ASICS LA Marathon Video

Hey guys, I made it back home! Do you remember back when I ran the LA marathon with ASICS that I mentioned I would be recording the race as I ran? Well, I got the finished product back the other day and wanted to share it with you. It’s crazy to see over three hours of footage condensed down into less than three minutes, but I love it!

ASICS LA marathon video:

QOTD: Have you ever recorded yourself while you run? 

The Finish Line You Won’t Hear About

I had such an amazing time in California for the ASICS LA Marathon. When I think back over the whole weekend, I had the privilege of doing some pretty cool stuff. However, my absolute favorite part of the weekend is a part that you won’t heat about from your friends, or see in the newspaper. It’s not a glamorous part full of finishers photos and tons of spectators, but wow was it amazing. What I witnessed was so inspiring in so many ways, but probably not in the way you would think. The elite runners are awesome, don’t get me wrong, and many have wonderful stories of overcoming obstacles to get where they are. This is so similar in so many ways, yet very different. If you ever read one of my posts all the way through, I really hope you will read this one.

I mentioned in yesterday’s post that after my nap I found out through a friend that people were still finishing the race. After my walk down to the pier, I went back to the “finish line” to see what was going on for myself. What I found was nothing short of inspiring. Right where the finish line WAS (it had long since been taken down, the LA marathon kept it up for a really long time but understandably had to tear down at some point) there stood a few volunteers holding medals over on the sidewalk. Right past them you could see a table with some water on it manned by another volunteer. I stood back a ways for a couple of minutes to see exactly what was going on, and it didn’t take long for me to find out.

I suddenly heard clapping and cheers coming from one or two lone spectators, and also from the three volunteers handing out medals. I watched as off in the distance, on the sidewalk, a man wearing a race bib came limping along towards the makeshift finish line on the sidewalk. As he got to the volunteers, he fell into one of their arms and began to cry. They put a medal around his neck, were all patting him on the back, and walked him over to the water table, congratulating him. I watched in awe as every 3-4 minutes, another athlete came “down the shoot” and the same thing played out with the volunteers. This is not the first time I have gone back to the end of a race after I was done to cheer on the remaining few, but this was by far my favorite time.

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One of the finishers coming through on the sidewalk

Tears filled my eyes as I watched each person come struggling through to the finish. Some in pairs, some being held up by someone else, and an amazing older gentleman who walked the whole race with his walker. He was a legacy runner! I couldn’t help myself. I jumped onto the sidewalk and began clapping, cheering, screaming, and jumping up and down as each person came by me. They showed such perseverance, and such pride. Not a single one was mad that they didn’t get to go through the official finish line, they were just grateful t hat someone, anyone, was there to share in their joy.

There were tons of people walking around and past us on the sidewalk, just walking their dog or taking a stroll with a loved one. Some moved over to the grass, watching what was happening, others going about their day oblivious to what they were witnessing.

I chatted with the volunteers in between finishers, and they were so amazing. They were adamant that every finisher get the medal that they deserved. By this time, people had been on the course for around ELEVEN HOURS, and these volunteers had been out there all day. They could have so easily said that their shift was over when the finish line came down and the computers were turned off, but they stayed, as did the amazing bike volunteers. They would periodically come back and tell us how many people were left on the course. They too had been volunteering all day.

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Since they had not been out on the course, I was explaining to the volunteers just how hot and miserable it was, and how the spectators got me through my race. I told them how these last few finishers didn’t have that luxury, and were basically on their own. I also told them how wonderful I thought it was that they were still here, and they humbly waved me off saying it was just the right thing to do.

I stayed for about 45 minutes cheering, crying, and smiling with the others. At one point, a woman came in, followed a few minutes later by another woman. I’m not sure if they knew each other before the race or met on the course, but they hugged in a tear filled embrace as one told the other “we did it, we did it. If we can do this, then we can do ANYTHING!” That my friends is when I lost it. I wanted so badly to run up and hug them as well, and tell them yes, YES you can my sisters! I refrained though, and just nodded my head vigorously at that powerful statement.

