2015 California International Marathon
    This will be my fourth CIM.  I hope to finish in a time of 3:15.  I attempted this pace last year but failed.  I found the last miles very difficult to keep pace and slowed dramatically.  It was as if I was running my first marathon and went out too fast with too much enthusiasm.  This year I vow to do better with a strategy of more fuel, better training, lighter body weight and better diet.  My previous PR, personal record, is 3:27.  Improving one's marathon finish time by 12 minutes is ambitious.
  The weather forecast called for rain.  But the temperatures were mild and no wind was forecast.  I was not worried because I ran the 2012 CIM.  That had very heavy rain and winter storm conditions during the marathon.  I survived that, so a little rain will not be a big deal.  I line up in sight of the 3:15 pace leader and wait for the start.   I easily keep pace with the group as they run at 7:24 or so.  I breath easily and let them get ahead as I keep a 7:30 pace through mile 20.  I start with 6 GU gel packets and take one at the start and take one every five miles.  This seems to work as my energy level seems quite even.  I get enough water as I stop and walk through every other water stop.  My GPS watch beeped and indicated 'low battery' after only a couple of miles.  I told myself that this would not affect my marathon.  But I did curse at first, due to my lack of checking the watch's battery charge status.
    My mind wanders and the miles click by.  But just as I pass the mile 23 marker and think about the last 3.2 miles, disaster strikes!  I get a sharp pain in my left foot.  I have hot spots on both feet, but ignore those easily. This new pain gets worse in a very rapid fashion.  At this point on the course it is not unusual to see people with problems either slowing dramatically and even walking.  That was me in my first marathon, struggling to keep going in the last miles.  Anyway, my foot hurt so bad I could only keep going for a few more steps, slowed and then had to walk.  I have never felt such a sharp and deep pain in all my racing and training.  And I had cramping in the left calf at the same time.  This was not good.  I was horrified at the prospect of dropping out and not finishing.  This abrupt change crushed my spirit.
    Most of mile 24 was a walk, jog and some running.  As I passed the mile 24 marker, I told myself that I could not walk the last 2.2 miles.  I told myself I had already felt bad pain and the pain could not possibly get any worse.  I decided to run again, being careful to not overdo it and cramp my left calf.  It was still tweaking once in awhile, reminding me that it was not real happy and to watch it!  A minor miracle occurred, it wasn't pretty, but I was able to run most of the last 2.2 miles.  I would tuck in behind someone who appeared to have a good steady pace.  This works as I can run a bit on auto-pilot and let someone else worry about the pace.  I had feet and a calf to pay attention to.  My gait felt off, I felt slow, I felt bad.  But I was passing people once in awhile and that seemed to validate that I was not completely failing.  I felt I would still PR, just not 3:15 today.
    At around mile 26, Lisa calls out my name and I rouse from my stupor.  I manage a smile, raise my arms for a photo and put my head down for the last 0.2 miles.  It was tough to keep going as my calf and foot were always just a step away from stopping me completely.  I saw 3:21on the clock at the finish and was happy for a PR.  I raise my hands, four fingers held up to show that this was my fourth CIM.  I felt good, yelled a victory 'Yeah!', grabbed a finishers medal, got a posed photo taken and look for Lisa.
    My foot is swollen and I am limping badly.  I get my foot looked at and get an xray the next day.  The xray shows an old break and a new stress fracture.  So I am bummed that I am seriously injured and will be sidelined for at least 6-8 weeks.  This is a somber way to end my greatest running year ever.  Later someone tells me they think it is epic that I ran a marathon with a broken foot and that they are impressed.  This gives me a little smile but I think to myself: 'How can I not run?'