximately 40 mph headwinds A was OUT the window. However, B Goal was achieved with 4 minutes and 55 seconds to spare.

So here is the longer story.

After a quick stop at Trader Joe's for fuel we drove up to hangout with Dan and Karla in Sacramento.  The weather sorta held out. There was some rain but it wasn't so awful and we SAW A DOUBLE RAINBOW.


We went to Shabbat Services which was very nice and we got to see my good friend and college rabbi, had some tea and cookies, and watched some West Wing episodes. Then to bed.

Early on Saturday morning we went to expo, I became a nuun-vert, Abby picked up some insoles for her running shoes, and I got an extremely stylish poncho. We started the carb-fest with a few little things at the expo and some coffee.  We went off to Fox & Goose for brunch and saw Argo. Nice movie.

Then it was time for big carbs at Buca di Beppo with a mess of SFRRC running chums.
Tastes like carbs

To my surprise the food was actually pretty tasty.  While our order was plain, team cow bell (Dan, Karla, and Abby) had a more complex dish with meat and cheese and team cow bell said it was very good. Also it was $16 bucks per person, so that was excellent.  There were a number of first timers and they asked important questions and we all pretended to have the answers (sorry guys, we just made it up). 
First timers Vince, Heather, and Alex
Then it was bed time.  And then it was game time.

I was up at 4am, ate my sandwich, and started hydrating. I met up with Aleah from the club and we drove about 45 minutes out to Folsom in the POURING rain. That 45 minute drive was a bit disconcerting considering we had been picked up near the finish.

The weather wasn't so bad as we waited for the bus but BOY HOWDY was it raining when we got there. Thankfully we could stay on the bus we did have to get out there at some point. We went out to the portopoty utopia that was set up at the start.

It looked a bit different in the rain and wind.
Aleah and I did some warming up in what could only be described as gale force winds and pelting rain. We worked our way to be near the 3:35 pace group with all intentions of sticking with them; we were going to try to BQ (lady style). 

The first six miles were great and we were will on time, averaging about an 8:10 mile.  The hills were not killer but were very much there.  The wind was blocked by big trees and farms so we were a bit protected.  I ditched my poncho and garbage bag skirt at the start but kept on my garbage page shirt until I got warm.  By mile one I was completely soaked through.

We first saw team cow bell near mile seven and it was great to have them on the course. I still was looking strong and honestly felt great.

Dan took this very cool action shot via video.
Once we made the turn on to Fair Oaks Blvd, the course's main stretch, it started getting really hard.  This was about mile seven through 14 or so.  We were facing sustained 40mph winds and rivers of water. My shoes were no longer wet; rather my feet were swimming in water. There was one point as we ran through a small little town and banked right, where we ran through about six inches of fast moving, cold as a mountain spring, water. That sucked.

Aleah and I slowed down a bit, and fell in with the 3:40 pace group for about five miles during this time period.  We saw another SFRRC Chum in the group and ran with him for a bit. Oron looked like a million bucks and clearly was well on his way to a great race. He had a solid PR, and while I am sure he was tired, he didn't seem that way to us.

In the deep middle miles it started to fall apart.  The weather was still really nasty and we were both slowing down to about 8:45 miles. We saw team cow bell again near mile 18 but they didn't take pictures of us, or at least didn't post them to Facebook, because of how shitty we looked.  If I looked nearly as shitty as I felt, I am glad they didn't post them.

Support is key. Thanks guys!

After 18 Aleah told me to go on alone and I tried my best to keep my pace under nine.  That soon was impossible.

My feet hurt from sloshing around, my ankles were already swelling, and I was completely spent. Miles 19 through 25 were complete torture. I started doing math where I figured out that even at 10 minute miles I would be able to finish under four hours, but even that wasn't for sure.

At the 21st mile, there is a bridge that people kept saying was the course's largest and hardest hill. That, my friends, is bullshit. Even in my state I was able to keep pace and just get up and over. I started picking up my pathetic pace to about 9:30s and prayed to all the was holy that the 3:50 group wouldn't pass me in the final miles.

Twenty-two is where Aleah caught back up with me and passed me.  There were lots of old guys who blew by me who clearly paced better. But I also was able to keep a 9 to 9:30 mile for much of that time.  I did walk a bunch because I couldn't help it.  I knew if I could get to mile 24 by my A Goal, I could hit B Goal no problem.  I hit 24 at 3:40ish on the watch and knew that two point two miles in 20 minutes was achievable.  This was also the point where the sun came out and it was beautiful.

So I ran as hard as had all day and hit blistering speeds of the same pace I had held for the last eight miles.  My legs felt like crap and I started to feel the effects of rain on my skin.  But I didn't care.

I ran hard for the last two miles and finished strong-ish.
Thanks Coach Jenni (for the picture) and the entire SFRRC cheering
crew for braving the elements.
I turned the corner at 26 and turned on everything I had to get to the finish. I saw Abby, Dan and Karla and then the end.

I ran hard across the finish line and nearly yacked.  The first thing they offered was chocolate milk.  While I understand it is good for you, I need some water first.  I nearly keeled over and the medal guy handed me my finishers medal without looking...I said I needed a minute as I bent over in perfect position to place all six Gu packets on his shoes.  He apologized and put it around my neck.

Then Abby and the rest of team cow bell caught up with me and waited as I took the obligatory finisher's picture.  I was able to conjure up a shit eating grin and then I headed over to the water table and then out to the SFRRC tent.  I sat down. And that felt fan-fucking-tastic.

Most comfortable chair ever.
I got very cold very fast so I headed over to the Med Tent to check my vitals (BP 110 over 65 and pulse 90, body temp 97.8F) and to get some warm broth. It was as delicious as I ran fast in the second half of the race.  But it helped and then I walked my broken ass back to the hotel for some icing, showering, and discovering my surprising lack of skin on a significant portion of my body.

After checking out, Abby and I headed over to the SFRRC lunch at Pyramid Brewery on K Street were I ate all of the foods.  Then it was time to go home.

Eating all of the foods
I am very thankful for the support on the course.  There were a surprising number of people out in their boots and coats cheering us on in horrible weather.  And I hope they know how much that means to us crazy runners.  Team cow bell was fantastic and without them I am sure I would have been in a much worse place, mentally and physically. Thanks again.

Some parting thoughts:
  1. CIM is extremely well produced and supported. The Sacramento Running Association should be congratulated on a very well done event in such nasty conditions.
  2. This is a hilly course. Stop pretending otherwise. 
  3. Running in lots of rain and wind isn't pleasant.
  4. I am pleased but not happy with my race. I went out too fast, didn't account for what was clearly a horrible day to run, and I paid for it with my over all time.  I did PR and that is great, but I can, and will do better.
  5. Running with a club is great fun, but it is also very important. We had support along the course and at the end which was super useful and in the end my have helped me avoid hypothermia with a quick move from a few members. 
In the end this was a hard and disgusting run.  I look forward to a new PR, in about a year.  But who knows...I might run a spring marathon yet. 

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