We got up at 4am, got ready and were out the door at 4:45. The shuttle stop was over a mile away so we decided to get an uber to save our legs and time. Even though it was surge pricing we only paid 8 dollars which was well worth it.
We went to the shuttle line and it was insane. At least 1000 people in line but it moved quickly. We got on a bus in 30 min at 530. In line I finished my coffee, ate my banana and proceeded to eat part of my bagel and spilling peanut butter on myself-not cute. I finished my bagel on the bus to Dodger stadium, fixed fastpasses for Star Wars: Dark Side and we made it there pretty fast. We were good on traffic until we hit Dodger Stadium and we're off the bus by 6:10. We used the Porto, and went to the corral. We found a good spot, sang God Bless America, let the Elite Women go, sang The National Anthem, watched the sun rise, saw the wheelchair start and elite men and we were off!
I have no pics of us from the race and no pics while running. I barely checked my phone (only to check my tracking and soon realized it was off and stopped checking) to make sure I stayed focused. So this recap is going to mostly writing. Sorry!
The course is super unique and has been dubbed "Stadium to the Sea" as you go from Dodger Stadium downtown through many sites of LA all the way to Ocean Ave in Santa Monica. The one thing I can't stand about this course is the lack of corrals. They have 5 corrals for 10,000 people with sub 5 hour times (which is me now! Crazy!!) but then the other 15,000+ people are in the Open Corral in an area made for about 5000 people max. We lined up right in front of the 11 min mile but people were all over the place in pace. It was very slow to start as it begins on an incline around the Stadium so I walked briskly in the beginning as it was the same pace as my run.
We went down the hill and through part of downtown towards Chinatown where we hit our first hydration stop around mile 2.
One thing about the hydration stops, they were all different. Some had more tablesc some had Gatorade first, some had water, some alternated. At least the cups were plain for water and Gatorade labeled for Gatorade. It was a bit hard to figure out what was going on and I soon realized I need to pass the first 5 or so tables because they were congested. One other thing about the water stops was they had more than last year! Between those and the increase in spectators, there was never a point where I did not have what I needed.
I timed my fueling to water stops so I also got out my first margarita shot blok. I was struggling a bit with getting fuel out of my pocket as I had new bottoms on so it's something I need to work on.
Through Chinatown and downtown we passed City Hall, Grand Park and the crazy hill by the Walt Disney Concert Hall that I walked. Through downtown it wasn't too warm and I was trying to hold back but felt good so I settled in on slowing my walk pace as well as running down inclines and keeping the effort steady on hills.
We headed out of Downtown and towards Echo Park, Silver Lake and Hollywood. The crowd support was amazing and it was super motivating. This is where I realized the tracker was off as I was about 5 min under 5 hours but the tracker said I was 40 sec over pace which didn't make sense!
The best thing happened in Hollywood: the dollar store was handing out water bottles so I took one. I knew there would be times I needed water especially when it got warmer and I could add ice to it as needed. I also grabbed a half of a banana and put it in my pocket. Since it was still in the peel, it didn't leak or get messy- it worked great and made sure I would have food when I needed it.
Even though it was getting warm, there was a lot of shade so I made sure to switch sides to stay in the shade. I felt strong through Hollywood and was trying to hold back because I knew the hard part was coming.
As we made it to Hollywood and Highland, I saw Greg who snapped a great shot of me! We headed towards Sunset. In the past, it has been hot and rough but the time of day and the new construction actually blocked the sun for most of the way! And the added water stops helped.
After the halfway point, I stopped for a bathroom break as it was the first line of Portos that had less than 5 people in line. I was in and out in less than 2 minutes!
I was feeling strong but started eating oranges and bananas given to me and kept fueling. I took the Clif shot around mile 12 and kept eating from there. Sunset strip is always difficult as the elevation is a bit up and down. It was starting to get warm so at every water stop I was drinking a cup of water and Gatorade, and pouring a cup on my body to keep my body cool.
The course had good support and I was eating bananas and oranges and taking ice. Even though the weather was getting warmer, I was feeling good! The ice was great for putting in my bottle of water (which I had started filling up as needed).
We wrapped up on Sunset and headed towards West Hollywood. This is the area where last year I started falling apart and was determined to not have that happen this time! Air France sponsored part of the stretch after West Hollywood heading to Beverly Hills so the people in berets were entertaining. All of the ice on the course was so helpful!
We hit Rodeo Dr and it was pretty warm (I heard around 80 degrees!!!) and as soon as we turned off-SHADE! Yah! I could tell people were starting to struggle but I tried to stay steady and keep fueling and eating along the way.
We turned out of Beverly Hills and onto Santa Monica Blvd in century City by the mall. Cheerleader alley was much needed and I knew it was now or never. The next 3 mile stretch is up and down hills with no sun. This broke me last year but I was determined to make it through. One thing that helped was the whole way was lined with running groups with food and cheers:So needed and appreciated! Before I knew it, we were turning onto Sepulveda and I made it though mile 20!
