Here it is finally, my race recap from the ASICS LA marathon. I can’t believe it was over a week ago, and I still honestly can’t believe I ran a marathon after having a baby five months prior. I was definitely undertrained with a 16 miler as my longest run (not advisable by the way), but I still am so happy I did it and so proud of myself!
Crystal and I woke up at 3:15. We got about four hours of sleep so I like to say we took a long nap.
We jumped up, got dressed and packed to head down to the shuttle.
But not before a quick picture of course!
I met up with the other TeamASICSLAM members in the lobby, and the girls took a picture before we got on the bus.
Megan from Self Magazine, Kelly from According to Kelly, Leta from Pop Sugar Fitness, and Jessie from Women’s Running Magazine.
We arrived at Dodger stadium and made our way to the VIP area where we had food, a private gear check, and real bathrooms (the best part!) I had already eaten in the room so I just grabbed a bottle of water.
We had a great view of the field which was really neat.
We hung out, stretched, and I checked my bag before we headed out to the start line which was just outside. The corrals were a bit confusing, so Crystal and I just tried to squeeze in wherever we could find space. It was jam packed!
The sun began to rise, and after a few minutes the elite women were off, followed by the elite men and the seeded corrals.
Then it was just a giant free for all, everyone else going at once. It was VERY crowded in the beginning because of this, but it ended up evening out as the race went on, but we had to walk the first couple of tenths because we just couldn’t move.
The first few miles were pretty uneventful. I asked Crystal where we were about a million times and we just kept on going. We decided to do a 2:1 run/walk interval that way we wouldn’t end up pushing too hard the first half with nothing left to give in the second. I did a few of my training runs this way and it really worked well for me. I push hard on the run portions knowing I get a walk break. Crystal had an interval timer on her garmin so she would let us know when it was time to run or walk.
Also, I was video recording my experience for ASICS, so I was carrying my phone in one hand and the camera in the other so I could record easily. The walk breaks made it much easier for me to talk into the camera and record my surroundings.
We made it to Chinatown!
The sun was coming up but it wasn’t in our eyes yet so I had no need for sunglasses. It was already getting very warm but luckily wasn’t humid.
Crystal is used to running on hills and I am not, so I would lag behind on the small hills then catch up with her at the walk breaks.
I knew there was a big hill somewhere around mile five, and boy were they not joking! This thing was a beast to climb. I know it doesn’t look that steep, but it went on forever.
This is a good shot to show you all the people running:
I tired to take pictures when I could, but it was hard switching back and forth between my camera and the video camera.
There were a bunch of rolling hills that really slowed me down, but none as big as the one at mile 5.
We made it to the 10k marker and we were tracking ourselves, so we saw our estimated time was 5:23. I was impressed. I knew that would change in the later miles, but since my PR was 5:56, I was thinking I could make it. Crystal’s PR was a couple minutes faster than mine, so we were a good match to run together. We made it around a corner and I could see the hollywood sign off in the distance. It kept hiding behind buildings but finally I got a shot of it!
Crystal kept telling me certain things were famous landmarks so I took pictures of them but didn’t know what most of them were haha.
The sun was out but there was a sheer layer of clouds covering it so it didn’t seem so hot…yet
We passed more landmarks (I was told this one was where the Disney movie premieres were held so of course I needed a picture)
We were feeling good, and having someone to chat with made the miles go a lot faster.
I was getting a slight twinge in my IT band so I decided to be proactive and take some tylenol at a med tent. My hip felt surprisingly fine, so off we went. We hit the first of two CLIF stations and I grabbed some fuel. I had taken two so far and so I held off on taking another and saved it for later.
I couldn’t believe it, we made it halfway! On one hand it was great knowing we had conquered half the race, but it was also very daunting knowing we still had ANOTHER 13.1 miles to run!
Off we went, through Hollywood and into Beverly Hills.
We were still feeling good, and I was still taking a cup of gatorade and a cup of water at every stop, which was every mile. It was about this time I started taking fuel from spectators. Yall, the spectators were AMAZING. They had SO much food! I grabbed some pretzels and the salt tasted so good to me. That’s when I knew I needed to eat more solid food so I grabbed half a banana from someone else.
It was a beautiful place to run with very few hills so I was happy.
Next we turned onto Rodeo drive. I ooed and aahheed over all the stores I would never be able to afford to even walk into. Then I saw one of my favorite race signs:
So fun! I love Pretty Woman.
Ok I’ll stop now.
We made a turn, and the 5:30 pace team passed us. I was ok with that, and we were still on track for a big PR! However, I realized our pace was naturally slowing a bit, so I took a popsicle and an orange slice from someone, as well as some coconut water. I was getting tired of the syrupy taste of my fuel so real food was amazing.
We were on mile 19, and all of the sudden the clouds parted and the sun was out in FULL FORCE. I was actually feeling pretty good and ready to pick the pace back up for a bit.
