March 17, 2011

LA Marathon Preview

Before you think I did nothing but drink wine and eat burritos while in California on my last visit, I wanted to share some more training-related experiences. After the Vicious Dog 15-Miler, I did a few short-to-medium distance runs leading up to an 18-miler the following weekend. I was at a hotel in West Hollywood for work that happene to be right on the marathon course. It was perfect. I planned to cover 9 or so miles of the course, some in the correct direction and some opposite, as two out and backs.

I got a late start and was feeling less than ideal, but it started out well. As I ran down the hill just out of the hotel I came across this big mural with a little nod to the race.

Next up was Beverly Hills. This part of the course on Santa Monica Boulevard was either dead flat or slightly downhill and quite fun.

A couple turns later and I was on the famous Rodeo Drive, dressed a little beneath the standards required to shop there.

When I hit the freeway I decided to turn around and run off-course in Beverly Hills. The roads were long, wide and flat and the houses were beautiful. What better way to explore than on foot. I just love how polite they are in nice neighborhoods.

Instead of tracing my course back, I decided to stay on Rodeo Drive and explore the residential part well past the fancy shopping. It was uphill and challenging, but fun. I took it all the way back to Sunset and looped back to the hotel. From there I backtracked the course through Hollywood and was abruptly stopped when I hit the Kodak Theater... It was Oscars Sunday. I lingered for a bit to see what I could see, then turned around and headed back.

This run went pretty well considering how I felt, but I totally ran out of steam about 13 miles in. I was dragging by 15. My fueling was poor, I barely slept and my legs felt like bricks. I stopped and sat down at one point, a sure sign you have reached a limit. I thought about quitting, but then thought about the 20 miles I'd be running just 5 days later and pressed on. I've never been more happy to finish a run in my life.

My leg survived run and I wasn't in terrible pain the next day so I considered it a success. Back in New York time passed by in a flash. I did my 20 mile run and it wasn't awful, but the next few days were. I hobbled through some shorter distances and then did a final run of 10 miles last weekend. It was the first time I hit a sub-9 pace in over a month. I cried.

I'm on the plane to LA now, somewhere high over the center of the country. I have mixed feelings about this race. Even though I signed up 100% for fun I'm not sure how running undertrained with an extra 5 pounds and a bum groin will be. My former goal was under 4 hours so I think now 4:15 or less is realistic. Anything to earn my post-race feast at In-N-Out Burger!


  1. how perfect that you were able to preview the course, and how cool that it was on oscars sunday! i did LA last year and loved the new stadium to sea course...and i'm not even a big fan of the city! you put in the miles and are definitely ready, but i think it's smart to adjust your goals and just see what happens on race day. whatever happens, you can't go wrong with in 'n out! good luck and have fun!

  2. Running is the best way to tour a city. I try to run wherever I have to travel (which isn't often) and it tends to be the best part of the trip.

    Good luck at the marathon!

    Have a double-double animal style for me! Oh, and some animal style fries. Soooooo good!

  3. I had been training for a sub 4 but a death in the family and week long sickness have me hoping for a finish without tears this week. Going to try to hang with the 4:15 pace group as long as I can.

    Good luck!



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