California International Marathon- Race Report(What Happened?)

Ok, since I only ran 4.8 miles of CIM, this is going to be a short race report, but I wanted to let everyone know what happened to me.

I headed up to Sacramento on Wednesday with a stop in Visalia Wednesday night to chat with the Visalia Triathlon Club about “How to Train for Wildflower” on behalf of Tri-California.  I had a blast speaking to a great turnout of around 50 people.  Thursday I headed the rest of the way to Sacramento where I held a strength training clinic for the Sacramento Triathlon Club where we talked about the importance of strength training and how it will benefit the athlete on the Wildflower race course.  Once again, we had a great turnout consisting of some really motivated athletes who were eager to learn and perform new strength techniques.

Friday and Saturday I hung out with Mike and K.C., the heads of the Sacramento Triathlon Club.  We had a blast, they showed me around Sacramento a bit, and we enjoyed some great Sacramento cuisine.  Cortney flew up Saturday afternoon, and all was set to have a great race on Sunday.  I was feeling tapered and strong.  I had been building for this race for sometime and I wanted to leave it all on the course.

I woke up Sunday morning around 4 a.m. and I had an unusually negative feeling.  I am typically stoked race morning, but something was amiss.  I brushed this aside and tried to concentrate on the task at hand.  Cortney woke up with me at 4 a.m.(that’s dedication!) and I told here I was not feeling confident.  She tried to give me some positive energy which helped me get going.  I got on the bus at 5:00 a.m.(Athletes had to take a 30 minute bus trip to the start in this point-to-point race) and I cranked up Rise Against/Metallica on my iPhone, zoning out all of the prerace chatter from the bus load of other athletes.

We arrive at the race start around 6a.m.(The buses took a wrong turn so it took a bit longer) where the temperature was 37 degrees! Luckily there were warming tents for the Elite Athletes.  I warmed up by jogging and by doing some pickups/drills. At 6:30 I drank First Endurance Pre-Race.  Now, I had never taken Pre-Race before, I had only heard about it.  Holy Cow!  It was awesome.  Instantly I was focused and ready to roll.  All of my negative thoughts had disappeared.  I couldn’t wait to hit the start line.  I know, nothing new on race day, but Pre-Race has loads of uppers which I am used to, so I knew it would be O.K.  I am not even sponsored by F.E. but I wanted to let you know how much it helped me amp up for the start.

I got to the start line a few minutes before the gun.  I was ready.  I saw Joanna Zeiger(my coach) and Tim Tollefson(My running buddy from Mammoth).  They both looked raring to go as well.

The gun fired and we were off.  Pretty quickly two packs formed.  A lead pack and a second pack 10-15 meters back.  I stayed with Tim, knowing he is an extremely smart runner.  Tim’s girlfriend Lindsay had already qualified for the Olympic Trials so I know Timmy was going to do whatever it took to qualify as well for fear that he would be a spectator and his woman would have bragging rights.

We went out at a conservative pace.  The first mile came in at 5:30(I think, I was going off effort not pace) and I felt as if it was effortless.  A few guys dropped off throughout the next few miles, but I was feeling absolutely fine.  I was breathing easy and running strong.  I fell back at the first aid station because I had trouble getting a salt pill down, but I was back with the group in a matter of seconds.  We had a solid group of guys running together and I was stoked that I would have runners to work with for the entire 26.2.

The first half of CIM is full of rolling. hills.  Up, down, up, down, etc.  I was cruising up and letting myself go on the down hills.  Like I said, effortlessly.  Around mile 4 I felt a little tingle in my left hamstring on a downhill.  I thought, “That’s a bit weird,” but I ran through it hoping it was just a slight cramp.

At mile 4.5 we stared a slight climb up a roller.  About halfway up a sniper got me!  It felt as if someone in the bushes shot me in the left hamstring.  BOOM!  I couldn’t take another step.  The runner next to me, startled at me cringe, turned and said “Woah, you O.K.?”  I instantly pulled to the side and struggled to walk another step let alone run one.  It was torcher seeing my pack of runners run away from me.  I tried to jog it out hoping it was just a slight cramp.  Who was I kidding?  I was in pain.  My day was over.

The diagnosis is not in, but I strained/pulled/tore my left hamstring.  I’ll get it checked this week.

Over the next few hours, on my way back to the race finish where Cortney was waiting to collect me, I was flooded with emotions.  I had put so much into this goal of qualifying for the Trials.  Yes, I know it was a long shot, but I didn’t even get the chance to attempt it.  In Minnesota I had IT Band issues at now at CIM this happened.

I know it was early on in the race and anything could have happened in the remaining 21 miles, but I wish I could have had the opportunity to give it my all.  I guess that risk comes with any attempt, but it’s frustrating to look back at all of the sacrifice I have made and see the minimal return.

The consolation for the day was that both Joanna and Tim hit the qualifying standard for the Olympic Trials in January in Houston.  I am so proud of these two guys.  They put so much effort into their training, and it paid off.  It will be exciting to see them racing on January 14th with hopes of representing the U.S.A. in England next August.  I will do everything in my power to get to Houston in order to cheer them on.

I know I said this would be short, but I guess there was more to the day than I thought.  I can’t say the last 5 months of training/racing was a waste of time because I have learned so much about myself as an athlete/person and I will be a better/stronger athlete/person because of it.  I know 2012 is going to be my best season yet as a professional athlete.  Although this year of racing ended on a sour note, good things will come out of it.  I would like to thanks all of those who have supported me throughout this season and made my 2011 journey one to remember, namely:  Triathlon Lab, K-Swiss, Powerbar, Xterra, Jack Black, Feed the Machine, Gyst Concept, Robert Torres, Lubinski Furniture, Franco Bikes; but most importantly Cortney, my parents, all of my family and friends, Joanna, and all of you who have followed my journey and given me a reason to strive to be the best I can be.  THANKYOU and RACE HARD!




  1. I feel like that is one of the most fustrating things for me. I get to a certian point and then either get sick or injured and all the training i’ve done up to that point was worth it but I alway have to start over again. but that is just part of the battle and now that I’m focusing more on injury prevention and not over training I can’t wait to see the improvements 🙂
    Thanks a lot for stoping by the Visalia Tri Club and good luck with your future events and training!!

  2. Looking forward to hearing about your 2012 races here in California and seeing you at Wildflower, Vineman, etc. If Olympics were not in the hand you were dealt, you certainly have our local wildcard to represent! I want to hear about how you address your injury, most single sport runners I know run themselves to the ground and you shared a lot of good advice on functional strength work etc.

  3. Nice post. Hope that leg gets better on the pronto.

  4. Oh crap. Sorry you had a really bad day. An injury during a race is especially difficult because of all that time you have to reflect while everybody else is still racing and you’ve been thrown from the bus, so to speak.

    But…this is what make the marathon so challenging.! many ingredients to put together and have ready..have to push the body to the max, but not too far..and the body is such a mystery!

    Your leg will heal up and you will be back on the roads again have no fear!

    • So true Paul, I hated thinking that the guys I was running with were leaving it all out there and I was stuck freezing cold crammed on a school bus. Thanks for the words.

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