LA Marathon Recap

Friday- Travel day!

I took a half day from work to catch our 4:30pm flight from Minneapolis to LAX airport. Finally after getting our rental car & checking into our hotel in little Toyko at 11:30pm, we were able to get some food down the street at some place called “Mr. Pizza”.  At this point, we were both tired from traveling & up way past our bed time!

Saturday- Olympic Trials

I woke up in a much better mood. We had a pretty fun day ahead of us. 

7:15am- stand in the line at the expo for 45 min until it opens

8:00-9:30– LA Marathon expo & bib pickup!

9:30-1:30– watch the Olympic Trials 

The Olympic Trials were amazing. Jason & I bought VIP tickets which included access to a premium seating at the start/finish line, a tent area to stay out of the sun, bathrooms, free water bottles, mimosas, a buffet for lunch and breakfast… It was pretty sweet 🙂 I definitely recommend doing this if you ever watch the trials. 12705374_10205737165609761_4321484497820188671_n.jpg11230592_10205757997930556_5274922576794038916_n.jpg

That is how I got all these sweet up-close photos like this:

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As the Trials went on, it became VERY clear that the heat and sun were taking a toll on many of the athletes. We must have seen 4 dozen runners drop out of the trials. I was hot and uncomfortable just standing outside. As I watched the runners, I re-assessed my goals for the LA Marathon the next day. I was reminded of how heat and sun will take it’s toll on you especially during a 26.2 mile race. 

Sunday- Race day

Despite running 12 marathons/ultras before, I was still kinda nervous. It’s funny how that works 🙂

I was mentally ready for the heat. I accepted that it would be a huge factor in the race for me. I was mentally ready for a non-PR day. I was ready to “enjoy it” and give it my best effort. I was at peace with it. 

4am- wake up

5:00 -walked 1 mile to Union Station 

5:30am– shuttle from Union Station to Dodger field/the start

On the shuttle, I remember telling Jason,

I will probably go out in a 1:38-1:39 then come back with a 1:48 and just sneak under 3:30“. 

He was quite about his goals, so I knew that meant he was going to try for a PR.

6:30am- get in line for race

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6:55 am- the start

1 Mile- 7:13 

This mile was directly downhill. 

2 Mile- 7:10

Again, a HUGE downhill. But I knew I needed to slow my roll

3 Mile- 7:29

I started trying to find shade on the course. I was actively trying to slow down. I was not getting passed by A LOT of people.

4 Mile- 7:36

I tried to continue to mentally tell make myself  SLOW down. This is not fun- it meant getting passed by a LOT of people. This was hard for me to do because I felt really great, but I knew I needed to be smarter.

5 Mile- 7:52

There was a big uphill section here, but I felt like I was finally running around the correct pace.

 I was trying to find as much shade as possible. I was dumping water on my head at every water stop as well as drinking as every water stop

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6 Mile- 7:45 *Gu

After taking my gu, for the first time in the entire race, I began to feel good about the pace & comfort of my run. I felt like I was getting into the groove, but I could tell it was also getting hotter by the second.

7 Mile- 7:21

Probably a sugar rush from the Gu & the crowds for the first time in a few miles. I took a few selfies and gave a few high fives.

8 Mile- 7:24

At 8 miles I was at exactly 1 hour. 7:30 average. I felt okay with that. 

9 Mile- 7:35

10 Mile- 7:17

At this point, I was starting to have thoughts like, “maybe you could still PR.. Maybe you could just go for it? What do you have to lose?”. I stopped looking at my watch and focused on keeping the pace moderately comfortable, staying in the shade, and staying hydrated.

11 Mile- 7:14

12 Mile- 7:16 * Gu

13 Mile- 7:37

Half 1:38-1:39 ish 

They say you should always “re-evaluate” at half way. I decided that a PR was officially 100% out of the question. I was just going to maintain my effort and hope for the best

14 Mile= 7:37

15 Mile- 6:55 (MEGA huge downhill)

16 mile- 7:20 (downhill)

Hit 16 miles in exactly 2 hours. 8mph 7:30 pace exactly again. 

17 mile – 7:55 * Gu

The Gu basically had 0 effect on how I felt. I knew the last 9 miles would be a grind.

18 Mile- 7:53

19 Mile- 7:58

At 19.5 I was completely exposed to the sun. From 14-19, I was passing a lot of people, but I was starting to feel REALLY crappy. I told myself to be grateful that I even have the ability to run 26.2 miles 

20 Mile- 8:05

21 Mile- 8:34

I remember getting passed by like 20 people at once somewhere in this section. I thought my calfs were going to explode. I didn’t even feel like I was moving any more.

