CIM 2018 recap

Hi! How are you? Me, I’m great! I feel so proud of how CIM 2018 went. My pride is beyond words. I hope I can do my experience justice in my writing.

Saturday, December 1

My last training run was a 2 mile shakeout, which I did and it started raining! But it was good and my pace was good and made me feel solid for Sunday.

After I got home and ate breakfast, I showered and we packed up the car to go to Sacramento. But first we made a pit stop at the fancy donut shop in town because I always get one of their donuts before a marathon. It’s my tradition!

It was seriously so good. Did not disappoint at all.

My husband and I journied up to the expo and got in around 12. At 12 I had arranged a meetup with ladies who follow my blog or are in the Badass Lady gang Facebook group and was so glad to meet so many awesome ladies. Proud of all of them.

I also saw whole slews of friends at the expo!

Top: Haley and Carina at the SRA booth

2nd: Tony (Endorphin Dude)

3rd: My friend Ron

Bottom: my friend Amy who I met at least years CIM!

The highlight of my expo visit was seeing the Eugene Marathon booth! They were so amazing. Richard, Race Director, and Ian, Assistant Race Director, made my heart so warm with their kind words and our great conversation about Eugene Marathon 2019! I also heard from them that a few name drops were done by people who said they knew me at the booth 😏. Glad to hear people are talking about the event. Did you know that’s my next big running goal? To PR my half time there on 4/28. (Use discount code VANESSAEM19 for a discount on the half or marathon!).

My husband and I picked up some Eugene Marathon hats so we could represent the event and then it was time for lunch!

I had more to visit at the expo but we were starving. My husband and I couldn’t agree on lunch so I had a bento box while he ate pizza at the restaurant next door. My lunch was better, I’m sure. I could eat Asian food daily.

Then back to the expo! We visited more booths and had lots of fun. I saw my friend Art who was a CIM ambassador last year and got a quick photo with him before he went back to volunteering.

And then I got to meet my friend Amanda who I have been following on Instagram!

And then the most hilarious thing happened. Because Coach Patrick texted me and said “I’m at the expo, are you here?” And if you look in the background of this photo, HE IS STANDING RIGHT THERE 🤣🤣🤣. How bizarre!!

He’s the best running coach.

Then I stood in line just to take this photo. #worthit

Then after we finished our expo shenanigans we went to check into our hotel so I could rest my feet before dinner.

We went back to dinner at the same place I ate before CIM last year and Urban Cow 2016. It was amazing.

Got home and took a hot bath.

Then after laying out my clothes it was time for me to go to bed around 8:00pm. I fell asleep fast and I’m glad I did. I didn’t sleep well Thursday night and needed the rest.

It actually didn’t feel as horrifically early now that I wake up a few times a week at 4:30 for the gym but I was definitely not looking forward to it.

Sunday, December 2

I paid how much money to run how many miles?

After a long bus ride to the start, I made it to the start area at 6am. Race started at 7. I nervous pottied twice and tried to find people but had a hard time. I saw Coach Patrick again though which was awesome! I saw Amanda again and wished her luck on her first marathon. Finally, 13 minutes after the official start I made it though the starting arch. But as soon as I started going I tripped on one of those street reflectors. Thank god I didn’t fall on my face, but it hurt my foot and I felt it the ENTIRE RACE. Lame.

CIM is a huge event. Way bigger than Santa Rosa, so the energy is amazing. Seriously. Everyone comes out in full force to cheer for people!

About 5k or so in, an old German who was cheering from the sidelines ran out into the race and linked arms with me. It was so sweet. I asked if he was gonna take me to the finish line. He said he was too old for that and sent me on my way with a huge smile. It was rad.

Around mile 8.75 the sweepers passed me. The sweepers keep the slowest race pace and you are supposed to stay ahead of them to maintain street closures or risk getting out on the sidewalk. When they approached me I thanked them for letting me know they were there and then I began FREAKING OUT. I thought I would get farther before seeing them. The thoughts in my head seriously went as follows:

  • I don’t know this course well enough so maybe I need to pull up a course map
  • Maybe I should just quit at the relay stop and not finish the marathon. No one would judge me.
  • What will happen if I get lost? Will someone redirect me?!

