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2015 CIM Report

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2015 CIM Report

Post  Tim C on Tue Dec 08, 2015 10:42 pm

Re: Countdown to CIM
New post  Tim C Today at 9:33 pm

What a long, strange journey this has been.  Before I started running at age 50 I had been a smoker for over 30 years.  A month before the big 5-0 I decided I didn’t want to do that anymore and so I quit.  And put on 25 lbs.  And so I tried running thinking that might help.  Never expected I might actually enjoy it.  I remember thinking about people running a marathon and figured they had to be nuts.  (Of course, now that I do it, I can confirm this).

I started running with a group of pretty fast runners, many of whom had run Boston.  However, qualifying for Boston just seemed so far out of reach for me I figured it just wasn’t ever going to happen.  Well, fast-forward a few years and I’ve not only gotten a bit faster but I’ve also gotten older so it started to look as though a BQ just might be within reach.  A few months back I decided to go for it and set my sights on the California International Marathon – CIM – in Sacramento.  Several of my friends had run it and said it was not only a fast course but a really well run event that typically has good weather.

As luck would have it I started a blog pointing to this race and Michael Young stopped by and suggested I look at the Hanson Method should I want to “up my game."  I went out and bought the book, read it cover to cover in about a day, and decided this was for me.  Much higher mileage, more quality miles with less emphasis on the long run made sense to me so I jumped in with both feet.

3:55 will be my BQ time for the ’17 race so I started training for a 3:53 or so.  Once I saw it took 2-1/2 minutes under this year I moved my goal to 3:50 and adjusted my training paces accordingly.  I was able to hit all of the paces in training, especially the 12 mile MP runs so I felt somewhat confident as race day approached.  However, as you all know, that little voice gets in your head saying “yeah, 12 miles at 8:45 seems simple enough but let’s just see if you can hang on for another 14 miles…”.  Also, my left knee, which I’ve had at least 3 surgeries on, started talking back to me a bit.  Then, about 10 days ago I started feeling a pretty strong twinge in my right calf.  Backed off the hilly runs a bit and was somewhat apprehensive as race day approached.  It didn’t help when we were walking around the capitol Saturday and my alarm went off reminding me to check in on Southwest for our return flight home.  We were about 3 blocks from the rental car and the reservation papers were in there so I started running in my street clothes – and my knee hurt every single step of the way.  Not a good feeling at all.  

My wife flew up with me and she didn’t help at all with the “you’re going to qualify because we ARE going to Boston”.  She also was going to try and meet me a couple of times on the course with bottles of Nuun, although that didn’t work out so well.  Did the typical expo thing Saturday while freaking out over what to wear as it was cold for someone from SoCal and rain was forecast for race morning.  Being from SoCal I have no idea what to wear when it rains so I had multiple options packed, none of which I could decide in advance on.  

Saturday night rolled around and we met up with Michael and his lovely daughter Chelsea for dinner.  Now I still have a hard time wrapping my head around how fast this guy is, but we had a wonderful time.  He told me the weather sounded perfect so I went with it.  Got back to the hotel, decided ‘what the hell, I’m wearing a singlet’, pinned my number on and got some sleep.  Up at 3:15, got dressed, ate and walked the 6 blocks or so with several other runners to the convention center where the buses would be picking us up.  (One problem with point to point races is you realize just how very far 26.2 miles is when the bus ride takes forever.)  Sat and talked on the bus with a really nice young guy named Andy from Oregon who was targeting 2:45 to improve on his 2:50 in his one and only marathon run to date.  Runners are WAY cool – this guy was not much more than half my age and so much faster than I am that I can’t even comprehend, but we had a great conversation about kids and life and all kinds of cool stuff.  Thanks Andy…

Anyway, got to the start, and they had about a million porta-potties, which was nice.  Dropped off the gear bag, hooked up with the 3:55 pacers that I planned to run the first 4-5 miles with and it started raining.  Not hard and it was not cold and I started to feel like this day may just go very well.  Took a couple of minutes to cross the line and off we went.  The rain was just a drizzle and the streets were wet but no issues at all.  However, it was crowded and it was tough to keep the pacer in view.  Also, there were many, many 13:00 minute runners to get around – why do they insist on starting at the front?  I would never even consider lining up with the 7:00 minute crowd – OK, enough of my rant.