I watched another man come through with a friend of his I assume, and one was helping the other to stand. He literally was about to collapse, but never gave up. I saw families reunited, pictures taken, and so much grit and determination in those 45 minutes that afternoon. The volunteers were inspiring because of their loving spirits and giving attitudes. The athletes were inspiring because of their perseverance and strength. at that moment, everything I had went through that morning just didn’t matter. Yes I had struggled, I had overcome obstacles to get to the starting line, but in this moment my race troubles felt so insignificant compared to the what I was surrounded by.

I sadly had to leave sooner than I wanted to get to dinner with the ASICS crew, but I will never forget what I saw that day. The strength and determination in those final finishers, and the love and encouragement of the volunteers will not soon fade from my memory. You won’t see finishing times for those athletes. They will never have an official record of their accomplishment, but I can promise you they were there. With huge smiles, tear stained faces, and weary bodies they came…and I have never been so inspired.

QOTD: Have you ever spectated at a race? Have you ever been inspired by a finisher?

ASICS LA Marathon: After the Race

I have posted abut everything I did before the race with ASICS, and about the race itself, but I also wanted to share with you about my last afternoon/night in Santa Monica before flying home.  After Crystal left and I showered, I wanted nothing more than to hop into bed and take a long well deserved nap. I took a peek out my window to see people were still finishing! I felt so bad for them out in the heat.

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Exhaustion overcame me, and I fell into my bed…only to realize the music from the finish line was quite loud and I could not sleep! I my have dozed off for a couple of minutes, but between the music and my aching legs being very jumpy, a nice long nap was just not happening for me. After tossing and turning for over an hour, I decided to just get up. I really wanted to walk down to the Santa Monica pier because well, I had no idea if/when I would ever be back and didn’t want to miss my chance.

I texted Nathan who said he was outside watching people finish. What?!? There were still people coming in! They had moved them over to the sidewalk, but sure enough they were there. I watched with him for a minute and he walked with me part of the way to the pier. This is when I realized even though it was 4:30 or so that it was still VERY hot outside and I began to sweat and have flashbacks from the race. I made it down to the beach and walked along the boardwalk area towards the pier.

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It’s so interesting to me to see different beaches. This one is very different from the ones I grew up going to in Destin, Florida. We have sugar white sands and crystal clear water, and the beach is full of high rises right on the water. Here, the hotels were on the other side of the street and there were a few homes right near the water like the ones in the above photo.

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I finally made it to the pier and realized it was a much further walk than it looked, and then realized I still had to walk all the way back! It was really crowded, so I just walked around and took some pictures.

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The sun was really beating down, but there was no shade. I went over to the side for a couple of quick photos before deciding I needed to walk back and get in the shade. Holy cow were there a lot of people on the beach!

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it was so bright it was hard to take a selfie, heh.

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Close up shot of all. the. people.

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What I found the most comical was that no one seemed to have any idea that there was even a race that day. I got some strange looks from people, and had two people ask if my medal was from the race this morning. I think I am runDisney brainwashed because I am so used to every third person telling me congratulations while I am in the parks wearing my medal. Even though I passed hundreds of folks walking around the pier, I got one “congrats” from a stranger. It’s so funny that I am so used to that, that I forget not everyone knows or cares about races going on.

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it was really hard to get the above shot, because it was so bright I couldn’t see a thing on my phone screen, so I had no idea if the medal was even in the shot! I again got some weird looks, and was very careful not to drop my medal into the water. I began to really sweat and knew I had a long way back, so off I went. This time, I walked up to the shaded sidewalk instead of walking along the boardwalk down closer to the water.

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I walked all the way back down to the finish line, it was a beautiful walk, and there were still people coming in. I will save the rest of that story for a post all it’s own, though. I headed back inside and had time to run upstairs and grab a couple of things before meeting in the lobby for dinner. We walked down Ocean Avenue to BOA Steakhouse. We had a nice long table outside overlooking the water, and they had a special menu made up for us.