My freaking out later until I texted my friend Stephanie (I RUN California) and told her I was having a mind f*ck because I got passed. She is amazing and told me to get out of my head and to get it done. It was exactly what I needed to hear. She’s my hero.

Then the trucks began being nearby because they were picking up garbage and mile signs. At first it was so disheartening until I finally said to them “hey you should give me a ride!” and from there on out every time they were driving behind me or cleaning up and I passed by they cheered me on or made jokes how I hadn’t hopped on board yet. It was so perfect.

Finally I got halfway.

and thought to myself “why didn’t I do the relay?” 🤣

After 13.1 I told myself to get to 16, then 2, then 22, 24 and 26.2 and it helped to have smaller chunks to aim for.

The rest of the miles are a bit of a blur. I don’t remember who I saw or what I did but I kept on pace and maintained my run walk intervals 75/45, the entire race, though my mileage pace slowed.

I did get a photo with Ann, who I was hoping I would see!

Mile 20 was a sight to see. And I felt really good. No wall.

About mile 22 I was starting to fade and took in more fuel (I had maintained a solid every 45 minutes) and then saw my friend Mary who ran with me for a bit. It was perfect.

On my shoes I had shoe charms that my follower Debbie so graciously gifted me that said “this is tough/you are tougher” and seeing them on my feet was so perfect.

Finally I got into Sac and started recognizing where I was. It was also around that time that my tired little brain trying doing math to figure out my finish time. I was shooting to finish in 6:40, a one minute course PR from last year. My math said it was possible so I said to myself at mile 23 “you didn’t just come here to finish- you came here to do this”

And as I came through the last mile of the race I was not only going to beat that time but I was going to crush it.

And I did. 6:35.

You guys, let me just say, I have never cried so hard at a marathon finish. I always cry at a marathon finish but today was exceptional. I cried so hard because I was so damn proud of myself.

My training was rough. September I ran hardly any miles because I was constantly rehearsing for my show. October on the other hand, I did double workout days twice a week, and performed four nights a week and ran long on weekends before performing and took zero rest days. November was shaping up until the air quality tanked. I lost two weeks of training, and I lost my 18 mile long run which I was banking on because my 17 mile training run was so horrific. To see a 6:35 finish really made me feel SO justified in how hard I worked. When you’re knee deep in training, sometimes you think “why am I doing this?” And it isn’t until that goal is achieved that it all comes together.

I felt strong today. Really strong. Really proud of what my mind and my body could do. So I let myself cry because if we aren’t our biggest cheerleaders then who will be?

I am not in any condition to marathon PR (6:07:28) but I know as I get stronger and lose weight I can do it. Next year will be my year to PR all my distances!

I’m now officially a 4 time marathon runner. I weigh over 200 pounds and took choir in high school and was grateful to hear it meant I didn’t have to take PE. I used to be so heavy I couldn’t wake up in the mornings or walk up a set of stairs. I used to have little self confidence about what I could achieve.

I am a strong athletic woman who runs marathons, and today was a huge win for me. It helped show me how far I’ve come mentally and physically, and how I am ready for my next round of goals.

I am so honored and proud to have finished today in 6:35 and would trade none of it. I can’t wait to 26.2 again and know exactly which one I’m going for next year… but first I’ll take a little break from the marathon for trail running and road half’s.

Thanks for being here for me team! You mean the world.

With gratitude,


3 thoughts on “CIM 2018 recap

  1. Loved reading your CIM recap. I think this is the first time I’ve dropped by on your blog. Way to get past the sweepers, in the physical sense and mentally as well. I had that issue once at the Philly Love Run 2018 and I can relate. Great job and good luck on all your 2019 goals. You got this, gal!


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