Although I went to bed exhilarated by the Olympic Trials and the WeRunSocial meet up, I woke up on race day with mixed feelings. While I was excited to be running my first full marathon, there was a battle going on inside my head. Although I was confident that I could cover the distance and cross that finish line, I was uncertain about beating my goal of a sub 5-hour marathon. My training in the weeks approaching the marathon was hindered by health issues (my autoimmune disease and a stomach bug) and personal issues. Still, I was ready to see what my body could do.
When I arrived at Dodger Stadium, I realized that I left my sunglasses in the car and that my shaker bottle opened up in my bag and spilled about a third of my Vega One shake inside my bag. What a mess! I cleaned up my gear as best I could and tried to stay warm in the bleachers.
Between WeRunSocial, UnitedLA, and the GRVL Runners, I knew a lot of people running today but I didn’t see any of them until a few minutes before the start. I found some of the UnitedLA & GRVL Runners crew. We chatted a bit, wished each other luck, and made our way to our corrals.
When I finally reached the start line, I decided to just let go and run. Since this was my first full marathon, I was going to take it all in and enjoy it. I have to admit, though, the first couple of miles were difficult to enjoy because it was soooo crowded along the course. That, and there were a lot of runners who were running shoulder to shoulder 3-4 people wide. There were also a lot of people who would just stop running abruptly to walk!
By about mile 4, things opened up more and I felt like I could run more comfortably. I was feeling okay, running conservatively. I was on pace to easily meet my goal of a sub 5-hour marathon… maybe even finish in 4:45.
Although I’m a SoCal local, I’ve never really spent a lot of time in LA except for Santa Monica or Griffith Park for UnitedLA runs. It was cool to run through the streets and see some of the famous landmarks.
Like I said, I was running comfortably and was on pace to make my goal… then the wheels came off! At about mile 19/20 my calves started cramping up on me. I stopped to stretch but the muscle spasms only got worse.
My legs wouldn’t let me run the final 10k. I was limping and hobbling at best. Holding back tears from both physical pain and disappointment, I tried to push myself to run/jog a quarter mile at a time, stopping to stretch and walk frequently.
Not finishing was not an option. I was determined to cross that finish line. Thankfully, I did not have to crawl. I finished at 5:29:43.
At the time, I thought that I wouldn’t run another marathon–that I was one and done. But after a few days, I decided I would give it another go. I’m looking to ConqurLA next season!