After New York I had a good base and was able to train really well for a few months. My mileage and paces were almost identical to 3 years prior when I got my BQ in LA, so I was optimistic that I could take a shot at beating that. One major difference. In 2012, it was 48-52 degrees - the coldest LA marathon ever. Perfect conditions. In 2015 it was 70-85 - the hottest year ever. Plus I've had a few tweaks that made my last 4 weeks of training less than optimal.
So I gave
up my hopes for a sub 3:30 BQ, and decided to just run comfortably and
safely and see how long I could hold out. Collect my 12th medal, enjoy
the atmosphere, and wait until next year, when my BQ time goes up by ten
(Of course, comfortable for me IS marathon pace...)
day started in Santa Monica, where the bus loading was much slower than
usual, and we didn't get to the start until 6:15 (for a 6:55 start).
Just enough time to pee in the trees next to the parking lot, and make a
mad dash around the whole 25,000 runner field to get to the corral
entrance. But it worked out OK, and I met up with some acquaintances in
the corral and had 10 minutes to chill.
can see it was still dark. But it was getting lighter as the race got
underway. They blared "I Love LA" like usual and I got choked up again.
Big marathons are fun.
I just jogged with the crowd out of
the stadium and into the big downhills of the first two miles. I
remarked to my neighbor that "this marathoning stuff is easy! No
sun...downhill..." That would all change.
I felt good and stayed relaxed through downtown and over the hills in miles 5 and 6.
7:40, 7:35, 7:41, 8:11, 8:09. Hit 6 miles very close to 48 minutes.
Right on plan. I found myself with the 3:30 pace group and ran with them
for a while. I knew two of the group, so we chatted a little. Then we
hit the flat and downhill section and I planned to make up some time. I
started pulling ahead of the group on a downhill. I wouldn't see them
again until mile 21. When it was a much smaller group.
7:40, 7:41, 7:52, 7:33, 7:29, 7:37 Banking minutes...
DW was positioned at mile 10 on Hollywood Blvd, and got to see me when I was still feeling good.
Here I am at mile 11, still able to fly.
was warm, but there was a consistent light cloud cover, so the sun
never baked down on us. Much. But the heat was taking its toll. I was
drinking at every mile. Usually both Gatorade and water. Then I would
throw some water over my head every time. I was happy for the clouds.
Seemed like it wouldn't quite be the DEFCON 5 disaster we were fearing.
13-15 were 7:54, 7:58 and 7:39 with a big downhill. So I had almost
three minutes in the bank. However, my quads were starting to hurt
already in mile 14. Way too early. And after a steep downhill in 15, I
really could feel the fatigue kicking in. I knew the last ten were going
to be a struggle.
So, with no time goal, I tried to ease
off more, and started walking through a few water stations. I drank as
much Gatorade as possible. Ate bananas and oranges from random
strangers. 4 GUs. But my body was not getting what it needed. My tummy
rebelled for a while, but one long release of "air pressure" helped that
16-18: 8:09, 8:35, 8:27
Here I am still feeling OK on Rodeo Drive in mile 17.
really felt like walking more now, but I kept it going for a while.
Someone handed me a cold wet towel which was great to put around my neck
and on my face. I carried that for a mile or so. Saw DW again at mile
18, and pulled over to get a picture. Because, why not?
Then I kept going, but stopped to walk a block later, once I figured she wasn't looking.
rest of the race was damage control. My body was running out of fuel in
the heat. I thought about what it would take to break 4. My run periods
were getting shorter and shorter. I wasn't pushing my body too hard to
save a few minutes. I was just trying to get to the finish without too
much pain. But I was still smiling. Sometimes.
ran into quite a few people I knew on the course, since I know so many
locals now from my 3 running groups. One jogged with me for a while in
mile 25. One guy was with the hash house harriers handing out beer at
mile 20. Yes, I had some beer. Someone handed me a baggie filled with
ice. I carried that for a few miles, placing it all over my body for
cooling. Support was great.
The last few miles my calves
started to cramp. By the end it got so bad I couldn't run more than 15
seconds before they would start quivering. But once they relaxed, I
tried to run. I was doing my best. I never gave up and walked it in like
1993 and 2001. I still wanted to break 4:00. I had to stop and walk
less than 20 yards from the finish, but then ran it in once the cramp
Here are some pain shots. Apparently I stick my tongue under my lip when I'm hurting.
The splits tell the tale. The graph even better.
But I was enjoying the loud cheering crowd in the last mile. Happy to finish marathon #12.
I could stop moving, it was amazing how soon I felt better. Sure I was
exhausted and the muscles hurt, but the pressure to keep moving was off.
And they gave me a medal! I still got choked up. It never gets old.
Life is good.