It’s true. Time flies!
It was only 6 weeks ago that I decided to run the Los Angeles Marathon. The opportunity to spectate the Olympic team trials, watch my friend Karen run her first marathon, and then cap it all off with a marathon seemed like a perfect idea!
Due to busy season at the day job, I was left with only one flight out of New York on Friday evening. After a 90 minute delay, the JetBlue “red-eye” flight landed at 3:30am Pacific time. I went straight to the hotel, dropped my things and got a bit more shut eye. At 6am, Carlos and I went on a 6.5 mile shakeout run along Figueroa, on the Olympic trials course.
We got breakfast, made sure Karen was ready for her marathon debut, and then spent the next few hours cheering. The trials marathon course was extremely spectator friendly and we were able to see the action unfold with little to no down time.
Go Karen Go!
After Karen had finished her race, it was back to the hotel to regroup, and then party! From 3pm onward, I carb loaded with tons of Angel City IPA. Jetlag finally hit me around 1am…
Race Day – February 14th, 2016
3 ½ hours later…I woke up at 4:45am, got my CPTC-NB race kit on, ate breakfast and chugged a steaming hot cup of coffee. My friend Sky and I hitched a ride from one of her friends to the start of the marathon. Luckily for us, Jimmy (who drove us), is an LA local and intelligently shuttled us into Dodgers Stadium at 6:15am.
Since I registered after the corral assignment cutoff, I was assigned a very high bib number, which did not initially allow me to enter Corral A, which included all runners who are capable of finishing the marathon in 3:15 or faster. With a little more luck, me and 3 other racers were able to convince one of the race coordinators to allow us into Corral A. What a relief! In the corral, I was joined by 10 or more of my fellow Central Park Track Club – New Balance teammates. We chatted a bit and at 6:55am we were off!
The first half mile of the race was slow since it was into an incline. But after that, we were met with a significant downhill as we left the confines of Dodgers Stadium and entered the streets of LA. My strategy for the day was split up the 26.2 mile race into 5km increments. Additionally, I wore a heart rate monitor to make sure I was not overexerting my pace. Everything was going spectacular for 30km. I splitted: 20:05, 20:21, 19:52, 19:48, 19:44, and 19:51, which was spot on as I wanted to run evenly. But just as things were going well, the wheels were beginning to fall off – I was met with an incrementally painful side stitch, which I first experienced at mile 20 of the IRONMAN Louisville marathon. When I passed the 20 mile marker, I could no longer handle the pain to my side, so I significantly slowed down my pace in an effort to relax the pain. The pain goes away but subsequently returns when I increased my effort.
The last 10km was simply damage control.
The answer was yes – the remaining two 5km splits were 22:28 and 22:59, respectively. I had accumulated a 5 ½ minute deficit.
The crowds along the finishing line were AMAZING! With the time lost, I finished in 2:55:11.
Despite the painful side stitch, I enjoyed every minute of the LA Marathon course. The course was spacious throughout, crowd support was spectacular, and aid stations were fully loaded with enthusiastic volunteers. I couldn’t have asked for a better race experience.
With my 2:55 result, I may use it as my 2017 Boston Marathon Qualifying time.
And until then, no more marathon distance running until I lace up for 26.2 miles at the IRONMAN World Championship on October 8.
Next up, the NYRR New York City Half Marathon on March 20th!
Thanks for reading.