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Long Beach Marathon

October 18, 2009

Sorry for the super late posting of pictures-the actual race pictures are horrible. Is it too much to ask for one good race picture that is worthy of buying??!

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Still smiling, dang look at the huge pace group

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Thanks for coming out! My great support team: Jess, Emily & Brennan

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Bling Bling 2 medals baby

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Run, Forest, Run! “Is he the real Forest?”

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Thanks for always supporting me

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Edited to add:

Marathon

Runner Details Race Results
Bib: 17836
Name: Andrea Torng
Gender: F
Age: 22
Hometown: Playa Del Rey, CA
Overall: 541 out of 3349
Women: 122 out of 1298
F 20-24: 11 out of 107
Age/Grade: 59.65% Place: 562
Finish: 3:47:03 Pace: 8:40
Tag Time: 3:47:03
Gun Time: 3:50:22
Split Times
10 Km: 52:04 Pace: 8:23
12.9 Mile: 1:45:51 Pace: 8:13
18 Mile: 2:29:49 Pace: 8:20

My mindset going into this race was to go all out, no time to look around and enjoy the scenic course along the beach and no zoning out to music. I was ready and pumped to set a personal record and qualify for Boston. I had to hit 8:20 min/mile every single mile in order to qualify. This thought consumed me the entire race, making it one of the hardest races I have ever done.

Backing up a bit, my friend came to pick me up at 5:30am and it usually takes around 30 minutes to get to Long Beach, but the freeways were so backed up that we ended up arriving to the race site right when it was about to start. Needless to say, we were pretty stressed and practically sprinting to the starting line. There were around 20,000 runners all crammed together and I couldn’t get into Wave 2 to meet up with my Clif Bar Pace Team. I managed to squeeze my way through all the runners and got a lot of dirty looks along the way. The clock went off and we crossed the starting line 3 minutes after. I made my way up to the leader and started to talk to him for a little bit. He said there were about 100 people signed up with this 3:40 team, but I couldn’t tell who was with the group because a lot of people weren’t wearing their pace bracelet. At the expo, they gave us a pace bracelet that broke down each mile so you can tell if you were behind or ahead. It’s pretty hardcore and I usually don’t look at my Garmin too often when I’m running to check my pace, but I found myself checking my pace every 30 seconds. The group was so big that we were running really close together. I tried to talk to some other people, but everyone just waved me off. It was so intense and everyone was set on making their time that it wasn’t the fun atmosphere I had hoped for.

During the first couple of miles on the narrow strand by the beach, it was so congested that people were almost shoving each other off the boardwalk into the sand. Talk about running etiquette. I also passed by a lot of walkers and made me wonder how did they get in front of me? One of my pet peeves is people who don’t line up according to their goal time. At every race, they section you off by your estimated finish time. If you are a walker, do not line up at the front of the pack. It’s an honesty system, and it just ends up pissing off runners because the runners who do belong in that wave aren’t able to start at the same time as everyone else. I ended up running ahead of the group because it was so crowded, but I knew they were right behind me. My split times were pretty spot on and I was feeling great. Took a gel around mile 10, when the half and the full marathoners split off. Immediately after the split, there was practically no one on the course. I guess most of the runners were doing the half that day. I drank Powerade through every water station, but couldn’t really stop to catch my breath or else I would have to make up for that lost time during the mile. I knew I was pretty ahead of my pace group because I was actually 1-2 minutes earlier than my pace bracelet. The run felt really effortless and I couldn’t believe it was already Mile 20. If I could keep this up, I would definitely smoke my previous times and get the Boston qualifier.

Unfortunately, all good things come to an end and I was just waiting for it to hit. I don’t think I have ever run 8:20 min/mile or faster for that long of a distance before. I knew I was pushing myself hard, but from all the strength training that I’ve been doing, I noticed that it helped me a lot during this race. For example, if I would start to feel my left leg drag, I would use different parts of my body to help compensate. When my right leg was pulling my left, I would start pumping my left arm to help push my left leg forward. I don’t know, but this worked really well and I attribute it to the strength workouts I’ve been doing by isolating each muscle in my body. Having strong arms and a core are just as important when you are running. Even though it might seem as if you are only using your legs, your entire body is working as well.

