And I mean that quite literally.
Yesterday, March 15, I ran the LA Marathon for the 1st time. Now, this wasn’t my first marathon but I knew this would be difficult. How, do you ask? Because I didn’t really train for it. My last marathon was in mid November and the longest run I did between then and yesterday was 6.2 miles. Between being sick almost all of January and then my dad getting sick and passing away, I really let my training slack. I chose to proceed anyway, but didn’t put any serious expectations on myself. And then the news of the intense heat came. It was going to be in the 90’s on race day. At that point, I just decided to make sure I finished, no matter how long it took.
Race day started like this:
At 4am if it was almost 70 out, I knew it was going to just get worse.
The race originally was going to start at 7:25 but due to the heat advisory they moved the start time up half an hour. 6:55 am rolled around and we were off. Not even out of the stadium and guys were running off to the side of the course to pee. Hilarious.
The first 3 miles were great as we made our way through Los Angeles. Just after mile 4, we hit the hill from hell. Fortunately it was so early on, it was no big deal. But, I was already starting to feel the heat coming. I started grabbing a cup of water or gatorade to drink at every station and an additional cup of water to dump on my head. Anytime I saw someone handing out water, I took it.
Which of course meant multiple bathroom breaks. But hey, I was able to run comfortably with no stomach issues. Those couple of extra minutes off my time were well worth it.
At mile 17 or so, I saw my friend Estevan. I was SO happy to see a familiar face. I was getting ready to walk when I saw him, but once I did, I couldn’t! Around mile 18.5 I saw my friend Cameron who works for the fire department. Mile 20 or so (I think) I saw my friend and co-worker Joy who jogged with me for about 1/10 of a mile making sure I was hydrated and that I didn’t need anything. Mile 22 I saw my friend Gregg who also checked to make sure I didn’t need anything. Seeing familiar faces so late in a race when you are just exhausted and in pain, was amazing. Gave that little added extra “umph” that I’m sure I so very badly needed.
As we ran through the VA area, I knew we were almost done (afterall, it was mile 20) but then I saw Purple Heart Hill. Oh. My. God. I wish I took a picture. It’s not what you want so far into a road race. At all.
And while I hadn’t hit the wall mentally, my feet and hip flexors were KILLING me. I seriously just wanted to sit down and rest. But I pushed on.
Mile 21 came and went. Mile 22. I got a text from my boyfriend of his notifications of my splits. I pushed on. Mile 23. Mile 24. My feet had had enough. I walked almost that entire mile. Mile 25. I knew this is where I needed to dig deep and finish strong. I knew my splits were slow. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do this. That I could get it done faster than my last marathon, which I HAD trained for.
Mile 25-26.2 were awful. Wide open road. No shade. Tons of people screaming from the sidelines. I pushed. I sprinted as fast as I could after running 25 miles. As I got to the finish line, I heard them call my name. I knew I had made it. I was done!
I grabbed my medal. My banana. My water. Any food they were handing out, I took.
Then began the walk back to my car. Almost 1.5 miles. Which normally, I wouldn’t have cared. But after running 26 miles, I was over it and just wanted to get home.
I called my boyfriend and cried. Everything hurt. My back, hips, thighs, knees, calfs, ankles, feet, toes….you name it, it hurt.
But you know what? Regardless of all that….you know what?
Feb. 14, 2016 I will see you again LA.
It’s a big world. GO RUN IT.