I headed out at 4am and double checked my bag in the car and off I went! I was trying to get into the zone and calm my nerves when BAM I got hit from behind. Let me just say, I am so lucky. I did not get injured or hurt and my car just need a new bumper and still drive able (I will not be driving it just to be safe) and I just bumped my head. It did slow me down of course. After the cops came and they sent me off, I went to drop my car off and then my boyfriend drove me to the start of the race. I promised I would stop if I felt bad or sore or whatever but since I was fine, I figured I can at least try.
So I got dropped of at 5:50 after driving around trying to come up with something but then I had to walk to the start but the traffic was insane (ASIDE: the marathon was supposed to start a 6 and half at 730 but with the high temps, the half was given the option to start at 6 so let's just say a lot of people dis that). Other people didn't even have their bibs yet. I walked up and at 6:05 and the bike tour was just starting. I knew I was good-I peed with no line, dropped off my bag and tried to seed myself based on half time (they had waves).
I started around 6:19 and tried to seed myself correctly. It was crowded at the start for sure especially with the full and half sharing a course for the first 10.5 miles. I tried my best to stay to the side and get my intervals in. I was feeling good!
After this, we went over the first "hill" which I got up quickly. The hill work I have been doing in my long runs have definitely helped! I knew I would be good to go. We went over and saw the queen Mary and downtown Long beach as the sun rose. We took another bridge/hill to get into downtown. I also got to use the restroom with no wait!
When we turned the corner, it was a bit eery. It was DEAD SILENT and no crowd. It was great to just run a race without weaving but also weird for it to be so quiet. With it being warm, there were very few spectators out. The ones that were out, it was because we ran by their house and they were stuck. Many had water and snacks out and were so great! On my way in, we saw the winners heading out! So crazy they literally run twice as half as me!
As we headed to the halfway point, we ran heading straight to the sun and I was faltering a bit. It was the first time I felt bad so I took in some more fuel and kept trucking. I took in some coconut water and felt much better and more nuun.
I hit the halfway point at and knew it would be a bit tough from here on out as it was HOT! We ran by some gorgeous houses and some SHADE! We also ran by a high school with some great cheerleaders.
At mile 15, I ran by the mister fan which was just sad. It barely made a difference! We kept going and it was hot and I could tell I was craving salt. I almost went into a 7/11 to find salt packets but did not. I ended up getting some pretzels from a spectator and was able to just eat the salt off and it helped.
We came up on some great spectators and the KOOLNFIT tent! My legs were feeling much fresher and I definitely took my time over the next few miles to CSU: Long Beach as a lot of people had ice! It is such a difference with cold water!
After was a bit rough as it was back where we had come from. The heading back had little shade and it was rough to see the people struggling to finish. I stopped for water, snacks, and kept taking fuel and was actually feeling really fresh. At the this point, I realized I would PR but I did not want to push the pace as it was getting warmer and warmer and I don't want to get sick. I kept pouring at least 1-2 cups of water on my head per water stop.
As we headed back by the high school, was when I was starting to cramp a bit. My hip flexors were tight and my calves were knotted. I kept pushing and around mile 24, I had a crazy calf cramp. I stopped and put biofreeze on my calf (I had put some on my hip flexors as needed earlier) and sprayed it with KOOLNFIT and walked for about a minute and felt much better. I knew I could definitely hold on.
As we headed back to the beach, it got cooler but not by much. It was just hot and I stopped my intervals soon after. I decided to go by feel and basically ended up doing a :45/:45. I stayed mentally strong and knew that it was HOT so I needed to listen to my body as I could tell I was very dehydrated.
I stopped to pee one more time (which was pointless as there was no point as I was so dehydrated) and knew I could get to the end. As we did the final turn, I knew the end was near! There still was a lack of spectators (no fault as it was so warm) and I was excited.
At 5:05, my headphones died! Now I know, they basically last exactly 5 hours so runs longer than that, I have to bring an extra set. I pulled out my extra set and they were a mess of tangles but I fixed it. I wanted music for my last mile!
We turned back towards the start line and I could see the finish. MY PR IS NEAR! I picked up the pace slightly and crossed in 5:18:53, an almost 28 minute PR! In 91 degree heat! My LAM experience has been redeemed! Sub 5 is definitely in my sight!
So I had decided to pre order a burger and fries from Islands before I left the house and it was genius! While I waited for Ralph, I sat in the shade and ate and it was so needed! I also was able to have my post recovery and protein and nuun and felt a lot better but still sore. We headed home and I took an amazing cold bath soak and shower and got ready for Devin and Brian's Engagement Party! After that, I passed out early and woke up a bit sore the next day but recovery was slower than I would like. Since it was so warm (100 in Pasadena for days and 90s at work) I couldn't get out of the office to get in walks without coming back a sweaty mess. I feel almost 10 days later back to normal so I am hoping after NYCM all of the walking will help keep me loose.
Overall, I was very strong mentally and never has a moment thinking I would not finish. I also purposefully wore my same outfit from LAM as a way to redeem that performance. I never got to a point where I thought I could not finish.
I definitely think the salt and the ice helped so much. I think I would have cracked before that without it so I need to remember to carry salt packets with me on future runs.
I liked the course. I think it would be different if it wasn't so warm as it is pretty flat. the course support was great and the volunteers were top notch. I heard somewhere around 6000 half marathoners started early so I bet it was just the mararthoners, it would have been much different in the beginning.
i would definitely recommend the Long Beach Marathon to others!
Have you ever run Long Beach? What was the last race you did?