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LA Marathon 2011 Race Report

(if you are reading this in google reader, go to Chic Runner, for some reason the pictures aren’t showing up in reader, and I’m working on it :) also, sorry for the long load time because of all the pictures!)

The weekend started off with working the LA Marathon expo for about 9 hours on Friday, where I also got my bib and t-shirt.

The back of the LA Marathon t-shirt. I also was able to find my name on the car that was the pace car! Though it was a lovely day at the expo, it was also a long day! I got to see some fun people though, which makes the day go by much faster.

I picked up Tara on Friday night and we went basically straight to bed. We were both super tired and slept in on Saturday morning before heading out to the Nike Outlet and finding some gems. We ate at a pizza place in Santa Monica as well for lunch and finally met up with Maritza. We headed off to the hotel and checked in after of course hitting up 7-11 for some tasty snacks. We all already had gotten our bibs and were all set for race day the next morning. We went to this awesome Mexican restaurant for dinner, where I got a delicious mac and cheese and carne asada fries, which were both to die for.

Sadly, I only ate about half of both before I was SO full! Delish none the less. We traveled back to the hotel and got ready for bed and our early morning wake up call of 3:00 am. We have heard so many times, arrive early! arrive early! So we knew to set our alarms and not chance anything. I woke up at about 2:50 and thought Tara was snoring. I realized that it wasn’t her and thought it was our neighbor in the hotel. I kept listening to figure it out. Oh wait, it’s the wind howling outside our hotel. We woke up to monsoon like conditions. Since we stayed in Marina del Rey, there were tons of palm fronds everywhere and it looks horrible outside. Wet, windy and cold. Three of my most hated weather terms. Tara said, “It’s all about survival today, that’s it,” and in a few short hours I would find out how that statement was so true.

We headed over to Maritza’s boyfriends house, who would be dropping us off at Dodger Stadium that morning. THANK YOU MARIO! We arrived with no problems at around 4:00 am….and then realized we had to wait FOREVER for the race to start at 7:25. We huddled together and tried to fend off the wind before the race started, we were freezing on the first floor of the stadium. Once we moved up to the 2nd floor of the stadium, we found a little cubbie area and stayed there until about 7:15. We shed our throwaway t-shirts and donned our trash bags and headed down to the start area.

It was nice to have bathrooms that weren’t portapotties, even if there were long lines. As soon as we got to the start, we were in the general vicinity of the corral for 11:00 pace. The race was suppose to start at 7:25, but it didn’t start until around 7:50 and we were about 11 minutes back from the clock.

Right when we started, there were FAT raindrops falling. Now, I know that a rainy marathon was something I told myself I would never do. If Tara and Maritza weren’t there, I most likely would have not done it, but thankfully, they got me to the start line and didn’t let me wimp out. I kept telling myself it was just water and it would be okay. I was really worried mostly about my feet being mangled from being wet but I figured I had no choice but to just keep going.

Miles 1-5 were fine, I remembered the course well and just traveled on my merry way with my little tiger visor and T by my side, we were cruising at a good pace, traveling at about a 4:30 finish. We both really wanted to push each other to get to the half way point and from then we would decide how to run the rest of the race. We knew we wouldn’t have any trouble getting half way. Around mile 5 it started to rain just a tad harder and there are quite a few hills in miles 4-5. Mostly long steady climbs. We got to mile 6 and ate a little bit, and were working hard at pulling each other along. There were a few missing mile markers, but I risked Claude’s death and wore him. Thankfully, he survived the bath of the year and I could tell what miles we were at for the race. Most of the race, all I could hear was the swishing of the bags of all the runners around us. Swish, Swish, squish, squish. My hands and feet were so cold the entire race. We were soaking wet by mile 5. From miles 5-10 it was pretty uneventful. A few long inclines and we just pushed each other along. There were SO many walkers out. I think LA is one of the races where a huge number of people are walkers.

We got to mile 10 and I knew it was only a little bit more until the half way point. So we chugged along. I felt much better this race than last year and knew that the half way mark was right around the corner. Tara and I kept pushing each other and just thinking about being half way done. Every time I heard Claude beeping because a mile was passed I knew it was one mile marker closer to our goal, the finish! We got to mile 14 and we ate again. At mile 18 we decided to head under an awning for a second because I wanted to take a salt tab. I knew that the salt pills would be ruined in the rain and I wanted to keep them safe just in case I needed to take one more later on during the race. Once we were under an awning it literally started POURING. There were about 10 times during the race when I thought it might actually be hailing because the rain hurt it was coming down so hard. I don’t know if I have ever seen this rain like this in a long, long time. It was crazy. We just looked out at the rain and looked at each other and kind of laughed. What we were doing! We started off again and knew that we with every step we were getting closer and closer to the finish.

From mile 18-21 it was just a downpour. Obviously there were quite a few gun to the head moments out there. We tried to keep going, but the course was flooding and rerouted into the grass and only in the center of the road at many places because the gutters were overflowing. I have never seen such a thing. Here is another picture taken by a friend just to show you the gutters.I’m not actually in the picture, but it just shows what a glum day it was.

