When I moved to Southern California in 2003 I drove past an advertisement for the LA Marathon and I thought to myself, “one day I will do that!” I wasn’t a runner then, and I really had no idea how difficult it would be to actually run 26.2 miles. After becoming a runner and finishing my first Half Marathon in 2013 I said to myself and my friends who I had been running with, “I will never, ever, ever do a full marathon!” Well…. that lasted about a day because once I recovered from the first Half, I was on to looking for the next race… because that’s what we runners do, right?! Its addicting and its what keeps us going, all these races! I started planning to just get my time better at Half Marathons, which I did, and then I began training for my first marathon, the LA Marathon! I was soooo excited for this race! I had anticipated so much emotion and accomplishment. The training alone was emotional and after every long run I felt huge accomplishment. I remember some of those long runs I would feel like fainting, puking, crying and screaming. But, I actually only screamed (and groaned), a lot! But I made it through the training! Wooo Hoo!! I should have received a medal just for that!
Finally race week was upon us! My friend and I would be doing this race for the first time together. We had trained mostly together too, and did a lot of races leading up to this one together. She and I decided it would be smart to drive the course to get an idea of what we were dealing with. That was a very bad idea, because not only is LA traffic incredibly slow and it took us hours to drive the course, but it also scared the daylights out of me. I was able to sense how far 26.2 miles really is! For some reason, driving it makes it feel so much farther than running it does. We did this two days before the race, right after packet pick up. The day before the race I photographed a wedding until 7pm and then went to check into the hotel, get some dinner (lots of carbs) and go to sleep. I stayed with my husband and two of our kids in the Sheraton Hotel which had a shuttle that took us right to the starting line and Dodger Stadium. The best decision for the morning was that shuttle because it was great not dealing with traffic! 🙂
Getting to that starting line and lining up with everyone is such an amazing feeling! You know what I’m talking about if you’ve ever raced! Its such a mixture of fear, excitement and adrenaline. There’s nothing quite like it!
Once we were off we held a good 10 minute mile pace and the first six miles were so much fun running through LA! I loved every second!! After mile 8 on Sunset strip we had to use the restroom (lady time)…. this was a HUGE mistake. We trained with no stops (or very few stops) and stopping to use the restroom this early made it very hard to gain momentum again. We were also dealing with record breaking high temperatures and many people were actually passing out on the course. The Asics LA Marathon people took amazing care of everyone though with plenty of water, gatorade, and even fire trucks hosing us down as we ran. We were able to gain a pretty good pace again until mile 17, which was when the heat really started to get to me. My head was throbbing, my legs were tight and I just couldn’t get enough water. I had to stop again to stretch and starting back up again was really slow.
The last 6 miles of the race was very slow for me and I was very discouraged and angry at myself but I didn’t give up and I completed the marathon at 5:45. I was super bummed with that time because my goal time was 4 hours and 30 minutes. I know that there was a lot of factors that made my time slow, but it was still very disappointing.
I’m excited to run this marathon again and kill that time! I will be better prepared and will not be stopping for the restroom no matter what. All in all, I was very happy to complete my first marathon. Even though my time wasn’t what I wanted I know that its still something that most people haven’t done and I am very proud of myself for completing! My family was waiting for me after the finish line, unfortunately they couldn’t come right to the line for security purposes. When I saw my husband, kids and my mother in law I burst into tears. My kids made the cutest posters! I’m so grateful to have such a wonderful support system. 🙂