Anyway, the early miles just clicked off with no issues.  I planned to run with the 3:55 guys (8:55) for 4 miles, do the next mile at 8:50 and then settle in at 8:45 which would bring me in just under 3:50.  The miles felt easy and I really concentrated on holding back on the downhills.  The first 13 miles have a lot of rolling hills, which I really like, and I was pretty much within a few seconds of my target at each mile split.  (Ha, I made up a really cool pace band for the race.  Unfortunately I did not test it out while running…  I could read the numbers at my desk but they were just a blur while running.  Fortunately after mile 5 it was all 8:45’s so add 9 minutes and subtract the 15 seconds.  (1:45:45 – 1:54:30.  You get the idea.)  This worked well for much of the race but there were 3 or 4 times where I just could not do the math and had to stop for 2-3 seconds to read the damn thing.

Planned to have my wife meet me at mile 10 and 18 but mile 10 came and she was nowhere to be found.  (Funny story – she said she was close to getting there but then she got the alert that I had passed by way before I was supposed to.  I had told her to expect me about 8:28.  The alert she got was my crossing the 10K mark not the 10 mile mark.  Lol)  I had finished the bottle I started with by that time so I made a concerted effort to stop at aid stations as the lack of fluids has caught up with me before.  No issues so I started looking forward to meeting her at mile 18 – unfortunately the road closures did not allow that to happen so I continued to grab Nuun at the aid stations without issues.  At about mile 20 there was a woman handing out bottles of water so I grabbed one and didn’t have to stop the rest of the way.  Nice…

You know how late in a marathon the miles just seem to take forever?  I didn’t experience that.  Every time I looked at my watch expecting to see say 16.3 miles I saw 16.8 miles or 19.7 instead of 19.4.  I can’t even explain what a great feeling it was for the miles to just fly by – I give a lot of credit to the training plan I followed.

In the past I have had issues with cramping late in a marathon so I was very cautious.  I actually started feeling that right calf at about mile 8 and while I was a little concerned, it wasn’t too bad and it never felt like it was going to completely spasm.  Still, I was trying to be careful and the miles were feeling easy.  It would have been very easy to pick up the pace but I resisted the urge knowing that 5 minutes under should get me in no problem and I didn’t want to over do things and blow up unnecessarily.  I figured if all was well at mile 23 or 24 I would pick it up and maybe run 3:47 or 3:48 but really, 3:49 should be good enough.  So much for figuring…

I’m running down this beautiful tree-lined street, feeling strong, running easy and passing lots of runners that were struggling when out of the blue my left groin completely spasms and almost puts me on the ground.  This is the exact same thing that has happened to me twice before.  I never feel it in training but get me to 23 miles and it nails me every time.  I was able to stretch it and after about 45 seconds could start to walk on it but now I was behind my goal time.  Once I started running again it felt pretty good so I opened it up to see if I could make up the lost time.  I was able to run 8:02 and 7:51 for miles 25 and 26 to get the lost time back plus some.  Official time was 3:49:21 which is a BQ – 5:39, hopefully more than enough to get me in the race.  Also, a 10:24 PR. I have to admit, passing all of those runners the last couple of miles was a nice feeling.  All of those early morning training runs in the dark paid off nicely.

I would love to figure out what my cramping issues are all about.  I feel like I could have run a few minutes faster than I did but I held back all day knowing that I’ve cramped up in the past and also knowing 3:49:xx should be good enough.  I took one Gu just before the start and one more every 3 miles for 9 total.  Sounds like a lot but Hansons suggested I may need that much and I took a Gu every 3 miles on all MP and long runs this cycle with no issues.

I honestly think I may have a 3:45 in me and it will be interesting to run my next race all out.

