Sunday, March 17, 2013

Race Recap: LA Marathon- Take 2

Today was the LA Marathon, and the second year that we participated in the event. And the last time I plan on running in a marathon. I intend on completing half marathons from this point on because, as they say, I'm only half crazy.

Last year was a lot different than this year for many reasons. I feel like I was better prepared last year than this year. Training this year did not go as well as had hoped because I'm stubborn and cheap and refused to be fitted properly for shoes. The last long training run ended for me 3 miles short, in tears, declaring that I was not going to do the marathon. I eventually went to get fitted (about 12 days before the marathon) and did end up getting new shoes (thanks mom & dad). More on how the shoes worked out later.

Another thing that was different was the time we got to the starting line. Last year we signed up for the 4:30 am shuttle in Santa Monica that brings you up to Dodger Stadium. This means that I spent the night at Rachel's and woke up at 2:30 am in order to be awake and ready to drive to Santa Monica to catch the bus. Then we sat around the parking lot of Dodger Stadium for a few hours freezing. This year Rachel's husband, Shawn, drove us. They picked me up at 5 am and dropped us off right at Dodger Stadium. Since they'd be at the finish line we'd have a ride home. I am forever grateful to Shawn for being willing to do this. It made a HUGE difference not having to sit around waiting.

The weather was differnt this time as well. Last year it was really cold and at the end of the course the winds were so strong that it was just awkward and very uncomfortable. This year it was much warmer. There was only one part that I was uncomfortable and it was near Santa Monica. There was a lot of fog (which was wonderful because it blocked the sun) and it got a little chilly and slightly windy. Nothing like last year and I am so thankful that it was a beautiful day today.

The last difference that I can tell is that last year I put 100% of my mental focus on Rachel because this was her goal. I may not have been the best support because I did hit some road blocks myself, but the only reason I ran the marathon last year was because she wanted to. This year I made a goal for myself, so I feel like I was focused on me more and I think that pushed me a little more.

My main goal this year was my pace and I had a time goal of finishing in under 6 hours. To be completely honest, I didn't think I was going to make it and doubted myself from the moment I made it. But I still had to try! I actually made 3 goals for myself: 1. Finish 2. PR and finish faster than last years time of 6:15 and 3. Finish under 6 hours.

I achieved all three, by finishing with a time of 5:53:04. I am so excited and I cannot begin to explain the emotions that went along with crossing that finish line and reaching my goal. But I'll try.

While standing in line for the porter potties I was telling Rachel that I didn't really feel excited or nervous about the marathon. It just was something that I was doing. No big deal. In fact, the feeling I was experiencing was what I anticipated feeling at the end. I didn't like that because I still had to put in the work to actually feel what I was feeling.

Rachel and I started out strong.. A little too strong. We had some very fast paced miles. At mile 10 Rachel said she needed an extra walk break and encouraged me to keep going with our intervals. I will tell you that I felt guilty leaving her, but I knew that I needed to focus on my goal this year and I kept going. I ended up only skipping a few running intervals during the entire marathon. A couple during each of the hills, one during a water station because I wanted the water and gatorade to go in my mouth instead of all over my hand or down the front of my shirt. I have yet to perfect the water drinking while running..

I hit a mental wall around 16. I couldn't get my breathing under control, I felt slightly dizzy and I could tell my heart rate was up. I ended up texting my mom and she responded with "NO NONE OF THAT KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK" and "U CAN DO THIS." It definitely helped and I kept on going. Then I got behind a woman who's shirt read "The voices in your head are all liars." That was all it took to take me the rest of the way. I kept telling those voices to shut up and focused on the interval I was in, not the next or the one after that. Just the one I was in. It did help that I put music on around mile 14. I've been training without music, so it gave a little extra something to keep my feet in beat with the music.

The longest I've run without extra walk breaks straight through is 22 miles, so I kept telling myself to make it to that point and we can re-evaluate at that point. But then 22 miles was so close to 23 and after 23 it's just over a 5K and I could do that. And then I told myself I could walk mile 25-26 so that I could run the last .2 miles, but I felt like if I stopped running then I wouldn't start again. So I just kept going.

I was keeping track of my time by checking my blog since I forgot the handy dandy bracelet I printed out. I guess since that's the only thing I forgot and since I was still able to access it then I can't be too upset with myself. I was consistently around 6 minutes ahead of schedule so I kept trying to do the math toward the end to see how slow I technically could go, just in case. But I didn't need to. And there are no words to explain the pride I felt for myself.

I text the family when I turned onto Ocean Avenue and could see them around the 26 mile mark. I immediately welled up and showed them my watch as I ran by saying "I'm going to do it!"

I crossed the finish line with a distance on my watch .28 over that of a marathon distance. I knew this was going to happen early on since my watch would ding before the mile marker, so I took a picture of my time at the marathon distance and my time when I crossed the finish line.

The only complaint I have about the marathon is the finish area. I understand why, but it's very frustrating to have gates lining the street for half a mile to a mile after the finish line, forcing the finishers to continue to walk to the end of the area before they can get onto the side walk, turn around and walk that distance back to find their families. I just finished a 26.2 mile run, you really want me to walk 1-3 more miles after? I saw Rachel finishing as I was walking back and high fived her as she ran by. As soon as I got back to where my family was standing I burst into tears. I hugged Patrick and thanked him for everything he's done while I train for these insane events. I thanked my parents too. Then I laid down on the grass while Rachel made her way to us, eventually putting on a sweatshirt because I always get really cold and shiver after a marathon.

I reached my goal and I can say at this point in time that I do not plan on running any more marathons. But, who knows. I guess I shouldn't write it out completely, but as of tonight, no more! I didn't take as many pictures as I did last year, but I've posted what I have. Sorry if none of this makes sense. I'm exhausted!

Here's my actual pace:
Mile 1: 13:20
Mile 2: 12:55
Mile 3: 13:06
Mile 4: 12:51
Mile 5: 14:00
Mile 6: 13:35
Mile 7: 12:52
Mile 8: 12:37
Mile 9: 12:39
Mile 10: 12:48
Mile 11: 12:19
Mile 12: 12:55
Mile 13: 13:12
Mile 14: 13:34
Mile 15: 13:30
Mile 16: 13:21
Mile 17: 13:44
Mile 18: 13:48
Mile 19: 13:53
Mile 20: 13:59
Mile 21: 14:05
Mile 22: 14:10
Mile 23: 13:43
Mile 24: 13:44
Mile 25: 13:33
Mile 26: 12:48
Mile 0.48: 5:48

Pre Race photo

Start line




Seeing my family

"I'm gonna make it!"

Marathon distance finishing time

LA Marathon finishing time

My finish photo
Rachel's finish photo

Finishers medals


  1. You are SUCH a badass! You are so amazing for achieving your goal, I am so incredibly impressed.

    1. Thank you Taylor! I definitely feel like a badass!!