It was time once again to take on the LA Marathon, this would be my fourth time toeing the line. I put off registration for some time but knew that I could not miss this high energetic race. I didn’t really know how my day was going to go. I just had a miserable race at Sean O’Brien 50k back in February and did Bayshore 70.4 the Saturday before, I really wasn’t sure what my legs had to give. I did know that I wanted to finish sub 4:30 and really try to use this as a training run for Ironman Santa Rosa, so hitting a Ironman marathon goal paces would be great.
I got to talking to my friend Jess and she mentioned that she was going to shoot for a 4:15 finish so I suggested that we run together. I felt that she was way more prepared than me and mentioned to her that if I bonk she should go ahead and drop me.
Race day was here, my wife and I arrived to Dodger stadium excited for the fun that was in store for us. We meet up with several friends and I found Jess and introduced her to the group. After a few photos, restroom stops and gear bag drop off we were ready to make our way to our corral. My wife decided to hang back with my family and have an easy run. She was going to enjoy the course document as mush of it as possible and smile. Jess and I made our way to Corral C to meet up with Marcos.
The plan was simple stay in front of the 4:15 pace group and drop back with them if our legs got tired. National Anthem was done the crowed of runners let out a big screen and the count down was on. Boom! We were of on a 26.2 mile journey of Los Angeles from Stadium to Sea. We of course got caught up in the excitement and started off at a much faster pace then expected. We found ourselves about a half a mile in front of the 4 hour pace group. But we felt good at that pace, we figured has why not just bank a few minutes now just in case we have some trouble later.
My stomach was not feeling well in the first half of the marathon. I made three bathroom breaks in the first 13 miles and it was very concerning. I would tell Jess to keep the pace I would run into the port-a-potty take care of business and then race to catch up to her. Some of those sprints took a lot out of me, had to run sub 7 minute pace to catch up to Jess. I told her that I wasn’t sure I can last at the rate my bathroom breaks were going and that if I drop she shouldn’t wait for me. I took in fluids and kept grinding it out.
It was around mile 14-15 where Jess realized that if we keep up the pace she would get a PR. That was the motivation I needed to get back in the game. My mind shifted from survive mode to lets fucking do this mode. This was Jess’s first time running this course so I tried to giver her a heads up on what was ahead of us. I gave her warning on the hills and when to take it easy, not sure if it worked but anything to help her goal a little. We pushed the sub 9 minute pace making our way past Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Taking advantage of every down hill possible and moving quick because I knew there was still some climbing left for us on the last 10k.
We made it to mile 19 and the course wasn’t getting any easier. It was now that Jess turned to me and said “I think that’s all my body has, I don’t think I can keep this up.” to which I replied “Fuck No!, you can do this. If you pull back then I will too and I’m not ready yet. You got this.” I think we both fed off of that exchange of words and found a little bit of more fire to get us going. We essentially had about one more hour of running left and that’s what we kept telling ourselves as we watched the miles count down. I was in a good place on the second half of that marathon. My legs had warmed up and were moving very nicely. I was very pleased at how my body was behaving for a sub 4 hour marathon but I can feel Jess pulling back. It was my job not to let her because I knew she still had more in her.
We reached mile 23 and made our way to the beach. It was now that Jess had to dig deep, push and ignore the pain. Marathons suck and the road is punishing on the feet. I was glad that it was almost over and couldn’t help but cheer for all the runners around me. We made that final right turn onto Ocean Blvd and could see the finish line in the distance.
Done. We crossed the finish line and could finally stop moving our legs and take in how hard this task actually was. We walked towards the volunteer who placed our medals around our necks and made our way to see our families. I called my wife to check on her and she was laughing and having a great time with my cousins. They were in no hurry and were enjoying the perfect weather. I made my way over to the finish festival to meetup with more friends and celebrate. Official finish time was 3:52:55 not a bad day at all.
I’ve said it several times, LA Marathon is by far the most energetic marathon I’ve ever ran. Its a race I keep coming back to year after year.