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The coolest part of it, was Deena and Andrew Kastor sat down right across from me! It was so awesome getting to chat with them over dinner! I also got to chat with Leta some more from Pop Sugar fitness. She’s super sweet!

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Coach Kastor gave us a final congratulatory speech, and challenged us to go out and inspire someone to run. He did a great job!

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The food was amazing, and then we all got our own desserts. Heaven.

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As if that weren’t enough, they came out with flaming cotton candy! Us runners know how to eat.

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Sadly it was time for us to walk back to the hotel. We hugged everyone and said or final goodbyes before hitting the hay for the night. My car was coming to get me at 6:00 in the morning, so I attempted to go to sleep at a decent time.

My flight left at 8:00 the next morning, a straight shot to New Orleans, and then I drove home to Mississippi, completing my day of travel at close to 8:00 that night. It was amazing to sleep in my own bed, I just with the baby got the memo when she woke up at 6:30 that my body thought it was 4:30. Smile

So that’s my recap, I just have one more special post to write, but this concludes my amazing trip. I was so spoiled by ASICS, they are an amazing and fun company and it was an honor to work with them over the past few months. I hope you have the bug to run the LA marathon for yourself now. Even though the full isn’t my favorite distance, I truly loved the course, the people, and the organization of this race. Go HERE to sign up now!

QOTD: What do you usually eat after a heard race?

ASICS LA Marathon Weekend: Race Recap

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.

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We jumped up, got dressed and packed to head down to the shuttle.

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But not before a quick picture of course!

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I met up with the other TeamASICSLAM members in the lobby, and the girls took a picture before we got on the bus.

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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.

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We had a great view of the field which was really neat.

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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!

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The sun began to rise, and after a few minutes the elite women were off, followed by the elite men and the seeded corrals.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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This is a good shot to show you all the people running:

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I tired to take pictures when I could, but it was hard switching back and forth between my camera and the video camera.

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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!

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ooookkkk….

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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.

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The sun was out but there was a sheer layer of clouds covering it so it didn’t seem so hot…yet

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We passed more landmarks (I was told this one was where the Disney movie premieres were held so of course I needed a picture)

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We were feeling good, and having someone to chat with made the miles go a lot faster.

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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.

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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!

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Off we went, through Hollywood and into Beverly Hills.

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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.

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It was a beautiful place to run with very few hills so I was happy. Smile

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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:

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So fun! I love Pretty Woman.

oohhhhh

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aahhhhh

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oohhhh

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aahhh

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Ok I’ll stop now.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!!!)

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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!

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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.

**In case you missed my poll from yesterday, I would love for you to answer ONE quick question for me!

 

ASICS LA Marathon Weekend: Relaxing Afternoon

Saturday after the shake out run and brunch, we had boxed lunches in the hospitality suite, and some amazing folks from ALTUS were there to stretch us out and work out any kinks we had before race day. I was really excited about this because I was worried about how my hip and knee were going to hold up. I explained everything and he did some active release therapy on me and some stretching as well and while it was pretty painful at times, it ended up helping SO much, they are miracle workers! While I was eating my lunch, I noticed ASICS turned a quote I had given them into a cool photo and posted it on Twitter. Love it!

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After lunch I decided to go down to the pool and relax in the shade. The only problem was I couldn’t find an empty chair! I ended up chatting with a guy who was also running the marathon and when the two ladies next to him got up to leave he came and got me and helped me carry my stuff over so I could have the extra chairs. Super nice of him!

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We ended up chatting about running and the race while I waited for my buddy Linzie to arrive to hang out with me. See, I promise I stayed in the shade and chugged water the whole time!

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I hadn’t seen Linzie in awhile so it was great to do some catching up while I was in town.

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Time flew by and soon he had to go. I needed to go get ready for dinner anyway so we said our goodbyes and I got ready for dinner in Venice with the rest of the #TeamASICSLAM crew. We ended up walking part of the way to the restaurant because the traffic was so bad so we jumped out of the bus to make our reservations!

