Well, it only took me a month to post this… I have had everything written out and saved as a draft for weeks, but I am just getting around to editing and adding pictures. So here it goes!
My second full marathon is in the books. I’ve been slacking on posting any training updates. But I completed the 16 weeks of training without any injuries, I logged all of my long runs and did most of the speed workouts. I was really excited about the paces and times I was hitting during training. I’ve never been able to hold such a fast pace (8:40-9:00 min/miles) for my long runs before. I’ve always ranged around 9:40-10:30 min/miles for long runs before this training block. And the times I was hitting for my tempo runs were really good, too. Needless to say, I was pretty excited to see how I would do in LA.
I found myself a little nervous about two weeks before the race, but in the days leading up to the race, I was just ready to go. I knew I had logged the miles and that I was ready to roll. I just had to trust the process and hope that everything lined up on race day. And by that I mean nice weather, no GI problems, no fluke injuries during the race, and that my head was in the game to run a good race and go for my goal time.
On Saturday (March 17) I let my self sleep-in a bit before packing up and heading down to LA. It was about a six hour drive; I went straight to the Expo to pick up my race packet. Parking was ridiculous and after driving all day I was ready to go chill at my hotel for the night. So after getting dinner at a vegan restaurant, that is just what I did.
I woke up at 3:50 am on race day morning (March 18th)-10 minutes before my alarm. I had laid out my race gear the night before, so I quickly got dressed, heated up a bowl of oatmeal in the microwave, foam rolled, and was out the door. I parked in Santa Monica (the race finish) and took the shuttle bus to the race start at Dodgers Stadium. I’ll spare you the details of waiting in line with all of the other cars/runners that were trying to park. In the end, my stress levels did not go down until I was finally on the bus and headed out. I had plenty of time, but I was still stressed all the same. Typical me. :p
Finally, I was at the race start. It was around 5:40 am-ish and very cold (in the low 40s). I was wearing shorts and a tank with my jacket that I was planning on checking with the rest of my gear. I walked around to keep warm, then I stood in line to get a couple of bottles of water (I had my race bottle with me, but I needed that for the race). I walked into Dodgers Stadium, thought “meh”, took a couple grainy phone pictures, and walked out. Then I stood in line to use the porta potties for the second time. By that time it was around 6:30 am and the race started at 6:55 am. So it was time for me to shed my warm jacket. Brr! I checked my gear bag and hustled over the to the race start and huddled in with the other runners packed into the nine minute mile pace group in the open seeded corral. I was really shivering by the time the race started. I was worried with so many people (almost 20,000) that it would take a long time (at least 45 minutes) to cross the start line. But lucky everyone started moving and I officially started about 7 minutes later.
I was pretty numb and cold during the first mile. There was also a lot of people to weave around. Some people had thrown their warmer clothes off around the starting corrals and just after the start, so I was also concentrating on not tripping on random clothing items. After the first mile, I started to warm up and runners were a little more spaced out, so I had room to move. I let my legs open up and go.
After I saw my pace for the second mile I thought I was going out to fast and that I should slow down. But my legs did not want to follow suit, so I just ran how I felt. As the miles clicked by, I was really surprised at my mile splits. The only time I looked at my watch is when I got a mile split notification if I heard and/or felt the buzz. Sometimes I zone out and miss the mile split notifications; it’s a common occurrence. 😉
Around miles 5 and 6 we went through China Town. As we started going up a hill there were over a dozen Chinese drummers lined up and drumming. It was pretty awesome to climb up the hill to the beat of their music. Sometime around there I passed by two ladies who were pushing their children in strollers. They were both probably around 7 and must have had a disability. My heart went out to those ladies and their kids. I gave them a thumbs up and told them “good job”; they both smiled and nodded.
By mile 13 my legs started feeling tired. But I pushed on. Around this time I caught up with the 4:15 finish time pacer group (they started in an earlier corral). Later I caught up with the 4:00 finish time pacer group and I contemplated staying with them and just maintaining that pace, but I ended up pushing on and running my own pace.
I did a Clif Shot at miles 7 and 14 and I was drinking my sports drink (Vega hydrator) every once in a while, just like I did for all of my 18+ mile training runs. My stomach started getting upset around 17 miles in. I had planned on 3 Clif Shots (one more than I did in training) for sometime after mile 20, but I ended up not using it because I did not want anything else on my stomach. I actually grabbed a couple splashes (literally-I’m not used to drinking out of those on the run) of water at the water stations and one self-operated station was passing out small plastic bottles of water, which I grabbed and downed on the run. That was a lot easier than the usual water cups. Before the race, I was worried about running out of my own water/sports drink, but with the added water and that fact that I did not want any sports drink on my stomach either, I ended up finishing with a bit of water left over in my bottle.
But back to the race. The last few miles were pretty hard. I had to fight not to slow down too much. There was a guy running with a lady and he was encouraging her and keeping her motivated and his motivation to her helped get me through the last few miles. I ran close enough to them that I stayed within earshot.
Finally, we could see the ocean and we rounded the final corner and the finish line was in sight. I was really excited and shocked by my finish time. 3:49:41! I was originally shooting for under 4 hours with a reach goal of 3:55 and I was almost 6 minutes faster! I ended up beating my old PR from my first marathon (4:45) by almost 1 hour and I even ran a new PR in the half marathon 1:49:41. My old PR was from my very first half marathon in 2013 with 1:50 and change. But does this PR count since it was not run during an actual half marathon distance? I am going to say yes. 😉
After getting my race medal, downing a couple of bottles of water, picking up my gear bag, and emptying my bladder, I called Mom and we talked about the race. She had been getting race updates and was posting them on FB. I had over 40+ notifications by the time I logged on-lol.
After that, I walked back to my car, cleaned up at the hotel, ate some vegan food (killer good strawberry cake-I mean OMG!), and started the long drive home. I hindsight I should have brought flip-flops or sandals for the trip back because my feet did not want to be enclosed. I ended up taking off my shoes and socks and driving barefoot. I did not lose or blacken any toenails this time and I did not have any blood blisters, just a couple minor regular blisters. But my feet still did not want to be enclosed. Lesson learned.
It took me about three days to feel back to normal; I took two days off from running and then I could not take it anymore. I had to run! I definitely felt way better after my second marathon than my first.
I’m pretty pumped about my time. The day after LA I signed up for the waitlist for the Mountains 2 Beach full marathon. I had previously signed up for the half. I was number 206 on the waitlist, and I did not have high hopes of getting in, but to my surprise, my waitlist number started to drop and after a few weeks I was officially signed up for the full. I’m doing a kind of mini-marathon training build up for this race. I’m not going in with a time goal, but I’ll be interested to see how it goes. Hopefully, I will get around to posting that race recap sooner than I did with this one.