Sunday, February 21, 2016

2016 LA Marathon

Woo hoo! Race recap time!

My first marathon in ~10 months was a good reason to be very excited AND nervous in the days leading up to the 2016 LA Marathon. Originally, my runner gal pal Erin from Purdue was going to run LA too, but an injury in December sidelined her training, and I was going to be racing solo :/ To add insult to injury, the Southwest got HOT the week before the race. When I checked the weather on Wednesday or Thursday night before packing started, the Sunday high was predicted to be 90. NINETY. WHAT.

Ready to run LA
Saturday, the 2016 Olympic Trials Marathon was held right by the Convention Center where packet pickup was. Of course I didn't want to miss an opportunity to runner-geek-out and see so many of my running idols, so The Canadian and I picked out a spot in the shade of a fence along the course and stuck around for about 75% of the race before retreating to air conditioning and relaxation. I can't imagine how difficult that race must have been for everyone; we saw a few runners walk off the course, and they all looked pretty miserable...
Maybe...2020? :)

Pre-race buddies!
After consulting with Coach T, the game plan was to hydrate like a madwoman, and stick with my original game plan (7:15-7:20 pace) as long as I could. Giant Gatorade bottles were my friends for all of Saturday :) I also had the joy of cooking pre-race spaghetti in a multi-cooker pot in the studio apartment "kitchen" of the Airbnb where we were staying. (I missed college cooking...not!)

Dr. W, catching my best side uphill around 5M
Come race day, the predicted high had dropped a little (mid 80's) and the start was actually nice and cool. It was pretty freaking awesome to start at Dodger Stadium, high above LA, and see a pretty sunrise and so much of Los Angeles stretching out before your feet. Chinatown was really fun, as was Beverly Hills. Somehow, I missed seeing the HOLLYWOOD sign (I'm going to blame smog and marathon-brain)...womp womp. Crowd support along the course was really good everywhere except...the really fancy neighborhoods (go figure). The Air France team may have been a bit overdressed for spectating, but I'd rather run past girls in berets, skirts, and red lipstick than beside a guy in a Speedo and short cape. o.O

Probably hot and miserable here...
I held things together well (sub-8:00 pace) through mile 16. From 16-20, I was trying to hang on, but it was getting HOT and there was no shade and gee whiz, LA was a lot hillier than I thought it was going to be. 21-25 were pretty rough - I stopped for two walk breaks to chug down a
bitty bottle of water, but kept going otherwise. I was praying for shade and/or downhills for pretty much the entire course :) Channeling my inner runner badass, I ran the entire race in a hat AND sunglasses, my feeble attempt at staying cool :) I grabbed water or Gatorade at every single aid station to either drink or dump on my head...I was rewarded with two epic blisters by the end of the race.

Just as proof that this course was HILLY
Maybe halfway? Thumbs up!
Almost there! Marathon #9 in the books :)
The last little bit of the race in Santa Monica was foggy and it felt like it was about 15 degrees cooler! My legs were getting wobbly the faster I tried to go at the very end, but I was super close to coming in under 3:30, so I was going to try as hard as I could. Finish time of 3:29:30 which was totally not what I was shooting for time-wise, but given the weather and the fact that I just didn't prepare enough for the hills, I was happy with it.

Coach T and Dr. W and The Canadian all came out to cheer me on, and I am so thankful and happy to have an amazing cheer/support squad :) The Canadian and I went to Bubba Gump for lunch, and then down to Long Beach to visit Dr. W that evening and partake in some celebratory pizza. We spend Monday at Knott's Berry Farm - not Cedar Point, but still a really good time. Tuesday we flew back to Tucson, but not before checking out Endeavour at the California Science Center.
Red shorts and rainbow wigs make sure I spot you along the course!

Post-race bliss :)

Overall, a good first marathon back after almost a year away, a fantastic weekend in LA, and a fun start to 2016!


 OT pictures, if you're into that sort of thing:

Meb and Galen
Kara and Desi!

Shalane and Amy!

Sara and Ryan Hall