Mile splits:

8:54
8:47
8:49
8:50
8:48
8:44
8:48
8:53
8:53
8:43
8:43
8:41
8:46
8:47
8:50
8:44
8:35
8:37
8:41
8:41
8:46
8:55
8:38
9:33 – cramping
8:02
7:51

In closing, thanks to all of you for your encouragement and advice.  A special thanks to Michael Young – aka Mountaindog – for your suggestions, advice and encouragement, which proved to be invaluable.  Seeing you and Chelsea with my wife shortly before the finish line was beyond special because I know that you finished long before that and I now know you weren’t feeling all that great at the time.  I’m not going to spill the beans about how your race went – you’ll have to do that yourself.

Boston 2017 – here we come…  I can’t wait…
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Re: 2015 CIM Report

Post  Mark B on Wed Dec 09, 2015 11:15 am

Great race and a great report, Tim! Thanks for all the detail.

Your pacing was spot-on throughout, and you managed the unexpected twist of losing your planned water stops. That shows your head was in the game the whole time.

Don't know about the groin cramp (other than it maybe suggests the benefit of more core work next time?), but I was impressed that you had the juice left to let it fly in the last couple of miles and make up the time you lost.

Do you have a faster race in you? Probably. But for now, celebrate that massive PR and the solid BQ. You earned it.

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Re: 2015 CIM Report

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Wed Dec 09, 2015 3:55 pm

Woohoo!  Congrats on the PR and the BQ!  It is so nice to see training and hard work pay off, and you did it all perfectly.  I agree on just letting it go next time as you might surprise yourself like I did at CBus - my last 1.5 miles was crap, but it didn't matter as the first 24.7 were just perfect - sort of a similar experience.

Glad you got to meet Michael and Chelsea.  They are great people, and I tell you that the fast running is in their genes.  Long before I knew Michael, I was actually a teammate with his sister in Atlanta - and Jill is very fast as well.  

Congrats again, and I will see you in my hometown come April, 2017!
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Re: 2015 CIM Report

Post  fostever on Wed Dec 09, 2015 6:11 pm

Wow, interesting history and journey. A huge congrats on a successful BQ and all the progress you've made up until now. I think you'll probably lower that time in the near future!
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Re: 2015 CIM Report

Post  Tim C on Thu Dec 10, 2015 9:50 pm

@Mark B wrote:Great race and a great report, Tim! Thanks for all the detail.

Your pacing was spot-on throughout, and you managed the unexpected twist of losing your planned water stops. That shows your head was in the game the whole time.

Don't know about the groin cramp (other than it maybe suggests the benefit of more core work next time?), but I was impressed that you had the juice left to let it fly in the last couple of miles and make up the time you lost.

Do you have a faster race in you? Probably. But for now, celebrate that massive PR and the solid BQ. You earned it.

Yup, pretty much just enjoying NOT running for a few days.  I know I can do better though and it will be fun trying.

Michele \"1L" Keane wrote:Woohoo!  Congrats on the PR and the BQ!  It is so nice to see training and hard work pay off, and you did it all perfectly.  I agree on just letting it go next time as you might surprise yourself like I did at CBus - my last 1.5 miles was crap, but it didn't matter as the first 24.7 were just perfect - sort of a similar experience.

Glad you got to meet Michael and Chelsea.  They are great people, and I tell you that the fast running is in their genes.  Long before I knew Michael, I was actually a teammate with his sister in Atlanta - and Jill is very fast as well.  

Congrats again, and I will see you in my hometown come April, 2017!

Thanks Michele.  The deeper I got into this race the better I felt.  It really is amazing what solid training will do for you.  No shortcuts to this game - lots of miles are key.

Wish I had fast genes running thru this old mans body but not so much.

@fostever wrote:Wow, interesting history and journey. A huge congrats on a successful BQ and all the progress you've made up until now. I think you'll probably lower that time in the near future!

