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Los Angeles Marathon XXII - RunMarathon


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Los Angeles, California
United States
81F / 27C
Sunny
Total Time = 4h 54m 6s
Overall Rank = 5849/
Age Group = M 35-39
Age Group Rank = 711/1558
Pre-race routine:

Up at 5:00. Had a bagel, a Clif bar, a hard-boiled egg, and some tea. Mixed up 1.5L Perpetueum for my camelbak with some electrolytes added in. Got dropped off at Universal Stuidos at 7:15. Made a trip to the port-a-potties. Worked my way up the starting line to a pretty good spot, and stretched a little while with helicopters hovering overhead while waiting for the (slightly delayed) start.
Event warmup:

None to speak of. A bit of walking and stretching. Tried to calm myself with deep breaths and visualization exercises. I knew that I couldn't afford to get over-excited. Or, at least, I thought I knew.
Run
  • 4h 54m 6s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 11m 14s  min/mile
Comments:

This was my first marathon. I had basically written off the idea of 26.2 ten years ago, thinking that the distance was too much for my sprinter's physiology and the pounding too much on my troublesome knees. Last year, after a few nice experiences in the world of endurance sports, I got it in my head that I might still have a marathon in me somewhere. I settled on an 18 week beginner's plan from Runner's World. Completed LSD runs of 20 and 22 miles before winding things down during taper. Ran a 1:40:56 half mary in December, which led me to think I might have a shot at a sub-four hour marathon if things went well.

Alas, things did not go well. The split times pretty much tell the whole gruesome tale. This was really four different races for me. Race no. 1 (miles 1-6) in which I ran too fast, but felt spectacularly good. Was coasting on the downhill portions of the run, logging split times 30-45 seconds faster (per mile) than the 9 minute pace I had planned to stick with. While I understood the stupidity of these splits at the time, somehow I couldn't slow down. Too much adrenaline and too much downhill.

Race no. 2 (miles 7-13) in which I continued to cruise at a good clip (a bit slower than the first six), but still too fast for my plan. Unlike the early goings I knew during this portion of the race that I was setting myself up for a fall. I didn't wear a HRM, but I could tell my pulse was climbing as the course flattened out, and yet, the pace stayed too fast. Was already laboring at mile 11, but again couldn't seem to slow things down to a more appropriate and sustainable pace. I hit the half mary mark at 1:57 which is almost exactly the time I imagined for myself at that point in the "ideal race" scenario which I'd rehearsed all through my training. Unfortunately, I paid far too steep a price to get that split. At mile 12 i knew I was already in trouble, but I tried to put the negative thoughts out of my head. Unfrortunately, they crept back in very quickly.

At the half mary mark, I felt pretty gassed, and my legs felt heavy already. Before too long, I was slowing to a light jog, then a slow shuffle, then I started to walk, which brought me to Race no. 3 (miles 14-20) in which I settled on a run-walk regimen that slowed me down by 2-3 minutes per mile. I was taking liquids steadily, but was starting to overheat and wasn't sweating nearly enough for the kind of exertion I was putting out. Maybe the low humidity wisked away moisture too quickly without giving my body any sense of evaporative cooling? Dunno. Just felt lousy and demoralized, while experimenting with a new strategy. Ran to the mile markers, then walked two or three minutes, then ran to the next mile marker. Between miles 17 and 18, I was starting to feel nausea creeping up on me. Took another gel in the hopes of boosting my energy, but only succeeded in further upsetting my stomach. Saw my GF at mile 19, where she handed me some more Perpetuem and another couple of gels. Didn't know if I could finish, but I told her I was still determined to try. When she asked what was wrong, I told her the list was much too long for me to rehearse for her right there. Headed out for the final 7 miles wondering if I was risking a serious health problem or a trip home in the ambulance.

Race no. 4 started at mile 20, where I decided I needed to walk for at least five minutes to re-assess the situation. As it turns out I wouldn't run again until the last tenth of a mile. My legs were tightening and starting to cramp. I pulled over to the side of the course and tried some easy stretching to see if I could coax some of the acid out of my leags, but this didn't really help me, and I was worried that I might fall over if I stood in one place too long. Saw lots of runners suffering from cramps at this stage, many in much worse shape than me. Some hopping on one leg with calf cramps. Others bent over at the waist grabbing their knees. One guy was on his back, hugging his knees to his chest and wailing while two friends tried to rally him for the last stretch.