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Dinner was delicious (pasta, chicken, etc.) but I was so exhausted and ready to get back and get to bed. My friend Crystal who was running the race was on her way to the hotel to spend the night with me and I couldn’t wait to see her either! We ended up staying up too late chatting, and 3:15 came all too quickly. Time to get up, it was LA marathon day!

QOTD: What do you eat the night before a race?

ASICS LA Marathon Weekend: Shake Out Run and Brunch with the Elites

So as if the ASICS LA Marathon VIP party wasn’t enough epic-ness, the next morning we got to have even more fun. Good morning Santa Monica!

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I have gotten a lot of nice comments on Instagram about the below photo. This makes me laugh because what it does NOT show is that I was exhausted after four hours of sleep, severely dehydrated, had a serious headache, and well, the sun was blinding me. But hey, it’s for the sake of Instagram, right?

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I chugged coffee and met my crew in the lobby where we headed over to where we would be having brunch for some instructions and schedule chat.

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Coach Kastor explained that we would be running down towards the finish line to where our final turn onto Ocean Avenue was, then running back and having brunch. It was about 2.5 miles total.

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Yup, that’s Deena Kastor in front of me in the pink. I totally kept up with her the whole time. Kidding.

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I did however end up running with Alysia Montano, She’s freaking awesome yall, and not to mention HILARIOUS. I could just listen to her talk and tell jokes all day. She has a 7 month old so we mostly chatted babies which was fun!

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We made it to where our turn was and stopped to listen to coach Kastor for a minute who was telling us how far we would have to the finish at this point, etc. It was crazy I would be making that final turn the next day at the end of my marathon!

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We made our way back to the hotel and I snapped a shot of the pier before we headed in for brunch.

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Our brunch location is part of the hotel, but it’s right on Ocean Avenue and kind of open, it’s hard to explain. it had a cool bohemian vibe and since the weather was so nice it made it even better! They had a beautiful spread of food waiting for us, and we were told to eat….so I was first in line. Don’t judge, my body thought it was two hours later than it really was.

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I made my way outside to a set of sofas and began to chow down. I felt kind of like I was in high school and didn’t know what table I belonged at, so I sat alone and just hoped someone would come sit by me. WELL, in a few minutes I would feel like a super cool kid because some awesome ladies one by one came over and sat by me. I felt like I was dreaming. First Deena Kastor and Alysia joined me. We all started chatting about random things, just moms talking about our kids. Then Queen Harrison joined us. Then about midway through the meal, Sara Hall walks in and sits down RIGHT NEXT TO ME. NBD. I suddenly couldn’t even eat. I was afraid to say something stupid. I really DID feel like I was in an awkward high school situation, it was hilarious and surreal at the same time.

Soon, coach Kastor stood up to give some final words of advice on our race the next day. We were going to be experiencing record high heat, so he had a lot to say about hydrating and taking it easy. Sadly I don’t remember all of it, I was too busy geeking out and secretly taking and posting pictures of my “new friends.”

Alysia and Queen (and Andrew Kastor)

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Sara and Deena and you can see Shadrack Biwott (he has run a 2:12 marathon and a 1:01:24 half!)

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All of the elite athletes went around and shared one piece of advice for everyone running which I thought was really fun. I recorded some of what Ryan Hall said, but not all because I was running out of camera space (foreshadowing….) He is so chill and laid back when he talks, he cracks me up.

After the talk was over, I had one mission, and that was to meet Ryan Hall. I have always looked up to him for his work ethic, attitude, and for being an outspoken Christian who stands behind his faith. I had rehearsed what I wanted to say to him, but of course my mind went blank when I introduced myself. I told him I really admired him for his faith and beliefs AND THEN I STARTED CRYING. How embarrassing. I’m just so thankful to have good Christian athletes to look up to, that it just came out. Ug. I die. Anyway, I pulled myself together and told him I had a baby five months ago and this was my first race back. He told me I looked great for recently giving birth, so now he is my new favorite person. So I didn’t want to take up his time and asked if we could take a selfie, I went to take the picture, AND MY MEMORY WAS FULL!!!! You have GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! Of ALL times! I panicked and started flipping out (on the inside) and random started deleting apps. I think I deleted Twitter and WordPress, I just didn’t care, I NEEDED space! I FINALLY got it to work and got my picture. Whew. Crisis averted. But OMG what luck.

