Friday, March 7, 2008

L.A. Marathon

Up until two days before the Los Angeles Marathon, I wasn't even planning on running it. You see, I found out a few weeks ago that I would be working in Hong Kong for three months. After the Tour de Palm Springs, I really planned on focusing on my running; however, with planning, packing, and saying goodbye to friends, I only got in one semi-long (11 mile) run and one 10K treadmill workout. By Thursday before the race, I was panicked. I had already made arrangements to fly to Hong Kong on the Tuesday after - taking Monday off to finish packing. I was so stressed with wrapping things up at the office and home, that I couldn't even think about running 26.2 miles.

Then, a funny thing happened. I realized I probably needed to do this run in order to alleviate some of the stress. So....I went to pick up my race packet on Saturday morning, hardly slept on Saturday night, and made my way downtown very, very early on Sunday morning. The tricky thing about the L.A. Marathon is that it is now a point-to-point course. So, I had to decide if I wanted to park near the start (Studio City) or the finish (Downtown). I thought it might be better to park at the finish so that I could get home right away. What this meant is that after parking and taking the Metro to the start, I pretty much had a 90-minute wait before the race to stress out even more.

I was really amazed at the beginning at how fast the miles seemed to arrive. I wasn't running fast because I was trying to pace myself for a sub-5 hour run. By the 1/2, I was on track, feeling good and decided I didn't need to eat that Accelerade gel pack or grab one of the millions of oranges that were handed out on the course. Then, a funny thing happened on the way to the finish - I slowed down. I mean, really slowed down. I was hurting and out of energy. I gulped down two Advil, the Accelerade gel, a handful of pretzels from a nice man, and two cups of water. Too little, too late. By mile 19, my goal of a sub-5 hour run turned into "just finishing." I don't even think you could call what I was doing at that point running. It was more like limping and hopping!  At mile 20, I grabbed what I thought was a water cup and took a gulp - it was beer! Now, I love my beer; however, at this point, it did not help. By mile 24, I decided it was time to walk. I walked almost that entire mile and picked up into a trot just before mile 25 to the finish. 

I finished in 5:21:08 - worse than Disney and so far beyond my goal -- but, I finished (here's the photo that proves it). Lesson learned: don't run a marathon after you've only run two times in the two weeks leading up to it and are stressed about relocating to another part of the world two days after it.

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