Thanks!!!
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Re: 2015 CIM Report

Post  ounce on Fri Dec 11, 2015 1:36 pm

A great read to go along with some really nice running, Tim.  I'm SO glad that you did your job and made the wife happy.

It would be interesting to find out what causes your groin to go bonkers.

Be sure to sign up with the 1L BQ Travel Agency for Boston and enter the Paced by 1L contest for 2017.

Gratz again!
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Re: 2015 CIM Report

Post  KBFitz on Sun Dec 13, 2015 12:34 pm

Perfect Tim! I smiled a lot reading through your report. It feels very good when you're nailing it no? It's clear that your consistent and more intense training had a lot to do with your superior performance. Keep in form and you'll be able to really rock Boston. Three Cheers!
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Re: 2015 CIM Report

Post  Tim C on Sun Dec 13, 2015 2:59 pm

@ounce wrote:A great read to go along with some really nice running, Tim.  I'm SO glad that you did your job and made the wife happy.

It would be interesting to find out what causes your groin to go bonkers.

Be sure to sign up with the 1L BQ Travel Agency for Boston and enter the Paced by 1L contest for 2017.

Gratz again!

Thanks Ounce! And yes, the wife is happy. I will be looking forward to 1L's advice on Boston and running the course as we get closer. I just wish I didn't have to wait over a year to do it...

@KBFitz wrote:Perfect Tim! I smiled a lot reading through your report. It feels very good when you're nailing it no? It's clear that your consistent and more intense training had a lot to do with your superior performance. Keep in form and you'll be able to really rock Boston. Three Cheers!

Kevin, thanks. And yes, it felt really good to be strong the entire race. I simply could not believe how good I felt at mile 20, 21, etc. I've never had the sensation of the miles just clicking by that far into a run before.
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Re: 2015 CIM Report

Post  JohnP on Tue Dec 22, 2015 11:49 pm

Congratulations Tim, great job. Looks like everything went off perfectly for you. You can definitely get to a 3:45 with this type of improvement.
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Re: 2015 CIM Report

Post  mountandog on Tue Jan 19, 2016 6:19 pm

I finally got around to reading this.  Way to go Tim.  Pleasure to meet you and your wife and enjoy seeing the glow in your success.  It was awesome to watch you finish and the great look you had on your face.  CONGRATS!!!

PS > yes I will post a race report as your text requested last week.  Promise.
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Re: 2015 CIM Report

Post  mountandog on Tue Apr 12, 2016 7:49 pm

@mountandog wrote:I finally got around to reading this.  Way to go Tim.  Pleasure to meet you and your wife and enjoy seeing the glow in your success.  It was awesome to watch you finish and the great look you had on your face.  CONGRATS!!!

PS > yes I will post a race report as your text requested last week.  Promise.
Well I'm embarrassed to report this 5 months late, but a promise is a promise I guess.  This is my raw race report I sent to my coach, so not a lot of editing or preamble.

Thought I would capture a few thoughts before I forget.  Plan was 2:52:49. Result: 2:53:37

Overall ran a really good race. If you look at the pace data you will see I was really close to plan and stayed on it. I hit my watch manually after each mile. Missed a couple so I tried to recreate based on what I remember. I'm sure I didn't hit it exactly at each mile, but pretty close. I would assume Strava is calculated based on GPS data. Anyway - I was reasonably close on each mile.

A few facts to remember for the future. Before the race I ate about 3/4 of a cliff bar. Drank 16oz of water, 4oz of Gatorade prime and a 200mg caffeine tablet. Was probably 3 pounds or so above target weight. Somewhere between 157-160 most likely. That's it.

I started the race empty handed. Chelsea handed me a 20oz bottle with 150 calories of Heed in it. I tossed it around 11.5 and she gave me another around 13.5. I tossed that around 22 or 23 and didn't drink anything else. I took a stinger with 32mg of caffeine around 18 and a 200mg caffeine around 16. I didn't finish either bottle so I figure I drank between 28-32 oz total. That's it. Temps were low to mid 50, 5mph or so headwind and it was cloudy so I didn't feel very thirsty. My stomach felt better than usual in spite of retching for a couple of minutes at the end of the race.

