Chasing Big Dreams in Sacramento: CIM Weekend Preview

This weekend, eleven RCTC runners are taking to the streets of Sacramento for the Capitol 5K and California International Marathon. We sat down with Angela Vinton and Alejandro Fallas to get the lowdown on Saturday’s 5K and the race-spectating hype. We also caught up with Fionna Fallon, Thailyr Jaegersen, Krysta Gunvalson, Marla Smith, and Liz Anjos, who are all gearing up for 26.2 miles on Sunday. They shared what CIM means to them, thoughts on training leading up to the race, and more. We wish the best of luck to them and everyone racing on the fastest course in the West!

What does running the California International 5K/Marathon mean to you?

Angela V: I signed up for the 5K under peer pressure from my RCTC teammates. I’m looking forward to spending a weekend with them and cheering for my friends in the marathon.

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Angela Vinton

Alejandro F: CIM is a really special race for me. This will be my 4th year participating in the events and it will be a great opportunity to go back to the 5k, enjoy the vibe of the event, and support my teammates that will be participating in both races.

Fionna F: It means a lot – this training has involved faster workouts and more depth than I’ve ever done and I’m ready to get that OTQ B standard! I don’t want to run another marathon until the Trials in 2020, and I want to prove to myself that I am just as capable as the next to be on that starting line. So, this CIM is the time!

Thailyr J: It’s another big step in chasing after my goals. I’ve struggled a lot with self-confidence in the past which has improved tremendously with running and training. Each time I’ve gone through a marathon training cycle I learn something new about myself. This cycle has been all about letting myself see my potential and pushing past barriers I had arbitrarily set.

Thailyr Jaegersen

Krysta G: Eight weeks ago, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to run a marathon at all. 2018 has been a year of injury and setback, and this race will be the celebration of the comeback! I spectated CIM back in 2015 and watched a slew of talented runners hit the OTQ mark, then returned in 2016 to run my current PR; it’s a special place for tackling big dreams and partially why I chose CIM for my comeback. It’s also so special to be able to race 26.2 miles with friends and teammates – they’ve made marathon training enjoyable and fun and I owe them so much of this last cycle.  

Marla S: I love this race; it is so well run and put together. I ran CIM for the first time 2 years ago and it’s where I met my goal of sub-3 and set my current PR. I knew I had to come back and race it again.

Liz A: This will be my first time running CIM. I’ve come to associate it with awe-inspiring performances, whether it’s from runners I know through the grapevine in Portland, teammates from various running groups, or runners I’ve met through social media. With the favorable course, weather conditions, and great competition, I’ve witnessed over and over again runners make their pilgrimage to Sacramento to chase their Olympic, Boston, or PR dreams. I’ll never forget when Sarah Robinson, who I met through the Oiselle team, achieved the OTQ (Olympic Trials Qualifying) standard in 2015. She nearly gave up the chase before signing up just eight weeks before the race. Finishing just five seconds later was Lyndy Davis, who also ran her first OTQ after missing the mark two months prior in Chicago. Last year, I eagerly tracked Fionna from RCTC and my friend Sara Ibbetson, who I’d met through blogging on Runner’s World in the dark ages of the internet (okay, it was 2007), and they finished within moments of each other in 2:47. I found out afterward that they met and chatted while on the course, and I just thought that was the coolest connection. I love that marathons can bring runners on similar paths together, and CIM, in particular, seems extra special in that sense.

What has your running journey looked like leading up to the 5K/marathon?

Angela V: Life hasn’t exactly been cooperative lately and I’ve missed some runs and workouts. I’m in the early stages of marathon training, so that’s been where my efforts are focused right now. This 5K is meant to be a fun getaway with my RCTC friends!

Alejandro F: I have a good base after the NYC marathon and this 5k will be a great way to experience the marathon weekend vibes. It will also be a good training opportunity in preparation for the Tokyo marathon next spring.

Fionna F: This training cycle has involved faster miles with more friends and similarly paced ladies, more strength training sessions with my RCTC teammates, and no major hiccups besides the standard lows of any marathon training cycle. I’m ready! And if I fail at my goal, I’m fine with that too, but I’ll pull something trying!

The team’s last big long run ahead of CIM on Sauvie Island, with friends from the Portland running community

Thailyr J: This season has been both challenging and rewarding. There were a lot of workouts I never thought I’d complete going into them (like 24 miles with 14 relaxed, 10 tempo) but I continued to see my way through them and I’ll lean on those experiences for CIM. This is also my first season with Rose City Track Club and being able to have teammates that I’m inspired by has helped my own running. When you surround yourself with people who are better it really does push you to be your best.

Krysta G: I was sidelined with a stress reaction in my foot in January which resulted in a long, tedious training build up until this point. For months this winter, I patiently cross-trained on the bike trainer and in the pool before being able to run. And for many more months later, I slowly, slowly built up my miles and training. There were many weeks and months when I thought CIM was out of the question. Thanks to the support and encouragement from my coach and my teammates, I was able to put in a SOLID seven weeks of training this fall – I even got to run some of the big, scary marathon-pace workouts! Despite an unconventional year of training, I feel ready for a great day and a big PR.

