Isn't amazing, when you sign up for a race, 6 months out you feel like "oh i have plenty of time"...well BOOM..it came. I signed up for this race in October, and I couldn't believe how FAST it got here.
With the whole loosing an hour of sleep ,getting up at 3:30 (2:30 normal time), and the fiasco of forgetting my headphones for the 5K the day before, I laid everything out. I didn't want to leave anything to "oh i 'll remember that tomorrow morning." I never want to leave race day items to chance. My adrenaline already makes me more gittery than I already am. I highly suggest doing this for every major race!
I was super anxious about Daylights savings time ( I still wonder if anyone was royally messed up because of this?) and so we set like 5 alarms.. lol we had a crazy wakeup call. For those that DO NOT KNOW, marathon morning is CRAZY... 3 years ago we allowed 2 hours to get to Dodger stadium, living 20 minutes away. My husband had to jump out of the car on the free way and jog 2 miles to the starting line,he was not alone. Traffic is crazy, people are crazy, so, I didn't mind formulating a plan for race day. We met our coach, at 4:30, in Venice, carpooled and parked in a "secret spot", and then took the shuttle. Everything was extremely smooth and we were in place at Dodger stadium EARLY. Which was fine, time to warm up, check our bags, and last bathroom stop prerace.
We made it to the shuttle! Coach Iyob and Johnny! Iyob was celebrating his 23rd LA marathon and had just completed 50 marathons before the age of 50.
My "running sister" :) A pretty awesome women. Her and her boyfriend ended up getting 3rd place in the relay, both running 1:30ish half marathons and are both heading to Boston next month!
My Run MDR ladies :)
and we're off!
I saw people jumping up and down, running around HOURS before the race. My advice, save your energy, it's going to be a long day. Simple stretching and some leg swings are fine. Take the first 2-3 miles to warm up your legs (trust me the hill at mile 4 will do just that!)
The first 1-2 miles is down hill heading out of Dodger Stadium. You want to just take off, but, I really tried to make sure I was listening to my body, knowing in about 3 miles there was going to be a hill climb. I didn't want to burn all my energy out at the beginning, and ran around a 55-59% effort
First stop, Chinatown!
It was right around this time I spotted the 4:45 pacers. I had picked up 2 cliff pacer bracelets at the expo ( I LOVE THESE THINGS). It's a paper bracelet, that I like to wear on my right wrist. at the bottom it has your goal time. I was shooting for 4:45 so I picked up that one . It has your elapsed time for every mile marker . I set the top portion of my nike+ watch on my elapsed running time and then checked it with my cliff bracelet about 2-3 times a mile to make sure I was doing what I wanted.
...yeah..chilli cheese hotdogs..NO THANKS
Around the 10K I still felt like I could give a little more so, I picked up the pace and never saw the 4:45 pace group for the rest of the race.
The crowd was extremely thick exciting Echo Park and turning towards the city.
The first site of the Hollywood sign and the Griffith observatory!
There was a camera crew following a runner, I didn't recognize her, but I figured maybe she worked for a news channel or was an actress.
was feeling the effects of my pace so, first GU shot of the day :) I've learned that if I wait for a water stop and eat the Gu/Drink the water simultaneously it goes down quicker and it doesn't stick in my throat.
(don't know what happened to mile 9)
Around mile 10, I met up with he 4:15 pacer, I was EXTREMELY excited to see her. I didn't realize I was doing that well :) My times had been all negative splits by about 3-5 minutes . I was able to keep up with her for about 2-3 miles but then I realize I needed to run my race and understand I still had almost half a race left. So, I kept her balloon in site but decided to pull back and listen to my body.
Having lived on Hollywood Blvd before, I was extremely excited to see this. I knew we were getting closer and closer to Hollywood
Hollywood and Highland intersection! One of my favorite plazas I used to go to.
Turned left, pass In N out and right on Sunset Blvd!
The sun had finally decided to come out (it had been overcast all morning), right after mile 13 I REALLY began to feel the heat and it didn't stop rising.
The beginning of Beverly Hills/Rodeo Drive
Why hello Vera Wang :)
still around Rodeo
Up until now, I had been doing fairly decent. It was about 10-15 degrees warmer now than it had been at the start. Oddly enough I hadn't been paying much attention, the last mile, to where we were but once I climbed the first "rolling hill" I knew we were on this long, never ending highway that I used to drive to Santa Monica a lot. I was like oh heck no, this isn't going to be easy.
