This year (2014) was my second time to run the California International Marathon, 2013 CIM was my first marathon ever in my running career. I have now run a total of 3 marathons, one ultra-run and I lost count 1/2 marathons. Even though I don't have a lot to base my opinion on, CIM is by far my favorite marathon course. It's the one I want to do year after year after year! I am looking forward to becoming a "loyal runner" in the next few years.
My thoughts on the 2014 California International Marathon:
6 days leading up to the event I was so excited! I was feeling strong and confident. It was the strongest I had felt since I began running 3 years ago. I contribute most of this to my training routine. I was dedicated and loyal to what needed to be accomplished. For my long runs, there was no one waiting for me, I was on my own. I had to be dedicated in order to get these runs in; even with pouring rain and wind, had to get up and out the door every weekend. Also, this year for training the group I worked out with during the week is FULL of veteran marathoners, their encouragement and the crazy amazing workout routines also increased my strength and speed. I was ready for this marathon, not nervous, not over confident...ready.
Morning of the Marathon:
I wake up ready to go at 5:00AM; enough time to eat, get ready and get to the shuttles. I'm jittery...excited...oddly calm.
7:00AM and we are off! There is so much energy at this Marathon! Everyone everywhere is ready and pumped! I LOVE it!
I started out the gate strong and fast, I knew there were some heavy rollers coming up and I knew I needed to back off the gas a little bit if I was going to make it the full 26.2 miles feeling strong, BUT I was feeling REALLY good so...I pushed through the rollers and kept on going. Some will say this course is "flat and fast" or "it's all downhill!"...The elevation goes down, but it is NOT all downhill! There are some great challenging hills and rollers along the course. TRAINING TIP: Train on hills! You will thank yourself later!
This year, since I knew the weather wouldn't be below freezing as it was last year (watch the weather leading up to the event...this helps you decide what to wear), I chose to wear a light long sleeved shirt and capri pants. I'll admit there was a point around mile 11 that I wished I had layered up and was wearing a tank top under that long sleeved! DO NOT FORGET TO LAYER!! I just pushed up my sleeves and kept on going!
I made it all the way to mile 23 before I started to really feel the effects of the marathon.. on the plus side once you get over the H Street Bridge..that's the LAST HILL!!! I knew this and the hallelujah chorus played in my head as I crossed that bridge!
All along the course AMAZING people come out to cheer you on! The signs are hilarious! I also like the my family was able to easily navigate their way along the roads to come see me at various points along the course. If you have friends or family who wants to cheer you on along the course, I HIGHLY recommend you study the street closures; it's not that hard to find alternate routes, but if you don't look ahead of time they could be those cars stopped at the intersections as the marathoners run past...I"m pretty sure those cars were there for a LONG time.
Downtown is where the magic really starts to happen for me. EVERYONE is down there...cheering and high-fiving you. I just LOVE this part of the run! You get so pumped up and jazzed up; just what you need for that extra little push at the end to cross that finish line! Don't forget to smile as you cross the finish line! You want an amazing photo finish!
As for MY finish photo this year...it's a fist pump finish as I had SMASHED my personal best time by... 50 MINUTES!! I knew I felt strong and I know I felt confident before heading off!
I highly recommend this run to anyone looking to run a marathon...it's a GREAT first marathon too!