It sounds so simple… just run an 8 minute and 20 second mile, then repeat for the next 25.2 miles and cross the finish line at 3:38:30. That’s the plan in it’s most simplistic form. Run perfect mile after perfect mile and find glory at the finish line.

This Sunday, I will be racing my final full marathon for the year up in Sacramento at the California International Marathon (CIM). It is pitched as “fast” course with a downhill start-to-finish profile, BUT don’t be fooled. It’s rolling hills that go downhill, if that makes any sense (see profile below). I ran this race back in 2009: it was cold, I started to cramp and finished in tears of joy/pain with a shiny 4:40 PR.

Take a closer look at the line and see all the little rolling hills there… sneaky profile.

Take a closer look at the line and see all the little rolling hills there… sneaky profile.


4 years later and I will be attempting to PR again, but this time breaking into the 3:3X territory. I tried the 3:3X back in June at San Diego and crashed and burned by going out too fast (familiar story). This time around I will definitely make a point of not going out to fast.

The race plan is to stay close to the 3:40 pace group and use it as a gauge to control my pace for the first 22 miles. I’m not really a big fan of running in packs or groups on race day… I feel boxed-in and confined. I’ll most likely stay about 5-10 feet behind the group and hold.

After 22 miles, if I’m feeling AMAZING, then I’ll drop the hammer and fly home. In a perfect world, right? If I’m feeling pretty good at 22 miles, I’ll slowly try to pass the 3:40 group and focus on passing a runner a few feet in front of me… then the next… then the next. If I’m feeling tired, then it is just a matter of staying where I am at and holding on. Of course, if I want 3:3X, that means the last mile has to be just a little bit faster. Luckily, the last mile always has a little zip on it because it’s the last mile.


I read Krysten’s post the other day ( about being honest, and here is my “honest” moment for this race: It’s a 50/50 shot on whether this happens or not. My legs feel tired from the #SA2LV challenge and I’m nursing some minor aches. Nothing that would make me consider NOT running this or NOT attempting to PR, but it does cast a little doubt on whether I CAN do it or not. Finishing is not an issue. I’ll finish this thing (barring any injury) and am smart enough to know that I won’t risk injuring myself in trying to PR. If I feel anything close to being the onset of injury, I will easily back off… that’s the easy part… not setting a PR means just getting in a good, long-distance run with a shiny medal at the end. The hard part will be trying to hold the pace… that is going to take some effort from me, both physically and mentally.

It is possible… I’m trained for the distance. Check. Trained for the pace? Kinda-check. An 8:20 pace is doable for an extended period of time, it’s just going to take a “really good” running day. I just need to be channeled into my running game mentally and need to find that 8:20 pace early and make it my new BFF. I have a 1:37 half marathon PR, so I’m using that as mental fuel to find a 1:49/1:49 split.

All I have for one race… for one day. The goal is to end an epic year, with an epic PR at the marathon. If #SA2LV was my dessert, I want CIM to be the whip cream on top.

Damnit, now I want ice cream.

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CIM Meet up & Tweet Up
When: Saturday at noon
Where: SF Marathon booth at the Expo
Facebook event page

Last day to enter to win a Medal Display from SportHooks.

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All in for one final race for 2013? Who’s with me?!?!