Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Waltz in rain and wind

30th CIM 2012 (BQ attempt #2)
Dec 2nd, 2013

As I was walking towards my intended 3:10 pace group, Grant Carboni said "You should be able to run 3:30 to stay with 3:45 pace group in this conditions" .  Grant Carboni - an experienced ultra runner from Sacramento and Pace leader for that group.  I knew he was right, it wasn't a day for PR, but there was only one goal at this race.

This was my 5th CIM in 9yrs and never had seen anything close to what I was experiencing. It was such a contrast to year before.

I was planning to carpool with Goutham to Sacramento, but due to his exam the following day and predicted weather conditions for the race day he decided to skip the race and I had to drive alone to Hilton Arden west. Supposedly a 2hr drive but due to great cooperation from mobile app waze I got a chance to explore suburbs of Sacramento for a good 1hr before wikiSimha(Arun Simha) helped me out with the directions.

After a good chat with Dharmendra (who had come from Bangalore for this race for a BQ and hopefully PR) and Arun I got into preparing for the race and anxiously waited for race morning.

Race day:
I got reasonable sleep, unlike last yr I had all the stuff lined up and felt really strong. I felt much faster than last year so this year my only goal was sub 3:10. I didn't heed to my usual approach of being conservative in 1st half and accommodate for the weather, I just wanted to see how far I could go at 7:15 pace.

As myself and Arun were waiting for Porta-john it felt as if we were standing under a shower, I just needed some soap and would have skipped my shower earlier in the morning. I was smiling within, it just felt like elements had come full force to stop anyone who challenges them... I was very calm and was enjoying every moment of this nasty weather, it felt I am up against this guy!
As "planned" I joined 3:10 pace group, Dharmendra was in 3:05 group and Arun planned to be with 3:40. after the National Anthem race started promptly at 7am and we were off to play in the rain and wind. I was glad it wasn't cold (probably 50's)

The start. I was waaaaaaay in the back.
                 Elite runners ever determined!(Courtesy Elliot Kawaoka)

Initial miles felt good, quite comfortable, pacer was hitting 7's early on, I focused more on drafting and enjoying the support of the crowd, at around mile 8 I lost my pace group and due to weak visbility I could'nt see the group unlike previous years.

Rain and wind.
Slowly warming up in this hazy conditions!((Courtesy Elliot Kawaoka))

From then on I ran my own race, As the chart indicates, there are rolling hills until mile 16 and then its downhillish, so my focus was on to keep 7:15 pace until then and I was hoping last 10miles I could shuffle and still maintain the pace. I crossed half marathon point in 1:36:30 I had about 90s to catch up all I needed was 7:10's going fwd on the easier section. Rain was still intense, and quite a bit of water logged at bottom of the hills, Thanks to Merrel Trail glove it didn't retain much water so I hardly felt any weight. Though wind made me dance around as I was in the air.

Crossing mile 15 was a encouraging barrier, I knew easier section was close by and last year I had much better time running 2nd half. But to my surprize 3:15 pacer was on my heals, I tried to pull ahead of them for next 2 miles with some strong 7's but it was'nt good enough, by mile 18 my quads started tightening and I could sense, I didnt have any more 7's in me, slowly I saw 3:15 pace group pull ahead of me along with my BQ hopes. I kept them in sight and crossed with them at mile 20(2:30), but soon after that my hamstrings felt the fatigue, this was much harder effort than I had trained for, I did'nt see a point of running another sub 3:15 at the cost of hurting myself, decided to back off and save myself for another day.


                                 CIM course profile(courstey runcim.org) 

Last six miles were just a effort to reach the finish line, I still thought I was in sub 3:20 range since I didn't see the pace group pass by, but to my surprise at mile 25 I saw 3:25 pace group I decided to finish with him. At finish he seemed pretty exhausted as well, It was a hard day for pacers too to run a even pace under pretty intense conditions. Interestingly all have made their splits. CIM pacers and 3000 strong volunteers you ROCK! Thankyou folks.

I was pleased with my effort for the initial 18 odd miles, But as the cliche goes "only time that counts is the one at finish".  It did encourage me to work harder for a sub 3:10 in CIM 2013(attempt #3). I don't think I would have done any differently if I ran it again in those conditions, but if I had  a buffer of 5 minutes for BQ then I would have reevaluated my pacing.

Post race I was trying to hook up with Dharmendra, who I was hoping would have got sub 3:10, but due to his watch mishap ended up running 3:10:07, missing his Boston 2014 qualifier by 7s, it was disheartening to hear that, but he seemed to be monk like and was pleased with this effort, I am sure it must have been run of his life. He published a report at his blog, wishing him the best in his next pursuit at Berlin marathon. I can clearly see him doing a sub 3hr marathon soon.

Unfortunately Arun had some breathing issues early on but he continued to brave it on and decided to save himself for another day at half way point. A smart call from a wise man. Inspite of his state he being a good Samaritan helped other dropped runners at the half way tent with hypothermia.  I was glad to finally sync-up with him in bus back to hotel. Meanwhile Rashmi, A and Z were supporting me from home, I was looking forward to get back home.  Also I received flurry of supportive messages from my friends, thanks guys your wishes sailed me through.

This race marks the beginning of more time at Lily macs and off time at CSM gym. For now time to rejuvenate and plan for some new goals for 2013.

Conditions where well captured by this broadcast( (Courtesy Elliot Kawaoka)

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