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CIM '07

California International Marathon (CIM)
A 26.2 mile point-to-point race. Starts at Folsom dam at 366ft and ends at the California State Capitol at 26ft with rolling hills in between.

Sat December 1st, 2007
night before the race
The forecast the night before listed 40 degrees at 7:00am with a light breeze so feels like 34. Spoke with a few locals about the morning weather and they said it felt like 30s that Saturday morning. Went over to the Cliff Bar pace team at the registration expo and asked what they wear for the cold morning starts. One of the pace leaders said he'd wear a garbage bag for added warmth by poking holes for his head and arms and rip it off at mile two so he'd look strong for the photos.

Sun December 2nd, 2007
day of the race
Got up at 4am so I could get over to the finish by 5am to catch one of the many school buses taking the majority of runners to the marathon start. Parked a block away from the finish so I wouldn't have to walk too far after the race but that meant walking half a mile to the bus. Temperature was a little warmer than expected. Felt like upper 40s with no wind. Changed out of my sweats and put on my kitchen bag a few minutes before the 7am start. A few other people wore kitchen bags and garbage bags. Heard a few comments like, "Hey, I should've brought a kitchen bag too." Garbage bags are a little too big and flap. Kitchen bag worked great.

The gun went off at 7am and my shoelace chip crossed the starting line 93 seconds afterward. It heated up underneath the kitchen bag quick. Started ripping it after a mile for more ventilation and tossed it at mile two. Clothes were flying to both sides of the road and into trees during the first few miles from close to 6000 marathoners and another 3000 relay runners stripping to cool down. There's a cleanup crew that follows the marathon and collects all the garbage and sorts out the clothes like old sweaters / t-shirts which are donated to charity. After warming up, shorts and a sleeveless shirt were perfect for the day.

The 4hr pace group started with 40-50 runners. Tried running behind the leader but most of the time I was either to the left or ahead. With all the adrenaline from the race start and downing a gu, the first 5 miles seemed excruciatingly slow but I kept reminding myself to hang back with the 4hr group so I wouldn't burn myself out. Linda Lam from the inch hiking group caught up to me at mile 3 and we ran for a bit before she decided she wanted to burn off some extra energy. She drifted back at mile 6 and that was the last I saw of her for the rest of the race. At the 18-mile mark, stopped to grab some gels out of a box and it was a pain to latch back onto the group. It's supposedly a downhill trend, but mile 18 to 19 has some rollers. Looking at my watch, my pace was 8:40s and the group was staying the same distance ahead. The pace leader likes hills.

Toward the end, the pace leader was a little ahead of his 4:00:00 pace time so he said he'd start slowing down to finish exactly at 4. Our group that started with 40-50 dwindled down to 8 at that point. A few moving ahead but the majority dropping back. I thanked him for leading and started sprinting the last 1/2 mile. Tried to sprint anyway. Saw 7:50 pace on my Garmin watch.


  • 1:59:20 Chip 1st Half
  • 1:59:52 Chip 2nd Half
  • 3:59:12 Chip Final

Toward the end, started to feel lancing pain in the knee cap area on both legs from pounding the city streets for 26 miles. Running on dirt is much nicer. Haven't felt that particular pain since Peter's 37-mile Santa Cruz Mtn inch hike from Castle Rock to Big Basin and back in a day.

Toughness in terms of biking
The marathon was tougher than a century bike ride but much less than a double century. It was on the level of a 200k.

Notes for next time:

  • Carrying a water bottle is a great idea but it only lasted me til mile 10. Next time, bring a bottle and drink cups along the way to supplement the bottle instead of finishing the bottle first. Trying to refill the bottle on the run results in more liquid being spilled than poured in.
  • Bring kitchen bags

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