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LA Marathon - RunMarathon

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Los Angeles, California
United States
Conqur Endurance
70F / 21C
Total Time = 3h 29m 56s
Overall Rank = 694/18867
Age Group = M 55-59
Age Group Rank = 16/585
Pre-race routine:

Been struggling with right upper leg and hip injuries since the end of December. ITB and psoas blew up on me two weeks before the race--I shut down running and stuck to cycling and some elliptical while resting the leg over the last two weeks. Ten days out, I wasn't sure I'd be able to start and 48 hours out, I wasn't at all sure I'd finish. Come race day, I felt good enough to go for it, so I drove to Santa Monica to get on a 4:30 shuttle bus to Dodger Stadium for the start.

Really torn between two shoe options--Brooks Transcend and Saucony Guide...major tradeoffs between them. Decided the day before the race it was time to break my last cached pair of Transcends out of the box and wear them "cold." for the race.
Event warmup:

Did almost no warmup or stretching--a couple short jogs (which felt okay).
  • 3h 29m 56s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 08m 01s  min/mile

Before I initially strained my LTF and pulled my hamstring at the end of December, I was thinking I might have a shot at 3:25 (my marathon PR--from LA 2015--is 3:27:55). Hamstring pull with 10 weeks til race day made that less plausible. I came into the race targeting 3:35 (which is 5 mins under my BQ standard as a 57 year old). I lined up in the "B" corral right in front of the 3:35 pace group and figured I'd either hang with them or--if I was feeling good--try to leave them.

The pace group went out ahead of me--which was disconcerting--but I passed them on the first big uphill (around mile 4) and never saw them again. I was very careful not to drop my right hip (which I think is the source of the ongoing issues) and the hip and hip flexor weren't an issue for the first 8 miles.

Right at mile 8, the LTF tightened up. I kept waiting of the psoas to spasm up in response, but--mercifully--it never did. The ITB started to ache around mile 16 and every mile after that was a gut check. The new shoes were a bit hard on my flat left foot, but I was careful with my stride and balance and worked through it...all in all, the shoe swap was a major 'win.'

I was averaging sub-8:00/mile through the first 15 miles, so I started to ask myself if I wanted to sell out for a sub-3:30 finish. As I got up to around 20 miles, I was still running between 8:01 and 8:15 per mile and had enough cushion left to go for it. The concern was that the injury would blow up. But, hey, YOLO, right?

As I got to the big downhill after mile 23.5, my quads were screaming, but I kept my pace up. With one mile left, in the flats along the ocean, I knew I had a shot at 3:30 and I dropped the hammer. Over the last quarter mile, I was virtually glued to my watch...I knew it was going to come down to the wire. I absolutely gunned it down the stretch--which my chronic bad mid-back didn't much like--and leaned across the timing mat, stopping my Garmin 3:30:00.

You're kidding me, right?

Now that would, in principle, give me a 10 minute cushion on my Boston standard (and a Day Two registration window for Boston)...but when I accessed the results officially. My second sub-3:30 finish in 14 marathons (2:01 off my PR) and my third BQ.
What would you do differently?:

Not much that wasn't out of my control. Maybe not train through the hamstring injury, but, honestly, it initially seemed to respond very quickly to rehab. I never got to a proper long run at race pace...which was in part because I decided to do an 8K road race three weeks before the marathon with my running club. I really wasn't fit for an 8K, but we were able to field a 50+ team from the club and I was one of the 4 scorers that got us a team medal. But that made me move one of my 20 mile runs a week early and, when I tried to make it up the next weekend, that's when the hip flexor blew up. So maybe not do the 8K...
Post race
Warm down:

Walked...slowly...through the finisher area. Did some stretching.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Right upper leg injury. I got in sufficient mileage and long runs, but not long runs at race pace, which is my normal practice.

Event comments:

LA has gradually come up in the world of major city marathons. A couple ownership changes and the institution of the "Stadium to the Sea" course in 2010 have revitalized it. Doesn't attract the major pros, but it is a first class course and an overlooked destination race.

Last updated: 2016-12-14 12:00 AM
03:29:56 | 26.2 miles | 08m 01s  min/mile
Age Group: 16/585
Overall: 694/18867
Performance: Good
Course: Point-to-point -- Dodger Stadium to Santa Monica Pier.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2017-03-19 9:44 PM

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Northridge, California
Subject: LA Marathon
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