Race Report: California International Marathon

It doesn’t matter what happens between the start and finish lines as long as you cross both.

 

California International Marathon Finish Line

 

 
The race morning started with my brother dropping me off in front of Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel at around 4:25 AM. I walked 1.5 blocks to Pick-Up Location A1 at the Sacramento Convention Center. While waiting for the buses to arrive, the only person I recognized was Heather (@runs_4reeses_pieces). Around 4:40-4:45 AM, the first buses arrived. As the buses filled, more buses made their way to the location. 

The buses arrived at the starting line at Folsom before 6 AM. At 6, I  exited the bus to get some snacks and water from the Gold Country Run + Sports tent. Afterwards, I took off my extra layers of clothing and put them into my bag and then handed the bag to the volunteers at the gear check. It was in the high 30s or low 40s, so I entered one of the buses to stay warm. 

At 6:30, I exited the bus to look for 9RUN6 & SacRUNmento members for the group photo that was taking place at 6:40. After looking at both side streets surrounding the gas station, I was not able to find the group because they were just behind the gear check. I was not able to access the map for the exact location since I left my phone along with my Halo Headband in my gear check bag. I found David (@fitfam6) while I was lining up to use the Porta-potty before the race started. 

There were two lanes at the starting line. I decided to go either the 4:38 or 4:50 pace group. Since the right lane was completely packed, I decided to line up on the left lane horizontally across from the 4:38 pacer. As the race started the left lane crossed the starting line much sooner than the right lane did. I was left pacer-less since I did not wait for the pacer to catch up to me and ended up running at my own pace. I was a bit nervous because I did not want to go out too fast like the 4:30 group at Run the Parkway which caused me to slow down near the last few miles due to the buildup of too much lactic acid. 

The first 8 or 9 miles went well and then my stomach started acting up a little bit. At mile 13, I had a thought to myself… This is really happening and I’m actually running the marathon. It felt very unreal and exciting. 

I started to slow down at around mile 15. I’m not sure if it was from running the first half of the marathon too quick or not taking in enough calories. By mile 17, the 4:38 pace group caught up to me and then passed me. When I could no longer run continuously, I power walked up the hills and ran the downhills after mile 17. 

Around Arden or Howe Ave, I found Brad and Chris (@McRunnerChris) from 9RUN6 and they ended up passing me. By mile 18-19, I met up with another David (@david_thesell) from 9RUN6 volunteering at an aid station. He said Brad and Chris were about 3 minutes ahead of me. I also saw Courtney (@chiggins326) from 9RUN6 and Sloppy Moose Running Club cheering. She went from aid station to aid station on her bike. 

About a mile or two later, I caught up with Chris… He seemed to have slowed down a lot. I kept running/walking and caught up with Brad at mile 21-22, right before J Street. There were no hills left for me to coast down anymore and I ended up power walking the next few miles. My legs felt so heavy lines of they were made of stone. Around the same time, I ran out of water in my two handheld bottles and started to get a little dehydrated. I stopped at the next several aid station to take in multiple cups of water. 

At around mile 24-25, I met up with Anthony (@ajz4life) and Stan (@sjzeto) from Fleet Feet Sacramento Fun Run group and Sloppy Moose Running Club. Around the same area, I saw many members of the NorCal Runagades and Sloppy Moose Running Club cheering their hearts out at Club Raven. I got my antlers up as I ran past them!

At around 13th-14th Street, I saw Chany H. from Sloppy Moose Running Club and Strava cheering me on as she had already finished running her marathon. One of the spectators on the same block said “just around the corner”, so I sprinted but the route kept going straight for several more blocks and I ran out of energy and started walking again. 

When I finally got to the corner, I saw the finish lines for the women and the men runners. I sprinted the last 200 meters to the finish line and finished 4:53.

I got my space blanket and refreshments, then posed for a finisher photo. I got my bag from the gear check and took out my sweatshirt, then headed to the Archives Plaza light rail station for home. 

 

California International Marathon Finisher

 

 
It has been over 3 weeks since the race and I have processed through all the thoughts and experiences that occurred during the marathon… 

Last year, I set this goal to run the California International Marathon after only ran two 5Ks (FroYo Run and the Urban Cow 5K). At the time, it seemed crazy, but as I kept training each day, the goal became more and more achievable.

California International Marathon 2016 is just my first of many marathons I’ll be running. This was a learning experience and I’ll know what to expect when I run my next marathon.

