Asics LA Marathon Race Recap

Hello and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!! I had wanted to write this recap early last week (actually, planned on working on it on the flight home) but between wanting to spend less time on the phone/computer and more time with the boys and having lots going on last week, I didn’t make much progress.

Race Day started super early for everyone participating in the marathon.  The Asics runners met in the lobby of the hotel at 430am (which due to daylight savings really felt like 330am BUT I kind of lucked out since I was still on east coast time). I usually do all of my pre-race fueling in my room before heading to the race but since we were meeting three hours before the race, I decided to do it on the bus and while we were waiting at Dodger Stadium.  I got up at 4am, took a quick shower, dressed and headed to the lobby.

We arrived at the Asics suite at Dodger Stadium around 6am and were able to relax, drink good coffee and use regular bathrooms until we left for the corrals at 630. It was a pretty amazing perk on race day!

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I was pleasantly surprised at how relaxed – and excited (!) – I was on race morning. I’ve struggled with race day nerves for my last few marathons – inability to sleep in the days leading up to the race and nausea so bad on race that I am unable to eat or drink anything. So it was a welcome change for me to be enjoying myself on race morning. I had a kind of “aha” moment while waiting in the corrals – I realized that THIS was how race morning should be. I was smiling, happy and most of all, excited to run a marathon.

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Hanging out with Brian!

I didn’t do a warmup for this race. I had decided to go into the race the same way I approach long runs – and I don’t warmup for long runs, so no warmup for the race.

Kristin and I made the decision on Saturday night at dinner to race together. Our plan was very similar to what I talked about last week – run conservatively and don’t race for time – race based on feel. But we were both thinking sub-3:20 was within our reach (3:17 or so was the number in my head).

Kristin, Monica and I made our way to the seeded “B” corral (seeded corrals require a qualifying time; the B corral was something like 3:10-3:45, I think) and hung out together until the race began at promptly 7:25am.

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It took me a few miles to find my groove. The course starts out with a small hill before heading downhill for almost a mile. It was tough to hold back at this point – but we did.

Miles 1-4: 7:39, 7:26, 7:33, 7:32

Mile 5 had two back-to-back hills – and I remember seeing some 8:00s on my watch during that mile.

Mile 5: 7:47

It wasn’t until after that mile where I felt like I found my rhythm.  I felt really great the next 7-8 miles or so. The pace felt easy – almost too easy – but I knew better than to push the pace this early on. So we kept holding back. We were having a blast for that stretch of miles and I was ecstatic that I was actually following a race plan and running within myself.

Miles 6-12 : 7:41, 7:29, 7:30, 7:32, 7:28, 7:30, 7:33

Photos courtesy of Kristin since I am definitely not coordinated enough to take steady pictures while running. HA.

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Sometime around mile 12 (or maybe 13?), Kristin broke off to use the bathroom. The plan was for me to continue running and that she would catch up.  The miles kept ticking by with no sign of Kristin while things began to feel a bit more labored.  Around mile 13 is when I noticed that the cloud cover we had for the first half of the race disappeared. I was already completely covered in salt and my fingers were swelling. An then within a few miles, my pace began slowing considerably. Something  felt different.

Miles 13-17: 7:33, 7:42, 7:52, 7:56, 7:58

During Mile 17, things just went downhill. My body felt like it was overheating, I couldn’t get my heart rate down and I began to feel a bit nauseous. I made the decision to walk through the next water point. I drank a cup of water, then gatorade, then dumped a cup on my head, then drank another cup of water. The sensation I felt when I poured the water on my head was unlike anything I had experienced – my body shook when the cold water hit it and I felt like I was gasping for air. After the water point, I ran until the next water point/mile. I did this for the next four miles. My focus no longer was on a certain pace or finishing with a certain time – it was on just making it to the finish line.

Miles 18-21: 8:35, 8:49, 8:57, 9:24

Sometime during mile 20 or 21, Kristin caught back up to me. I was ecstatic to see her! Found out she was having a tough race as well but happy that I had  company for the last part of the race. The next couple of miles were the toughest. More walking. Some running. Lots of “what did we do wrong?” and “why did this happen?”. We ran/walked our way to mile 23 or so and then ran the rest of the way in. I think it was more of just wanting the race to be over with and knowing that walking would only prolong the process.

Miles 22-26.2: 10:34, 10:13, 9:09, 8:35, 8:23, 8:07 (.2)

Official Finish Time: 3:35:23

  • 969 out of 21508
  • 122 out of 9124 Females
  • 32 out of 1313 in AG (F 30-34)
LOVE this picture of me and Kristin at the finish (with an Alysia Motano photo bomb!)

