Date: February 14, 2016
Location: Dodger Stadium to the Santa Monica Pier
Start: 6:55 am
Wow, it's been a long time since I've written one of these. Okay, here we go.
I was supposed to go to the expo on Saturday, the day before the race with some friends so that we could kill two birds with one stone. Meaning so that we could pick up our bibs and watch the Olympic Trials all in one go. But I decided to go up on Friday instead so that I could stay home on Saturday and rest up for the race. I have not been to a race expo in a couple of years so I spent more time walking around and talking to vendors than I normally do. It was fun to be back in this environment again. Skechers Performance was the new title sponsor this year. Taking over for ASICS.
I was feeling nervous and because the forecast predicted higher than usual heat levels on Sunday, I hydrated like it was my job all of Friday and Saturday. I think I hydrated too much. Went to bed Saturday night pretty early but couldn't sleep at first but got a solid five hours in so I was happy with that.
I carpooled with my buddy Darren and his neighbors to Dodger Stadium. We left the OC around 4:30 am and got dropped off around 5:45 am which was perfect. I got to use the potty once but the lines got too long when I went back a second time but I didn't really have to go that badly so thank goodness.
Got in corral B in time to de-layer, take my first GU and listen to the national anthem. Things moved pretty quick after that. The elite women took off first and then the rest of the field followed ten minutes later. Believe it or not it was still a bottleneck nightmare to get going even up in corral B. It's tons better than being in the open corral but still really crowded as people try to find their positions.
So I started the race with the 3:35 pacer. I think this was wishful thinking on my part. I stayed with the group up until mile 12 which was where things started to go awry. You see I did almost all my training runs on pretty flat terrain and running the first half which is a series of rolling hills at pace ended up being my demise. I got some quad cramps around mile 13 but was able to walk it off. I had to slow my pace down by 30 seconds to a minute per mile over the next 6 miles but I kept chugging along because the crowd/volunteer support is just awesome at this race. I guess my mind had forgotten how tough it is to run this distance.
Here I am in Hollywood around the midway point. Smiling but suffering inside a bit.
Here I am in Beverly Hills around mile 17 and as you can see I am struggling. I struggled the most between miles 19-22 where the rolling hills started again. I mentally just shut down and took it one step at a time.
After this part, somehow I found my second wind and was feeling much better and picked up my pace a bit. I mean I wasn't feeling fresh as a daisy but I started smiling and waving to the crowds again. My nickname at this race was apparently "Tutu". "Go tutu!!" they would yell.
So this picture pretty much sums up miles 23-26.
The elation of reaching the finish line!
I crossed the finish line and was walking like a normal person. Not limping and not overly tired like I usually am. WTH! Why did I feel so bad in the middle parts and then felt great towards the end? This is a rhetorical question of course because I know exactly what I did wrong and how I can fix it for this future race. I am going to write a followup post on my training plan and go more into details on this race and how I plan to prepare for my next marathon coming up at the end of May. That post will have way less gratuitous photos so come back for that if you are interested. :)
So I did it! I finished my first post pregnancy marathon and made it just under 4-hours. Phew! That was a close one. This was my 9th LA Marathon and my 24th lifetime marathon. It's a course PR for me and my fifth best marathon time out of 24 so it's not too bad but not how I had envisioned it. I think the important thing about this training cycle is that I came out on the other end uninjured despite running more miles than I ever had in any training cycles and felt strong and prepared for the most part which is not something I could've said for most of the marathons I ran in the past.
Until next time LA Marathon! You were my first and will always hold a special place in my heart. It was a blast spending Valentine's Day with you.
(p.s. I ran my first marathon 10-years ago with my sister at the 2006 LA Marathon so this is an anniversary of sort.)