LA Marathon Weekend Part 2

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.

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Flat Marlon representing #UnitedLA
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At Dodger Stadium, preparing for takeoff.

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.

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Approaching the start line.

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.

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My favorite part running into friends along the way! Danielle (friend & former coworker), Fernando @gratemog, Danielle @dsmella, Heather @sloluckyruns, Rolando @rolo___, and AJ @a2thej44.

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.

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My calves were toast!

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.

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Disappointment.

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!

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