I have no idea what came over me, but once I hit mile 20, I blacked out for a couple seconds. I woke up to find myself veering off the course and immediately got back on with the other runners. My whole body was numb and I couldn’t feel my arms or my hands. I really thought I was going to pass out if I didn’t stop running. Even when I tried to slow down to a jog, the pain was still taking over my body. My vision started to get blurry, but I knew I could never stop and walk. I kept pushing and it just kept getting worse. I would tell myself that I couldn’t quit, I had to keep going, just go another half mile. I was on the verge of tears from frustration that I had let myself down, but I just couldn’t stop. It didn’t help that during this time, we were going uphill too. This was probably the highest elevation in the entire course. The reason I don’t ever walk during long runs is because my body cannot handle getting back in the motion of running again. My muscles start to spasm  because it’s been in motion for so long, but I knew if I didn’t stop soon, I would really pass out on the course. No water or Powerade helped, so I finally stopped and walked at Mile 21.5. I felt defeated and powerless to do anything about my time. Even though I was ahead schedule, I knew I wasn’t going to make it. I couldn’t think of any motivating thoughts and started to calculate my finish time if I just walked the rest of the way. It would definitely be over 4 hours, but at that point, I didn’t care anymore. I tried to power walk as fast as I could while catching my breath and when I arrived at a water station, I stopped and chugged 5 cups of water and Powerade. I had no idea I was that dehydrated. I had been drinking a cup every mile or so, but I knew I must not have been drinking enough. Around Mile 22, I tried to run again, even if it was a slow jog. I found myself feeling a lot better after walking a bit and drinking lots of water that when I looked at my watch, I was going at a steady 9:30 min/mile. I knew there were only 4 miles left, and I could run at this pace for the rest of the way. After running for a bit, my legs started to loosen up again and I tried to get my pace down to 9 min/mile. I knew 3:40 was out of reach, but I didn’t realize how close I was to that goal time. My watch hit 3:40 when I was only 0.60 mile away from the finish. The last mile was a gradual downhill which was nice and people on the sides were yelling that the finish was right around the corner. I picked up my pace and right before I crossed the finish line, I saw Brennan and Jess waving which was gave me a nice boost. Overall, I did set a PR of 3:47:03, which is one minute faster than my Surf City time. I definitely felt a lot worse during this race than L.A marathon, but I know with some more long training runs and really focusing on speed, I can push myself to shave off a couple more minutes even if it takes another year. I realized that I have only been seriously running for over a year now, and maybe I am setting too high of expectations for myself. I am really happy that I was able to push myself for 20 miles straight until I completely collapsed. I know if I work on it, I can push it for another 6 miles until the end. Lessons learned: hydrate more, even if that means going slower through the water stations. A race is not the end all, pick yourself back up and try again.

Here is an e-mail from my wonderful trainer, really good advice

“I was reading your email and got completely excited and then I realized you ‘hit the wall’ — ‘bonked’.  I was telling you at my conference — I took a lot of classes on athletic training and sports nutrition (I met a lot of marathon runners and triathaletes who have at one time in their career experienced what you did).  It sounds like your glycogen levels fully depleted and you ‘blacked out’ — I have bonked out once this past year (so bad I couldn’t carry on a normal conversation) – and now I completely take the nutrition training to heart.  One interesting fact  I learned was that if an athlete doesn’t replace their electrolytes after an hour of working out – they endanger themselves of becoming dehydrated —so even if you drink a lot of water – you can still be dehydrated if you don’t replace your electrolytes.

And the eating is extremely important too (as you know) — my  cross train program for you is very intentional —and  you are dipping into your fat restores for energy — and so if they weren’t replenished — you were probably not running on the ‘best tank’ possible.  Damn! I bet that was it.  Without getting technical, in long distant training, a person will burn off their sugars for energy and once that is gone, they start using their fat as energy.  But you do interval training – I get you to tap into BOTH of your reserves so you come off with quicker and better results  AND your metabolism rises rather quickly – burning off energy  faster.  So your ‘reserves’ were not very full to begin with if you didn’t change your diet.