As for marathon training, even though it was a HUGE time commitment… I met a lot of people sharing similar goals from Fleet Feet Sacramento, 9RUN6, Sloppy Moose Running Club, online communities, and from my running routes. The friendships created and the experience gained are priceless and I will be doing it again! I already registered for the Pony Express Marathon and California International Marathon next year!

New job, goals, and training plan

Around 6 weeks ago, I was hired and started a new job. While I was hired to work the swing shift, I worked the first two weeks in the morning shift while receiving job training. After completing my job training and I’m currently stuck working the morning shift, it has conflicted with my CIM training schedule. I am not able to make 9RUN6’s weekly runs and workouts in the morning. Since my job requires a lot of physical work, I am usually exhausted by the time I get home around 3-3:30pm and it is very hard for me to get my longer runs in as well as mileage for the Run the Parkway 20-Miler and California International Marathon.

New job

From my last blog post, I listed some goals I wanted to accomplish for Urban Cow and CIM, but they will have to be adjusted according the amount of time I have available with my new job. First, I have maintained my body weight and have not gain/loss much at all. I wanted to increase my weekly mileage from around 40ish miles to a peak of 70 miles before tapering for CIM, but that will be adjusted to a peak of 50mpw and completing the marathon (instead of a sub-4hour marathon).

For Urban Cow, my goal was to run a sub-2hour half marathon and I was able to accomplish that. I came really close to two hours due to being behind on training. I took two weeks off due to knee/ankle injuries, as well as, another month of reduced mileage due to overtraining. I saw my times for the FroYo Run, Race for the Arts, and the Buffalo Stampede suffering. At one point, I was not even able to get below a 9min/mile pace for my training runs. After bouncing back, I was only running 10-25mpw with my new job before the Urban Cow Half.

I hope everyone’s training is going well!

Vote 9RUN6 for Best Boot Camp on Sacramento A-List

9RUN6 is seeking your vote in winning the “Best Boot Camp” Category in Sacramento A-List.

Vote 9RUN6 for Best Boot Camp

9RUN6 offers FREE.FUN.FITNESS to the community. All fitness/running levels are welcome. #9RUN6 #JustShowUp #BeThere

Since today, August 1st, they have expanded their schedule to Mondays and Saturdays to help the community reach their fitness/running goals for upcoming events such as the Urban Cow Half Marathon and the California International Marathon.

Monday – 5:30, 6, and 6:25AM at McKinley Park (by the Library)
Wednesday/Friday – 5:30, 6, and 6:25AM at 10th & N Street/West Steps of the Capitol
Saturday – 7AM (Location TBA – See below)
Check out their Facebook or Website for details!

Race Report: 5K Run/Walk & Superheroes Kids’ Run (No Excuses 5K)

Date: May 22, 2016
Location: William Land Park

No Excuses 5K

The morning of the race had great weather, not too hot or cold. I took the light rail to Sacramento City College, then walked across campus and across the street to William Land Park.

The amount of restrooms available kept lines short; however, the portable sinks ran out of water and paper towels, so I had to use the park’s restroom to rinse off the soap.

While the Kids’ 1/4, 1/2 and 1-Mile Runs were going on, I warmed up by running the course in reverse for 1-1.5 miles and back again. The course is a scenery loop within William Land Park similar to the route for Urban Cow 5K and the ZooZoom 5K. The course itself was relatively flat and there were no surprises during the race.

I accomplished the goal of completing the race within 24-25 minutes. I met my friend, Cal, a few minutes after crossing the finish line. Post-race, I hung out by the big screen tv with the age-graded results and the hot seat until it was time for the award ceremony. During the award ceremony, it started getting sunny and hot.

The race went well and I am looking forward in running it again next year.

Lets talk about Goals

Today is exactly 18 weeks away from the California International Marathon. Have I started training for CIM, my first marathon, yet?

I started training a few weeks ago, but I am not following one of those 18-Week plans out there. I took a look several plans including Jeff Galloway, Hanson, Jack Daniels, Peter Pfitzinger, Hal Higdon, and Boston Athletic Association.

Since I’m running with about 8 miles to/from 9RUN6 (Monday, Wednesday, & Friday), 5-6 miles with Fleet Feet Sacramento (depending on the temperature) on Tuesday, 5 miles with Sloppy Moose Running Club on Thursday, and planning to do some long runs with 9RUN6 on Saturday, I do not think any of the plans will fit my schedule. On top of all that, I will be doing some 5K, 10K, a 10-Miler, a Half Marathon, and a 20-Miler races during some of the weekends.