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It was a great run and brunch, and I can’t believe I got to hang out with so many amazing people. My greatest takeaway is that these are folks just like you and me (except they are really freaking fast!) Other than the tips they all gave at the end, we didn’t even really talk about running at all! I had such a fun time, a huge thank you to ASICS and their athletes for coming out to run and hang out with us the day before such a big race!

QOTD: Do you do a shake out run before a big race?

ASICS LA Marathon Weekend: VIP Party Like a Rockstar

After we had happy hour at the hotel, it was time to board the shuttles and head to the VIP party. I was super excited about it, because I have never attending anything like it before. It was being held at the Devoe House, which is Marilyn Monroe’s old house! It took a good while to get there, but we made it to through Beverly Hills and then went up, up, up! We could see the house all lit up on the side of the hill before we made it up the drive. Of course ASICS had decked it out in the coolest running stuff!

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The pictures don’t do it justice, but check out the view!

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We headed inside and I was the dork taking pictures of everything. Since I only knew a handful of people there, it was a bit odd not having a bunch of people to talk with.

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Shoe chandelier above the bar? Amazing!

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I headed upstairs to go to the bathroom, and I thought an “oh my gosh I am at a party in Marilyn Monroe’s house” selfie was appropriate. Not sure why the tub was full of water? They unfortunately had most of the house blocked off and we just had access to the rooms across the back and the back patio. They also had the pool covered which was probably a wise decision!

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I made it back downstairs, grabbed a drink, and of course took more pictures.

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Food was also being passed around, but word on the street was if you didn’t hang out near the kitchen you wouldn’t get any. I was too excited to eat anyway so I didn’t care!

There was another bar outside, and a DJ up on the second floor balcony.

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Soon it was time to light up the night. For the special 30th anniversary of the race, there would be lights going up at each mile marker of the course, one by one. How cool is that?!?! We got to see the actual ceremony at the house as it happened which was very cool.

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This was taken during the lighting ceremony. You can see Andrew and Deena Kastor on the left, they got to help turn the lights on.

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It’s kind of hard to see, but can you see some of the lights shooting straight up into the sky? I’m sure it was easier to see looking up towards the hills as opposed to looking down into the city. If you check on ASICS and LA marathon on Instagram, they both posted some pretty spectacular shots! All I have to say is…seeing the lights from left to right, made 26.2 miles seem REALLY far!

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It was such a cool idea and a fun way to kick off the race weekend and I am so glad I got to see it from up in the Hollywood hills! I chatted with some folks for awhile then headed back inside. My body thought it was 11:30 even though it was 9:30, and I was told I could go back on a shuttle at 10:00 to the hotel. I was sure to grab my super generous gifts from ASICS, )a pair of the official ALAM running shoes, some socks, and a very soft blanket) before leaving.

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How cool that ASICS was stamped into this concrete on the counter? (That would be a watermelon margarita by the way!)

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I grabbed some donut bites covered in chocolate, powdered sugar and toffee bits (oh yes) before heading out to the shuttle.

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I hated to leave on the early shuttle but I was so. darn. tired. From flying and the time difference, and I knew I had a busy weekend that I needed rest for.

I am so grateful that I got to be a part of such a fun night that I will never forget. ASICS is so generous and this party was no exception. It was fun to see how some people get to party in LA, and it was definitely an experience to remember!

QOTD: Have you ever been to a cool party like this one?

ASICS LA Marathon Weekend: Arriving in LA

WOW what a whirlwind weekend! I was looking forward to it for so long, and now I feel like I blinked and it’s over! I can’t wait to share with you some of the amazing experience I had all courtesy of the amazing folks at Asics. They truly went above and beyond to make our stay special. I want to back track and start from the beginning, Friday morning!

