LA Marathon = Super Fun
Cliff’s Notes Version: PR’d by 41:21. Legit chip time to chip time comparison, none of this but garmin said or nike + said or the bathroom lines were so long or if only I hadn’t stopped to tie my shoe or whatever. Although, there was a bit of a beer break around mile 22, but we’ll get to that later.
Portland 2012 chip time vs. LA 2013 chip time, 41:21 differential. Made it square in the middle of my target finish range. Amazing what happens when you actually train, huh? And yes, I’m already strategizing re: knocking off another 20 minutes at Rock N Roll San Diego in June, but we’ll get to that later, too.
LA Marathon Weekend: A Novella Length Memoir (Hence the Cliff’s Notes Lead In)
To begin, Friday morning at work, we got Ex Parte Notice for Monday morning. Usually, Friday ex parte notices involve a lot of weekend work. They are also often frivolous and meant to give the other side a hard time; this was one of those, with very real potential for derailing much of my Marathon St. Patty’s Weekend plans.
FACT: If you intentionally plan anything mentally or physically taxing that involves the mandatory participation of others for the morning after a major drinking holiday, you are an asshole.
Somehow (I’d like to say because I’m good at what I do, but I think it has more to do with my paralegal being awesome) we managed to wrap up all the EPA prep work except client signatures by 3 p.m. Friday, and the Weekend Work Crisis was averted.
So, with crisis averted, events leading up to the race!!!
4:00 p.m. Friday: Emergency tune up shoulder work with emergency back-up massage therapist. (Yes, I have a massage therapist and emergency back up massage therapist. They know about each other, and I refer lots of people to both of them. They are both fantastically skilled at what they do.)
7:00 p.m. Friday: work event, Fresh Brothers pizza and smart water.
10:00 p.m. Friday: attempt final 5k training run from the training plan, the lights shut off at the track half way through the first lap. Finish first lap and go home.
11:00 p.m. Friday: home yoga, hang with spouse, sleep.
8:00 a.m. Saturday: Starbucks iced latte with whole milk and toasted chocolate Croissant.
9:00 a.m. Saturday: EXPO!!! and First Marathon Miracle: I found a meter in my preferred parking block that already had an hour on it, I added a dollar for two more hours so that when I left there’d be some time for the next person too.
9:30 a.m. Saturday: Walk away from the Garmin booth before I impulse buy a new Garmin. Visit race booths to scope the medals for the races I’ve already registered for, and scope discounts for other races I’m considering. Buy three pouches of honey stinger gummies for $1 each. Collect coupons for other products.
10:30 a.m. Saturday: To the Valley!! My fantastic friend who is in the business of nail wraps is giving me a blinged out St. Patty’s themed manicure because she is awesome.
11:00 a.m. Saturday: Pick up from Starbucks and Panera for pre-mani snack. Another Latte and some tomato soup with baguette for me, avocado blt for my friend.
2:00 p.m. Saturday: Second Marathon Miracle! As we’re walking to my car after the marathon mani, a random woman who looks like she was having a yard sale walks up to my friend and I. “You look like you are going shopping. I made this reusable shopping bag, and I would like to give it to you because you look like you would use it.” The bag was green and black, with glitter ribbon trimming the inside hem. I had just been thinking how I wished I had a St. Patty’s themed tote for my after-race stuff. And low and behold, random woman on the street gives me a very nice one.
4:00 p.m. Saturday: Home Again!! Nothing makes you ready to get out of the car and run a marathon like driving from the valley to LAX on a saturday afternoon.
5:00 p.m. Saturday: Snack Time (Kettle chips and sour cream ranch dip) and Organization Time. Third Marathon Miracle!!!! I pull out my bib during Organization Time, and discover that I am actually on the 5:30 a.m. shuttle!! Due to some gliches with the registration website, I was under the impression that I was stuck in the 4:00 am group. I registered for the race opening day and signed up for the latest Santa Monica shuttle, to have it just in case, but when I logged in last week to confirm, not only did it show me as having no shuttle reservation, the latest available was 4:00 a.m. But whatever, mercury retrograde and all that, so I made contingency plans and moved on. But, halle-freaking-lujah, man, I’m in the 5:30 group.
6:30 p.m. Saturday: My amazing spouse makes mashed potatoes from scratch and cooks a perfectly medium well filet with red wine butter sauce.
7:00 p.m. Saturday: My amazing spouse fixes my iTunes and gets my playlist onto the iPhone for me, because sometimes I’m useless. Him: Your playlist only has eight songs? Me: The first one is a four hour audiobook. Him: That sounds terrible. Me: It’s a comedy and I’ve already read it. Him: I will teach you how to use Spotify, because that still sounds terrible.
8:00 p.m. Saturday: Nap time!
11:30 p.m. Saturday: My amazing spouse brings me Subway.
12:20 a.m. Sunday: Nap time!
4:30 a.m. Sunday: ALARM CLOCK!!! Apply temporary tatoos and sunblock, dress, eat the rest of my Subway.