Let’s backtrack for a minute. At the beginning of the race, Crystal and I agreed if one of us wanted to leave the other, no hard feelings. As I was saying this, I was saying it for HER benefit because I was so undertrained I assumed she would be the one leaving me in the dust! Poor girl, about this time I realized she had slowed a good bit and she said she had a bad headache. I was feeling good but also ready to get out of the sun, so after a few minutes of deliberating, I asked her if it would be ok if I went on ahead. I was getting hotter by the minute and the bottoms of my feet were hurting and I was ready to be done at that point. She told me to go, but I asked her at least a dozen times if she was sure. I told her I still thought she could PR, and that if she got sick or needed me she MUST call me an di would come back and get her. She promised, so off I went.
I didn’t have the interval timer set on my Garmin, so I just decided to play it by ear. I ran for about four or five minutes, passed mile 20, and realized, oh my goodness, the sun was zapping all my energy and there was NO SHADE. I made it to the VA hospital area, and realized all of the sudden I couldn’t run anymore. I looked around me and realized 90% of the people were walking. it was like a death march. I was lightheaded and seriously concerned about my ability to finish the race. I still had 6 miles to go, and I sent out a text to my husband that simply said “pray”. It was all I could manage to type. I have never felt this bad and depleted during a race before and it scared me. I knew my chance of a PR was gone, and I assumed I would be walking six miles which made me want to cry.
I made it where we were running under an overpass, and son many people were just stopping there in the shade, and sitting down to rest. I have never seen anything like this at a race. To give you an idea of how dehydrated I was, I went to the bathroom at Dodger stadium before the race. I drank a cup of water and Gatorade at every stop (every mile) plus water, popsicles, ice, and oranges from spectators all on the course. I didn’t have to pee until TWO HOURS after the race, even with all the fluids I was dumping into my body. It was nuts, yall. I may or may not have had a little breakdown somewhere around this time, and there may or may not have been some tears shed.
An amazing person on the side of the road had these tubes of salt, and I immediately took one. I have never taken straight salt during a race before, but I figured my body could really use it. She showed me how to flip the top, lick my thumb, and get the salt on it, and I was so delirious I was holding it backwards and couldn’t get the tube open! I finally figured it out and downed half the tube. It was disgusting but I was willing to do anything at that point. I kept walking, running when I could, but it didn’t last long. There were wonderful spectators that had misting bottles, hoses, and bags of ice. Normally I would think it was gross to stick my hand in a bucket of ice then put it in my mouth, but at that point I. did. not. care. I also ate another orange and another popsicle. Starting at mile 20, I started dumping a cup of water on my head at every mile to cool off. I trudged along miles 20-22, and then finally, finally made it to a street with some shade.
Someone had opened up a fire hydrant which felt amazing. All of the sudden, I felt a little better. I had some energy, and felt like I could run again, so I did, and I just kept going. I looked at my pace and it was actually decent, I was shocked. I pretty much just kept my head down, and put one foot in front of the other. People were cheering for us all along this portion which was very encouraging. Soon I made made it to mile 23, then 24. I didn’t have much more to go! I kept saying to myself “you are stronger than you think” and “finish strong”. I also kept praying that God would give me strength to finish.
In case you hadn’t noticed, I took no photos during this portion. However, I did celebrate when I made it to mile 25! At mile 25 I also looked at my total time on my Garmin for the first time. I was at 5:30! I could still PR! This put a little pep in my step but I didn’t want to overdo it.
I knew soon I would be making a left hand turn onto Ocean Avenue, and while there would be no shade there, it would mean I was almost done! I made the turn and I could SEE the finish line way off in the distance. Some people started picking up the pace but I knew better. I have run races in the past where you “see’ the finish, kick it in, then realize you kicked too early and have nothing left for the last couple of tenths. I kept my slow and steady run, and kept my head down so I wouldn’t see the finish.
Finally, I was close enough to get excited and give everything I had. I wanted nothing more than to finish strong. I saw Rudy up to the right announcing the race. I gave him a quick wave and crossed that glorious finish line. I did it! not only did I do it, I PR’ed by over 13 minutes! 5:43:04 was my official time. Considering the heat and my lack of training I was pretty pleased with this.
I collected my medal and made my way to the VIP Bungalow, happy to not have to walk down the long finishers shoot. I’m not sure if I could at that point! I grabbed some champagne and lasagna, and sat down for the first time. it felt amazing.
I was completely covered in salt, but so happy to be out of the sun! Soon after I sat down, I got a text alert that Crystal had finished! She ended up with a 2 minute PR herself, I was so happy for us both! After I got some food I headed upstairs to meet Crystal and take a shower. That’s when I realized I made it through the whole race with ZERO hip pain! The only pain I had was the bottoms of my feet, and some chafing (oowww!!!)
Yes, those are people who just finished the race in the background, walking through the shoot. It was well over 1.5 hours after I crossed and they were still pouring in. I felt so bad for everyone still out in this heat!
But, that’s a story for another day and another post.
I had a wonderful ASICS LA marathon experience and am so fortunate to be asked to participate by ASICS. The race went so smoothly, I never noticed any major problems. There were plenty of volunteers, water stops, race personnel, and the like. The only thing I would change would be to have the start more spread out with time between waves of people, but other than that it was a blast! I hope to do this race in the future. Thanks so much ASICS!
QOTD: have you ever run a race you weren’t sure you could finish? Have you ever run a really hot race?
Disclosure: I was provided with flight, hotel, race entry, food, and gear for this race weekend by ASICS. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
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