So this weekend it finally arrived: RACE DAY! I loved my attitude towards the race this time. I usually put some kind of pressure on myself since it used to be the “big race” of the year. But now with triathlons taking over the majority of my year, I could just see it as a day of fun. I mean, I was still trying to come in between 4:15-4:45, but with my lack of training, achilles issues, etc–I would really just be happy with staying injury-free the whole time.
Mission accomplished! I finished in 4:29 (yes, very different than 4:30)! Here’s the mile to mile report.
1-6: These miles were the HILLS part of the course, which was very easy to handle at the beginning of the race (but probably wore the legs out a little TOO much early on). We ran around Dodger Stadium (and yes, I took a bathroom break after mile 1!) & then into downtown L.A. We ran past Echo Park, which was just beautiful that time of day. I was trying to keep on pace & not run too fast early on. I listened to slow music to slow me down. Yes, pretty much on pace! Mom was there to greet me around mile 5, which was fun!
6-12: These miles felt really fresh, too. I loved going down Hollywood Blvd–the Kodak theatre wear the have the Oscars, Walk of Fame, etc etc–and loads of people everywhere along the course. I was still right on pace & thinking “wow, this is almost a half marathon, and I’m feeling strong.”
12-16: I start feeling around 14 like “OK, I’m tired” but as often happens, this feeling goes away & I get some energy from somewhere. Still on pace, but I’m struggling a little to just sit back and enjoy the ride. I’m tired. And where’s my mom?
17-19: I had to stop and use the bathroom again! WHAT? This never happens to me, and of course having to wait in line is really stressful. It puts me a few minutes behind my pace bracelet for a 4:15 time (which tells me what time I should hit each mile marker), which mentally gets to me. I bring out my pace bracelet for a 4:30 finish, put it on & try to tell myself “gee, you’re really ahead of your pace time!”–but there’s no fooling me, especially when I’m tired and moody. I see my mom around mile 18. She hands me the sunscreen I asked her to give me about halfway through the race, but I’m not having it. “I’m totally soaked. This is going to slide right off!” I smeared some across my face and kept on running. Mom must love my running mood swings.
19-22: I see my roomie Chuck and dog Effie at mile 19, and all I can manage is “thanks for coming!” and “I’m real tired!” After I turned the corner, I thought, “Umm, I’m done with running. I’m not going to beat my personal record, so I think I should walk.” And just like that, I started walking. By this point, lots of people are walking (peer pressure). I’ve been forced into walking before because of injury, but this was NOT what was happening. I just felt exhausted. It may be because my longest training run was 18 miles. Those final 8 miles seem like a ridiculously long distance to travel. I thought “OK, I’ll have a 5 hour finish time. That’s cool. I’m hear to enjoy this thing.” But then walking feels super slow and super boring & “a marathon is not supposed to be easy, Kristy!!!”–that voice overrode the rest & after Mile 22–welll…
Mile 22-24: My mom and my roomie Amy were at mile 22, along with everyone else in Brentwood–super crowds down that street. This, and the fact that finally there was some downhill (even if it was gradual) to assist me with moving my legs–got me running again. I had this thing. And looking at my watch, I realize I could actually have a decent time. Not my BEST time, but better than most of my times–and I knew I was going to make it completely injury free. No terrible cramps, bad blisters on the feet, —just that tired feeling that I knew I could sort of shake.
Mile 24-26.2: I see my boss and her husband–where did they come from? I was so in my Beyonce zone that I barely saw them, turned around & said hello–and they were yelling at me to keep going (stop hugging!). They were right. I was now determined to finish in 4:30. Instead of a steady pace, though, I walked for a minute or so & then charged ahead–right when I hit 25, I did the same: walked for the first 200 meters or so–then knew I could bust it out for the last mile (breaking it down to 400 meter splits in my head…)—then, out of nowhere–it’s my dad calling my name, I rush over–photo op & when I hit 26 miles, I sprint to the finish.
Now, I was completely spent when I finished. Part of me wanted to break down in tears for no good reason other than it was over. But most of me was just thinking (or more likely–saying out loud) “Where’s the water?” I located mom and dad & we booked it back to their hotel (luckily only a few minutes away from the race) & I ordered a quesadilla, which I never order (the cheese! those calories will kill me!)–and a diet coke & it was EXACTLY what I needed. I felt completely revived. Sore, but healthy. Me and the parents talked about our various race experiences–what I love so much from having people come and watch me–they get a totally different, equally as exciting viewpoint they can relay back to me. “Did you see the guy dribbling the basketball the whole way? What about the USC Trojan guy?” I then made it out to a delicious dinner & home to pass out, though of course I still couldn’t because my general feeling of euphoria from the race. Not cool that I had to wake up at 6:00 and put in a 10 hour day–but on the bright side, I got to take the day off from the gym!
Overall, I love the new L.A. course & hope it stays this way (they’ve changed this course nearly every year for the past several years). There were some big problems with traffic getting 25,000 people to the race on time (we started 30 minutes late), but I think these are things that can and will be improved upon. It really felt like I was running through so many classic L.A. neighborhoods–downtown, silver lake, hollywood, west hollywood, beverly hills, century city, westwood, santa monica–all with different kinds of crowds–but cheering crowds the entire way. Sure, at mile 19, I muted the outside world for a bit (please stop telling me I’M ALMOST THERE)–but I never would’ve been able to do this if it wasn’t for all the people surrounding me, running with me, cheering for us, etc. I love Los Angeles. There is no other city like it & it gets such a bad rap–but this is one of those events that I feel lucky to participate in. And proud to say I’ve run the L.A. marathon 4 times now! And each time totally revives my sense of community in this town.
And to have both of my parents there with me–that they went through the trouble of coming out here–it of course makes me feel like a very lucky lady. So thanks!
Finally, I am now so thrilled to NOT do any long runs for a very very long time & instead focus on the swim/bike/run triathlon world! But first, a good night’s sleep. Thanks to those who put up with all this training/race minutia. I’d like to say it will stop now, but with my first tri coming up in a month, highly doubtful!!!