Last Sunday, December 8th, I ran the California International Marathon (CIM). I was on a relay, Team Momtourage. I was supposed to run the second leg, but one of our team members had to drop out due to an injury. She was in some serious pain. So, I decided to run the first two legs for a total of 13.5 miles. It’s the farthest I’ve ever ran. I was scared. The other girls were running 7 miles and 5.7 miles. But I was also excited. When I ran my first half marathon, I knew I could have been faster, but I had a sinus infection during the month leading up to the run so my training wasn’t exactly what it should have been. So this was my chance to do better.
When the morning of CIM came, it was an early one. Up at 5 because the run starts at 7 and there are a lot of logistics involved in getting to the start line. I was still really nervous. It was pitch black out and this is what the weather was.
Yup, sub-freezing temps. The car said 24. Yikes! So, my hubby and the kids piled into the car to take me. I had this conversation with my son:
Brady: Mom what are we doing in the dark.
Me: Daddy is taking mom to get on a bus to go run a race. I’m part of a team. I’m running 13.5 miles, Natty is running 7 miles, and Brandie is running 5.7 miles.
Brady: And I’ll be eating a bagel.
I shoulda stayed with him. That sounded a lot better than jumping out of the car into the freezing cold darkness with just some lycra running leggings on. It was so strange, a huge traffic jam at 6:30am on a Sunday. So, I said good-bye, they wished me luck and out I went. The cold air immediately slapped me across my face. I quickly fell in line with the rest of us crazy people walking towards the yellow school buses they were using to shuttle runners the mile or two to the start. While walking, some yelled, “Black ice!”. People were slipping and sliding on the sidewalk. Ice was everywhere.
After waiting in line for the longest three minutes of my life, I was finally on a nice warm bus. After two minutes of driving in a dark warm bus, I seriously could have fallen asleep. When we got to the end of the line the bus driver turned on the lights. No one moved. He opened the bus doors, no one moved. Then he yelled, “Get off the bus! This is as far as I go!” There was a collective groan and we all filed off. Then we had to walk another half mile to get to the start line. On the way I saw tons of Folsom PD, Folsom Fire, ambulances, and a sea of 9,000 runners. I got into the crowd and prepared to get as warmed up as I could.
A lot of people were wearing trash bags over their clothes in an attempt to keep in some heat. Many people were wearing blankets and other items they knew they would ditch along the way. Most of the people running the full marathon wore heavy long coats over their running clothes and had them bagged up to toss into one of several trucks loading up the runners bags. They would pick them up at the end of the race. This picture (below) only shows you part of the scene. You can see all the people and all the trucks.
CIM selfie! Ignore my earbud cord…
The sun started to come up and it was time to run! Mayor Steve Miklos, said some words about Folsom and we were off! I had put myself in the wrong corral (the place you start amongst the crowd), so I had a ton of bobbing and weaving to do. That first mile was tough, my lungs were getting acclimated to the cold, dodging people, dodging the ice. By mile two I was feeling a bit better about my lungs and about my placement in the crowd, but I couldn’t feel my fingers despite my gloves. At mile three people were really getting rid of their clothes, so now I was dodging errant clothing, blankets, and gloves.
The real fun came when I got to my first water station. People would grab their cups and pour it into their mouths while still running and then toss the cups wherever. This was creating an ice skating rink at each water station. There were five throughout my run and each was a real situation.
It was a pretty run through rolling rural hills for a few miles. I saw horses and livestock. It was really very pretty. And the spectators! They were awesome! I’ve never seen so many people out to cheer on a bunch of runners! I high-fived everyone whenever I could. It really pumped me up!! They had some hilarious signs! There was the “Go Mom!”, then there were cut-outs of peoples heads. Then there were these funny signs: “Toe nails are for sissies!”, “Blisters are brail for awesome!”, “Run like you stole something!”, “You’re going the wrong way!”, “MIle 8 don’t constipate!”. All these signs kept me highly entertained.
OK, now I’m nearing the end of my run. Thank the Lord! About a half mile up I see the finish line for the half marathon, that’s what I’m running, right? So I start to sprint. I pass a bunch of runners, the crowd is cheering loud! I run through the “Half Marathon Finish” sign and throw my hands in the air, finger to the sky! High five some people and yell, “yes!!!”. Someone dressed as Uncle Sam is there, he’s giving me two thumbs up. Then I look up and see that the relay transfer spot is still half a mile away!!!!! Ah man! I was running 13.5 not 13.1! So I jog up there, seriously fatigued. I find Nat and we transfer the ankle bracelet. And, of course, take a pic!
She’s so pumped up! She’s ready to rock this! And she’s freezing, so she really wants to get moving. Off she goes to run her farthest distance yet. I have her sweatshirt and a car key. I find my ride, my dad, immediately and stretch a bit and then hop in. I still have no idea how he was able to find a spot so close! Off we go to try to see Nat finish and to cheer Brandie on! By the time my dad is able to get us about three blocks close, there’s serious traffic. I decide to get out and run so I don’t miss Nat. So I get out and run and my legs feel awful! If I stopped, I would surely fall over. So I just ran all the way to Brandie. I found her pretty quick and in no time Nat was running through her finish line! He family was there to cheer her on as well as Team Momtourage!
After an alarming phone debacle (almost no tunes!), off Brandie goes! I then ran back into the car with my dad with all her gear. I have no idea how he was able to get so close again! He’s like a magician! Nat jumps into Brandie’s car and follows us downtown. We get there and park. I say good bye to the best driver ever and Nat and I run to the finish line to see Brandie cross it! We cheer her on and she looks great! She said she totally could have kept going! The steps of the capitol have never been so alive!
We got our medals, snapped some pics and congratulated each other. It was awesome. We had serious camaraderie, but the real story is the camaraderie with all the other runners. Strangers, really. Everyone was happy and supportive of each other. There were 10 countries represented and so many other walks of life there. This was an experience I will never forget. I ran my fastest at my farthest distance, Nat ran her fastest pace and farthest distance, and Brandie didn’t exceed any personal records, but don’t count her out! She accomplished a goal and felt amazing doing it. I think, the fact that she could have kept running is a victory in it’s own right! Team Momtourage rocked this thing! I’m so proud of us and so proud of everyone that was running the marathon or competing in a relay. You are all awesome!!!
So…..what goals did you yesterday????? I want to hear them!