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LA Marathon

May 25, 2009
Bib FName LName City State Country Div Age Sex ChipTime ClockTime Overall SexPl DivPl AgeGrade Pace Split10K Half Split30K
9846 Andrea Torng Playa Del Rey CA WOMEN 18 TO 24 22 F 03:51:53 03:52:01 1141 139 17 58.4%

Thanks goodness it is over! (I mean that in a good way, kind of) Although I didn’t run it any faster than my last marathon, I do have to say I feel GOOD right now. As in, I’m not completely immobile and not walking like a zombie. Surf City was a disaster for me in terms of how my body reacted to the 26 miles. I had to be dragged to the car and felt sick/nauseous for pretty much the entire day. The day started off at 4:15am, after less than 5 hours of sleep, coffee was definitely in order along with the standard pre-race fuel. No sushi or banana, the two culprits I blame on my food poisoning during the PV Half. Along the drive to the marathon, it was pretty neat to see how many of the big streets in LA were completely blocked off from the freeways. This was by far the biggest race I have ever been to, yet it had the shortest bathroom line! Getting to the start was complete mayhem, there were so many people pushing and shoving their way up to the front. Respect the pace groups! There are always signs for projected finish times so people can wait in the appropriate group without having everyone trying to get to the front. Although the race chip doesn’t officially start until you cross the starting line, I didn’t want to deal with the usual bottle necking at the start of the race, which was unavoidable. They had helicopters flying overhead capturing the race real time on NBC. I haven’t seen any footage yet, but I was standing next to a huge testicle. Yeah, some guy was wearing  a testicle costume for cancer. No idea how he managed to run with that huge head (no pun intended), but good luck to him. I told my grandparents to check out the race on TV and when I called them afterward, my grandma says to me “I didn’t see you! How come you didn’t run with all the elites that finished first?” Well Grandma, the elites finished in 2 hours whereas it took me almost 4 hours to finish, and although the $250,000 grand prize would have been nice, I don’t think I’m quite there yet.

The race started out in the middle of downtown LA, right smack in the middle of all the big buildings (Ernst & Young, Bank of America etc). It was pretty nice to look up and view LA on foot, rather than from your car, stressed out and honking at all the crazy LA drivers (me included). They blocked off all the big streets so we had 6 empty lanes to ourselves. Miles 1-6 was apparently going at a decline, although I didn’t feel it. I focused on my form and breathing to avoid any stomach cramping. We passed by the Convention Center, USC, Exposition Park. Those were probably the biggest landmarks. Other than that, most of the marathon was in a lot of different ethnic neighborhoods which was interesting, I remember running through Korea Town and a group of Koreans were giving out these Asian drinks and what looked like rice balls! Didn’t want to risk eating/drinking anything I wasn’t used to on a run, so I had to pass it up. The entire marathon seemed to go by fairly quick. I thought people were getting updates after each mile I crossed, so  every time I saw a mile marker in front of me, I would pick up my pace and sprint to the mile marker. This tactic seemed to work pretty well for my time since I completed the first half of the marathon in 1:44. This would have been a new personal record for me if I was only doing the half. However, at the 6 mile mark, I saw the race mat they laid out for the tracking and realized people were getting updates probably every 6 miles or so, boo. Miles 6-13 had a couple steep inclines, but nothing too long which was good. I have to say, Gatorade is freaking amazing. I usually don’t drink sports drink, but every Gatorade shot helped tremendously. It was sickly sweet and didn’t help when I ended up spilling all over myself, but I felt an instant boost from the sugar and electrolytes. I definitely stayed well hydrated the entire course, the support for the marathon was amazing. There was not only water stations at every mile, but lots of people came out with their own booths and were giving away bottled water/oranges/candy etc..I remember seeing a couple people on the side with the words VASELINE written on a cardboard and I was confused when I saw it, but when I got closer, I saw they had actually smeared a bunch of Vaseline on the cardboard for people to use. Ew? I don’t know what you would do with Vaseline, but I tried to avoid anything that looked suspicious.