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22 Mile – 8:23

23 Mile – 8:40

I knew my pace was slipping a lot. There were times when my watch said I was going 9:xx pace. I never like seeing that. 

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My Legs felt like lead, then I could feel that we were now shifting to the downhill section- the final part of the course. It was tough to get the legs turning, I tried.

24 Mile- 8:35

 I set a new goal for myself to break 3:25

25 Mile- 8:01

Instead of 3:25, I wanted 3:23

26 Mile- 7:54

Last .38 miles @ 7:39 avg

Results:

3:23:23 

87 /9,122 women

729/20,623 Overall

11th in the 20-24 Age Division

No matter how many marathons you finish, you are SO freaking happy when you cross that finish line. I don’t think I have ever been more talkative & grateful to the volunteers. I was almost in tears I was so happy to be DONE.

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I felt like I had really accomplished something when I finished. I never once felt “great” during the race, but I never once thought about quitting. I was completely in control of the “mental demons”. I felt really refreshed knowing that I kept a positive attitude.

Once I finished, I saw our Lifetime group and Jason. The group from Minnesota we were with- Some people were over 30 min off their PRs- others had dropped out. I am going to attribute it to: HEAT, SUN & HILLS. This is not an easy course by any means, but it was also not the hardest I have done 🙂 Although it’s never fun to run 9 min off your PR (3:14), I still feel great about the race. 

Since May 2013:

-13 Marathons/Ultra Marathons

(4:09, 3:47, 3:45, 3:43, 3:27, 3:31, 3:59, 3:26, 3:19, 3:20, 3:14, 3:24, 3:23)

-8 Boston Qualifying Marathon Times in 7 different states

  • – 8 Different States (MN, WI, IA, MA, FL, CA, KS, NV)
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Goofy Challenge

1:41 half. wake up 24 hours later and run a 3:19 full [a 7.5 min PR]. what. the. heck. How is that even possible? I would have never imaged that the human body is capable of such a thing. Not many people attempt to race a full marathon the day after running a decent effort half marathon.
10929564_10203456426592711_7680670817336825636_nJason ran this entire race with me which means a lot. I met Jason (my husband) in September 2012. At the time, he was training for The Chicago Marathon. 3 weeks after meeting him, I decided, hey why not invite myself to chicago with him?! So that’s what I did. LOL. I was seriously INSPIRED. I had never ran a marathon. I didn’t think I had it in me. I didn’t really know anyone who has ran a marathon. He ran a 2:46 that day. 2:46. LIKE IT WAS NOTHING. All of his friends/teammates finished under 3 hours. If they didn’t break 3 it was viewed as a “poor performance”. I thought these guys were NUTS. My 5k PR was slower than they just ran 26.2 miles. I felt completely inadeqate compared to them, but something deep inside me wanted to try it.

fast forward 7 months, I cross the finish line of my first marathon. 4:09. I was embarrassed. It was the worst race performance to date. I felt ashamed of myself. I gave up and cried during the race. I have never been more pessimistic during a race. I was determined to finish, yes. HOWEVER, I was WAY too hard on myself. I took it way too seriously. At the time, I was so concerned with what other people thought. I was concerned with how my marathon time would compare with other people. All that disappeared real quick when I realized I SUCKED at running marathons.

When you have nothing to lose, you have everything to give. Or so I thought. In the peak of the summer heat in July, I got a crazy idea. What if I ran a marathon this weekend? It was a Thursday morning. I signed up later that day. Jason and I drove down to Iowa. Before the start of the race I remember telling him, I might finish around 4.4-5 hours… Maybe I won’t even finish, who knows. All I knew was that that weekend seemed like a good weekend to run a marathon. It really was! I took it nice and easy. This is my first and ONLY marathon that I negative split. 3:47. I could not believe myself. This was when my running spark was truly ignited. I realized it was all about the attitude and persistance.

May 2013- 4:09 [WI]

July 2013- 3:47 [IA]

October 2013- 3:45 [MN]

November 2013- 3:43 [NV]

March 2014- 3:27 [KS]

April 2014- 3:31 [MN]

May 2014- 3:58 split in 50k [4:53] [IA]

July 2014- 3:26 [IA]

January 2015- 3:19 [FL]

I am addicted to improvement plain and simple. Back to the story, this marathon means a lot to me because Jason ran by my side the ENTIRE time. 2 years ago, I would have never imaged that 7:30 pace would be something I would run for 26.2 miles. It opens my eyes to what could be next?

Could? No. What WILL be next.

I will break 3:10.

I will break 3:00

It’s happening. And it will happen within the next few years. I want to prove to my former smoker self that it IS possible. I CAN be an elite athlete. I might not be there yet, but I will be damned if I give up.