5:00 a.m. Sunday: Amazing still awake insomniac spouse: Isn’t your shuttle at 5:30? Me: yes. Him: Do you want me to drive you? It’s already 5:00. Me: I don’t know now I’m nervous!!! Him: I will drop you off, but that means I may fall asleep after and miss the finish. Me: Ok.
5:30 a.m. Sunday: Amazing spouse gets me to the Shuttle and I’m on my way to Dodger Stadium!!!
After arriving at Dodger Stadium, I happy to see that the general admission corral situation is not as hectic as I feared. I stand in the portopotty line for about 20 minutes, then go sit on the ground in my corral of choice for awhile, and then with about 45 minutes left get back in the portopotty line. I finish at the P.O.Ps at 7:24, and head back to the corral for the 7:28 start. Luckily, my chosen corral is convenient to the P.O.Ps and I merge back in with the masses just as the national anthem begins and we all start shifting forward.
The Elite Men start, and then “I love LA” plays on a loop as everyone else makes it across the start. I cry a little, because that damn song and marathon starts always make me f-ing tear up. And then we’re off!
During my last 20 miler, I met a lovely lady who had done the new course several times and told me she always walks up the first little hill out of dodger stadium because the course is so congested at the start anyway, and that hill is short but super steep. Having walked in and out of Dodger stadium several times, I decided to follow her advice. After that short steep uphill, there is a short steep downhill to Sunset anyway, so the pace averaged itself out.
Once out of the Stadium, the crowd opened up enough to be comfortable. In fact, I think the crowding was instrumental in preventing me from going out too fast.
Down Sunset, past my apartment from second year law school, around and through china town over to Hill St and the courthouses, up the street between my preferred court parking lot and the Stanley Mosk Courthouse, at which point I remembered I had Court on Monday. Also, this is the second”big” hill. I decided that I run up and down this hill in dress shoes often enough that I had nothing to prove, and chose to walk briskly up to the Music Hall and conserve my resources for later in the race.
Over and out of downtown through some of Silverlake, the lake itself was under construction so not as pretty as it could have been. Back around and down to Sunset, through Los Feliz and into Hollywood (oh, I’m to Mary and Beau’s already? that was fast!) Past 3L/Bar Exam apartment and into WeHo (Oh, I’m to Hollywood and Fairfax already, that was fast!) and boom, half way done!
Beverly Hills took us on Little Santa Monica, Doheney, Rodeo and Burton, past the my hair person’s salon. Then through westwood into the VA, at which point I’m starting to lag. But, on pace for the low end of my target range, so no biggie.
Then, I realized I was almost out of water. I had started with my .5 liter hydrapak, and also about eight honey stinger gummies. About every seven miles I’d eat one gummy, and after mile eight or so I had a sip of water every half mile. This schedule worked really well for my stomach, but also caused me to drink more than usual and there I was, after being self sufficient for most of the race, mentally evaluating the remaining course resources.
And then, magically, somwhere around the VA, I saw it. Not oranges or bananas or gatorade or any other sugary icky stuff.
BEER. Pure delicious carby-watery goodness. Right there. About a mile back I had mentally evaluated my pace and overall state of wellbeing, and determined that barring an epic unexpected emergency I would be finishing well within my target range. So I slowed and allowed myself to transition into an extended walk break for three ounces of beer, shouting an, “Oh thank god, you are wonderful” to the person with the beer tray as I passed. After letting the beer settle, I sipped the last of my water to dilute it out a little in the tummy, and got back to business. About five miles to go.
Out of the VA and into Brentwood. My old training route for LA 2009 from when I worked for a Brentwood attorney right after passing the bar. Chugging along until the audiobook ended just before mile 24.
And then, right on cue: my other seven songs. It is a scientific fact that I cannot sit still while “Time Warp” is playing, so despite myself and whatever my legs or arms or lungs may have been feeling in the seconds before, I was sprinting. For the last 2.2 miles, after 24 miles of this situation, I was fucking sprinting. I may also have been lipsyncing, possibly singing out loud, and certainly at times doing truncated versions of the arm portion of the choreography.
Past my friends at the Meals on Wheels Charity Team cheer station around 25.5, and the finish in sight. Slowed for a minute to get ready for the finish line, then the last quarter mile or so at the original target pace, crossing the line with 10 minutes to spare. Even my gun time was under my target finish time!
DONE AND DONE.
(Oh, and amazing spouse did in fact make it to the finish to meet me.)
On to lunch, a shower and a St. Patty’s party!
What I Learned
Training works. I am capable of making a race plan and sticking to it. I still love marathons.
I am super excited to take a few days off, and then start training again for San Diego on June 2.
I went to my normal massage therapist Monday night, and goodness I love her. You know what she said? “I can tell from the state of your muscles that you trained for this, and you must’ve had good form too.”
I think that sums it up. I was very responsible this time around, and I was able to have fun and get the results I wanted without injury or stress.
So…. next up San Diego!