We just started walking. We could see our breath in the air when we were running and it was so cold. Our clothes were sopping wet and every step was just splashing. I almost think running made your feet lighter because when you walked they got so weighed down with water. I swear I watched rain wring out of my gloves every time I swung my hands back and forth. From mile 21 to 23, we were both feeling pretty defeated. I think the rain, wind, everything just was wearing on us. It’s a long time to be doing anything, none the less running in a monsoon.

Up the hill at mile 20, with the water pouring down the sidewalks. This was right before the course got rerouted up into the grass/mud because of the flooding area. I seriously wish I got pictures, but sadly, my iPhone stayed safe in it’s bag in my pouch on my belt. I was not risking it’s life for pictures. From mile 20 to about mile 24, we just walked. We were so out of it, cold, shivering, and tired.

Check out that awesome power walking. T and I were walking some parts and she taught me how to go for it with power walking. I was so slow at the beginning, but by the end I was shaking it and power walking along! I still wasn’t terribly sore or anything, just cold and super wet. Finally around mile 24, we were walking and running off and on. Tara was having some foot pain and I told her I wouldn’t leave her, no matter what. I really wanted us to finish together. She came down to trudge through it with me and I wouldn’t let her out of my sight! During the entire race we really wanted to go to the bathroom, but we knew if we stopped we wouldn’t be able to get our clothes back on our bodies! They were that drenched. There were also pretty long lines for the bathrooms throughout the entire race, so we opted to just try to keep going. Toward the end my capris were so heavy with water they were starting to feel like I was wearing a diaper. Awesome. I saw so many little Students Run LA just shaking like leaves along the course. It was so sad.

We traveled forward and hit mile 25. As soon as we turned the corner onto Ocean from San Vicente, I was still feeling pretty alright body wise, but I was FREEZING and the wind on the corner hit us like a ton of bricks. It was a crazy. I have never seen anything like it. Branches everywhere, rain pouring down. I couldn’t believe it. We were running in about half an inch of water and couldn’t even see the finish line up ahead because it was raining so hard. I looked down and saw dirt and debris on my shirt from the wind blowing up on us.

That was right before the finish. I remember splashing down and just watching my feet to make sure I didn’t slip in the huge puddles that were accumulating every where. I know that there are such things as a great run in the rain. I’ve had a few when I put on my big girl face and brave it, but this was sadly a sopping wet mess. A huge thanks for all the people who DID come out. It was kind of a bummer, because even though I had such a poor race last year, because of my own fueling issues, one thing that was awesome was all the crowd support. This year there were tons of volunteers who braved the elements. I think I only saw one abandoned water station but the crowd support was so minimal compared to last year, as expected with the crazy weather. I think that’s what made the race so fun for me last year. Oh well, lets hope for no rain next year!

Anyways, once at the finish, and having a big fat 5 in front of my finish time. (5:28) My times are so all over the board for all my marathons I’ve done thus far. SD 2009 – 4:28, LB 2009 – 3:55, Malibu 2009 – 4:14, CIM 2009 – 4:22, LA 2010 – 4:41, Camarillo 2010 – 4:25, LA 2011 – 5:28. GAH! I was shivering and my teeth were chattering. I grabbed the space blanket, and we both had to hunt down the medals. We found a portapottie and quick hit them up. They were over in this muddy area, so there wasn’t much of a line. Once we got both got done with the medals and space blankets, we traveled over to where all the bike fencing was just scattered around and got out of the finish chute about 50 meters into the chute and started walking to where I parked my car the day before. It was just pouring the entire way. We both just were shaking and knowing that we HAD to get to the car. FINALLY we made it the mile back and were so happy to just get in and try to warm up!

All in all, I’m glad I didn’t quit. I thought about it numerous times. I have never thought about it as much as I did this Sunday. I think I am pretty defeated by my time. I never thought I would run that, but on the upside, I’m not really sore at all. So that’s a good thing. As for Oakland next weekend, if it’s raining, I’m going to do the half. I will not purposely subject myself to that ever again. I have never felt so cold and sick. I still feel cold. If it’s not raining, I will have no problem doing the full. I also am going up to hang out with T, so it will be a game time decision for us. I’m so thankful for all the volunteers who lined the streets of LA to clean up the water stations and hand out oranges and water to everyone. It takes so much to put on a race and I thought about the organizers throughout the day. I can’t even imagine the heartbreak I would be feeling in their shoes. They have no pictures to market the event from this year really, and so many peoples experiences are marred by the rain, which they had nothing to do with. I couldn’t imagine putting so much into something and then having it turn out like that.

Though I didn’t have a great time on the clock, I did learn quite a lot about myself during the race. I’m a lot tougher than I thought I was, and I’m glad that I didn’t give up. I never, ever imagined that I would ever do something like that in my life, and I didn’t quit.

Here’s a video from Glenn, who pretty much captures the day. :)

And here’s another person’s blog post with lots of pictures!

After the race, I’m really glad we stuck it out and finished it. I seriously had my doubts during the race. Even though the only goal I hit was my D goal, I’m still proud that I finished and that I had a great weekend with some of my best friends, which was what I planned on doing.


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