What an incredible weekend. The Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon is probably one of the largest race weekends on my calendar every year. Not just because I am the captain ambassador for the Conqur Endurance Group (the parent company that hosts this race as well as the Pasadena Half Marathon at the Rose Bowl and the Santa Monica Classic) but because there is so much to do and experience. The expo was full of energy and packed with people smiling, anxious to take on the marathon on Sunday morning. Saturday, I ran the LA Big 5K to shake the legs out and just enjoy one more event for the weekend. It truly is such a treat to participate in this race weekend. But this post is all about the marathon. I really wasn’t sure how I wanted to recap the race, so I will just go with what I feel and see what happens.
The night before I laid out my race kit as always. Being that this race is a Skechers Performance race, it only seemed right that I wore my Skechers Performance race kit. I paired that with my gun metal Sparkle Athletic visor, the new navy ProCompression wings sock, My Garmin of course, and my Orange Mud handheld which would be filled with Tailwind.
I woke up that morning and decided that dealing with Los Angeles traffic was not in my cards that morning. So I drove to the Pasadena Metro station and took the Gold line into Union Station downtown. There is a shuttle that takes folks right up the hill to Dodger Stadium where the race starts so this was easy. The shuttle did drop us off outside of the gate and we had to walk uphill…I heard this was a wide-spread issue race morning. I spoke to my people at Conqur and this has already been addressed and hopefully we won’t see this happen again. I also realize things just happen on race morning. I was tired and just wanted to stay as focused as I could. Trying not to sweat the small stuff.
I made my way to the race day hospitality tent where I met with the rest of my ambassador team. Everyone was in good spirits. This is always a bittersweet day for us. It is the formal end of our Conqur race season. But I have to tell you, this team has been absolutely stellar to work with! Amazing runners with amazing stories! So inspiring! Thank you to my entire team! You guys are truly stars.
Before I knew it I was walking to the corrals. As I was standing there I started to strategize for the day. My ONLY goal was to be as consistent as I could for as long as I could and adjust when necessary. Find a pace that feels easy and stay there. The time will work itself out but lock in and see if you can get to 20 miles before 3:30. Just hold it together. Those became the 4 words of the day…just hold it together.
Before long, the horn sounded and “I Love LA” was blaring from the speakers. This is one of my favorite race day traditions and chokes me up every time and I can’t tell you why lol. We all began our 26.2 mile journey to the Santa Monica Pier.
I did a great job of finding a pace that felt good. Between a 9:30-10:00 pace. This was easy and felt comfortable. I felt like I was making good ground but not blasting out of the gate. This course is not flat at all. It climbs and dips and turns, so pace is everything. I didn’t feel like I missed much. I saw all of my favorite landmarks. Saw some great folks on course. I stayed with my plan. Everything was great.
Around mile 17 I got my first cramp as I turned onto Rodeo Drive (OF ALL PLACES). I shook it off and kept moving. Cramps aren’t uncommon as we all know but it’s all about the recovery. Stretch it, yell at it, keep moving. Just hold it together. I got to the #WeRunSocial aid station a mile later which was a Godsend. The ice cold water and hugs were so necessary. Thanks guys for being there. I saw my friend Jenn at mile 19 (its our spot) and I ALWAYS love seeing here there for moral support. She has the same sign she cheers with from the first year she spectated! Its really special.
I hit mile 20 just under 3:30. Goal achieved. Then I had that long hike up Sepulveda. I kept moving slower at this point and made it to Brentwood. I had a small celebration because I made it through Century City without blowing out! Huge growth here. I made it to Brentwood. It’s all downhill from here! Well, mile 22 is when the Rocket started to break up upon re-entry. My legs were done. I was fried and fatigued. So now what happens? Just hold it together. Reassess and just move. I had some great support talking me through those last 4 miles which seemed so long. But I didn’t quit moving. I kept smiling. I did great. Held a great pace, hit all my targets, the wheels just came off. It happens. All things considered I had a great day. Thats what I kept telling myself. Just hold it together.
I got a big burst of energy when I got to Ocean and just took off. I was ready to be finished. I wanted to rest and the only way to do that is to finish strong. I don’t quit. I came across the finish line at 4:53. A minute faster than last year, and my fastest time on course. Not what I wanted, but not going to turn my nose up at it either. The marathon is about the fight. It is about pushing your limits. It is about learning and experiencing something that only can be unveiled when you are under high stress. I love this race. Always will. I also finished the Conqur LA Challenge on Sunday! Three world class events, lots of heavy duty hardware, so many memories.
Do you wanna play next year? Through tomorrow the lowest price of the year for the Los Angeles Marathon and the Conqur LA Challenge are here so sign up! It won’t be this cheap again!
Did you run LA? Do you WANT to run LA? What was YOUR LA Moment?