Right around here, my brain was telling me, ok, almost a 10K...it's just a 10K...You run this every Wed. Even though I was trying to stay positive, I also realized my fastest 10K was at 55 mins. I still almost had an entire hour left, the hardest one of the race.
As you can see I skipped mile 20. I'm pretty sure it was because my head was down and I was walking. I walked the first hill (which wasn't much of one at all, it felt like it tho) and the heat spiked another 5 degrees.
This part was the HARDEST part of my race, my coach told me it would be as well . "People drop like flies around the VA" he constantly told me :) By this time I knew Run MDR would be set up at Mile 23, PLUS San Vincente was right around the corner. Our Sunday long runs consisted of a start at Venice beach, up the Santa Monica Pier and the race route,backwards, up San Vincente and through Brentwood. If I could just get to mile 23, I could make it. Once I hit Brentwood (and went past the Farmers market I ALWAYS WANT TO STOP AT LOL) I knew there was 1 hill, one hill left, one constant incline for about 1 mile. I walked/ran the last 2-3 miles, high fived the Run MDR folk and kept going. I took about 2 Gu's and kept telling myself Santa Monica wasn't the stopping point, I still had to run to the store, hoping to pysch myself out.
After 23, it was all down hill, literally. The hill was gone, it was a gradual and slow down hill. I've ran this route for 3 month's every Friday. I counted down the blocks as they went...23rd......11th.........7th (our 10 mile turn around from the store)......There's the fancy houses...
I really wanted to run this last bit but once again I got horrible side stiches. They seem to hit more frequent when my breathing becomes more labored so, I focused on breathing and elongating my stride. I ran through my check list from a ZAP coach, from Boone, NC. "Shoulders down, arms at the side, jaw relaxed." It also made me laugh thinking about him yelling it across a lake, and still being able to hear him :)
We turned left onto Ocean and BOOM....the longest stretch of life LOL....The crowd was thick, the sky was blue, the ocean on my right, the finish line off in the distance. Ironically "Have you got it in you" by Imogen Heap was playing, my theme song for my Half Ironman. I listened to the chorus once, took my headphones off and just took in the sites and sounds. The "you're almost there, you've got it!" I saw a friend from my running club on the side (she had paced another friend). I waved, she smiled and I pushed...no more walking, I was going to finish this
I crossed the finish line with a really bad cramp, but I did it!. I got my phone , called my husband (he finished almost an hour and 1/2 a head of me). He asked me how I felt and I remember saying "I just want to SIT DOWN". Of course you have to walk everywhere to get all your stuff. About half a mile later, I had my bag, my water (the bottle was already empty after the first gulp) and my medal. We reconnected at the massage line and I had one of the best post race (free) massages ever. I plan on doing this after EVERY major race .
This is a picture from the 5K ( i think we were just too tired to take pics from the actual day of the race) but, once I met up with my husband,he was like " so, I guess I have at least one more marathon to do". I was laughing because as I was getting my phone out (after I crossed the finish line). A friend on FB had been following our bibs and had already messaged me JOSH RAN A 3:03!!!! Josh is (hopefully) running Boston 2015. He beat his age group qualifying time by 2 minutes.
My swag, I love it!
Have I told you HOW MUCH i love this watch? It's my favorite running accessory! ( I even wear when I'm not running) I paused it once when I thought I was going to go to the bathroom but then decided not to. It was highly accurate before, but ended up getting about .30 off the race markers. The elapsed time was almost dead on tho which was the most significant.
To be honest, at first I was a little disappointed in my time. I was doing so well up until around Mile 18-19 where I started walking a lot more. My original goal was to be 5:19 ( my last marathon time). So after some talk I realized I should be thankful for this time. This was my 3rd marathon but the first one I had trained well for and was actually "competitive" in . My next marathon is in 2 months and I can only hope to improve on that time :)
I drank at every aid station, sometimes both gatorade and water. I think what attributed to my early "wall hitting" around mile 20 was not enough Gu's. I was inhaling them around mile 22-23 but I didn't take my first shot until Mile 8, originally I was planning for mile 6, then mile 13 and 18. I waited until I felt like I needed them. I learned my lesson and I realize I need to replenish with them at a more consistent rate so I don't FEEL the need for them and have more constant energy.
I def couldn't have done it without this group. As part of the Run Marina Del Ray running group we are "the Sundays (Minus 2 of our regulars)." a firefighter, a BA trainer, a teacher, 2 husband/wife teams, a student and a first time marathoner. We owe it to each other (and our coach) for being there on Sundays. For the smiles, the stories, just knowing there is someone waiting for you at the end, regardless how long we all take. Thanks :)