The morning I had been waiting for had finally arrived. All of the excitement, anticipation, and hard work was finally beginning to materialize. It was ASICS LA Marathon day. I arrived at Dodger Stadium in the morning, around 4:30ish…I really don’t know what time it was I was tired. One thing I did know for certain is that it was already warm out. The weather forecast was holding true. I walked right into the stadium and ran into Emelia (I noticed her vibrant INKnBURN Flutter tank).
We sat and caught up. I haven’t seen her since Marine Corps, so it was awesome to reminisce and discuss thoughts and things. We were in a pretty open area right outside where Team NutriBullet was hanging out. So we ran into a few friends, and followers. Tam stopped by to say hello. After I walked Emelia to gear check and went and sat in my corral.
I am not going to lie. I woke up that morning excited, but full of self doubt. I was very nervous and anxious about this race and the heat had nothing to do with it. I’ve run in heat before, and the past two years I’ve run LA it’s been hot. This had to do with wanting to perform. I know my body has gotten stronger. I know my endurance levels have gotten better. I put a lot of pressure on myself…I just wanted to do well.
Before I knew it, it was lift off time. It’s always fun to see familiar faces in the crowd of cattle with you. I saw Tam again and ran into Scott.
We shared some jokes and moved up to take on LA. And away we went. Smiling faces, loud cheers, and determined runners taking on their journey from Stadium to Sea.
The First Half
I had an amazing first half. I really did. I went out strong yet easy. I had the proper fuel jamming through my system. My muscles felt strong, my endurance levels were steady. I was on fire. The first 6 miles and through Downtown Los Angeles and Echo Park which means variable hills. I walked big hills and inclines. I wanted to keep my legs as fresh as I could for as long as possible.
It was way too early in the race to go full throttle. I know this course VERY well so I knew when and where I needed to dial it back. I came across the half marathon mark just before or around 2:15. So my pace was blazing. I enjoyed the scenery and of course snapped some selfies along the way because it’s what I do. I appreciated the eclectic energy of Silver Lake…I just wish I could of stopped for brunch.
The Second Half
I was still feeling amazing. I had all the Salt Stick to keep me moving, and I was plenty hydrated. It was starting to warm up temperature wise, so I continued to keep on plan and on course. I remember that running along the Sunset Strip that the road climbs and drops so I took my time here. This is where I’ve messed up in the past, not this year! By the time I got to the left turn at San Vicente in West Hollywood I was feeling so confident. I blew through West Hollywood no problem. I rolled into Beverly Hills and slowed down while I ran down Doheney. I knew my first cheer squad was just a mile and a half away. I generally don’t have people spectating my races there to crew me so this was really special and I actually teared up a little bit. Andrea, Michael, AJ, and Carlee were right there before Rodeo Drive! They had Samoas, Coca-Cola (which tastes INCREDIBLE mid-race), and iced wash clothes to help keep me cool. I visited for a bit and recharged with positive energy and love and smiles.
Then I headed down Rodeo with a smile on my face. I mean how can you not smile at the sight of Gucci?
I knew that Jenn would be at mile 19 with spray bottles and such. So, I got there as fast as I could. It was starting to warm up so I knew something was going to change my performance. I already felt it. Jenn crewed me and sprayed me with ice water, gave me sweaty hug and I continued on to the VA.
Where It Went Left…
I entered the VA to find my buddy Josh from Orange Mud right behind me. This is odd, he’s VERY fast. The heat had caught us at mile 21. We walked through the VA and caught up and chatted. We tried to run and ended up jogging the last new miles.
The sun was out in full force so I made sure to get the fluids in me. I doubled my intake. Passing out wasn’t an option for me. I kept the calories coming. I wasn’t far away. I felt strong muscle and endurance wise, but the heat just threw up a wall. I walked it in from 23-26.2 with a finish time of 5:25:20…the same finish time to the second from my first LA Marathon. THAT is funny.
I was proud. I had an INCREDIBLE 20 miles. Those 20 miles likely compete for the best with Marine Corps. I haven’t felt that strong before in a run. I even told my crew earlier “This feels easy…I’m nervous.” It wasn’t easy. A marathon is never easy, YOU just get stronger. My cross training and hard work was paying off. I was proud of that. This was my 20th marathon. And next month I go to Boston to beat Heartbreak Hill. It won’t stop me again. This is an amazing marathon. LA has an amazing spirit, incredible neighborhood and crowd support, and in my opinion one of the best routes on the planet. I knew if it wasn’t for the heat I would of KILLED this race. But sometimes, it just isn’t in the cards that day. I don’t count this as a bad race, this was a great race. I learned a lot and felt stronger than I ever have before. In my mind, that’s a huge victory. Sometimes the finish time isn’t what is most important…it’s the journey you take to get there. I’m happy…sore…but happy. I tweeted on Monday morning “I’m moving like a turtle, but my spirit is soaring like an eagle.” It’s still true at this moment.