“This is the worst parade ever!” – That was by FAR my favorite sign on the course. 🙂
On Sunday I ran the 2016 California International Marathon (CIM). It was my 14th marathon to date, my 8th (full) CIM and the 10th year I have been part of the festivities.
Clearly there is something about this race that keeps me coming back year after year. Last year I “raced it” meaning I set out to try and get a specific time. Boy did THAT hurt (I PR’d but didn’t reach my race goal).
This year, I just set my sights on pacing my boss to the finish-line of his first ever marathon.
Last year when I came into work after having run CIM, my boss said, “I want to run CIM next year. I want to run a marathon before I turn 50. Do you think I could do it?” I told him he could absolutely do it so long as he trained.
So, he trained. Every so often, Boss, SS (another running coworker) and I would run mid-week on our lunch hour. SS and I would give him some pointers or tips. Tell him stories of our first marathon etc. Boss would listen, take our advice and continue training.
Finally race morning arrived and I could feel his excitement. Sometimes you forget your first marathon and just how excited, nervous, anxious, freaked-out you are.
We made our way to the start line. I vowed to stick with him the whole race as I had no goals or objectives. I was out there to see him finish.
SS left us to go find a spot higher up in a faster group. We situated ourselves with the 4:00 hour pace group. I knew deep down Boss would love a four hour (even a sub four hour) finish time. I was okay with that, albeit a bit nervous having not run much on pavement these last few months.
The gun went off and we took off at a respectable pace. We stayed right where we were supposed to be for a 4 hour finish. Then, we started speeding up.
Miles 3 through 8 were faster than I thought we should be doing but Boss kept saying he felt good. We were slightly ahead of the 4 hour pace group.
Miles 9 and 10 we were right back down where we should have been.
Mile 11 included a pit-stop at the porta-potties. We didn’t take too long but it was long enough to have the 4:00 hour and 4:08 hour pace groups pass.
I could sense a little disappointment from Boss. He even asked if I was going to try and “catch” them. I told him if he wanted to we could try or we could just run and see what happens. The latter is exactly what we did.
Miles 12 through 14 we were back to our usual pace.
Around mile 14.5 I asked him if he took that gel he grabbed a while back and he said that he had taken 2/3rds of it. Uh-oh. I could feel his energy depleting. He had stopped talking and joking with me too.
I handed him some jelly beans. At first he refused but then he ate them. He seemed to gain some energy after that, enough to be more talkative.
Miles 15 – 18 he slowed significantly. He would no longer run along side of me, he’d run behind me. We would often walk a bit. I gave him a gluten free peanut butter and jelly bar to have as well, hoping that he wasn’t too far in the hole to bounce back.
Prior to this he had been urging me to go on without him but I refused. To appease him, I told him that I’d get him to mile 20 and then we’d reassess and if he still wanted me to leave him, I would.
Mile 18.6 he pulled to the side and told me to go. He said he really wanted me to go on without him. He promised he wouldn’t quit. I handed him all the fuel I had left on me and I made him swear that he would eat all of it.
I left him. I felt badly doing so but sometimes I can understand wanting to be alone, in your own misery to get yourself out of it.
I surged on. I knew my family was at mile 20.
My pace quickened, Mile 20 was 8:19 (super excited to see my family!). I hugged my girls and Vans and kept moving.
Mile 21- 8:45/mi
Mile 22 – 8:51/mi
Mile 23 – 8:41/mi
Mile 24 – 9:00/mi (the sharp turns from J Street to Alhambra then again to L Street)
Mile 25 – 8:56/mi
Mile 26 – 8:53/mi
I was doing my best to push and try to catch the 4 hour group but my body was not having it. It would give me a few good strides and then would feel as if I was running in quicksand. I had no fuel left and I ran out of water between miles 24 and 25 but refused to stop.
I was super happy to see the finish. I crossed the finish line in 4 hours and 6 minutes. I just could never quite catch that 4 hour pace group. 🙂
Once I finished I found my family and went in search of SS. We then heard from Boss that he was at mile 25 and walking in. Finally we saw him!
He seemed happy to see us because he started running so we joined him.
We made the sharp left turn towards the finish shoots and SS and I peeled off screaming Boss’s name the whole way! He had done it! He finished! His time was 4 hours and 50 minutes.
I am super proud of him. He followed through in his goal. He said he has a whole new appreciation for running and the distance. He doesn’t think he’ll sign up for another anytime soon but he’s super excited to have completed his very first marathon!
And I feel honored to have been there to witness it. Like I have been telling my coworkers all day, he put in all the work, I just tried to keep his mind off all the pain. 🙂