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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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  • Reply Julie (A Case of the Runs)

    Great report! Your thoughts echoed a lot of mine — not happy with finishing time, wanting to give up, etc. Talk about “slow painful death,” huh?

    I hope that the LA Marathon organizers know that even though things got nasty at times, the people who did it, as well as everyone who helped, will NEVER forget it!

    Still love that “sad tiger” pic… it’s perfect!

    March 22, 2011 at 11:10 am
  • Reply Missy

    Congrats on finishing! That’s an accomplishment on it’s own, especially since it was raining the entire time! Huge props to all three of you! Also love the cute Tiger visors!

    March 22, 2011 at 11:13 am
  • Reply Kelly

    I’m so proud of you! I would have died. Way to go tiger! The pictures are great.

    March 22, 2011 at 11:16 am
  • Reply Aj

    AW! I definitely thought of you on Sunday. I was up at 6 AM to study and I thought of you and everyone else I knew in the race. It was nasty out and you definitely deserve major props for braving it and SURVIVING! In the future you can always say “well, it’s bad but it isn’t as bad as LA 2011!”

    March 22, 2011 at 11:20 am
  • Reply Jaime

    You did it, and that’s great! I don’t know if I could have stuck in there for the full. You’re stronger than most people. :)

    March 22, 2011 at 11:32 am
  • Reply Carla @ I Run, You Run

    I really don’t know if I could handle running that long in cold rain (and wind!). I hate running in the rain, but sometimes I suck it up when it’s warm. When it’s cold? For that long? Ugh!

    How did you feet turn out after all?

    March 22, 2011 at 11:36 am
  • Reply Morgan

    Holy smokes girl that sounds like one long, miserable race. I always feel so bad for race directors when the weather ruins the day for their race. You and Tara are def Tigers for slogging through til the end. Lesser cats might have bailed! :)

    March 22, 2011 at 11:37 am
  • Reply Amber from Girl with the Red Hair

    Great job FINISHING. It POURED on and off during the Portland Marathon in October. It was NOT a good experience for my first marathon. Luckily it wasn’t too cold though, I think that was my saving grace. But by the end my hands were all wrinkly like I’d just had a bath! Running in the rain can be fun – but ONLY short distances!!

    Good for you girls for pushing through and finishing though. Be proud of that!

    March 22, 2011 at 11:37 am
  • Reply Michelle@crazyrunninglegs

    I honestly don’t know if I would have finished! I cannot handle wind and rain combined with the cold. Awesome job!!

    March 22, 2011 at 11:41 am
  • Reply kristen

    Wow. That video really does make it look as terrible as it sounded. Congratulations on toughing it out!

    I ran a half in the pouring rain (just when you thought it was about to let up a bit, the deluge would start in full force again) but at least it was WARM…so it was much more manageable. (plus- half the distance…)

    I hope Oakland is dry for you!

    March 22, 2011 at 11:41 am
  • Reply Amber

    Wow! You are one tough cookie! Way to stick it out!

    March 22, 2011 at 11:42 am
  • Reply Emily (The Culinary Couple)

    You are one tough tiger! The one and only half I ran was in a monsoon, too. A hot shower never felt so good. Way to go!

    March 22, 2011 at 12:16 pm
  • Reply Charlotte

    You are so inspiring! That really was the worst marathon ever to run in. You must really feel like Wonder woman after going through this!!

    March 22, 2011 at 12:19 pm
  • Reply Lisa @ early morning run

    wow, this sounds so intense! I had heard about the rain, but hadn’t read such an indepth report. You should not, for one second, be disappointed about your time. You FINISHED! Hey, you started! Congrats on getting through that, true adversity!

    March 22, 2011 at 12:33 pm
  • Reply Melissa

    I have to give you props – i would not have even THOUGHT about doing that race in those conditions! You are a complete rockstar – congrats!

    March 22, 2011 at 12:38 pm
  • Reply Just Run With It

    That sounds like pure misery. You guys are champs for trudging through that, it looked like one heck of an experience! Times don’t matter whatsoever during an experience like that… you’re a rock star!

    March 22, 2011 at 12:45 pm
  • Reply DC Runographer

    OK, that gun to the head photo was pretty funny. Well done.

    Running 26.2 in the rain? Cross that off your bucket list.

    March 22, 2011 at 12:52 pm
  • Reply Nicole

    That is so absolutely insane!! I am so proud of you for sticking with this race! It took sheer determination to finish it.

    Good luck next weekend!

    March 22, 2011 at 1:53 pm
  • Reply Stefanie

    Felt the same way. Just defeated on time and endurance. I have never wanted to quit so bad in my life. Still kind of bummed about it now.

    March 22, 2011 at 1:54 pm
  • Reply Marathon Maritza

    I’m so glad you are still alive, my little tiger!!! I know you are not happy with your time, but as T said, it was about survival out there. You did awesome and I am so so proud of you. It would have been a very easy day (and understandable) to quit and you didn’t. You stuck it out with our MUB motto.

    March 22, 2011 at 2:15 pm
  • Reply Ryan

    Hey would you mind filling out a short survey about the race at ?

    Not affiliated with race organizers, just a blogger project.


    March 22, 2011 at 2:38 pm
  • Reply Leigh

    Congratulations on your finishing with that crazy weather!

    Haha I love that sad tiger picture!

    March 22, 2011 at 2:50 pm
  • Reply Hannah

    Wow! Amazing job given the conditions! I really don’t know that I would have been able to keep going. Being wet AND cold would be too much. Love the “gun to the head” pic! Too funny!

    March 22, 2011 at 3:05 pm
  • Reply Nic

    Your my hero for finishing!!! I cant believe you are going to run another one this weekend! Rockstar!!!!

