|Melissa, Chris, Bob|
|Bob, Candice, Melissa ready to race|
The race started about 15 minutes late, but once we got going, we got warmed up. We stuck with our 8/2 run walk interval from the beginning. At mile 2, we shed our warm up jackets, but kept our plastic ponchos on...something we were thankful for the rest of the day. This year the course wound it's way through Chinatown and Little Tokyo before heading up towards Silverlake and Hollywood. By mile 9, I was hungry, which was a strange feeling since I had breakfast at home, a PB&J sandwich at the stadium and a Gu at mile 6. I felt like I needed some solid food in me. We made it to mile 12 and the Mount Gleason Runners tent and picked up our Gatorade and Gu, but I was not feeling so great. Melissa's garmin ran out of juice about this time and her watch was timing the intervals, so we had to adapt using my garmin and mile markers to try and keep the 8/2 intervals going. We stopped at A Runners Circle tent at mile 15 for a quick chat, some much needed pretzels and a few pictures and then off we went. By this time, I was completely soaked, even with the poncho on and was starting to feel some discomfort in my left knee. I thought of popping one of the 800mg Ibuprofen I had with me, but thought with the stomach issues, that may not be such a great idea. I saw Glenn, actually he saw me on Rodeo Dr, got a high five and exchanged a few words and we continued on. We now came to the section of the course that I had trouble with last year...the section of Santa Monica through Century City. Melissa kept telling me we were going to break through the wall and kept cheering me and everyone else on. I actually saw a side of her I have never seen before. I couldn't figure out where all of the energy was coming from. At one point I asked her..."Are you sure those were Advil's you took?" She said yes and kept on high fiving everyone on both sides of the road. We made it past mile 20 and I felt relieved that we made it past that section of the course. We got into the VA hospital grounds and all of the sudden I had some cramping starting in my left Achilles. We stopped, stretched and walked a bit, it seemed to get better but when we stopped at the Start Training LA tent, I took on more gatorade, popped a salt tablet and had some more pretzels.
I felt a bit better and off we went to conquer the last 5 miles. It seemed that the weather was worse those last few miles with the wind really picking up as we got closer to the coast. We passed so many people, some SRLA kids, that were wearing just a tank top and shorts and walking like zombies, most likely suffering from the onset of hypothermia. We made it onto Ocean ave and the finished seemed so far away. We pressed on and finished strong...or at least as strong as I could. We crossed the line with a finish time of 5:05:15. That was a 9 min PR for me over last year's race, although it fell short of our original time goal of 4:30-4:45. Given the conditions, I am very pleased.
We got our medal, mylar wrap and some food and headed for the exit. There was a jam up at the exit and we couldn't figure out why, but then we could see the problem. People that were waiting for their loved ones were crowding the exit of the finish chute and essentially, it became a single file line to get out. After about 100 feet, I grabbed Melissa and we busted through about 4 people and made it to the sidewalk and continued our journey to the car. Note: LA Marathon, you need to get that exit figured out, rain had nothing to do with it, barriers, fences would have helped. The rain and wind continued and as we walked to the car, it came down even harder. We skipped the finish line festival because it was too cold and we wanted to get into some dry clothes. We made it to the car (almost 1.25 miles from finish) and changed into dry clothes. Once we got warm, we headed out to The Griddle Cafe for brunch. They had a huge wait (45-60 min), but since we walked in wearing our medals and told the guy we just finished 26.2 miles, he sat us right a way...which was very much appreciated. We got several congratulations from some of the patrons in the restaurant, which was kind of nice.
There are so many people that I would like to thank for their support and love through out my training but here are a few that have made a huge impact. My wife, who has stood by me every time I tell her I want to do another race and puts up with my crazy training schedule. Craig Moss, for allowing me to come and run with the Mt Gleason Runners every Saturday and your advice/coaching/friendship. Melissa, my running partner, who pushed me to a new PR...I couldn't have done it without you. Thank you to all of the volunteers and those of you that braved the weather to come out and support us!
I am taking a couple of weeks off of training and April 1, I will start my Vineman 70.3 training plan.