Saturday, December 7, 2019

CIM 2-man Relay


December 8, 2019 - Sacramento, Ca


12.7 mi (Leg #2 & 3 of the 26.2 mi Marathon Relay)


3:16:55 (2 person relay)


1st of 5 Male Fitness Club relays, 40th relay overall

Relay Teammates:

Isaac Josifec (Leg #1 & 2, 13.5mi)

Other Teammates:


*Catch Us If You Can (Robin Soares, Megan Sebra, Bailey Cossentine)

*EV Cain Speedsters: Hunter Glass, Leah Booth, Anna Soares & Holden Robertson

*Old Man and the Lobster (Jason and Libby Shykowski)

Track/Local Friends

*Pacers: Jim Kepfer, Michael Cook, Tim Twietmeyer

*Racers: Wyatt Hamilton

5am, chilly, I meet Isaac, my FCA TeamMate at our house.  We make final plans and then Robin drives him and a few others to the start of the California International Marathon.

It’s a yearly tradition which goes back like 22 years for Robin.  Maybe 1/2 as many for me.  But running a relay is really motivating and memorable and I’m glad to be doing it again with Isaac.

I’m not as well trained as last year so the usual goal of breaking 7:00 min pace is being replaced with 7:20 average.  And that’s with an easier leg.  Isacc is going for 7:30 pace on the longer 1st leg.

Doing the 2nd 1/2 of the marathon means I have more time at home.  I spend time with God first, something we make a priority before races because we couldn’t imagine racing without His blessing.

Anna is also starting at the 1/2 way point for her Relay.  And Ariel is coming to help coordinate transitions.  There’s a lot of strategy in point-to-point relay racing!

The 3 of us get to the transition just before the top marathoners come through.  So exciting.  Then we see our local star, Jane Kibii, running in the lead pack of women!  (she went on to win!).

Anna & I warm-up and 1/2 mi away see a marathoner laying down on the sidewalk.  We help him up and I give him one of my gels.  He had problems with nutrition and dropped out feeling terrible.  But he was now walking so we hurried back to our transition point.

Anna and I pray and then she takes her position.  Her teammate, Leah, comes in and she’s off.  I hope it goes well but most importantly I hope she prays if things don’t go well. I’m sure I won’t be catching her or her next teammate so will see them at the finish.


Start: Isaac comes in!  I’m wearing a black FCA T-Shirt because I forgot my usual yellow one at home.  Hopefully he sees me.  He finishes the 13.5 mi in 1:42:14 for an average 7:34 pace, pretty close to plan! We have a good transition but as I hand him my keys and turn to run I start to trip on someone else.  But I latch onto Isaac’s hand which I just dropped the keys into and it stables me.  Ok, now I’m off.

It always feels so good starting a leg after a hand-off.  But I remind myself there is a 1/2 marathon ahead!  I feel good and hit 7:00 pace but then notice my breathing is high.  I keep thinking it’s 7mi instead of 12.7.  I try to relax.  It’s hard to slow down with all the cheering and wonderful signs.  I’m smiling a lot and admiring the marathoners around me which are so well trained.

Mile 1: 7:14. Ok, now just have to hold this pace for 1-1/2 more hours.  But there’s a slight hill.  The gloves and arm warmers come off.  It’s 63 degrees – not the 40 it has been in the past.

Mile 2: 7:20. My rt achilles heal is a little sore.  A constant ache each push-off.  Usually it warms up after a couple miles.

Mile 3: 7:13. A really good mile but might come back to haunt me.  I’m drinking fluids at every aid station.

Mile 4: 7:26. I’ve slowed it down.  I see a bystander playing a trumpet and hope Anna also saw her.  It’s a slow song, but very well done.  I would love to hear Anna playing right now!

Mile 5: 7:22. This is going to be hard!  If I push too much my foot hurts. Just keep focusing on the Lord..

Mile 6: 7:20.  That was a good mile.  It’s raining now.  It feels good because I’m still too hot with the base layer I wore.  I imagine Anna should be close to finishing her leg and getting out of the rain.  I eat a new Hammer Gel flavor, banana, and don’t like it even though the product is great.

Up ahead I look for the exchange point, but not expecting to see Anna’s team.  I see her runner, Holden, running backwards to Anna.  They exchange something and he takes off again.

Mile 7: 7:22.  I look to Anna and she can tell I’m wondering why they’re so far behind plan.  She says calmly, “I got side cramps”.  I’m immediately proud of her responding so calmly because I know how much she wanted to run her sub-7 pace goal.  Instead, she had to walk parts of it.  “That’s, Ok, Anna, good job!” (I also learned later that the chip fell off the strap requiring Holden to go back to get it). 

I catch up to Holden.  Their troubles (being 5 min off pace) has become my benefit (having someone to run with!).

I love these kids, they’re all polite, hard-workers and actually like distance running! Hunter, Leah, Anna and Holden are 8th graders together at EV Cain Middle School.  Besides running Track and XC together, they’re also part of an Endurance Club at school which Hunter started so they can have even more fun running!  They impress me because I never wanted to run when I was their age.  Last year I got to run with Anna and Enzo.  This year I get to see 2 of their exchanges and get to run with Holden.  He looks calm and strong, but this will be his fastest pace for a long distance so I’m concerned he doesn’t start too fast.

Mile 8: 7:36. Approaching the bridge over the American River.  I tell Holden, “Big hill ahead” and he laughs.  On the bridge it is deafeningly loud!  There is a spin class set up almost the full length of it with an instructor pumping them, and us, up over a PA with music.  They’re pedaling and cheering and holding signs.  It’s quite an experience.  And the work to set that all up.. even with the rain.  Appreciated.

Mile 9: 7:34.  I give Hodlen some advice and remind him to drink, as I take another Hammer Gel and grab a cup.  I see a marathoner go by with a “Look to God..” shirt.  Holden is a Christian and the shirt reminds me that the best advice I can give my young friend is to always look to God.  I tell Holden, “If it gets hard, you get cramps, or something goes wrong… pray.. God answers prayers and helps us”.  He understands and is doing good but I don’t want to lead him too fast so must break away.  As we enter the “Avenues”, I tell him, just like my friend, Dick Kirkpatrick, told me the first time I ran this course, “We’re at 55th St and the finish is at 10th, you can count ‘em down”.  I also tell him, “control your pace and wait to 1 mile to go, and then sprint.  I’ll see you at the finish!”

Mile 10: 7:24. I’m trying to pick up the pace but everything is hurting.  Heel, calf, hip, all the pains coming and going.  They remind me to focus on God.  It’s amazing I’m doing as well as I am.  I remember my first marathon here and pushing these last 2 miles.  Boy, the street signs drop so slowly.  35th St.  I look forward to 20th when I know there’s only 10 more to go!

Mile 11: 7:32.  Can’t bring the pace down. Pushing very hard.  Trying not to look at the street signs.  The road is wide and long.  I can see the palm trees in the distance that mark the Capitol Park where the finish is!

Mile 12: 7:23. This is it, finally!  Just get around the park.  Thank you, Lord.  Every step is sore.  I can’t WAIT to stop!  Coming around the final turn, I quickly see Robin, Ariel, Anna, and Andrea Glass cheering along the finish chute.


Mile 12.7: 7:14.  I finished with an average 7:27 pace, with the last mile about as fast as the first mile!  Our total is just under 3:17, about 5 min slower than last year but still 1st out of the few male fitness club teams that participate.  Thank you, Lord, for helping me through another tough effort and allowing all of us to finish well in good weather.