    March 22, 2011 at 3:58 pm
  • Reply Naomi

    congratulations on finishing another marathon, especially under such horrible conditions. i thought portland last fall was bad, but it looks like this topped it!

    March 22, 2011 at 4:04 pm
  • Reply Jessica

    You’re a CHAMP! You should feel so proud of yourself for finishing! Congrats girl!

    March 22, 2011 at 4:20 pm
  • Reply Sarah

    So proud of you, superstar!

    March 22, 2011 at 4:44 pm
  • Reply Spike

    Major props for running in that rain…crazy having to herd into the center or run on the grass at some point.

    You did a great job!

    March 22, 2011 at 5:10 pm
  • Reply Katie

    Love all the pics! Way to tough it out! I think conditions like these during a race are when people learn how strong they are, and that they can survive just about anything! Way to not let the rain dampen your spirit! You’re a rockstar!

    March 22, 2011 at 5:17 pm
  • Reply jeri

    the sad tiger thing is the BEST!

    sorry it was such a miserable day, hopefully next weekend is sunny and nice. :)

    March 22, 2011 at 5:21 pm
  • Reply Keri

    oh my gosh…crazy weather! Congrats on finishing!

    March 22, 2011 at 6:09 pm
  • Reply Toronto Girl West

    I just saw the video Maritza posted on Facebook and that brings my level of respect for you to a whole new level!

    I often laugh and tell my co-workers that I’m made of sugar and melt in the rain. Clearly you’re made of something MUCH MUCH stronger than me!!!!

    March 22, 2011 at 6:51 pm
  • Reply Mollyberries

    Good for you, toughing it out! I know wht you mean about feeling shocked by a slower time than you hoped for but also learning a ton about yourself. In ’07 during the Chicago Marathon from hell, I had hopes and dreams of a BQ but the heat and humidity had other plans and I finished in well over 5 hours. It was seriously a death march! But I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything else. Sure it was hell on earth, but I learned that I can endure SO much more than I ever thought. Now when faced with any challenge in my life, and my confidence is waining, I say to myself ‘Suck it up! You survived the marathon from hell! You are tougher than this!’ :)

    March 22, 2011 at 7:36 pm
  • Reply Page

    Oh my god. That is out of control – I probably would have said F this! You, my sad little tiger, are a bad ass for finishing!

    March 22, 2011 at 7:37 pm
  • Reply Erin

    Okay, I thought the half marathon I ran on Sunday in the rain was epic. Nope, your race wins. Hands down.

    You may be a sad tiger (those photos made me laugh out loud) but you are a strong tigers who kicks butt even under adverse conditions. You could have quit. But you didn’t. Some people may think that makes you crazy. I think it makes you awesome.

    March 22, 2011 at 8:20 pm
  • Reply Nina

    So proud of you, lovie!!

    March 22, 2011 at 8:32 pm
  • Reply Linzay

    You are so badass. I would never have run in that weather! I cheered at mile 22 until 12:30 and thought I was going to die from the rain and cold and I wasn’t even running!

    March 22, 2011 at 9:48 pm
  • Reply cindylu

    As I read your recap, I kept thinking to myself, “yup, that’s exactly how I felt.” It was my first. I’m happy with how I did, but not happy with the cold I caught.

    I admire everyone who was out there for hours. I think it was one thing to run in the rain, but to stand around and hand out water or cheer must’ve been even tougher. I have mad respect for the volunteers.

    March 22, 2011 at 10:10 pm
  • Reply SDrunner

    I think the rain was annoying, but my lack of preparation made it much worse. All parts of my body were hurting during the race (and still hurts!). At least we survived, right?

    March 23, 2011 at 12:00 am
  • Reply Vanessa

    Goodness gracious! I am super impressed that you finished at all- running a marathon in a monsoon is definitely not easy. Good job!

    March 23, 2011 at 12:41 am
  • Reply J

    What horrible conditions to run a marathon! Great job pushing through and finishing the race. Great job girly!

    March 23, 2011 at 5:50 am
  • Reply Felice

    Oh, wow. What an incredibly tough race. I can’t imagine pushing through and finishing in that — way to go!

    March 23, 2011 at 12:19 pm
  • Reply ilovesteaks

    wow, looks like I lucked out by going to NYC instead. Congrats on getting it done!

    March 23, 2011 at 1:48 pm
  • Reply ida

    your recap made me feel cold and wet, I can’t even imagine doing a race in those conditions! I’m running Oakland 1/2 this weekend too. Fingers crossed for no rain.
    The sad tiger pics are great!

    March 23, 2011 at 6:02 pm
  • Reply Brittany

    I think this beats Portland! Way to stick through it though and finish. I hope Oakland is MUCH better!

    March 24, 2011 at 9:10 am
  • Reply Glenn Jones

    Kudos for finishing Danica! That was some weather. This is the type of event that I’m sure you’ll always remember.

    Sorry I missed you on the course. I was too busy huddling under awnings on Rodeo trying to stay warm.

    March 25, 2011 at 12:14 pm
  • Reply Kim

    Holy moly, you are a rock star! Great job getting out there and running 26.2 during a MONSOON!

    April 3, 2011 at 5:19 pm
  • Reply Lauren @ Team Giles

    This race looked brutal! You’re quite hilarious though throughout it all :)

    April 22, 2011 at 1:20 pm
  • Reply To Run or Not Run - That Is The Question... - crazy*running*legs

    […] month? If there are crazies who can run an entire marathon in the POURING rain (ahem, Sarah and Danica) then I can attempt to run […]

    October 8, 2011 at 5:23 pm
  • Reply Simonette Andres

    I ran this race too! It was def wet and cold! So glad you finished! At least now we know we can run through anything!

    December 8, 2011 at 12:39 pm
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