Monday, March 18, 2013

Los Angeles Marathon 2013

EVENT: Los Angeles Marathon XXVIII
DATE: Sunday, March 17, 2013
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
FINISH TIME: 04:49:45

Since I've done this race six times now (this entry, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2008, and 2007... whew!!), I am going to reflect rather than talk about course details, which you can catch... maybe... in my past recaps.

Compared to last year's solid finish in this race, I am pretty disappointed with my performance in the LA Marathon this year -- particularly because I had actually been putting in some legitimate training.  I can't really pinpoint what happened -- recent illnesses, new routines, etc.? -- but when it comes to races, it sometimes just comes down to random little things that can negate weeks of training.

Or, I guess it was an unlucky 13(th marathon) for me.

First of all, I guess I was out of it.  Even after having this photo snapped of me at the expo, I failed to notice that I was not in a seeded corral, like I had in previous years.  Had I noticed "The Ukrainian"'s bib number, I would have seen that he had a letter in front of his number.

So on race morning, while I was shivering at Dodger Stadium, waiting for the race to start, I became agitated with the fact that I'd be starting in the general corral... even more agitated when I overheard people whose previous marathon times were slower than mine.  I used my Ojai time (4:22), registered within the first hour that the race registration opened, and definitely felt I was within the top 10,000 times to qualify for a corral.  I concluded that they messed up, but I am at fault for not noticing this at the expo.

Anyway, that kind of started my morning off on the wrong foot, so to speak, and as expected, the starting area was very hectic.  Still, I only had to wait six minutes to cross the start line, dodging a bunch of people like expected.  The weather forecasts had stated that there'd be a marine layer, but it broke up early, and I was definitely sweating a lot in the first half.  It was kind of muggy.

I was using my walk/run strategy (a variant of Galloway) that has already worked twice for me, but even in the first half, I felt like the miles were going slowly, I was tiring quickly, and my legs were a bit tight.  I was drinking a lot to offset this -- water and sports drink that I was carrying.  Still, I thought things were going pretty well until after Mile 20, as most runners probably experience.  I was spent by then.

I was smiling at this finish-line shot, somehow.  Check out my green-ish St. Patty's Day socks.
Around Mile 22, while I was dragging, my calf seized up all of a sudden -- no warning twitch, no nothing.  Trying to prevent pulling it completely, I stopped in my tracks and calmly massaged my calf.  The bulging muscle subsided and then swelled again.  I waited until it completely stopped before attempting to move over to the side, where it started happening again.  Luckily, I was able to prevent what surely would have been a limpy ending.  I credit my not freaking out.

However, I couldn't run anymore.  Every time I tried, I felt I was about to pull something, so I had the frustrating task of walking the last four miles as quickly as I could.  The last two times I used the run/walk method, I was able to keep myself from this fate, so I don't really know what happened this time.  As I approached the end, I couldn't even run in front of all those spectators without worrying about injuring myself in front of everyone.  I did manage to kind of run the last .05 mi or so (only because I was desperate to break 4:50), but it was really disappointing to finish this way.

Given that my next marathon is in two months, I am not letting this less-than-ideal result bother me too much.  I think I've become accustomed to things not going as planned, and since I just started a new job, I am reminded of how amazing people think marathoning is, regardless of finish time.  Not like I'm trying to be complacent, though!

Plus, I really love LA Marathon, regardless of the somewhat painful logistics and tough course.  People from all walks of life seemingly come out to run or cheer, and on-course aid is so, so plentiful.  Plus, I love LA in general, for things like these:

Red Velvet pancakes from The Buttermilk Truck, which had alluded me for years.

Angel City Brewery beer flight.
As for my journey to my next marathon... that hasn't been fully decided yet.  To be continued, I guess.


  1. So sorry you had calf issues. I'm pretty sure I would've freaked out and cried if my calf was seizing up and I couldn't even walk. A least you were able to finish without injury.

    Also sorry I missed you.

  2. Ugh about your calf situation, great job on not totally freaking out... that would have been me. Congrats on finishing the race and good luck with your next one! P.S. The red velvet pancakes look incredible, now I'm craving pancakes for dinner :-) at this point, any kind will do.

  3. Whoops, used the wrong gmail. The above is me Kathleen (

  4. Congratulations on finishing under such tough circumstances! Way to battle through. Sometimes we have races go that way. I hope your next one goes better. Still, congratulations - a marathon finish is always special!