LOVE this picture of me and Kristin at the finish (with an Alysia Motano photo bomb!)

Thoughts

When I first was looking at the projected weather for the race, 75 seemed a little warm, but I honestly didn’t think it would have a big impact on me on race day. I’ve gotten used to doing my long runs in the heat/humidity of NYC in the summer (often 70 or higher and high humidity in the early mornings). Plus, the humidity of LA is low and I had heard that there is often a cool, refreshing breeze coming off of the ocean for the later miles of the race. But, I  didn’t take into account that I’ve done most of my training the last few months in sub-freezing temperatures.

It sounds strange but I could not be happier that there was sun and warmth for the four days I was in LA. I had been looking forward to a few days escape from the cold weather in NY and would have been disappointed if it was cold and rainy for the trip. The race was a small part of the weekend and coming up short of the time I was hoping for doesn’t change my experience.

There were quite a number of times during the first 14 or so miles where I fought back tears. I felt so great, knew I was holding myself back and was (finally!) following a race plan and running smart. I also had moments of wanting to pinch myself. I’ve always wanted to run the LA Marathon, but never, ever thought it would be a possibility – with so many other expenses in our lives right now, I could never justify flying across the country to run a race. It was hard to not be happy from start to finish – even when things got hard and weren’t going to the way I was hoping.

Post-Race

Asics took care of us and we all had access to the VIP area post race. Kristin and I spent about 20 minutes getting water and chatting with some of the Asics athletes and reps. One of the highlights was getting to chat with Josh Cox again. He shared some incredible advice with us that has been replaying in my mind since the race. He said something along the lines of this: You spend months training for a race. It’s all one big investment that you hope you can cash out on on race day. Some days you get to cash out. Other days you don’t. But those races are just another big investment into your account (he said not much else beats 15+ miles at MGP) that will allow you to make an even bigger withdrawal at your next race.

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So that’s how I’m viewing things. The LA Marathon wasn’t my day, but it was still a great day.  I got some good MGP miles in, got some hillwork and got to test out some changes I made to diet and training. All good things that will help with my next race.

I went back to my room for an ice bath and warm shower and returned to the VIP party to eat and see the other runners. It was a fun few hours of eating, drinking and hanging out with the other 10 Asics Blogger Challenge runners!

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Soup, Beer, Water, Pizza -> Perfect post-race recovery =)

Fueling

In the days leading up to the race, I didn’t alter my diet too much. After my extreme carbo-loading for Philly, I had decided that I was not going to worry too much about every thing I ate. I began increasing my water and fluid intake a few days out and then upped my carbs and salt a bit about two days out (more pretzels, trail mix, extra salt on food, pasta for dinner).

Race day:

  • 5am: cliff bar
  • 615am: cup of coffee (I always drink coffee first thing in the morning before all of my runs, including long runs, so wanted to do the same thing on race day
  • 630am: ½ bagel with peanut butter
  • Mile 6, 12, 22: PowerGel (planned on every 6, but was pretty nauseous by mile 18 and had to force one down at mile 22)
  • Water every mile; gatorade/water every other mile and then from mile 18 to finish

I don’t plan to alter this too much for my next race. I felt great on race day and had virtually no GI issues. The only thing I will change for my next race is taking salt supplements on race day. I decided to not play around with it during the race but instead, increased salt in the days leading up to it – I didn’t want to change too many things at once.

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Congratulations to everyone who raced this weekend!! So many friends ran strong PR races!! And a special shoutout to three runners I coach who ran amazing races: Teresa ran a really strong at the NYC Half despite being under the weather (1:52), Joe set a 4+ minute PR at the NYC Half (2:08) and Jen ran a 30 sec PR at the Shamrock Half (1:58:23). Congratulations!!

PS. I’m working on a LA Marathon Race Review post that I hope to have up one day this week!

Did you race this weekend? Did you run long?

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I don’t post here every day, but I post all of my workouts (and other happenings) on Instagram on a daily basis {NYCRunningMama}.

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    36 thoughts on “Asics LA Marathon Race Recap

    1. Pingback: 12 Race Recaps to Motivate You | iRaced

    2. congrats on the finish, a half marathon is my limit i think, i’ve run 1. thank you so much for sharing your moments of struggle and doubts during the race. it makes me feels less alone when i’m having those thoughts during my runs.