I just staggered on from there. Tried two or three times to break into a light jog, but could get no farther than a few steps. Lumbered on wishing that I might discover a secret subway station in that part of town, but there was only one way for me to get home at that point.

At mile 24 I realized that I could still break the five hour mark if I walked briskly. That cheered me a little bit, even though it was an hour slower than my initial goal. The crowds downtown were full of encouragment. Many apparently wanted to see me run, but all I could do for them at that point was smile and wave as I limped on by. Nothing at all left in my legs. Crossed the finish at 4:54:06 and grabbed some bananas and water before sitting myself down in the shade.
What would you do differently?:

I paced myself like an idiot, especially considering the conditions. My tendency has always been to go out hard and come in on fire, but I really thought that pace work during my training had corrected that. Probably could have run a 4:30 and enjoyed the experience a lot more if I hadn't burned myself out early looking for a sub-four where there was none. There are thousands upon thounsands of stories like mine in the lore of marathon running, but the whole experience was still a pretty lonesome and discouraging one. I have a lot to learn.
Post race
Warm down:

Sat myself in the shade and sipped water while eating a banana. Walked back to the car with my knees and quads still sizzling. I didn't manage to pee until almost 6:30 PM, which says a lot about the degree of dehydration I experienced and the distress my body was in.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Heat. Inexperience. Ego.




Last updated: 2006-09-28 12:00 AM
Running
04:54:06 | 26.2 miles | 11m 14s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/1558
Overall: 0/
Performance: Bad
Split times using Polar Auto Lap: 9:32; 8:31; 8:18; 8:29; 8:18; 8:18; 8:59 (with pee break); 8:36; 8:35; 8:39; 8:40; 8:37; 8:58; 9:52; 10:51; 10:33; 10:46; 11:01; 11:34; 13:45; 15:02; 15:58; 16:10; 17:03; 16:10; 16:20; no split for last .2 mi. Did not wear HRM.
Course: This is a potentially fast course. First 1.5 miles are slightly uphill, but the next 5 are all downhill on the way to Hollywood. Mostly flat throughout the rest of the course with the exception of a few gentle up-and-overs where bridges take runners across the LA River. Depite it's potential, the course turned out to be a death march for many of the participants, including me. High temps (80 degrees by 10:30) and low humidity (6-8 percent) sucked me dry faster than I anticipated. My failure to adjust to these conditions would come back to haunt me.
Keeping cool Bad Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Below average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? No
Evaluation
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? No
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 3

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2007-03-05 2:58 PM

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Subject: Los Angeles Marathon XXII


2007-03-05 3:27 PM
in reply to: #712186

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Resident Curmudgeon
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Subject: RE: Los Angeles Marathon XXII

Great job just finishing in that heat. Live and learn, now that you have this one under the belt you'll know btter how to pace the next one.

Congrats, Marathoner!

2007-03-05 3:50 PM
in reply to: #712186

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Subject: RE: Los Angeles Marathon XXII
The fact you finished a MARATHON is impressive. Don't feel bad- you didn't think you could do a marathon and you did
2007-03-05 5:28 PM
in reply to: #712186

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Pro
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Los Angeles, CA
Subject: RE: Los Angeles Marathon XXII
Great race...like you said, the weather was not ideal but you still pulled through. Way to suck it up the last half. Oh, and also great report. I got to take a lesson from you on that one for sure. Puts mine to shame.
2007-03-05 5:29 PM
in reply to: #712186

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Sherman Oaks, CA
Subject: RE: Los Angeles Marathon XXII
Your report scares me because you killed the LA Half-Mary and I fantasize that I can run a sub-4.

It was hot yesterday. Our bodies aren't yet adjusted for warm weather.

It is a lonesome experience, but you finished.

See you at Oceanside!

Cheers,
Mark
2007-03-05 5:45 PM
in reply to: #712186

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Master
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Santa Clarita
Subject: RE: Los Angeles Marathon XXII
XAN , Wow man That was tough day for you . I probably passed you in the last mile . I was going for a 4:30 time. I got stuck in slow traffic for the first 8-9 miles . My other pacing tool was using my trusty HR monitor ans staying below 155 to hold me back. My pace was 1 min per mile slower than i would have liked. I am thinking with a 45 F High and drizzly overcast skies things I would have been faster .
The Heat was demanding on everyone and it took all my will power to keep on going through the twenties.