Marla S: Last year a bunch of teammates decided to run CIM in 2019. I knew I wanted to race and be part of the fun, but I was also due to have my second child in March. I wasn’t sure if I could reach the goal of running a Marathon at 9 months postpartum. My first marathon after baby #1 was at 13 months postpartum, and I knew how challenging it was to get back into Marathon shape post-baby, especially while nursing since it uses so much energy. I went ahead and set the Marathon goal prior to giving birth and decided I would just see how it went. Not knowing what I could run for a Marathon, I ran every workout on effort instead of time-based. I ran my easy days really easy to make sure I had adequate recovery and opted to coach myself so I could make sure I was not over-doing it. I have honestly had the best training cycle I’ve ever had. I am not sure if it is due to not having the pressure to run a certain time or having this awesome team to run with, but I have really enjoyed it.

Krysta, Marla, and Liz pause their training run for a photo op

Liz A: This has been the strangest training block, ever. I got off to a great start in August and had high hopes for at least attempting to train for the 2:45 Olympic Trials ‘B’ standard. I got knocked off my feet with an ankle injury in September and was told immediately by a doc I probably had a stress fracture. The thought of facing another injury after spending much of 2017 recovering was almost too much to bear, and it put me in a pretty dark place emotionally. The injury turned out to be a minor strain that got better with a little rest- not the end of the world! I lost about two full weeks of training, and wouldn’t have time to build up safely to the big workouts and weekly mileage I’d hoped for. I had to skip the Portlandathon Half in October, which I had really been looking forward to. I didn’t really believe I could be ready for CIM when I couldn’t even run a half marathon, but everyone else around me did- my coach, Greg, my PT (Vince at North Lake), and my teammates. It wasn’t until about 2-3 weeks ago that I finally believed, too. My overall volume has been super low, but I’ve run some of my best long runs and workouts ever. I don’t know how that will translate on race day, but I do know that I’ve done everything possible to be ready for this race.

Do you have any certain goals going into the race you would like to share?

Alejandro F: This will be my first time racing a 5k in a long time. I would like to go for a PR but I don’t have a specific time in mind.

Fionna F: ANYTHING UNDER 2:44:59. I honestly feel like I could run 2:43 right now, but I’m going to just stick on the 2:45 group and kick! There’s no need to push it when all I’m trying to do is hit the standard. I’ll run faster another time 🙂

Thailyr J: My goal is to run somewhere around 3:15 and to push myself to really work the last 10K when things feel the hardest.

Krysta G: My day will be made if I can negative split. I want to run a solid, smart race and get to the finish line as fast as I can.

Marla S: I am going in with no specific time goal. My goal is to keep a positive mind throughout, relax, and just run. Oh, and maybe not stop to fix my shoe ;). Whatever I run I am going to be happy. I did the best I could training-wise with the limited time I had post-baby. Just getting to that start line is a success to me.    

Liz A: I would be over the moon to break my PR of 2:59:22 from 2014. My “shoot for the stars” goal is 2:56:02 (that was the time I finished my longest run of the season in, and that number has just stuck with me).

How will you be celebrating post-race?

Angela V: I have a long run on the schedule later that day, so I guess I’ll celebrate with a running tour of Sacramento!

Alejandro F: After the 5k I will celebrate with a few extra miles to make it a long run. On Sunday I plan to celebrate with the RCTC runners who participated in the marathon.

Alejandro Fallas

Fionna F: I’d like to say multiple beers and a burger, but as history has shown, it’ll involve me hobbling to the hotel, downing water, and beer and trying to hold off a failing GI system (hahaha). Then, maybe pulling myself together to gather (hopefully cheerfully, but maybe tearfully) with friends/teammates!

Thailyr J: No immediate plans but I’m sure a giant ice cream sundae or the like is bound to happen.

Krysta G: Eating something delicious with my teammates! Then, jetting off to Paris for a long, celebratory holiday.

Marla S: Hopefully with some of my teammates, since so many will be there.

Liz A: With a delicious cold beverage, my teammates, and probably writing an overly-descriptive race recap on the flight home.

Here is the full list of Rose City Track Club members racing in Sacramento this weekend:

Capitol 5K – Saturday, December 1st
Lucy Brookham

Alejandro Fallas
Ashley Meagher
Angela Vinton
Shasta Zielke

California International Marathon – Sunday, December 2nd
Liz Anjos

Fionna Fallon
Krysta Gunvalson
Thailyr Jaegersen
Glenn Kasin
Marla Smith

Link to marathon runner tracking. The race begins at 7:00AM PST.

Written/edited by Krysta Gunvalson

Categories: All

1 Comment

  1. I saw folks holding a RCTC sign during the run (I was also running CIM). Great job all! Maybe I can link up with you all sometime? I miss running in a team setting.

    Ramon Martinez
    Independence, Oregon


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