California International Marathon – 1997

December 7, 1997

“Some days you get the bear, some days the bear gets you.”

That was the theme printed on the CIM T-shirt for 1997, along with a version of the California State Flag bear.  It would turn out to be apropos to the entire day.

I had been doing REAL training for this marathon, unlike my first marathon just about one year prior.  Also, there had been some major changes in my life… just prior to my first marathon, I found a job on campus (an ideal job, really), and I biked to work every day.  In June, the grant funding that job had ended, and I worked at a number of temporary positions, including 2 months at the UC Davis Alumni Center, 3 months for Community Partnership (affiliated with EDD and Unemployment), and a few weeks here and there.  Running tied my life together and the people in GVH really had made it worth it.

Based upon my training, I was figuring for a sub-4:00 performance – a HUGE PR – but doable, based on my progress in other events (like double my half marathon time, plus 35 minutes or so).  The forecast, however, for a week had been lots and lots of rain.

Kevin, Riva and I were “together” again for this second CIM adventure, and when we were dropped at the start, it was drizzling lightly; people were decked out in trash bags.  I had my usual cotton tank top and shorts on.

In the few minutes before the race started, the clouds seemed to break and the sun shown through.  People started peeling away the trash bag coverings and it looked like we were ‘going to get the bear.’  But, within 10 minutes, the clouds shut again and the rain came relentlessly, hard and cold.

It rained and rained and rained.  The final tally ended up being 2 inches in 4 hours.  Flat streets were full of puddles.  Intersections were swollen streams to slog or jump across.  The cold didn’t help, either.   After a while, I abandoned my goal pace and worked toward my other two goals – finishing and (maybe) PR’ing.

Around Mile 22, I spotted a former co-worker from UC Davis Medical Center (Kathy Lelevier, I think) and I was walking at the point, but… I didn’t want to walk in front of them, so I started up in a jog.  Unfortunately, coupled with how cold I was, I began to cramp up rather severely, and they probably would have not noticed me as much walking as they did me screaming and limping.  The rest of the way, I just had to walk to stave off the cramps.

As usual, Riva did 3:10 and change, Kevin improved his time to 4:02, and I still managed to PR by about 10 minutes to 4:35:57.  Mom, Dad and Marisa were there to watch, and they also got royally soaked.  We headed back to my place where I provided some dry clothes for Marisa (shorter than me, but we CAN wear some of the same sizes!).

Today, the ‘bear got me,’ and it left me wondering, “Is there such a thing as a moderate weather marathon?”


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