LA Marathon recap

23 Mar

I’m back home now with a bit of soreness in the quads, but otherwise I’m feeling pretty good. here’s a recap of my experience during the LA Marathon.

Saturday, woke up at 4:15 am to get ready to the drive to Dodger Stadium. I was traveling with my sister , her husband and one of their friends. Her husband was not running, and  besides driving us to the start, was planning on meeting us at different spots on the course.

Things didn’t look good as we approached the turnoff to the Pasadena Freeway, which runs right next to the stadium. There was a huge back up to the off ramp. Cars were moving about 100 yards every 10 minutes. We decided to try taking the streets instead. We got as close as Echo Park and had to walk about 1.5 miles to the stadium. We later heard that some people got so desperate to get to the stadium that they abandoned their cars on the freeway.

I easily got to the 11 minute marker at 7am, about 30 minutes before the scheduled start. However, the start was moved out about 20 minutes due to some difficulties. I can’t tell you how much I now hate Randy Newman’s “I Love LA.”  they must have played that song about 100 times while we waited. I met some interesting people. Met a guy running in Vibram Five Fingers, a girl who plans on running Bay to Breakers in the nude (it’s on her bucket list), even someone from Australia.

The first 6 miles had some nice small hills which weren’t too bad. At mile 2, someone tried to jump the tie down ropes holding up the air filled marker, failing badly. The mid part of the balloon marker started to collapsed on the runners underneath.  I managed to get around it. After mile 6, the course flattened out a bit. I was running at my planned pace, but it was starting to get hot and, for me anyway, humid. There was water at each mile, and it helped a little, but I could feel my leg getting heavy. I ran into my brother and brother-in-law at mile 8 and sucked up some orange slices they had ready. 

By the 13 mile mark, I was struggling. I was wondering how much hotter it was going to get and whether I’d be able to get through this. I didn’t even notice any of the Hollywood landmarks. I perked up in West Hollywood when I thought I saw some college cheerleaders about a quarter mile up. Imagine my shock when I realized they were transvestites! Talk about adding misery to my pain.

To this point, the crowds were out at each neighborhood, handing out water, oranges, even Vaseline. However, Beverly Hills seemed empty in comparison. That dreariness was wiped away as I approached the VA grounds. The runners were met by swarms of high school cheerleaders. It looked like there was about 10-12 different schools trying to outdo each other. Although it was short-lived, it was very uplifting.  This was right in the middle of the last 6-7 miles of slight upgrade.  I had been getting bad cramps since the 13 mile mark, but this last uphill section was killing me. I had to walk about 1/3 mile for every 2/3 I ran wobbled. My brother jumped in and tried to pace me from mile 20 on to the finish. However, his constant jabbering and Rocky references were driving me nuts. I finally had to tell him to shut the hell up! But, he ignored me and continued to accompany me. About this time, I started to feel the cooling breezes from the ocean.

Finally turned the corner on Ocean Avenue and looked out to see thousands of people lining the last mile stretch. I could make out the 26 mile marker and the finish just beyond. So close and yet so very far. I put more effort into the final yards but pulled up with 1/2 mile to go with more cramps down my left leg. At last, I crossed the finish. Hands up in triumph, a stupid grin on my face.

PLUS & MINUSES

PLUS – great course, great place for the finish

MINUS -  the net loss in elevation was overstated. The uphill sections were long, and the downhills short and abrupt

PLUS – high school cheerleaders – such energy!

MINUS – Transvetite cheerleaders – I was fooled. What can I say?

PLUS – water at every mile, Powerade at every odd mile

MINUS – warm Powerade sucks.

PLUS -  thousands of high school kids from the Students Run LA program – what a great idea – now in its 12th year.

PLUS – fantastic support from the surrounding communities. great way to bring the city together

MINUS – not enough porta-potties at the start, even counting the washrooms inside the stadium. The lines were too long. And whose bright ideas was it to have the route go between the porta-potties and the start line?

PLUS – big brothers who stick by you till the end – no matter how much you tell them to get lost

MINUS – the finisher’s medal – you’d think they come up with a cool design for the 25th anniversary

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2 Responses to “LA Marathon recap”

  1. Johann 03.24.2010 at 1:00 am #

    Transvetite cheerleaders! That’s something I’ve never seen on a race…anywhere for that matter. You did very well! A marathon is a long way and every time you run one it reminds you. Happy recovery and rest!

  2. Christina 03.25.2010 at 4:54 pm #

    I love the recap. It sounds like it was really hot and you probably got dehydrated, hence the cramping. The transvestities crack me up and your commentary about them too. I completely understand jambering people running with you. They mean well but….. my BF offered to run with me starting at mile 20 but I declined (this was a conversation before the marathon). I didn’t think I’d be able handling talking or listening to him making cow, goat, duck noises or whatever else he’d come up with to distract me.

    Great job with the race! You did awesome!

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