    3. Some races are just to be enjoyed for everything else besides the actual running part of a race.
      It must be so awesome to fly somewhere far to run a race with some friends, and especially sponsored by a big company.

    4. Fantastic work! Which is the kind of information that should be shared on the internet. Disgrace on the seek applications with no more time setting this post bigger! Can happen through as well as visit this site. Appreciate it Implies)

    5. Congrats on having a great attitude about how you finished! I can’t imagine how you felt once things started to go south so just keeping a level head at that point is commendable! I’m so jealous of all the amazing Asics perks you got. Just being able to use a real bathroom before a race is heavenly!
      I also raced the NYC Half this past weekend and tied my PR from the fall of 1:29! It was a fantastic race!!
      Allie recently posted..The Rest DayMy Profile

    6. Wonderful race recap and kudos on a great race/ investment towards the next race! I ran the NYC Half this weekend and PR’d by 3 min 3 sec despite the fact that I’m still recovering from the flu. Happy running!

    7. I’ve only run one marathon so far (chicago) and I thought of it this way-it was a celebration of my training -a big huge party-the hard work had been done. I cried every run for the first two months because the process was so hard. Then it all changed. I’m not anywhere in your category of runner but one of the things I did and trained for was walking through the water points. At my pace (11:30) it was safer -considering the crowds. It also was a mental thing-just run to the next feed station. I never walked otherwise.
      You are one of my favorite runner bloggers (Pavement runner is another) You are so inspiring. You looked great in those pictures. You are awesome
      Therese recently posted..The Commoner’s Saint Paddy’s Day RunMy Profile

    8. I loved reading this and I am so proud of your attitude towards it all. You trained in Antarctica and raced on the equator- that’s not something you can be mad about, not something you can control. I hope you absolutely understand THERE WAS NOTHING YOU DID WRONG. The heat, the travel , everything- it wasn’t the day you trained for, and that’s OK. You are such a strong athlete and you ran so incredibly smart, I can’t to see you blow out your PR- it’s going to happen I absolutely know it.

      I’m glad you had a chance to experience LA marathon, a trip away and time in the sun with other runners. You deserve that time, and experiences like that.
      Laura @losingrace recently posted..Boston Training: Onward & UpwardMy Profile

    9. I love that advice from Josh Cox and it will be something that I will hold in the back of my mind. I had a good but frustrating day yesterday at the NYC Half but it just wasn’t my day and I’m OK with that. It’s an investment, right? I hate that you all didn’t have the race you wanted but so glad that you got to have this experience. xox
      Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..NYC Half RecapMy Profile

    10. You guys did awesome and really it looks like it was such a fun weekend…which is what running is all about!!!!!!!
      I had a 5k on Sat and got 1st female!!! It wasn’t a PR for me (21:09) but the course was super hilly and we have had so much snow and I have no treadmill so training for this did not really happen so I was thrilled with it :)
      Jen@milesandblessings recently posted..“Embrace the Hill” & a 5k recapMy Profile

      • Thanks, Heather! It actually was the first time that I showered the morning of a race – and LOVED it! Usually, I shower the night before, but I was still messed up b/c of the time change and was ready for bed by 8pm and didn’t want the shower to wake me up! And I felt I needed a little boost in the morning since I postponed my morning cup of coffee until later! HA =) But I am a convert!
        nycrunningmama recently posted..Asics LA Marathon Race RecapMy Profile

    11. Love Josh’s advice about the investment for future races. So true! We’re always learning from each and every run. If we weren’t we wouldn’t want to keep doing it. I ran the NYC Half yesterday and did 2.5 extra miles before hand but then when the race ended i lost the mood so instead of running 2.5 more (to get me to 18) I walked about 3.5. The good news is I’m not really sore today. The better news is I maintained a decent pace that was 20 seconds faster per mile than I was shooting for. And I walked through all my water stops to practice keeping a faster pace without having to sacrifice my water stop walk breaks. Actually, as I was in Central Park I specifically thought about how running to me is like being in school forever. I’ve learned elementary and intermediate but I’m still mastering the subject. LOL!
      sally @ sweat out the small stuff recently posted..I can’t win(d)! NYC Half RecapMy Profile

    12. I hate you didn’t have the race you wanted, but as we all know, a LOT can change over the course of 26.2 miles. You attitude about it is a testament to your healthy perspective! And, quite frankly, for us slower runners (3:57:58 is my fastest), it’s nice to know that even the more experienced have a bad day, too, sometimes. Thanks for sharing!

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