Posted by: David Stewart | December 6, 2009

CIM Race Report

Today I ran the 27th California International Marathon (CIM) from Folsom to Sacramento, 26.2 miles of fun. Here are the highlights:

  • BQ, baby! (explained below)
  • For those with short attention spans, I was training to finish in 3 hours and 30 minutes, a qualifying time for me for the Boston Marathon. My Garmin said I finished in 2:29:44. “Gun time” was 3:30:15, but Boston counts “chip time” (which should be closer to my watch). Anyway, Boston gives you a :59 second grace period, so I’m good either way.
  • Edited to add: The CIM website lists my official finish time as 3:29:40 (chip time). So, according to me if anyone asks, my PR is 3:29.
  • For such a good result, I am grateful to (in this order): God, my coach and my wife.
  • As I crossed the starting line, the announcer intoned, “…and may God have mercy on your souls.” I appreciated the sentiment, if not the sarcasm.
  • I heard it was 28 degrees at the start under clear skies. This made it nice once the sun came out, but then so did the wind.  As a Sacramento Bee Blogger reported, “the runners were cursing it.”
  • I was surprised that a guy ran into my feet twice in the first mile. “Hey! Watch out!” I finally said. He apologized and darted around me, but he was clearly trying to pass people quickly.
  • Best costume: This guy (photo from the Sacramento Bee). Hot pink gloves, arm warmers, singlet and shoes, and a matching tutu. When he passed me, I asked if he had lost a bet. He said, “several”.
  • For the first 14 miles, I ran a conservative race, sticking closely to my goal pace. But around mile 13, I noticed my right hamstring start to get sore. At one point I thought I might actually pull my right hamstring again and have to pull out of the race. I prayed that it would hold together!
  • I fought the wind several times, but it turned really nasty in a long uphill at around mile 15. My pace dropped by half a minute per mile average on that mile and took a mile to recover.
  • At mile 16 or so my right Illiotibial Band started to ache. What a pain in the butt! (Literally). Actually, I seem to remember that the last time I ran CIM in 2006, my IT band started acting up then as well.
  • Although there is a net 300 foot drop in elevation, there are a lot of rolling up and down hills through the course. Although my pace suffered in the uphills, I was able to go ahead in the downhills, so it balanced out.
  • Other than the wind tunnel at mile 15, I was able to maintain my goal pace of around 7:55 for until mile 22, when my average pace dropped off again to almost 8:30. These two slow miles are where I took my gels and electrolyte tablets, so it seems like I have trouble maintaining pace when I do this.
  • Mile 23 to the end showed paces that slowed to around 8:10, but it seemed like I was going to qualify, so I slacked off some. At mile 24.3, I took a caffeinated gel (an espresso Hammer Gel) to make the last few miles go easier.
  • The last 385 yards of the race (from mile 26 to 26.2), I was worried that I was going to miss my goal time, so I started really kicking it up, and even sprinting to the end. A good thing too, since I came fairly close to missing my time.
  • I followed my warm-up, hydration and nutrition plans exactly as directed by the coach. Since everything worked well enough, it’s yet another reason to be grateful to him!


  1. What a great write up!!!! i am so glad that you enjoyed yoruself and were able to qualify:)

    BTW – the guy in the pink tutu ran the Seattle Marathon last weekend. I wanted to ask him about his outfit but never did.

  2. Tracy, one of our running friends said he is well known, here is her comment:

    The fella in the pink tutu – he is a phenom of sorts. Is a brit who has run every race in the last 20 yrs that way. I spoke with him in Alaska last year and Runners did a short piece on him as well.
    Got to love it!

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