After the 13 mile mark, I focused on getting to every 2 miles. I think breaking up the course is the best way to stay mentally sane during a marathon. If you go in thinking 26.2 miles, you will start to go crazy after the first couple of miles, because frankly, 26 miles on foot is a very long way. I was going considerably slower Miles 13-20, blame the hills..damn LA. I loved all the support from everyone, there wasn’t a single place along the course where there was NO ONE on the side cheering. Since the roads were all open and wide and people had spread out quite a bit, sometimes it felt like everyone on both sides of the street were cheering for you as you passed by. It was nice to run close to the side and hear what some people were saying. Lots of “Looking Good!”, even though I looked like a mess and was doing something in between a shuffle and a hobble the last couple of miles. I remember looking down at my feet and asking myself if I could even consider this running? I didn’t care though, as long as I wasn’t completely walking and was constantly striding forward, I knew I was doing okay. I choked up a little bit when I passed by a group of volunteers that held signs that read “You are Heroes”. I don’t know why that got me so much, I didn’t even choke up when I saw the 26 mile mark. Maybe I was thinking about the TV show Heroes and how awesome it would be to have a power…now that I think about it, I’m not sure why that got to me. Of course, once I started to choke up, I couldn’t breathe and nearly suffocated myself.

I knew once I hit the Mile 20 mark, I could look forward to seeing my wonderful support team, Jess and Brennan. I pulled myself together and started running at a good speed while looking at every single person along the sidewalk. I spotted them a little after mile 20 ( I had a pretty good game plan set up for them, complete with driving instructions and exact mile marks and estimated time arrival) and that cheered me up tremendously. They will never know how much it meant to me them being out there. Even though I couldn’t stay and chat, they helped me  conquer the mental game you start to play with yourself after the 20 mile mark. Even though my legs were hurting really badly, after a while you get used to the constant physical pain. It’s a test of your sanity and being able to keep it together through the last couple miles. I just kept telling myself to tough it out, and looked forward to seeing them a couple more times. I saw them again around 22.5 right when the course was starting to go uphill. Brennan graciously ran with me up the hill while Jess took pictures. After that, the miles flew by, I was able to pick up my pace some parts which was amazing. I think a lot had to do with the amount of people out there on the streets. I spent the last few miles on the constant lookout for them again and even though I didn’t seem them again, it gave me something to hope for and kept me pushing to the finish line. Around mile 24.7, I saw my Garmin hit 3:40 and knew I was too late for Boston. I wasn’t disappointed though, because I felt good the entire race and didn’t have any suicidal thoughts. I was just glad to run it under 4 hours and after looking at each mile split time on my watch, the second half of the race definitely killed my time. Oh well, leave it to the race directors to put all the hills during the last half. By the way, the course ended up finishing UPHILL. Imagine how miserable everyone looked trekking their way to the finish line. I was able to muster up enough energy to sprint the last 0.2 miles, and I also wanted to beat the old guy in front of me. When I crossed, I heard the announcer yell my name, I was disappointed they didn’t go by my nickname of “Juggernaut” which was printed on the front of my bib. That would be been pretty funny..”And from Marina Del Rey…the JUGGERNAUT!”

Anyways, picked up my medal, which is actually pretty nice, well considering I paid $100 for the marathon, it better be nice. I had to walk back to my car which was probably only 2 blocks away but took me a realllyyy long time to get there. I looked like a disabled person, shuffling my feet and grabbing onto any handrails I could find to help me walk forward. The walk back was probably as painful as the last 6 miles, imagine that. At least I didn’t feel sick, I just kept praying I would be able to reach my car without passing out on the sidewalk. Overall, it was a good race. No, I didn’t make my “goal time”, but I know that’s because I started slacking off on my speed workouts and focused more on endurance these past couple of months. Sure I can run fast for like 13 miles, but then it just gets too uncomfortable to maintain that speed for the entire time. So what’s next? Taking a break for sure! I’ve felt too worn down recently with all these crazy mileage runs and becoming very unmotivated to run. I have a half marathon in SF in July and planning my next full marathon for Long Beach in October. Once I get motivated again, I’ll try increasing my speed for longer durations, but for right now, I’m pretty happy with how far I’ve come and sometimes you shouldn’t ask too much from yourself and just be proud of what you have accomplished.

Garmin stats: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/6137290

Pics (Thanks! Now I don’t have to illegally steal the online pics from the professional photogs)

Support Station! (complete with water and fuel)

Support Station! (complete with water and fuel)

Horray friends!

Horray friends!

Wow..I look way too happy for being Mile 20

Wow..I look way too happy for being Mile 20

Mile 21

Mile 21

Uphill=Unhappy Runners

Uphill=Unhappy Runners

Look at him go

Look at him go

FOOD

FOOD

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Brennan permalink
    May 28, 2009 5:52 pm

    Just wanted to say congrats again on another awesome run. And I’m glad you’re finally giving yourself a little break, even if it’s a short one. Also, I’m pretty sure the Juggernaut’s super power beats out anything from Heroes.

Trackbacks

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