To CIM or not to CIM?

Anyone who follows Seattle running bloggers knows that for the past few weeks, a hot topic of conversation has been the California International Marathon on December 2nd. In a not at all surprising move, it was Nicole who initially contacted me asking if I wanted to do it. We both knew there were a lot of bloggers around the country that were committed to going …and slowly but surely, the whole idea exploded into a PNW who, what, when, where discussion forum. There are actual Google doc spreadsheets—this is a serious topic.

Now, I am not typically someone who stresses about race details, especially so far out. If I know there will be someplace to stay, available pasta, and someone there that I know, I don’t get too bugged out about the logistics. I focus more on analyzing the biggest factor of all—running an effing marathon.

So plane tickets, hotels, rental cars, and weather aside…my dilemma right now is simply whether to run or not run the race.

Let’s  play a little game then, called “I tell you what I think, both pros and cons, and you tell me what you think.” Cool? Honestly, I’m in some big time need of practical guidance on this one. This game is also known as, “The price of registration goes up tomorrow, and I still haven’t decided what to do.”

I need help!

So, CIM: A very famous race in California’s capital—in the dead of winter, no less. CIM is popular for a number of reasons, but I would venture to guess that its course—namely its elevation map—has something to do with its cool status.

Obviously, this is one fast course. Even Bart Yasso says so. The race is known for spoon feeding PRs and handing out BQs like free smoothie samples. It’s also during a time when there aren’t many races at all, and because it’s in California…the winter climate could make for ideal racing conditions.

If I had a clear schedule, this would be a no brainer. I love the idea of a winter race, and I love the idea of traveling, cheering, eating, and celebrating with fellow runners. However, there is this teeny tiny detail that’s throwing a wrench into the mix—you know, that thing I’ve been talking about for two months.

The Chicago Marathon is on October 7th, just seven weeks before CIM.

Now, if I was one of those hardcore, seasoned marathoners, two months between marathons wouldn’t be a big deal. I am not, however, and although two months is definitely a good amount of time—I’m still hesitant. I would essentially be nonstop training from now until December 2nd—and presuming I would still be alive/not yet checked myself into an insane asylum after that, there are the questions of injury, burnout, and a loathing hatred of anything to do with Brooks and Gu to consider.

So, now that I’ve laid out the logistics, let’s take a look at the two scenarios—and what each entails in terms of good stuff and bad stuff.

Scenario #1: CIM is a go.

If I do register for CIM, it will more pressure off of Chicago. I already decreed that I want to have a fun, more relaxed approach to Chicago training. A good finish time would be great, a BQ would be better, but I’m not really focusing on that. And I love it. I love that I’ve reacquainted with the joys of just running as opposed to focusing on 3:34:59 over and over and over again. So, if I add CIM to my calendar just two months after Chicago, I’ll probably focus even more on taking that race a bit easier and finishing with some steam left instead of going all out.

This approach would pave the way for some big opportunities at CIM. I’ll have to recover for a week or two, however coming off of Chicago will put me in an ideal place in terms of high-mileage race prep for CIM. I can hit in pretty hard once I’m recovered and presumably go into CIM with even more hay in the barn (thank you Ali) than ever before.

In that case…I’ll be in a great position to go for that all elusive BQ that I’ve been eyeing since I first started marathoning. I may choose not to (I don’t want to throw that out there yet), however given the ample training I’ll have and the quick course at CIM—I would really be looking at ideal conditions.

PLUS: Lots of lady bloggers, so many runnerd opportunities, Christmas shopping, food, drinks, merriment.

It would be a party.

Now, that’s all well and good…but let’s look at the other scenario:

Scenario #2: I play it safe, and don’t do CIM.

As demonstrated during my last jaunt at 26.2 miles, marathons wear you down. I was slapped in the face with injury after Tacoma, and I was forced to own the fact that I had pushed it too hard.

Running is a frickin’ roulette sport, man. No matter how many things you do right, injuries can be inevitable. As someone who has wasted more money than I care to share on DNS registrations, I really don’t like the idea of signing myself up for another unclaimed race packet.

Injury is really my primary concern when it comes to the CIM decision. The fact is, I know I might burn out a bit on running after it all, but I’m much less concerned with that. Running burnout requires a few weeks off, a few veg-sessions complete with beer, sweatpants, and chick flicks, and just like that…the desire comes back. I know myself well enough to know that my love for running can withstand many months of continuous training. The constant icing, stretching, fueling, hydrating, etc. is what gets to me more—but it’s something I’m prepared to deal with. Just kidding! I love the fueling.

If I don’t do CIM, I’ll have more options available after Chicago as well. Do I go for that half marathon PR that I’ve resisted committing to for so long? Do I stick to shorter races? Do I sit on my butt until Spring? Truthfully, I do have some big 2013 endurance racing plans in the works, and so some time to breath between Chicago and then would be helpful.

So which do I do? If you know me, you know that I never shy away from an aggressive training regimine, and I really love the intensity of a big challenge. But, in the same breath, I don’t want to be injured or worn down.

Obviously, I haven’t made up my mind, and I have until midnight tonight to decide. And by midnight, I mean like 8:30…because that’s when I start to get ready for bed. I rage.

I technically can register after tomorrow. But, with the price increase happening and the need for training decisions to be made…I’ve self-designated today as my do or die deadline.


I want honest opinions here…don’t spare me your sarcasm, bluntness, or “Girl you cray” comments. But, if you are an eternal optimist and believe running is magic, I’d like to hear from you too.


8 thoughts on “To CIM or not to CIM?

  1. Lauren

    Honestly, I think it will be too hard to tell how you will feel after Chicago, but given that…having almost 2 months in between marathoners “should” give you sufficient time to recover even if that means you don’t do a heck of a lot of training between marathons. If you have a great base built up to Chicago I believe it can carry you through to CIM with a couple long runs sprinkled in between. I would run CIM if it wasn’t on the weekend of the Girls on the Run 5K that I help out with 😦

  2. laurenefries

    Don’t register yet! Like I told Nicole yesterday, losing $20 to a registration price increase is not preferable to losing $100 if you DNS. Take your time to decide.

    Also a BQ is 3:35:59 if that helps 😉 I feel like a lot of people don’t know that….

    1. ricoleruns

      That’s actually one of the things that they changed – was that extra minute of qualifying time. It actually IS 3:34:59, if I’m not incorrect, which of course, I often am: “Unlike previous years, an additional 59 seconds will NOT be accepted for each age group time standard.”

  3. krissy m. murphy

    YES CIM.Just YES.

    I want to run it, but live in VA. Run it for me!! 🙂

    BTW ^^ this lady above sent me 😉

  4. sarahthefitfoodie

    I say go for it 🙂 With the base mileage that you’ve built up to Chicago already, 2 months will be plenty of time for you to sustain! I’m running my 2nd full marathon in PDX in Oct just four months after RNR San Diego. I, personally, thought I was crazy but I need the redemption for tripping at mile 15. Still finished, so on I go! 🙂

  5. runfundone

    I honestly think it should come down to the BQ. If you think that you are going to be ready to really go for it, then CIM is the place to do it. However, Sacramento is in my (lived-in-Southern-California, sometimes-a-snob) opinion, boooooring. Also, for me, the priority during the winter is snowboarding. In other words, CIM is not for ME, but it might be for YOU! But seriously, back to the BQ thing….only if I was trying to qualify for Boston, would spending money to travel to Sacramento be worth it.


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