Monday, November 15, 2010

A perfect day

Yesterday was a perfect day, (in case you were not aware). How did this rare event in the cosmic pinwheel of existence happen you ask? Well here are the ingredients:

1. A glorious sunrise, think purple, orange, red, yellow

2. Excellent weather

3. LOTS of friends, both new and old

4. A well executed race

5. No stress

The Story of how it all came together

Yesterday was my last big run before my goal of running the California International Marathon for time. The Clarksburg Country Run has been around forever. I first ran it as a junior in High School. I have a photo from the run, but the scanner broke before I could post it. Just visualize a big haired 168lb version of me in red split sided nylon running shorts.

My plan was to run a controlled race to nail down my pace for CIM. My recent training indicated a 7:10 - 7:15 pace was a definite possibility for the marathon. I figured I would go out around this pace and go for even pacing. If the legs felt good then I would try for negative splits.

Prior to the race my buddy Nick Bingham came to town. I’ve known Nick since high school. Nick is the guy you love to hate (from a running perspective). Nick is super talented, his marathon PR is in the low 2:20’s. He placed 5th his 1st year at Western States 100, he has notched a lot of wins in his career, you get my point.

Nick’s daughter Sarah and my daughter Izabella were born 7 days apart and get along great. So Saturday they dropped by so Sarah could spend the night with us. Nick and his son Andrew spent time with Grandpa. We have done this in past when Nick is in town for races. I knew from experience that I would not need to run Saturday before the race, the girls tax me enough. Who knew building fairy houses out of leaves in the backyard could be so taxing.

I awoke early race morning after going to bed early. Nothing like 10 hours of sleep to recharge your batteries before a race. As I drove to the race start I found myself looking at a glorious sunrise across the valley. It was at this point I realized my camera’s battery was dead. So this perfect day had one negative, no photos, but it was the only negative of the day.


The weather was perfect, sunny but cool. There was a head wind on the way out, but nothing too drastic. After a warm-up, I put my watch on and was ready to go. No drop bags and loading of gear. It’s just you and your socks, shoes shorts and shirt. No packs, or bottles, flasks, iPods. I had gels, but only two. I actually used that little pocket inside my shorts (a first) to hold one gel; I held my other gel in my hand.

At the start I saw Lainie Mattoon and Ray Sanchez. Off we went and I settled into 7:15ish pace for the first 3 miles. I felt a bit dead legged, but relaxed. After mile 5 I settled in with another runner and my pace began to comfortably hover around 7:10 most of the time.

I ate a gel at 6 miles and again at 10 miles. At the 10 mile mark the guy I had been running with picked it up. It felt good so I went with him. As we moved along I realized we were pulling some guys back. I later realized we were now running about 6:50 pace. It felt fine, but it was intimidating running this fast with 7 miles to go at point. I felt good but after a few miles I settled it down to 7’s.

The remaining miles I held strong, no problems. I thankfully took another gel they offered at an aid station. If I hadn’t I think I might have had a bonk issue at the end of the race.

At four to go I thought about speeding up again just to see what I had. When I did it seemed to take too much effort so I just stayed put. At two to go I up’d the pace again to see if I was close to the end of my rope. A slight cramp at one mile to go told me to cool my jets, so I did.

I finished feeling strong and in good form, no feet slapping or labored breathing. I definitely still had 10K of running in me at the pace I was moving at. I grabbed some water and ran/walked a few miles for a cool down. My time was 2:22 and change, good enough for a 7:08 paced run.

I spoke to Kuni and Dasie Yamagata before and after the race. I also ran into Ralph and Sharon from my trail running group. I also ran into Jacob Rydman and his wife Sara. Sara won her age group, nice work!! I saw Mark Lantz, Eric Skaden, and John Blue and just about everyone else from the area. I was surprised to see my buddy Thor Anderson. He came up from Monterey at the last minute to run in prep for CIM.

I really enjoyed seeing everyone and having a great time running. The day got better after I drove home, two words: ice cream. A perfect day, the ice bath didn’t even faze me.

What next

I accomplished all my goals for this event. I learned valuable information about my fitness and my pacing for CIM. I believe I have a solid 3:10 CIM in me. At this point I think I will go out with the 3:10 pace group and see what develops.

Next up, the dreaded taper and then CIM.



  1. Awe man, I love Clarksburg. It is one of the best runs and really just nails down the months of CIM training. I missed it this year and wow, no kidding perfect weather indeed!

    Great job AB! Nicely executed race.

    Looking forward to cheering you on during CIM. I'll hopefully be at the Fleet Feet Aid Station, with a tear in my eye. First CIM in gosh, 7 years I have not run. :-(

  2. Yes I think I'll be return to Clarkburg more often. It's a great way to race without a lot of hassle.

    See you at the CIM aid station