I will implementing some of those plans (easy, tempo, interval, long runs, moderate, and etc) into my weekly schedule and adding doubles to my weekdays as I increase my weekly mileage. I will be doing mainly bodyweight exercises, plyometrics, and rowing as my cross-training activity as well.

What are my current goals?

  • Sub-2hr Half Marathon for Urban Cow
  • Complete my first full marathon

For CIM, my goal is to complete the race, but I will attempt to train for 3:55-4:05 finish time. I will adjust my goals according to my training, but with my 5K and 10K times, my estimated finish time is around 4:15.

I’m setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Specific

  • Lose 10-15lb by Urban Cow (140-145lb)
  • Lose 20-25lb by CIM (130-135lb)

Measuable

  • It will make running easier on my joints and improve my body composition (fat/muscle ratio). Increase my performance in running.

Attainable

  • Losing 1-2lb a week is healthy amount of weight to lose per week. That is a 500-1000 calorie deficit each day through diet and exercise
  • I will be eating less processed foods and more vegetables to satisfy hunger which will cut down on calories consumed
  • I will be food preping (Tupperware meals) for majority of the days each week

Relevant

  • For each pound lost, I should be able to run about 2 seconds quicker per mile.

Timely

  • 18 weeks should be enough time to train for the marathon and allow my body adapt to the increasing distance. For weight loss, as long as I am disciplined mentally and physically, the goals set are achievable.

Good luck on your goals and training!

A Year into Running (Transforming weaknesses into strengths through running)

Looking back, I have accomplished so much in a year…
A Year of Racing

On June 18th, I made it through one year of running. At first, I was just training to run a 5K with friends, but crossing the finish line at my first race changed me. During the months from June-September of my 5K training, I ran alone during the evening and early morning (11pm-6am). It was not until my second 5K, Urban Cow, I visited my local specialty store, Fleet Feet Sacramento, for race packet pickup and discovered they host Tuesday Fun Run. I started participating in their group runs every week. Later, discovered Sacramento Running Association and started attending their monthly running events (now called RUNdezvous). During SRA’s event in November where they partnered with New Helvetia Brewing Co. and Sloppy Moose Running Club, I discovered another weekly running group and started running with Sloppy Moose when the moose awoken in February. During some of my runs with Sloppy Moose, I’ve seen some runners tagged with 9RUN6 on their clothing. I found out they were a running/fitness group, but I did not start running with them until a week before Global Running Day because it was so early in the morning!

As some may or may not know, I am a very shy (super-introvert) person. I’m putting myself out there through group runs and races to overcome my shyness, meet other athletes/runners in the community, make friends, inspire others who just started running or weight loss, and to push myself outside of my comfort zone. I am still a bit of a distance person, but I’m really working on it!

Running helped me deal with stress and the occasional depression as well.

Health and weight loss are the other reasons. I’ve been overweight or obese my entire life, and running is keeping my weight in check while I still have a few more pounds to shed. Other forms of cardio including rowing on my Concept2 erg. Indoor cardio felt boring over time in a confined space. Running allowed me to explore my surroundings and expanded my sensory experience (sight, smell, and hearing), as well as feeling the breeze of fresh air flowing through me.

Today, I am rediscovering myself and putting limitations I once had behind me. Pushing myself to be better than the day before and challenging my body.

Blog:
I will be contributing an hour each week to my blog instead of just once a month. More content to come soon!

Lots happened during the past month

On April 30th, I ran my second half marathon and beat my previous time by 6-7 minutes! It was my first time running trails and was a scenic experience. Since a few weeks ago, I have been running the American River Bike Trail/Jadediah Smith Memorial Trail for my long runs instead of stop-and-go intersections and stop lights.

American Parkway Half Marathon

Unlike my first half marathon, the Shamrock’N Half, I was able to get out of bed the next day and ran the Pony Express 5K the next day and won first place in my age group. I enjoyed the event and will be running the full marathon next year. There were some issues with the event such as the horses going the wrong direction cutting the 5K course around 0.4 miles short, speakers kept cutting out during the beginning of the half/full marathon race and the 5K half an hour later, very few to no waste containers, and little notice to the residence and businesses along the marathon route (road closures). However, this was an inaugural event, I hope these issues are resolved the next time around. On a side note, I met Melvin Nyairo from the Facebook group “A Year of Running”, he is an triathlete and was pacing the 1:30 half marathon group. (He recently won the National Beer Mile run in Sacramento)



During mid-May, I ran the Capital City Classic 10 Miler. While running, I had a thought to myself that some of the course felt familiar. The course started and ended at River Walk Park in West Sacramento and ran some of the same loops around as the FroYo Run, my first race.