First 10k went great. I passed an age group competitor who beat me in Flint at the Crim 10 Mile around mile 5. I was determined not to let him beat me. Kept an eye out for him but never saw him again til after the finish. Around 7 or 8 miles I could tell I'd been running a bit, starting to feel in it my legs. From 10-13 I was getting a bit tired but not terribly, tough to gauge exactly how much I'd expended. Need a gas gauge like on a car. Around 14 or so I got a cramp in my lower left stomach but it went away after 3 or 4 minutes. 15-18 were dull and tough mentally as usual. I could tell I was running at the best pace I could maintain and that to pick it up would have been trouble. Tried to draft a few better runners for a while to break the wind and that seemed to help a bit. 18-22 were a lot harder. I knew I was 5 seconds or so ahead of my target and knew I had little room for error. I really wanted to break 2:53 and when I hit 20 I knew it was going to be close. A long way to go but I was on the edge. I also knew I'd planned for a little bit of fade in the last few miles and if I could hold on til 24 I had even more room. Not a lot but a bit. I just tried to maintain the plan from 20-24, keep it below 6:40 and felt like I was falling behind, but every time I looked at my watch I was right on target. 20-24 was tough. Right before 24 some Hispanic guy yelled out my first and last names and said he knew me. No clue who it was, but it was a nice distraction for a minute or two. At 24 I started to feel a little tingly and light headed and it persisted a while but I wasn't going to slow down at this point no matter what condition I was in. Couldn't go any faster either and was getting a bit concerned. At 26 I knew I had my sub 2:53, but my sprint really wasn't. Not much faster than my regular pace. Didn't have a lot left at that point but also those two short left hand turns at the end don't allow you pick up much momentum.

Overall I thought I managed the race pretty well. Stayed on plan. I'm just glad I picked a target (2:52:49) that was in range of my condition. Don't think there was a lot more in me this race. I think I was in better shape at Boston 2015, but having a good fall definitely gave me some confidence. This fall I had PRs in the: mile, 5k, 10k twice, HM and Marathon. Not bad. Real successful fall.

Was nice to have Chelsea there cheering me on and handing me a bottle. She is boisterous and you know she's there cheering you on. A good feeling.

Went to a last chance 10k with some of the elites who went to watch. Was fun.

Overall a pretty good weekend. Need to build up a bit more strength and endurance for the Boston cycle if I can get the mileage in. Think I might have an outside shot at sub 2:50 if I'm in tip-top shape. But we shall see what the winter and spring bring.





4-12-16: So, postscript: Had a great time with me eldest daughter.  Had a wonderful dinner with Tim and his wife (help me here Tim, I've forgotten her name? = sucks to get old - but a new AG next yr!!) and really enjoyed hanging around to watch Tim finish and cheer him to the end for his 2017 BQ.  I got a real thrill out of seeing that.  After the race I hooked up with Nick and his significant other (help me again) and drank too much, which was fine by me.  Really enjoyed the time and the conversation.  Since I know so many of the runners I was invited back to the elite hospitality suite at the hotel and we got stupid as usual.  I really enjoy some of those kids.  They can be a lot of fun to hang out with, and a few made their Oly Trials time and we just walking on air.  It was pretty cool to see them so pumped up.  Was supposed to hook up with Nick again but just finally ran out of gas.


Here were my splits if anyone is interested:



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Re: 2015 CIM Report

Post  Tim C on Wed Apr 13, 2016 9:25 pm

It's about damn time.... lol

So I look at those mile splits and seriously wish I could run 1 full mile at those paces - simply awesome.  What Michael was too humble to mention was that he won our age group.  No small feat given how many fast runners show up for CIM.  Heck, he only beat me by 67 spots....

Nice job Michael.  And good luck in Boston.
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Re: 2015 CIM Report

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Thu Apr 14, 2016 8:33 am

Thanks for the report Michael - see you soon.
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