Monday, March 21, 2011

running in the rain

    LA Marathon 2011

The LA marathon was an experience of a lifetime. It was physical demanding, but it was fantastic. Knowing that I ran 26.2 miles is very empowering and I feel amazing about it.


The adventure started in December and since then it has been a very enjoyable ride. On Saturday night, I made sure to lay out my outfit, shoes, ipod, and energy snacks. I felt very paranoid about forgetting something so I did a few OCD checks that night. I debated about what to wear for a while. I am so glad that I wore long sleeve underarmour. I also wanted to get a good nights rest since I was getting up at 4 am. I had a difficult time getting to sleep. I usually am an early bed time-goer but I couldn’t relax, I was so excited and anticipating the next day. I probably went to bed at 12:30 or 1. And at 4:00 my alarm went off. I have never been more excited to jump out of bed!

By 4:30 I was in my car, on the 405 headed to Santa Monica. I was worried that I might hit traffic and miss my shuttle to Dodgers Stadium. Luckily, everything was very organized. There were many signs directing you to the appropriate parking lot and to the shuttle station. The shuttle to Dodger’s stadium was a short ride and when we got there I had a banana and bagel and took a walk and absorbed all the excitement. A little before 7, I ran into my friend Daisy and talking to her put me at ease. A quick trip to the bathroom and then I was in line waiting for the gun to go off. The 20 minutes I waited among other runners flew by.
... and they're off...

When the gun went off, it was difficult to actually start running because of the amount of people. There were people pushing you on all sides, people cutting you off and stopping right infront of you. That part was extremely frustrating but by the 1st mile marker people had spread out and I had a little more room to run. The run was great. The weather was nice with a little bit of a breeze. I think that I was running at my normal pace for most of the race. I didn’t feel tired or out a breath for a while, which was a very exciting thing. The view across LA was also amazing. For the first few miles, I didn’t break a sweat- probably because of the scattered rain. The race went through chinatown, little tokyo, echo park and Berndall Park. I was having a great race around this time. By around mile 10, we were at the Pantages Theather and then in Hollywood & Vine and then Hollywood walk of fame.

I think the sights were a great distraction to my fatigue and spastically there were down pours of rain followed by sprinkling. The weather was crazy!!! Around mile 15, I started to get a little bit overwhelmed because I didn’t know on what mile I was on. The route continues through the Sunset Strip and then into Beverly Hills and
Rodeo Drive
. This was kinda cool because going through these streets reminded me of random events from my college career. We went by the Laugh Factory, some cantina where my sorority had a Margaritaville themed event, Mel’s diner, and a bunch of other places that reminded me of my coed days. By mile 17 my left hamstring started to feel tight and my goal changed to “let’s get to mile 20”. I think making the run shorter (at least in my head) helped me out a lot. I was able to get to mile 20 feeling good (3 stars out of 5). Somewhere between mile 20 and 21, I hit a wall. I was so tired. All of a sudden my legs cramped up!!! It felt awful L I think it was at the end of mile 21, volunteers were giving away beer instead of the traditional cups of water. This made me laugh, and I needed that. That little distraction helped me get though the Veteran’s Administration in
West LA.
The run through Brentwood (22-23) was difficult! I wanted to stop and sit. I was about ready to be done. I am so happy that there were so many happy and motivating volunteers to cheer us on. They were great. And because they were there, I didn’t stop. I couldn’t. Brentwood is really close to Santa Monica. And at some point, I realized that fact and my body stopped hurting when I hit mile 24. I though I can run 2 miles so I picked up the pace. My legs were killing me but I had to dig deep and tell myself that I couldn’t quit after running 24 miles. What’s 2 more?! So I ran, harder and faster. At least, I felt like I was. I didn’t seem to be getting any closer to the pier. Then I heard someone say 8 more blocks, 6 more blocks. Everything I heard how much more, I got a little spur of energy. I wanted to be DONE!! And then finally I saw it.  The Finish Line. It was about 800 meters. I thought about high school track. I think I sprinted in a 400 meter race once. I could probably sprint to the finish line. Well, turns out I couldn’t ha-ha. I was so tired, my legs were so tight. I sprinted maybe 200 meters and then jogged 300 meters and then sprinted the last 300 meters. I felt like the finish line was getting further away. The rain and wind weren’t helping at all. When I finally crossed the finish line after 4 hours and 29 minutes. I wanted to lay down, even in the giant puddles that had accumulated on the streets. I didn’t because the volunteers didn’t let me. Some one helped me find a blanket, aka plastic bags to keep me “dry” and then I was ready to get out of Santa Monica, out of the rain and wind and into some dry clothes.


After crossing the finish line, there were photographers, food and water. I was so cold and wet I did not even stop to dehydrate. I didn't feel like I needed to, my body had absorbed all the water I could handle. The wind was blowing so hard, I didn't even stop to stretch. I just kept walking. On my way to my car, someone mistook me for a student running with the Students Run LA group and offered me a sweater at the Civic Center. I felt so bad about lying and letting him think I was a student but I was so wet and cold. I took the sweater and a cup of hot chocolate. It’s a nice sweater, but I do feel bad about impersonating a student. I think Sunday’s rain storm was the worst rain storm to hit LA EVER! It was so wet and windy, my feet and hands were pruny and I was freezing. It absolutely sucked but I still had a great time and I would do it again.

Next race: April 16 2011 in San Diego- it’s a half marathon (YAY!!!)

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