5th Place Female Finisher - LA Marathon 2020 Recap
Updated: Apr 17
If you would rather listen to this blog post (and some extra fun info about my race) you can listen to it through Anchor or Spotify...
Sunday March 8, 2020 was an epic day in my running journey. I started the 2020 Los Angeles Marathon and walked away with a 26 minute personal best, a sub 3 hour marathon time, and I placed 5th Overall Female (this is in the age group athletes). Overall, I thought the #lamarathon was a very well organized event. It is a big race (27,000 participants this year) and my experience logistically was that everything went very smooth. BUT I will mention that I lived in the LA area for awhile, so I am well aware of how bad the traffic can be, especially around major events. That being said, I did leave extra early to get to pack it pick up and the start line.
My husband and I drove down to LA very early on Saturday morning and went straight to the LA Convention Center to pick up my packet. Packet pick up was very smooth and I had no issues. We walked around the Convention Center for a little bit to check out all the cool running gear and gadgets were at the expo. I still had not decided what tank top I was running in for race day, so I was shopping around for some options, but did not find exactly what I wanted. I also stopped by the Nuun Hydration booth to show some #nuunlove to the #nuunteam I am a Nuun Ambassador this year, so it was fun to meet some of the team that I had only interacted with online in person.
After leaving the Convention Center, my husband and I went to Javier's at the Century City Mall to have some lunch #javiers I love some good Mexican food and Javier's is delicious. In case you are wondering, I did have one skinny margarita with lunch. It helped me relax a little before the race and I was drinking a TON of water and Nuun, so I was not worried about it making me dehydrated. I also had a taste of my husband's cucumber margarita and it was delicious!
After lunch we were walking back to our car and we passed by the 2XU store at the Century City Mall. I had never heard of 2XU before but their clothes caught my eye and I found the PERFECT tank top for the race. It was exactly what I had been looking for: extremely light weight, light colored, and not too tight. I was super excited. Here is a picture of me in it after the race #myfinishline
We checked into our hotel and relaxed the rest of the day. I started binge watching "Love is Blind" on Netflix and it was perfect mindless TV. At 6pm, I laid out all my clothes for the race, nutrition, shoes, etc. just in case I forgot something. I had not, in fact I had packed a little too much of everything just in case.
I fell asleep easy and slept really well, I think that is a perk to being a mom; you are always tired so when you get a night away it is easy to sleep. My husband drove me to the start line at Dodger's Stadium and we left with plenty of time to spare. We knew traffic would start to back up and sure enough it did. I started to get a little nervous about time, but I ended up making it to the Stadium drop off area with about 45 minutes until start time. I did my warm up, activation exercises, etc. then got in my corral. I was in Corral B because my previous marathon time was a few minutes shy of getting me into Corral A. I knew that would make the beginning of the race congested and a little slow, but I was mentally prepared for that.
When the race started, it was very hard to get through to the front of the pack. What made the congestion a little worse, was some participants where still running from their cars in the opposite direction of the racers, toward their corrals. Apparently, there had been an accident and traffic had gotten so backed up that people started running from their cars to the start line. With all of this, my first mile was a 7:34, way off the 6:50's I needed to get my sub 3 hour time goal. I tried to stay calm because I knew I had a lot of miles to make up those 44 seconds.
The next 13 miles were very hilly for me. I live in a very flat area and between being a wife, mom, and working part-time it is hard to just get my runs in. I do not have time to drive to hills very often, but man I wish I would have! I tried to stay at 6:50's per mile or below, stay calm, and clip off miles one by one. Overall, the race was going really well and I was still feeling good at about mile 14. Then some doubt started to creep into my mind. I still had over 12 miles left to race. I did not know if the back half of the course was as hilly as the first half. I started to wonder if I could keep the pace up. Then I did a self assessment and I realized the pain I was feeling was only in my quads and aerobically I still felt great. If I stayed on track, the pain would be over in less then 90 minutes. I had put in hours and hours of work toward this goal; I was not going to give up on it because of 90 minutes of discomfort.
The next part of the race is a little bit of a blur. I just tried to continue to stay on pace and I did so fairly successfully. I do remember running down Rodeo Drive and looking in the shop windows; that was a nice distraction. At mile 20 I was still feeling really good and started to think, "I can do this, this maybe my day!" But then between miles 20 and 22 I started to feel myself hitting "the wall." I was hurting but willed myself to leave it "all" on the race course and not stop moving one foot in front of the other. I had come too far; there was no way I was going to stop now. The crowd support at this point in the race was AMAZING, so that helped carry me through for sure. Most of the last 3 miles of the course was downhill, which for me was merciful. Yes, my quads where being torn to shreds, but I welcomed the help of gravity at that point in the race.
As I turned left onto Ocean Ave in Santa Monica, I knew as long as I did not stop moving I was going to make my time goal. My joy and happiness carried me through that last mile to the finish line and I even managed a little surge during the last 200m.
Crossing the finish line of a marathon in under 3 hours was something I never thought I would be capable of 11 years ago when I started running. Back then I could not make it through a 2 mile run without taking some walk breaks. I will share that story on another day, but I just want to encourage anyone reading this to never limit yourself and never let others put limits on you. I have done that most of my life and I finally just got tired of it and decided to go for the goal that I wanted to pursue. Yes, you may not reach your goal on the first try. There will be set backs. I have had plenty and I will share more of those later too. But don't give up and don't let others make you doubt yourself.
I have no idea what is next for me racing wise thanks to the Coronavirus. I had planned to run the Boston Marathon #bostonmarathon in a few weeks, but it was just announced this morning that the Boston Marathon will be postponed until September 14, 2020. As everything with the #coronavirus shakes out and hopefully settles down, I will figure out with my coach what my next race will be. In the meantime, I will keep training and running because I love it! But it will be a little more laid back for awhile.
Did anyone else run the LA Marathon? What was your experience? Is there anyone else not able to run Boston this year? How are you feeling?