Are you doing another one ?

Edited by van_paulus 2007-03-05 5:46 PM


2007-03-06 1:55 PM
in reply to: #712474

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Subject: RE: Los Angeles Marathon XXII
van_paulus - 2007-03-05 3:45 PM

My other pacing tool was using my trusty HR monitor ans staying below 155 to hold me back.


I made a decision about two weeks ago not to wear my HRM in the race. Didn't want to fret over more data than I could process. Turns out that was probably a mistake.

Are you doing another one ?


I'd like to give it another go. See if I can apply some of the knowledge i suffered to gain on Sunday. We'll see how well (or if) I recover. One of my knees is pretty beat up from the final weeks of training and the race itself. If I can't get the inflammation under control soon, I'll probably try to see an orthopedic specialist. Still not sure if my own diagnosis (ITBS) is accurate.

Thanks to all for your support and encouragement. One of the things that got me through the final stages was imagining the idea of composing a DNF report for the BT community.
2007-03-06 6:21 PM
in reply to: #712186

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Subject: RE: Los Angeles Marathon XXII

Xan - that was a great report, and a great lesson for us all.   Thanks for suffering for our sins!!

Chris

2008-02-27 4:33 PM
in reply to: #712186

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Champion
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Northridge, California
Subject: RE: Los Angeles Marathon XXII
Just spotted this R/R--man, you sure you aren't me???! This was my first marathon, also...I also went out too fast, also was gassed at the half, died completely and walked for two miles around mile 22, recovered enough to run the last 2.2. And we finished within two minutes of each other (I was at 4:56). Belated congrats on finishing! I'm getting ready for LA #2 this Sunday...
2008-02-29 11:03 AM
in reply to: #1239767

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Subject: RE: Los Angeles Marathon XXII
tcovert - 2008-02-27 5:33 PM

Just spotted this R/R--man, you sure you aren't me???! This was my first marathon, also...I also went out too fast, also was gassed at the half, died completely and walked for two miles around mile 22, recovered enough to run the last 2.2. And we finished within two minutes of each other (I was at 4:56). Belated congrats on finishing! I'm getting ready for LA #2 this Sunday...


Hard to believe there were still thousands behind us. Tough way to get started in the world of marathons.

Good luck to you on Sunday as you seek redemption. Round #1 was so brutal, I decided to move out of state.

Look forward to seeing your RR.
2008-02-29 2:25 PM
in reply to: #1243816

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Champion
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Northridge, California
Subject: RE: Los Angeles Marathon XXII
Xan - 2008-02-29 9:03 AM

tcovert - 2008-02-27 5:33 PM

Just spotted this R/R--man, you sure you aren't me???! This was my first marathon, also...I also went out too fast, also was gassed at the half, died completely and walked for two miles around mile 22, recovered enough to run the last 2.2. And we finished within two minutes of each other (I was at 4:56). Belated congrats on finishing! I'm getting ready for LA #2 this Sunday...


Hard to believe there were still thousands behind us. Tough way to get started in the world of marathons.

Good luck to you on Sunday as you seek redemption. Round #1 was so brutal, I decided to move out of state.



This made me chuckle.

As did noting how close our post counts are currently...and the fact that I grew up in...wait for it...upstate New York. (My dad still lives there.) Way too 'twinsies' all around...





2008-03-01 7:50 AM
in reply to: #1244539

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Central New York
Subject: RE: Los Angeles Marathon XXII
tcovert - 2008-02-29 3:25 PM

Xan - 2008-02-29 9:03 AM

tcovert - 2008-02-27 5:33 PM

Just spotted this R/R--man, you sure you aren't me???! This was my first marathon, also...I also went out too fast, also was gassed at the half, died completely and walked for two miles around mile 22, recovered enough to run the last 2.2. And we finished within two minutes of each other (I was at 4:56). Belated congrats on finishing! I'm getting ready for LA #2 this Sunday...


Hard to believe there were still thousands behind us. Tough way to get started in the world of marathons.

Good luck to you on Sunday as you seek redemption. Round #1 was so brutal, I decided to move out of state.



This made me chuckle.

As did noting how close our post counts are currently...and the fact that I grew up in...wait for it...upstate New York. (My dad still lives there.) Way too 'twinsies' all around...



You're freaking me out, man. Have a great time tomorrow. Good weather in the forecast, I see.
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