I headed to the New Orleans airport early because it was foggy and pouring rain. I parked and made it in quicker than I thought so I had a long time to wait. A lot of folks have asked why I fly out of NOLA as opposed to Jackson…3 reasons: 1.) No direct flights from Jackson. 2.) No southwest in Jackson so flights are more money. 3.) When I fly from NOLA I get to spend time with my parents the night before I fly out. ANYWAY, I was ready to get going and we finally boarded the flight!

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I scored an exit row seat so I had more legroom which was nice. I was able to take a nap, but by time we landed in LA it was almost 2:00 and I was starving!

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I was met at baggage by my driver who was holding up a card with my name on it (so cool!) and he took my bag and we headed to the hotel.

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I was staying in Santa Monica, at the gorgeous Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows.

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I had to hurry and check in and get to the hospitality room so we could get to the expo. The sweet girl in charge of us was taking Nathan and I since we had earlier flights. My room was amazing and so was my view!

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Way in the distance in between the trees you can see the Santa Monica Pier. Also, the finish line of the race was just a bit down Ocean Avenue to the right of this picture, right in front of the hotel.

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I headed to the hospitality suite, and I was starving. I had only had a smoothie at the airport and was getting woozie. Thankfully, super sweet Noelle with ASICS had gone to Whole Foods and gotten us sandwiches. Food has never tasted so good! I scarfed down my sandwich and an adorable ASICS cookie almost too cute to eat (almost folks, I may have had a few over the course of the weekend), and we headed to the convention center.

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We made it to the expo! Time to shop and get my bib!

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We headed back to the hotel with just enough time to change before happy hour at the hotel and then the VIP party. When Nathan and I got back to our rooms (they were side by side) we both realized our AC was not working. Yikes! I was sweating getting ready for the party, and I called maintenance as I walked out the door, crossing my fingers it would be fixed by time I got back.

We got to hang out outside and have a drink or two with the Kastors, some of the ASICS crew, and the other #TeamASICSLAM folks before our bus came to get us for the party.

Forecast for that night was BRIGHT, but we were ready. Smile Stay tuned…..

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QOTD: Do you bring food to the airport with you?

ASICS LA Marathon Prep

It’s here! It’s here! The week I leave for California to run the LA marathon with #TeamAsics. This race really snuck up on me! When I agreed to run back in December, I thought I had “plenty of time” to get ready. Famous last words, right? I have dealt with a couple of set backs, but I am confident I can complete the distance.

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Here is a little bit of info about the race and what I will be doing:

-This year is a very special year for the LA marathon, it is the 30th anniversary! There are special events going on over the weekend, and one will be on Friday night when the mile markers for the race are lit up during a one of a kind event.

-From March 12-15, people can visit the 3rd street promenade in Santa Monica to see the ASICS “big race cup” art installation. Anyone who takes a “running photo” in front of the big race cup  and shares the image on Twitter or Instagram using #RunItForwardLA, ASICS will make a $20 donation up to $26,200 to Back on my feet, a non profit creating independence and self-sufficiency within homeless populations by encouraging running to build self esteem and strength.

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-There is a special LA marathon running shoe created just for the event, as well as running apparel that will be available for purchase at the expo.

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-I will be arriving on Friday and heading to the expo Friday afternoon around 2:00ish, so if you see me there be sure to say hello! The NutriBullet Health and Fitness Expo will be open Friday from 10-7, and Saturday from 9-5 at the LA convention center.

-Saturday I will be participating in a fun event, so be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter to see what I’m up to!

Sunday at 7:00 am is when the race starts! I will not only be live tweeting/Instagramming, but I will be taking video for ASICS! I can’t wait to share it with you!

-There are several elite runners running this race including Ryan and Sara Hall, Lauren Jimison, Daniel Tapia, and Becky Wade…and, this race is OFFICIALLY SOLD OUT! Amazing!

-There is an official app for this race (free) and on it you can find runner tracking and other fun information.

I cannot wait for this amazing experience, and hope you will follow along with me starting on Friday! I’m packing up my bags, my snacks (must bring Quest Nutrition Protein Bars

and here we go!

QOTD: Have you ever run a destination race? What is your favorite thing about LA?

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