Capital City Classic 10 Miler

A week later, I ran the No Excuses 5K with my buddy Calvin. It was a reminder of my second race that looped and went through William Land Park, the Urban Cow 5K. I was able to finally able to PR my 5K since the past few races were under 5K in distance.
No Excuses 5K with Calvin

Since the past two weeks, Sacramento received a heatwave and it was 90-100 degrees around the early evening. Running in those temperatures is almost unbearable for me. I started running in the morning and mustered up my willingness to waking up even earlier (4:30am) on Wednesday/Friday to run with their 5:30am and 6:00am group at the State Capitol. They are friendly and awesome group of runners. Most of them run faster than me which gives me a decent speed workout chasing the leader, Chris. 🙂 (At or above my 5K pace) With a 1.7mi warm-up and 1.7mi cooldown to and from the California State Capitol and a 5-6 mile run (5:30 & 6:00) with 9RUN6, I’m completely drenched in sweat at mid-high 50s temperature early morning.

9RUN6

Running with Groups

Running with groups comes with many benefits including Accountability, Consistency, Motivation, Learning from Others, and Social factors.

Fleet Fleet Sacramento Fun Run
Tuesday evening at 6:00pm at Fleet Feet Sports Sacramento for an enjoyable run. All ages, abilities and paces are more than welcome and routes are available from 3 to 5 miles.
Photo Source: Sacramento365.com
I discovered Fleet Feet Sports Sacramento back in Fall 2015 during my packet pickup for the Urban Cow 5K and discovered they had a fun run hosted by Nick. I have been attending their fun run every Tuesday in any weather.

Sloppy Moose Running Club
Sloppy Moose Run meets up every Thursday evening at 6:30pm at New Helvetia Brewery (February to December).
Photo Source: @NewHelvetiaBrew & @WeRunSacTown
In October/November 2015, I attended a joint event with Sacramento Running Association and Sloppy Moose Running Club. Since the fun runs reopened Feb 2016, I have spent every Thursday evening with them! They are an awesome group of people whether you drink or not. When you attend their runs and sign in 5 times, you will get your very own orange Sloppy Moose shirt like the one I received a few weeks ago.

Sloppy Moose Shirt

SRA Rundezvous
The Sacramento Running Association’s RUNdezvous events are monthly fun runs. These events are FREE and are open to all members of the running community. Each month, we will be introducing you to a new club in the Sacramento Area and running varying distances (between 5K and 10K) in the Sacramento area. Each run will feature different routes around town.
Photo Source: RunSRA.com
Through social media and Fleet Feet Sports Sacramento CIM Seminars, I discovered SRA hosts monthly community runs. I usually attend these events if they are in walking/running and regional transit range to the event’s destination.

I didn’t choose the Running Life, the Running [Life] Chose Me

Before PhotoBefore I started my journey, I lived a sedentary life and have been overweight/obese my entire life. I played video games during most of my free time, ate poorly, and was generally physically inactive.

On January 14, 2015, I started by changing my eating habits such as reducing the consumption of unhealthy foods and lowering my caloric intake. I slowly added physical activities to my life including walking, hiking, rowing, and strength training. I made some great progress on weight loss.

During June 2015, on Facebook, one of my high school friends marked interested the FroYo 5K while an university classmate marked “going” to the event. I thought this would be a great way to celebrate the progress in my journey so far and signed up. Having never been interested in running and my longest run was 1 mile back in middle school for a fitness assessment many years ago, I was far from being ready to run the entire 5K.

Since summers are mildly hot in Sacramento, I started training in the late evening and early morning. In the beginning, I was only able to run a block or two, but I was able to increase my distance to around 3.5 miles by mid-August in time for the FroYo 5K. I had a great racing experience for FroYo 5K and continued running.

FroYo 5K Run

Welcome to my Blog!

Welcome to my blog.

I’m new to social media and also in the process of putting up my blog. I’ll be writing up some content and changing the appearance of my site within the next few days.

Thank you for visiting and hope to seeing you again soon!
-Steven