I wanted to write this recap last week before I moved, however, I ended up sick in bed for a few days, then had to finish packing before the big move this past weekend. A little late but here goes…
On Friday I flew over to SD to meet up with Sean so we could drive up to LA together. We started the morning with a quick run around the neighborhood, then packed up and headed up. It’s a pretty quick drive up to LA. First thing on our agenda upon arriving to the city, was to hit up the expo and then get lunch.
Since this was Sean’s 4th time running this race, he knew exactly where to go for the expo, which was at the Convention Center near the Staples Center. We walked inside the expo where there was a big Welcome Runners banner, got our bibs, then went to the next area for our race shirts and bag of goodies. There was no line for either of us at either station, it was around noon when we arrived.
After that we tried to get out of the Asics store, it was ridiculous how crazy it was – lines pretty throughout most of the entire section. All we wanted to do was get out lol. Once we finally got out the first thing I saw was the Asics Pace Your Race pace bracelet station. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to run the pace I selected because of the heat, but I thought I’d at least get the bracelet for a souvenir. I had signed up for it online so the line for pre-registered runners was pretty short.
Next we just went thru the expo checking things out. It wasn’t an overly large expo, but had all the main players.
We found our names on the mural. How cool is it that both outlet names were in the same section? We were walking thru near the stage area and I just happened to look over to my right and who did I see? The amazing, inspiring oh so cool Deena Kastor! I was so excited and I asked Sean if he would wait with me so we could get a photo, which of course he would. When we were in Chicago he had mentioned how he gets chills every time he thinks about her running the Chicago Marathon, which was featured in the original Spirit of the Marathon.
We said hi & chatted with Deena for a few minutes before leaving for lunch. She is going to be racing at the Carlsbad 5000 this coming weekend so we might be heading out to spectate :). On our way out of the expo, we ran into our friends Rhea & Kenny who were coming in. We told them about meeting Deena, wished them luck and said we’d see them the next day.
We hit up Yardhouse for lunch, it was close and it wasn’t too busy. I had a grilled chicken sandwich on a wheat bun and sweet potato fries & Sean had a salad & regular fries. After that and lots of water, we headed a bit further into the city to find our hotel.
We stayed at one of the hotels that the marathon recommended in the downtown area, The Millennium Biltmore. It’s a nice older hotel with a lot of history. They held the Academy Awards there a few times back in the 1930s. While staying by the beach would have been nice, it was more expensive and a lot farther from the start line. We didn’t want to have to get up super early 😉 and there were shuttles only a few blocks from the hotel.
We got settled in and then headed out for dinner. We were going to try Bottega Louie, a cute little Italian place not far from the hotel. We got there just before 6pm and it was already packed. We were planning to carb up and for once I have to say my eyes were definitely bigger than my stomach. We ended up with a huge piece of lasagna & a margarita pizza, which was disappointing, but we also had our first Chocolate Souffle which was amazing. We were stuffed by the time we got back to the hotel. I got my gear ready, took my Flat Jenny photo and posted on Instagram and then I totally passed out super early. They were calling for extremely warm temps for the race, so the LAM race officials had made a few changes to accommodate the heat.
1) They moved the race up 30 minutes to start at 6:55a
2) They added additional water & Gatorade to the aid stations to make sure everyone stayed hydrated
3) They removed the timing clocks from the course so that it allowed runners to just enjoy the race and not go too hard.
With the race start time changing to 6:55am, we were close enough that we didn’t have to get up too too early. I think I set my alarm for 4:30a and we were up and out the door by 5:15a. We made it to the shuttles pretty quickly and managed to get in front of a huge group of kids that were part of the Students Run LA group to get on a shuttle. The shuttles would take us over to Dodger Stadium.
We made it to the Stadium, hit up the port-a-potties and then headed over to meet up with a few of our friends running the race too by the gear check. We got in line to go a second time but the lines were really long and we didn’t want to miss getting into our corrals so at 6:25a, we called it and headed into the corrals just to be safe. I don’t know how strict they were this year, but apparently in years past they were really strict.
While I was in my corral, I ate a vanilla honey stinger, I had eaten some oatmeal before we left the hotel so this was just a little snack before the start. It was already getting warm out by this point, I even saw a guy go down while we were waiting in the corral, if it was from the heat or nervousness, I’m not sure, but it was a little scary to see.
They started the Elite women about 15 minutes before the Elite men and the rest of us. It didn’t take that long until we were running thru the start line and out of the stadium.
I forgot to charge my Garmin so I didn’t have any way to keep track of my time outside of my Nike+ but it was on my phone, which isn’t as easy to check. That was OK with me because I hadn’t been training with it recently and considering my training this cycle it was just better for me to not worry about time.
I was already warm around mile 2 so I just chugged along until about mile 4 when there was a bit of a hill. I ended up walking up the upper half of the hill because of some minor chest pains that were a precursor to the cold/respiratory issue I ended up with after the race.
I stopped at every aid station after mile 4, filled up my bottle with more Gatorade and dumped water over my head. I ran thru every sprinkler and kept myself as cool as I possibly could. You would think that being from Phoenix, the heat wouldn’t matter, but we hadn’t had temps into the 90s yet at this time so I definitely wasn’t ready for it.
I was doing really well considering for the first 19 miles when the 4:30 pace group passed me. By this point the sun was really out and I just wanted to finish without getting dehydrated or feeling bad so I just keep doing the run/walk thing – what interval I was using, I’m not quite sure but it was working for me.
Miles 20 – 24 were somewhat shaded, it was on a nice residential street lined with spectators and charity tents. It seemed like everyone was handing out water, orange slices, pretzels and other things. Everyone was super nice and kept cheering us all on.
One of the nice things about this race was that you could see a lot of the mile markers as we ran. There was an aid station every mile after mile 2 and so having both those things helped the course go by quickly. There were a few Clif Gel stations, I think 2 that I can remember.
The last 1.5 miles were probably some of the toughest mentally for me, you could see the finish line, but it was obviously still a distance away, and it was super sunny by this point. Since I didn’t have my watch, I didn’t know exactly where I was at so I didn’t want to push it and start the kick too early so I ended up just cruising in to the finish.
They did have a clock at the finish line and it was showing 4:41 which wasn’t too far off from my current PR so I was happy.
They haven’t finalized the results yet, they are still showing as “unofficial” but my time listed was 4:39:22 – less than 4 minutes off my PR which considering the heat and the my not so stellar training I was thrilled.
Split times were decent considering:
5k – 29:02
10k – 1:00
15k – 1:31:23
20k – 2:04:16
25k – 2:37:14
30k – 3:12:41
35k – 3:51:16
40k – 4:26:19
Sean met me at the finish line so we were able to get some finish line photos together. We went thru the finish line area, got our medals, got some water and snacks before heading to a runner area so I could stretch my hips, they were so so tight. After which we tried to find our friends, Rhea & Kenny, but they weren’t responding so we headed out of the finish area and made our way to the Santa Monica Pier to get some post race burgers & fries. We would later get our celebratory dessert and a nice salad from Tender Greens to finish off race day :). My thoughts:
– Well organized race
– They were really good at communicating with us regarding their plan to deal with the heat
– Lots of spectators – lots of people handing out water, oranges, pretzels, bananas and Twizzlers. I even saw a couple grilling hot dogs and then another with beer shots. Everyone was really nice.
– Great medals
– Overall good course with lots of aid stations
I enjoyed this race and I’m really glad that I was able to run the race without much pain, I didn’t have any issues with cramping or hydration. I think that not being so concerned with time was a good thing for me, I actually enjoyed the race for the most part.
We’ll be back to run this one again :).