Yesterday I ran my second full marathon – the Asics LA Marathon. This race has special significance to me (I’m from LA, duh). It was a challenge and tested me, but it was a great day. I PR’d by over 5 minutes with a time of 3:44:01.
But first let me re-cap the race. The LA Marathon, to me, has always been “the” marathon I wanted to conquer. I remember seeing finishers as a little girl randomly on a marathon Sunday, and being stunned by the fact these ordinary people had run 26.2 freakin’ miles. I trained for the 2012 LA Marathon but got a DNS due to IT band issues. I was able to catch my Dad for miles 15-18 – an amazing and emotional experience for me.
This year, I was determined to complete the LA Marathon. I trained smarter than I ever have — yoga once a week, cross-training, more longer runs, etc. I tried to race smarter too – not going out too fast, hydrating aggressively, and being more cautious about my nutrition. My ultimate goal was to BQ (3:34:59). If not, I wanted to break 3:40. If I couldn’t do that, I’d be happy with sub 3:45, or a PR, or just to finish the race.
I did not qualify for Boston. I did not go sub 3:40. But I am really happy with my performance — the last 8 miles were in 80 degree weather with very little shade. I didn’t “bonk” in the sense where I didn’t feel like my body went into glycogen debt, but the heat got me in those later miles, forcing walk breaks which brought my 8:13 pace down closer to 9:00.
The morning began when my alarm went off at 4 am. Due to lovely DST, that was really like 3 am because we lost an hour. Cool. I headed over to Echo Park (after Tiger Balming and taping my feet, eating oatmeal, sipping coffee, and getting my shit together) to pick up my friend Andres, and his friend Andres. (Not making this up). We got to Dodger Stadium at 5:15 and parked.
We spent the next couple of hours waiting in line for the bathroom, enjoying Dodger Stadium, and hanging with other members of our DTLA Running Group. It was so nice being with people before hand – it definitely helped settle my nerves.
The sunrise looked like this. LA is the best.
I got into my corral (B) at 7:00 for a 7:25 start. The kid who sang the national anthem struggled.
I was much closer to the front, but I wanted to share a photo from my friend Andres so you can get an idea of how massive the field was (>25,000 people!).
The first few miles were great — we cruised out of Dodger Stadium, into Chinatown, and through DTLA and Little Tokyo. These are the streets I train on, and I was so happy to be starting, enjoying the sites and the morning that I didn’t even feel the first big hill (up from Little Tokyo to the Walt Disney Concert Hall). I saw my parents in the 2nd mile which was a great kick-off to the morning.
My mom takes marathon spectating seriously. (Payback is gonna be intense when she joins the 26.2 club!!) Just gotta figure out who her doppelganger is (see sign in Century City).
I saw Jinouth, a friend of mine from LLS at the top of the big hill in DTLA which was an awesome little boost as well!
Leaving DTLA was a little bit of a drag because I knew it’d be a few miles before I saw anything I considered scenic (except for Echo Park Lake). I really enjoyed seeing all of the signs and spectators out there — there were some great ones. Some of my favs from the day:
- Run if you can, Walk if you Must, but finish for Boston
- May the Course Be With You
- Worst Parade Ever
- Touch Here for Power!
- Fuck the Time Change
- Is Gu Paleo?
- If this were easy, it’d be called Your Mom
- Toenails are for Sissies
- Running is Gangster
- You’re Running Faster than LA Traffic
- I don’t always orgasm out loud, but when I do I’m foam rolling
I trekked along Sunset through Echo Park, Silver Lake, and East Hollywood. I felt good and was probably clocking 8:00 average miles, maybe a little faster. I saw my parents again at Hollywood and Highland.
I was feeling great and really enjoying the morning at this point!
I got to see Aviva at the half-way mark in West Hollywood (as well as her friend Kyle). She had a cute sign and they were jumping up and down, cheering, and wearing Mardi Gras beads. Entering WeHo was fun. I used to live there, so I was familiar with the route. I knew I had friends and family up ahead, and I was familiar with miles 15-18 because I had run them two years before with my Dad.
I saw my friend Bryan at mile 15 and YELLED his name because he was far away and wasn’t paying attention. Typical. I fussed around trying to open a shot blok pack most of that mile, and spotted Tiffany (Running Hutch) before making the left onto Doheny.
My roommate Jenn was at Doheny and Beverly — so great seeing her as I headed into Beverly Hills (the stretch on Burton Way is NOT my favorite – sort of a snoozefest and reminded me of San Vicente…ick).
I saw the parentals again as I headed into Century City. I chuckled at my mom’s “doppelganger” sign. She made one for my Dad two years ago, indicating that he was Bob Costas. (They look a lot alike). Here’s the one she made for me:
Lauren Conrad does, however, have a multi-million empire and three different multi-million dollar homes. And a rockstar fiancé. So there’s that.
Around Mile 19 it started to get really hot. and boring. The remainder of Century City is devoid of any cool landmarks, and then we headed into the Veterans Administration which lasts forever and was HOT. In mile 19, I started walking through water stations, drinking a gatorade and a water and pouring water on my head. When I was running, I was still maintaining 8:15ish pace, but my overall pace slowed because I had to walk a little those last few miles.
When I came out of the VA 10 hours later, I thought it would be smooth sailing — but I forgot that San Vicente is long and sort of boring. Luckily, I spotted my friend Franny after mile 22. She was jumping and screaming and it was so great getting 1/100th of her energy.
Doesn’t this picture just LOOK like it’s hot out? I also loved the Lululemon cheering station. I saw my friend Dani and she was so excited — I wish the whole course was lined with Lululemon cheerers!
Side-note: Thank GOD for Thirty48. No blisters on my feet and no charley horses. I felt a TINY twinge at mile 19 and never again.
I mozeyed my way down San Vicente. I saw my Back on My Feet peeps at 23.5 — I was really feeling it and yelled “I need some love, guys!!” My friend Kim made a sign for me and I saw ons of our Res members, Gordy. I almost asked him to run with me, but I couldn’t get the words out. I also ran into a woman from my spin class out there — it was so great having so many supporters!!
After what felt like an eternity, I crossed mile 25, determined that the walk breaks were over and I ran the entire last mile at about an 8 minute pace. The final stretch lasted FOREVER and I crossed at 3:44:01, 8:33 average pace, and 26.4 on my Garmin. I still have a ways to go, but I’m happy with my performance!
I walked over to 3rd and Broadway and met up with my parents who drove me back to my car at Dodger Stadium. It was a struggle to walk and I was cranky.
Later in the day yesterday I met up with some DTLA running peeps for beer and grub at our usual post-run spot, Big Wangs. I beer’d and burger’d.
It was so nice sharing stories and trading experiences from yesterday, even if my lower body is completely immobile and my face is sunburned, even with a hat and sunscreen.
I had a great experience with the LA Marathon and am so happy to have accomplished it. I am so grateful for all of your support and learned a lot that I will carry with me the next time I do one of these crazy things!
Check back soon for a break down of the expo!
Did you run LA? How’d it go for you?
Favorite part of the day for anyone — runners, spectators, etc.?