Thursday, December 06, 2007

California International Marathon, 2007

California Internationa Marathon (CIM )2007,
Dec 2nd , 2007

Quest for a PR marathon.

Over the past couple of years road running took back seat, the other day I noticed that its been 2.5 yrs since I had a run a road marathon. With lot of Ultra-running in 2006 and 2007, I was sure of improving on my previous best of 4:17 set in 2004. But I wasn't sure if a sub 4 was possible.

In 2007 my performance goal was SF One day race, I had planned to do 100 miles, or at least do a 90+ miles. But during the week I caught cold and race day didn't feel that good, so I ended up doing a measly 74 miles with 4hrs of sleep in my car. Running around the loop 14 minute miles looks easy, but during the night sustaining the pace on a loop course was harder than I thought.

I am very thankful to great support of fellow runners, delicious food and drinks brought by my wife and deepak. And support of my friends who visited my during night (shekar, RajeevP, RajeevC, Renuka, Vinod) and numerous email posts during the race and post race. It meant a lot to see those friendly faces.

Those 4hrs haunted me for a long time, I started asking myself why can't I have some pity on my body, I am not reveling at the fact of running 20hrs, but was bogged down with 4hrs of down time; well that logic didn't go well, the truth is I failed to perform on the race day, I just didn't feel great about it, I decided on doing a timed race, a PR at CIM.

3 weeks of race specific training indicated a sub 4:05 possibility, but sub 4 did seem a stretch but I was eager to give a shot at it.

Rashmi and myself decided to be eco friendly and decided to take ACE train to Sacramento which was conveniently placed at Sac downtown near our hotel. Fellow runner Dinesh had booked hotel for us.

A pre-race dinner and wine at Spaghetti factory was a perfect meal. During dinner Vineeta and myself had decided to run with sub 4 hr group as long as we can.

Race day:
The shuttle from Holiday Inn took off at 5:15, as it left I realized to have left my gels and hydration pack, luckily I had my hand held bottle (with coke) for post 18 miles. Dinesh spared me a gel and I decided to rely on gel stations at Mile 13 and 20.

We started out with 4:30 group slowly warming up and joined 4 hr grp within 2 miles and decided to stay with the group for as long as we can. After abt 6 miles we got separated at AS, and I continued running in and around 4 hr group.

I knew I can't hold a sub 9 pace for long but would be able to run a 9:15 ish pace and try to run a hard last 6-8 miles. my only chance of sub 4 hr was doing a even pace, during one of the runs RajeevP had suggested some splits for 13.1 and 20 miler, I had the following in mind
- 13.1 in 1:58
- 20 miles - about 3 to 3:03
- 26.2 - 3:59

I thought putting time in the bank would spoil my chances, so I was happy to cross 13.1 miles in 1:59. I just needed another 13.1 with the same pace. We were very lucky to have
Bill Finkbeiner as the 4 hr pacer, he paced evenly till the end.

As I crossed mile 20 in 3:02, I knew sub 4 hr is in the bag I was feeling good, all I had to do is to maintain a steady 9 min pace. I picked up the pace ahead of 4hr group and caught up with Vineeta, I could see she was giving her best shot and was hell determined to do a sub 4.

From that point we maintained a even pace encouraging each other and sharing some found memories of our run in Toulemme meadows run earlier this year. As we approached mile 25 we had about 12 minutes for 1.2 miles a 10 min pace which would ensure a 4hr marathon, we both realized how close we were to our goals and there was nothing to stop us except ourselves, we gave it all for a fastest last mile of 8:30, as I was close Rashmi cheered us to finish.

I was tiny bit disappointed to see the race clock read 4:00:19 as we passed, but our clocks stopped at 3:58:27.

Wow! I hadnt run such a *race* for a long time, I don't know if I will ever have a such a perfect race day. There is no better feeling than to give your best shot and to get your desired outcome!

(vineeta running strong at mile 16 with krishna)

Thanks to Vineeta, it was awesome pushing each other through those last miles. RajeevP for his constant encouragement . And of course Rush for bearing with me for this one more dream race, no more races for rest of year :).

It was great to see so many cheering faces all through Sacramento, great supporters and perfect race conditions. This race never disappoints me. It was a pleasure to see all the TeamAsha 07 runners and coords cheering us on the way as well. Congrats to all the TA runners.


Rajeev said...


What a run it must have been!!

Congratulations on your best ever road race. I am so proud of you.

Happy Holidays to you and Rashmi.


Peter Lubbers said...

Awesome -- great job Anil.
Happy holidays!

anil said...

Thanks Rajeev, thankyou for all tips on coke :) and tips in general regarding pacing. you have been a guiding force since my first marathon :).

take care.

Thanks Peter, it was a fun race happy holidays.