L.A. Marathon race report – 3/21/10

In life, there is always a first time for some event.  No, this is not my first marathon, but this is a first for something that happened during this L.A. Marathon (“LAM”).  It is still an experience, nonetheless, that I would cherish.

I flew down from the Bay area on Saturday before the race, but I had my sister, Raciel, pick up my race bib and packet the day before, so that we would not be rushed on Saturday.  A few of us – Dexie, Irene, my two sisters Annelle and Raciel, and I, stayed at a hotel in Santa Monica.  We carbo-loaded at Il Fornaio also in Santa Monica on Saturday night.  By the way, this was Dexie’s first marathon and ever – and she did really well for her first, it is her PR!  Congratulations to Dexie!

On race morning, we took the shuttle to the start, which was a 2 hour ride (for a normally 25 minute ride, no traffic, from Santa Monica to Dodger Stadium).  I didn’t mind too much since it we had chip timing.  Nonetheless, they (organizers) delayed the race about 15 minutes.  When we got to Dodger Stadium, after a restroom stop in the stadium, Irene and I walked to the start line and jumped into the race when we saw the Cliff Shot 4:30 pace group.  We saw Jackie Britton, Rene Opell, Hoss Dubash, and many other familiar faces and friends.

Irene, Jackie and I ran for a few miles, till we lost Jackie maybe around mile 8-ish.  Then Irene and I ran together for another couple miles, till Irene dropped behind.  At this point I was still feeling good, had a clif shot chocolate flavor, then continued on.  I was just enjoying the view, starting at the hill at Dodger Stadium, I remember Echo Park and thinking how clean it is around that area – I was told later that they cleaned it up for LAM.  There were lots to see in that eastern part of L.A.  At one point, we could see Griffith Observatory and the Hollywood sign.

As I was running towards Hollywood, around mile 12, something hit me, like I really needed to go use the bathroom.   Eating those clif shots always gave me a tummy ache but in the past it goes away and I continue on.  This time I had to stop and line up on one of those porto-potty.  As I was standing in line, Irene passed me.  I later caught up to her, she was talking to a friend on the side of the road, so I stopped and we took pictures, then I continued on.  I had another clif shot when it was time to take it, then shortly after it hit me again – where’s the nearest bathroom?!  I was tempted to knock on one of the houses on the course to use the bathroom, but then I found the next aid station that had a porto, so again I stood in line.  This line was a little shorter.  At this point, I’ve been trying to think about what I ate for breakfast that morning, what I ate for dinner the night before, and what I am doing any different from training.  I used to always have the chocolate clif shot in past races but didn’t really use too much of it during my training.  To keep my mind off it, I started slow jogging/walking and just people watching – runners and spectators alike.  I can really observe the difference in crowd from east L.A. to Beverly Hills.  Ah yes, when we got to Beverly Hills, the Niketown crew were wearing a green unitard, covered from head to toe, dancing to the beat of (I forgot the music they were playing).

When we got to Century City, I knew Santa Monica is just the next city over, so I started to run again, picking up the pace a little bit since I knew I was almost home free… I forgot there was still West L.A. before I even get to Santa Monica.  I saw mile 18 marker and started counting down, how many more miles to go.  The cheering of some of the crowd really helped at this point.  A few people noticed my bib that said, “26th 26.2” so they congratulated me for my 26th marathon.  That was uplifting.  Now if I could only finish the race, I thought at that moment…

I finally got on Ocean Ave from San Vicente and I knew at this point I was home free.  Since I’ve been walking a lot during the race, it was harder to pick up the pace again, so I just continued with a slow run pace.  Then there was this tall guy wearing a black foot cast on one foot, walking so fast that he was passing me!  This was also almost near the finish line so I tried to pick up the pace, but he just kept going.  I figured he had longer legs, so I let him win over me – and let him pass.  Not that he was really competing with me, it’s just me thinking that I wanted to pass him, but he was just going on his merry way.  Then finally the finish line!  I finished around 2pm that day, all sore and ready to break down.  But, I just thought there is always a first for something.  I was not upset or anything, given the circumstances.  At least the course was really nice and enjoyable.  It was a pleasant run/walk, with great weather.  Most of all, it was wonderful to finish by the beach, so we get the cool breeze at the finish line.

Overall, I really enjoyed this new course for LAM.  I do these types of events to participate in the event, not really to actually race it.  So as for firsts, this is the first time I’ve done a marathon in over 6 hours, first time I had to use the porto-potties more than once during a race (or at least multiple times), the first time I walked more than half the distance of the race, and most of all, the first time my sisters and I ran in the same race together.  I have an appreciation now for what my sisters go through during their marathon, I now know how it feels to be on your feet for more than 6 hours.  Maybe one day I can run – and finish – a marathon together with my two sisters, who I can proudly say are now marathon runners.

Clock Time 6:11:11
Chip Time 6:08:21
Overall Place 16347 / 22318
Gender Place 5922 / 9118
Division Place 864 / 1152
Age Grade 37.30%
Pace 14:03.2
5K 0:31:47
10K 1:07:20
15K 1:43:14
20K 2:32:06
25K 3:14:19
30K 4:10:16
35K 4:57:44
40K 5:49:37