Learning your body and how it responds to training and eating is a science for sure (everyone’s body is different).  Bottom line, your body is the only one you have – take good care of it.  Don’t abuse it.  Treat it kindly.”

My next marathon is the Walt Disney World Goofy Challenge which consists of a half marathon on Saturday followed by a full marathon on Sunday. I am excited for these next couple of months because I can really focus on speed and endurance. Many people say the true test of how you will actually do during a marathon is how you feel during the last couple of miles of your long run. It is important to fuel and replenish your body and listen to it. Pictures and actual race results to come. Oh yes, the California Dreamin’ Series medal is pretty sweet.

CalDreaminRacingMedal

Here are my split times and Garmin stats

Split
Time
Distance
Elevation Gain
Elevation Loss
Avg Speed
Max Speed
Calories
Summary 03:47:20 26.42 822 853 08:36 06:17 2,500
1 00:08:23 1.00 14 0 08:23 07:16 93
2 00:08:17 1.00 6 33 08:17 07:24 95
3 00:08:05 1.00 79 69 08:05 07:18 95
4 00:08:14 1.00 0 11 08:14 07:13 95
5 00:08:19 1.00 77 57 08:19 07:14 96
6 00:08:28 1.00 22 46 08:28 07:30 94
7 00:08:06 1.00 16 0 08:06 06:53 95
8 00:08:14 1.00 21 36 08:14 07:27 95
9 00:08:12 1.00 13 0 08:12 07:08 95
10 00:08:13 1.00 21 27 08:13 07:28 95
11 00:08:13 1.00 49 62 08:13 07:30 95
12 00:08:11 1.00 33 8 08:11 07:20 95
13 00:08:15 1.00 0 49 08:15 07:35 95
14 00:08:16 1.00 27 0 08:16 07:18 95
15 00:08:16 1.00 33 0 08:16 07:23 95
16 00:08:09 1.00 5 41 08:09 07:15 95
17 00:08:14 1.00 21 19 08:14 07:37 95
18 00:08:27 1.00 88 33 08:27 07:32 95
19 00:08:00 1.00 87 134 08:00 06:17 95
20 00:09:08 1.00 19 25 09:08 07:52 94
21 00:09:30 1.00 0 0 09:30 08:06 95
22 00:11:06 1.00 54 36 11:06 08:10 87
23 00:09:31 1.00 25 76 09:31 08:32 95
24 00:09:47 1.00 30 0 09:47 07:46 96
25 00:09:24 1.00 16 0 09:24 08:31 94
26 00:08:51 1.00 21 17 08:51 07:36 95
27 00:03:20 0.42 47 74 07:54 06:17 41
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8 Comments leave one →
  1. October 12, 2009 7:13 pm

    You are amazing! You did an amazing job!!
    Love the info from the trainer too, thanks for adding it.

    • andee permalink
      October 12, 2009 7:23 pm

      Thank you guys so much! your words mean a lot

  2. Brennan permalink
    October 12, 2009 7:19 pm

    Very proud of you! You were flying by at the finish line–your determination is inspiring.

  3. Kim permalink
    October 12, 2009 9:11 pm

    We were so excited to be able to follow your race online and were cheering for you. You had a fabulous time….and now reading what happened with dehydration at mile 20…it is even more amazing. Congratulations on an outstanding race!

    • andee permalink
      October 12, 2009 9:38 pm

      Thanks! It’s nice to know you guys were cheering all the way from Oregon 🙂

  4. October 13, 2009 12:16 am

    Wow what a great recap! You’re SO fast!! Great job, hun. However, I can’t believe what an experience you had with dehydration! yikes!

    • andee permalink
      October 13, 2009 2:23 am

      Thanks for the kind words 🙂 This marathon definitely taught me to take hydration more seriously and listen to our bodies when it’s telling us it’s had too much

Trackbacks

  1. Walt Disney Goofy Challenge « L.A. Easy Meals

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