3 of 12 in 2010 – LA Marathon
I Can Think Clearly Now…
I haven’t stopped smiling since mile 23 of this race. I am extremely happy for so many reasons but mostly because this race is now behind me and no longer controlling me.
The 41 days following Surf City to the day of the race, I encountered every obstacle possible including a nearly three week break from running (or working out) due to a painful right IT band to almost walking and crying at mile 20. Mentally I was a wreck, completely exhausted, doubting my ability and already forecasting a slow race performance. When all was said and done and I crossed the finish line (injury free – YAY!), I was very happy with both the race results and performance even though it was an A Event without a PR.
In retrospect, and finally being able to think clearly and logically, I realized that I could have really jeopardized my performance simply for letting my mind control me during these 41 days. It wouldn’t have mattered if Steve Prefontaine took me by the hand and set me on the bleacher stairs to give me a pep talk, I just wouldn’t have believed him; I was beyond help. The good news is that I can learn from this mistake and remember, exactly read from one spectator sign during the course: “TRUST YOUR TRAINING.”
I had decided at the beginning of this 12/12 journey that I wouldn’t be able to PR or run all out every race without the risk of injury and possibly not completing my goal of finishing all 12. This decision prompted me to categorize them into A, B or C events. LA was one of only two A events and very important. I decided this race was important because it was a home course (a new and exciting course at that) and I was training with the Los Angeles Roadrunners (LARR), the official training program for the event. I also knew that a tough race would be easier on me knowing I had a bunch of friends that would push each other to the finish line. With only a week before the race I decided that I would aim high, regardless of recent impediments, and run with Group 1 for an attempt at a 3:15:00 finish.
My memory of this race will forever be physical and mental exertion – I don’t remember anything being easy. Physically I was tired and I didn’t know if that was from my time-off, all the unexpected hills encountered around mile 20 (Santa Monica Blvd near Westfield Shopping Center) or my mind telling me I was tired for whatever reasons it could think of. Mentally I was spent before the race even started and when I got around mile 20 and only seeing a steady incline for God knows how long, I just let our pacer get further ahead of me; I kept my head down and I couldn’t wait for the anguish to subside. Up until this point I was on pace and my combined average pace was around 7:22/mile, after that the next four miles were much slower: 7:42, 8:08, 7:57 and 8:20. It wasn’t until I got to mile 23 that I cheered up and found myself extremely happy (the point at which I started smiling) because even though I was laboring and wasn’t at the finish, I was already home – LARRs own these last three miles. We trained here so many Saturdays in a row and I almost know those streets by heart. The last two miles were hard but the most rewarding coming in at 7:21 and 7:11 (not including the last 0.2).
At the end of the day, regardless of how challenging it was, I loved LA Marathon. Unlike the other 11 marathons penned on my calendar, this one had more meaning because of all the friends that were with me throughout. This race wasn’t just about me; it was about a big group of runners, going through the same experience with different dilemmas: first-timers, injuries, PR pressure, etc. It was special because we made it through – TOGETHER. So to all my friends who think I am inspiring in some way, let me THANK YOU because I couldn’t have done it without you by my side. ❤
Slowest splits: 23 – 8:20; 21 – 8:07; 22 – 7:57
Fastest splits: 15 – 7:06; 3 – 7:08; 26 – 7:11