The last couple of days I have reading some great race reports from this years LA Marathon, here are a few of the good ones. Toky Photography, The Running Fat Guy (check out the video) and Nina's Race Report. I will give you some of the highlights and lowlights from my first marathon experience.
The Expo: It was a pretty good expo, with lots of vendors selling product or handing out samples, although, I feel the Disney World Marathon expo was better. Bib pick up went smoothly, got my t-shirt (disappointing) and goodie bag (disappointing) and wandered around. I saw Sarah Reinertsen was sitting there signing copies of her book, "In a Single Bound", so I walked up started chatting with her and bought a book which she personalized for me. She is truly inspirational...if you don't know about her, she is the first above the knee amputee to complete an Ironman triathlon, which she did in 2005. If you get a chance to see the 2005 Ironman replay, she is featured quite a bit in it. I have not been able to put down this book, I am about half way through it and will review it here on the blog in the coming weeks.
Saturday I was invited to the Mt Gleason Runners (SRLA), end of year luncheon, where we ate a nice lunch, watched a great video recap of the year and awards were handed out. You could tell that these kids really enjoyed the program and Coach Moss. Thanks again for letting me be a part of that.
Race Day: I got up at 3am and headed to Santa Monica at 3:45am. Got parked right away and onto one of many waiting busses. I was at Dodger Stadium by 4:45am. The parking/shuttle situation concerned me the most, but I had no problems at all, although I heard that later busses were stuck in traffic. I wandered into the stadium and sat down and ate some breakfast. At 6:30am I decided ti hit the restrooms and head to the starting corral, much to my surprise...the bathrooms in the stadium were jammed with huge lines. Plan B - head out to the porta potty's in the parking lot. As I wandered out there I ran into Chris and we stood in line for about 30 minutes. While waiting, we noticed people going up the hill behind the porta potty's and going in the bushes...at one point it was both men and women using the bushes...quite a funny site.
I made my way to the corrals and was looking for the 5 hour pace group and they were about 100 feet ahead, but there was no way I was going to get up there. Just stayed where I was and the race started, took me about 10 minutes to cross the starting line. The first few miles, I was trying to find my pace and settle into it. From downtown (mile 3) to Hollywood (mile 8) was a constant incline and I think that zapped a lot out of me.
I also developed an issue about mile 5 with a shooting pain between #2 and #3 toes on my right foot. It felt as if I was being injected with a needle between the toes every step I took and that continued until the end.
Miles 9-15 were pretty uneventful but by mile 18, I was starting to cramp in my calves. I took a few salt tablets and some gatorade and walked for most of that mile. I ran/walked mile 19 until I saw my friend Derek walking towards me with a gatorade and we walked and filled my bottles until we met my running partner, Melissa, at mile 20. I felt some renewed energy seeing a friendly face in a crowd of strangers. Derek and Melissa ran the last 6 miles with me, they stayed out in front of me a bit and I was trying to keep up. It felt like we were running a 9:00/mile pace, but it was more like 11:00-11:30 pace. In my head I was calling them a few choice names, none of which I will repeat, but in the end, it meant finishing at 5:14:15 instead of 5:30:00 or later as I would have tried to walk much of the last 6 miles. After crosing the finishline, I took my picture and met them and walked down on the pier. It was so crowded that we turned around and headed back up the pier and decided to go elsewhere for lunch. We had a great celebratory lunch including my first beer in 2-1/2 months...tasted good!
Highlights: Meeting Sarah Reinertsen at the expo, parking/shuttle, the course, the volunteers, the spectators, seeing Melissa and Derek at mile 20 and having them run the last 6 miles with me, seeing several of the Mt Gleason Runners kids out on the course, finishing my first marathon, the LA Marathon.
Lowlights: Porta potty situation (need 2-3 times more), the course (mile 3 -8 were tough), the jackass that knocked my garmin off my wrist at mile 5 and I had to go back about 30 feet to find it and grab it with all these runners coming towards me!, went out a bit too fast, miles 18 and 19 were brutal, finish line area needs to be rethought, pier was too crowded, traffic on the 10 after race.
Derek , Me and Melissa
I have a new found respect for the city of Los Angeles and the people who live here. I will be back to run this race next year.
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