2014 ASICS LA Marathon – Redemption

What an amazing experience! As I mentioned in a previous post, this race had a couple of objectives I wanted to meet. First being, I wanted to best the course. Last year I ran the Asics LA Marathon in 5:24, this year I beat the course with a 5:19…which had all to do with heat and cramping but we will get there in a second. The next objective was to use this marathon as my training baseline for the next 6 weeks as I prepare for The Boston Marathon. As a charity runner, I know I’ll start in the back of the pack, but I still want to ensure I have a strong performance. I am pleased to report that both objectives were successfully met. So, let’s talk about this race shall we?

I arrived at Dodger Stadium dark and early in the morning wrapped in a mylar blanket…a lesson learned from last year for sure. Daylight Savings Time had just happened earlier in the morning so I know that most of us were feeling the effects of loosing a precious hour of sleep…especially before a marathon. Before I race I went and sat inside the stadium and just mediated on the day’s game plan. I focused on my goal, on the course, where the trouble spots were last year, strategized on how not to repeat the mistakes again, and what to do if my body responded in a specific manner. I really should do this more often because I think it really worked. I was locked into a battle mode unlike anything I can remember. I hopped in the corral and found my friend Kenny who was running his very first marathon. I gave him some words of encouragement and cautioned him about some interesting parts of the course. Before we knew it, we were off. We eased up to the start line, I started my music and we were off to Run LA!

I took the first 5 miles really easy. I didn’t open the engine all the way. Downtown Los Angeles is literally on a hill…which means when you run down from Elysian Park (where Dodger Stadium is), down toward Chinatown and into metro Downtown you’re running hills the entire time. The landscape really isn’t as flat as it appears. So I made my way through, smiling, and laughing. Just before mile 5 I feel a tap on my shoulder, it’s Brian from Pavement Runner.com! Love that guy! He was pushing for his sub 3:30 and looked happy and was in the zone! Seeing a familiar face from your blogging circle is always great!

Taking on the hills of Downtown LA in front of Walt Disney Concert Hall

Once we left Downtown, we headed towards Silver Lake. Silver Lake is a bohemian cultured neighborhood in Los Angeles best known for it’s eclectic culture, great food, and art. Portions of this are downhill which are fun. It’s one of my favorite portions of the course actually. I had to duplicate the photo from last year in front of the iconic Sunset Junction sign!

What’s Up Sunset Junction!

From there our journey continued towards Hollywood. We turned onto Hollywood Boulevard and made our way past the historic Pantages Theatre which is home to Los Angeles’ Broadway theatre shows (and it’s beautiful inside), and down the street a mile to The Hollywood and Highland center, home to The El Capitan Theatre (for my Disney freaks out there) and the now Dolby Theatre which is where the Academy Awards are held every year. I am telling you, if you have never been to Los Angeles and want to sight see and see everything in 26.2 miles…this is the race to run!

How do you NOT stop for a Beyoncé billboard!?

This is about the half way mark. I am feeling excellent at this point. I am well fueled and hydrated (thanks to EnergyBits, Skratch Labs, and Orange Mud) so I kept going. I made my way to Sunset Boulevard and ran. I took it easy here because last year I realized that Sunset actually has a gradual incline…which means you basically are running uphill slowly. You don’t really notice it until after. So I dialed back a little. We entered West Hollywood which is always an adventure and mile 15 I still feel strong. I kept moving. Next up was Beverly Hills. This is where I knew things would start to get interesting. I felt strong coming through the fabulous shops and stores of Melrose…you know the types Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Chanel, Valentino, etc. No celebrity sightings, but I did slow down to window shop. I think I need to go back and get that awesome messenger bag I saw in the window at Prada.

Labels of Love!

We turned the corner and made our way to Century City. This is about the point last year where I lost it. I felt tight, but nothing I couldn’t stretch through and continue my journey. Apparently, at mile 19 one of my awesome readers was waiting for me with the first ever See Sharp Run signage! Funny story, I stopped and took a stretch break on the other side of the street from where she was standing just past the mile marker. Hilarious! But I loved the sign and loved the fact that she thought about me! THANK YOU JENN! Really really sweet of you.

Jenn rocks and wins all the prizes

I kept moving onto mile 20 where I ran into my home girl Erica who was there with the awesome Pasadena Pacers running club…no really they are incredible! Erica blew me away! She met me with a bag of pretzels in various varieties, refilled my water bottle and ran with me and gave me some epic words of encouragement. Mile 20 is where I lost it last year, so having her there was the perfect placement…thank you Universe and thank you Erica for playing pit crew and for being so awesome and encouraging!

Erica! Captiain of the #TeamSharp pit crew for LA Marathon

I made my way through the Veterans Affairs hospital successfully and turned on the thrusters to get to mile 22. By this point the sun was in FULL effect. Thank the unicorns I was wearing a hat and had my hydra quiver. I took to social media and wanted to let all of you know what was going on. My splits were amazing, I felt great, but cramps and lack of salt in my muscles made for a crazy afternoon. I was forced to slow down and adjust my run/walk intervals to 1/1…which I was completely fine with. Since I had slowed down, I had time to do the math in my head. I knew that my chances for my PR were shot at this point…and I was perfectly fine with that. I also knew that if I stayed on pace I would beat my course time. That was motivation! I wasn’t going to allow this course to defeat me. What was interesting, is I didn’t have a ‘Grumpy Cat’ mile this race. I was REALLY happy and in amazing spirits the entire time. I wasn’t defeated. I wasn’t bitter. I wasn’t hungry! I did extremely well.

All authentic smiles!

I also took the time to really have an honest conversation with myself about if I was ready to take on Boston or not. I am. My cardio endurance is where I want it. I can maintain the run/walk interval that Adam and Katie are training at with no problem at all, so that is a plus. My area of opportunity is strength training. I need to build some strength in my back and quads. If I can do that and make that my focus, I will be in amazing shape for races to come! So, once that was established I was REALLY happy. I love progress.

I turned onto Ocean Avenue home of the finish line and saw that real big bright orange Asica LA Marathon arch and started to tear up! I had done it. I didn’t get defeated and I felt prepared and accomplished. All of you helped me get through it and celebrated me along the way and for that I was grateful. I crossed the line at 5:19:15. I couldn’t be happier. I also earned my Marathon Maniac status!  Say hello to maniac #8887! Next up, let’s get ready for Boston! PS: to all of you that purchased miles for charity…THANK YOU!

TAKE THAT LOS ANGELES!

 

3 Comments
  • Lesley
    March 11, 2014

    Great job, and good luck with Boston. I do think one of the best ways to see a city is by running a race. LA seems to hit all the major areas in the city.

  • Katrina Elle
    March 11, 2014

    Coach is proud!!!

  • Erica Kolsrud
    March 11, 2014

    Way to go!!! Can’t wait to track you all at Boston!!!

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