As soon as I turned the corner, I grabbed some applesauce packets that were being handed out and knew I could do it! I'm going to finish the LAM strong and get a Pr! I was still about 2.5 min ahead of pace and decided no more potty breaks. I would fuel and stay steady until I saw Mari at mile 22 and then grab water and something cold and push until the end.
The next part was new as we didn't go through the VA but around it. There was a bit more sun and one final hill but I knew there would be shade in Brentwood. We went up one more hill and then that was it-Brentwood and shade!
There were still a ton of people out with snacks and ice so I kept taking them while still pouring water on my head at water stops. My body felt cool so knew the strategy was working.
I hit Mari at mile 22 and was never so excited to see someone in my whole life. As soon as I hugged her, I started crying and told her-I got this! I can do this! My marathon will have a 4 in front of it! Being the awesome friend she is, she got me an ice pop and her running coach sat me down and rolled out both of my calves. He also remarked that I was the happiest he had ever seen anyone at mile 22 before haha.
I knew I had this and trucked on. With a bit over 4 miles to go and the course going downhill and with shade, I would stick to my intervals and just try and stay around an 11 min mile. At mile 24, I would give it all I had to the finish (within reason-no passing out or puking). I got to the good part in my playlist and trucked on.
I could tell it was definitely around 65-70 which was perfect for the final tempo run I did the week before: I did 3 miles in 76 degrees and direct sun in a sub-11 min mile with more elevation than I had now: I got this!
I kept fueling and drinking and pouring water. People were starting to struggle around me but nothing like what I had seen the past 2 years. Being in that moment seeing me get faster and faster, knowing how hard I worked to get to this point was getting me emotional. I had to reign it in to make sure I could finish. My goal was to get as close to 4:55 as possible.
At mile 25, I had it. I knew I did. I kept pushing and counting down the street numbers (they go from like 25 to ocean). Once we turned on Ocean, I could see the finish line off in the distance. One thing they didn't have this year was a 26 mile mark so I couldn't tell how close or far we were since my watch was over. I sprinted a bit too hard at the end as my chest started to hurt so I pulled back a bit.
Soon, I saw the finish line and pushed on-my PR would be under 5 but where?I finished in 4:56:48 however I was so sweaty I couldn't open my phone to look! Mari called me but I couldn't hear or open the phone.
I gathered all of my stuff and started the long walk to where I could exit and get to our hotel. The hotel was half a block from the finish line. I stopped at the med tent to get a tissue for my phone (#firstworldproblems) and saw I did 4:56! Around an 18 min PR over NYCM. Holy mother-that's insane!! I used a marathon converter app (which was insanely accurate for a comparison on long beach vs NYC) and it had said I was capable of a 5:11 with my 5:12 at NYCM. I blow that one out of the water.
Anyways, the walk took awhile and exiting took forever but I finally made it to the hotel after 20ish minutes. I was FREEZING! It was in the 60s but also all of the water I had poured on me, was in my clothes and heavy. When I finally got to the room to shower, my clothes were so wet it looked like I had hopped in the shower.
I showered, had a bit of recovery food, rolled and buffed and headed out to try and see Ralph finish.
Let me say-this app SUCKED! I couldn't even get it to open to track anyway so everyone I was hoping to see cross, did not happen! I had to text my dad to update me on Ralph. The finish line was a bit rough to get to so by the time,I got there. He had crossed in 5:58! Considering he did not train (his longest run was the Disneyland half back in sept), im happy he went sub-6! I went to meet up with his brother and friends-which was a labor of love with the crappy cell reception. But Ralph went back to the hotel haha. So I hung out with them for a bit and then went to grab food and went back to the room to roll and relax and nap briefly.
We decided to have a romantic Valentine's Day dinner haha. We went to get pizza at 800 degrees-o finally got my glass of wine- and try and go watch the all star game but that was a fail. So we went back to the room and watched the game there before ordering nachos from a Mexican place down the street for delivery (i had a craving for chips haha) and we passed out.
We got up early, went to get coffees and walked the beach before heading home to do laundry and watch the Grammys.
Overall, I couldn't have asked for a better experience. Doing what I love on the day of love with the person of love was magical. Skechers really stepped up the course support and water stops and Im excited to see how their sponsorship goes in the future.
I will write a post tomorrow about what I think I did to contribute to my almost 16 min PR in 3months.
This race gave me the confidence I needed to keep moving forward. To really race like I did and leave most of it out there and come away with no soreness is incredible. While we were walking to the exit, a guy stopped me and asked how I was walking so normal (I thought I was struggling because I was cold) and it's all in my intervals. 60/30 is amazing but keeps the soreness and tiredness at bay. Throughout the week I was definitely moving slow for me (which is a normal walking pace for everyone else) but recovered nicely. While recovering, I made an effort to roll and stretch and sleep everyday to make sure I would be as fresh as possible for Glass Slipper.
Anyone else run LAM? What was your last race and how did it go?