My training has been disjointed -- for various reasons, my runs have been broken up. Iliotibial band pain caused a 20-mile run to be run as a 9 mile run one day and an 11 mile run the following day. Another 12-mile run was interrupted by a patient emergency. So I can't say I had done a complete run longer than 15 miles before the marathon.
I was so excited to run the LA Marathon with the new Stadium to the Sea course, starting at Dodger Stadium and ending in Santa Monica.
Organization was definitely lacking, and in particular, traffic. We were lucky that we arrived two hours early, and even then, we were in a long line or cars to get in. I hear that people were jumping out of the shuttle buses on the 110 freeway because they thought they'd miss the start. Nonetheless, the start was delayed by 25 minutes and we were stuck crammed in the start corral.
Shortly before 8 am, we were on our way. The route began with a loop around Dodger Stadium, then into downtown LA. There were a few small hills. It was crowded. Someone tripped me and I nearly landed on my face at mile 3. Then at mile 4, we hit a big hill, the hill heading up to Disney Concert Hall. I saw a guy taking a picture of himself, so I told him to pass me his camera and I took a pic of him. He shot one of me also and gave me his email address. So here's the pic of me that he took climbing that hill. You can tell that it was early on because I was still smiling.
Why run a race if it's not going to be fun? And this was just a friendly course. There were people cheering us on along the entire course. So many fans set up their own hydration stations or handed out cut up fruit and candies and Red Vines. It's like a buffet, but we definitely have to work for it! The enthusiasm of the spectators is what pushed me through the second half and to the finish line.
I started too fast. I thought I could go at a 9:45 pace. But, I may have been a little faster for the first few miles, thinking I felt really good. But, around mile 11, my legs began to feel way too heavy. My mile times were getting slower. The bottoms of my feet hurt. In Beverly Hills at mile 16, when I saw one of my mile splits was 10:30, I decided I was done watching my pace and I just wanted to be done. By mile 20, running through the VA, I wasn't sure I would make it.
I love beer during a long run. At mile 22, there were a couple spectators passing out beer. I eagerly swigged down the small cup of beer -- it tasted so good! I have drank beer during three of my eight marathons, including my personal best time in Long Beach in October.
San Vicente is a downhill through Brentwood and then into Santa Monica. I sure didn't feel like it was downhill! But, I was so happy to see people I knew, friends, tri-club members, and friends from the track, on the sidelines cheering me on. On the last mile, I saw Coach Jamie, and I think I stuck my tongue out at him to let him know I felt like crap. Not very nice of me.
My final time: 4:28. Not my best (Long Beach 2009 -- 4:12). Not my worst (Chicago 2000 -- 5:37). But decent for the training that I had. And fun in spite of the pain.