Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Bangle Chronicles - Episode 6 - Revenge (2010)

After the last marathon failure, I slipped back into half-a$$ runner mode. Occasional 5 and 10Ks, less mileage, not too serious, but never quitting either. In '04 and '05 I ran some 5Ks with my son (no stroller) as he was big enough to run most of the way. Later in '07 he actually beat me in a 5K at age 13 (barely) in 23:20. It was fun to share my 'hobby'. He tried cross country a couple times, but didn't stick with it. Here we are in 2010 in a 5K we ran together.

June2010 062

In 2005 I married wife #2, Mrs. bangle44. I actually proposed before a race, out on a pier over the ocean. Totally surprised her. Then I took off to run the race. She loves the beach and the ocean, so she was thrilled and always tells everyone how I proposed and then ran away. We bought a house together only 1/2 mile from the beach, so now I can do most of my running along the coast. Life is good.

In '08 and '09 I gradually got more serious with the running. Did more half marathons, and did my first triathlons. And in May '09 I started blogging on the loop, the greatest motivational tool for runners since finisher medals.

In going through the archives I found the first documented capture of the bangle pump, from 2002. Spot the pump.

rb 001

rb 001 - Copy

And here is a bigger version of my original loop avatar, from my first tri in 2008. Senior Runner named this the bangle pump, and it kind of took off from there.

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The awesome inspiration of the Loop got me back to thinking that I needed to try this marathon thing again. I had done 3 good marathons in Minnesota, and two awful bonkers in LA. When the LA marathon came out with a new course, I knew it was time to vanquish my bete noire, get the monkey off my back, and conquer my hometown marathon. Training was going well. I put in the mileage, I did more speed work, had some good races. The loop helped motivate me to new heights. I had a stretch goal of a BQ at 3:30, or 8 minute pace, but really I just wanted to finish LA without bonking for once.

The rest is from my original Loop Race Report, titled Revenge is Kind of Sweet

Alternate titles:

Maybe Three Days a Week isn't Enough After All

OMFG, It Hurts!

LA, You are my Bee-yotch!

A Bonk and A Victory

Getting to the start was crazy. DW and I left home at 5:00 AM and got within 2 miles of the stadium at 5:30 and then came to a dead stop on the freeway. It took another hour before we made it into the parking lot, just before I was ready to ditch the car or pee my pants. I did a quick pee (luckily the parking lot is surrounded by trees) and headed for the corral. I managed to move up pretty far, so I was only about 20 feet behind the sub 4 corral, so I got 90% of the people behind me. Then I sat and waited. The start was delayed 20 minutes due to the traffic problems.

At the start they played "I Love LA" and I got choked up again. I managed to get moving pretty quick and did the first mile in 8:33. After looping the Stadium we passed the start and the back of the pack had still not moved at all. It was over 20 minutes before everyone got started. Miles 2 and 3 were downhill so I opened it up and clocked a 7:38 and 7:35. Banking some minutes! Ha!

Miles 4 and 5 had some steep uphills, and I had to make another potty break that cost me a minute. But basically I was feeling pretty good - not great. 8:11, 9:17 (with the pee break)

The next 7 miles I was cruising through Hollywood, enjoying the atmosphere, running just under 8 minute pace, and thinking it was too fast. But I was trying to relax, and the pace would not go up! So I decided to stay with it and see how it went. Maybe a BQ was possible if I could keep this up. But I was starting to feel a little tired, and kind of figured I would be hurting later. 7:59, 7:49, 8:09, 7:53, 7:59, 7:57, 7:54

Celebrity sighting! Gordon Ramsay was running and I heard someone say his name, and I looked over and there he was, 4 feet away! I passed him about mile 12. The guy next to me had to say" My wife loves your show" or some such nonsense and he was gracious and said "Thanks very much". He is a serious runner and has done the 56 mile Comrades race! Turns out he dropped out about 3 miles later.

There were photographers all over, so by the end of the day I was ready to retire the bangle pump forever. It seemed a little forced. I should just save it for the finish.

The people cheering were awesome. With my name on my bib, I heard lots of Go Brad cheers. Major kudos to the fans who spend hours boosting the spirits of thousands of strangers!

Mile 13 I was starting to tire, and my "relaxed" effort was finally showing up on my watch with a 8:21, but mile 14 was back to 8:02 and mile 15 was downhill so I did 7:57. But I was getting seriously tired now. I was feeling blisters forming on both feet and getting pre-cramp feelings in my calves. Mile 16 was 8:22.

I then started focusing on short term goals. Walking started to sound really good, but I kept putting it off. I was running with my heart and my guts. My wife and kid were waiting after mile 18 so I decided I would try to stay strong through then. Mile 17 was 8:37 and mile 18 was 8:45. Slowing but still running.


I still felt OK, so I focused on getting to 19 without stopping. Made it in 8:41. Now I was starting to think what it would take to finish under 4 hours. Sounded possible if I didn't completely fall apart. Before mile 20 I finally gave in and walked a little. That started a pattern where I would allow myself a walk break each mile, but would then try to make the next mile marker at least before stopping again.

Last 7 miles: 10:49, 10:55, 9:49, 10:39, 10:32, 10:36, 10:02 and a 9:11 pace for the last chunk (0.40 for me)

That last 7 were just pure exhaustion. My strategy worked and I was able to limit the walks to about a minute or so. Sure I slowed a lot, but I didn't totally fall apart like the previous LA races. At 24.5 my calf cramped up, but I stretched it on a curb and was able to get it to function again. The last mile we could see the finish and I vowed not to walk for the last 1.2, but I was grimacing and suffering. Oh my God it hurt.

Finally the finish arrived and I could stop moving. 3:52:38. I was glad to break 4 hours and conquer LA. Revenge was mine! Not an optimal race, but I never quit and I finished 31 minutes better than last time, so I am calling it a victory.

I could go on and on about the pain, but you get the idea. Eventually it subsided, but I was walking funny for a few days.
Good night!

la2010 001
It took 30 years to get from marathon #1 to marathon #6. The next 6 would only take 5 years.

Next: Episode 7: The BQ Force Awakens (2011)

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