Los Angeles Marathon presented by ASICS
Los Angeles Marathon presented by ASICS( 30 reviews )
- 5 miles/8K, 26.2 miles/Marathon
- Road Race
- Event Website
Eric RayvidNew York, New York, United States
Ladies and Gents, LA and Skechers know how to put on a running party! From the Expo to the finish line, the LA Marathon was a super enjoyable experience.
Coming from NYC (where I run the majority of my races including marathons) I'm used to crowded starts, courses and even expos. But with only 25,000 runners, this race felt almost small, and highly organized.
The morning of the race, I walked across the street from my hotel and hopped on a bus that took us to Dodger Stadium.
I went into the VIP area, had a banana and eventually made my way to the start corral (I was able to get seeded in corral D due to my time in Philly a few years ago) and waited nervously for the start.
I was nervous for a few reasons, first, if you're not a little jittery at the start of a 26.2 mile journey, you're a robot (I say that only a little in jest). A healthy respect for the mileage you're about to run is something I feel not only keeps me humble, it keeps me from overestimating my ability and blowing up early.
But I was nervous for another reason. I trained for this race in NYC. And despite the mild winter we've had, it was still cold and LA had been going through a winter heat wave for the past week. The day prior it was 75 degrees Fahrenheit as we watched the Olympic Trials and without a breeze, it felt more like 85.
From what I'd heard, this course had very little shade and with a projected high of 75 again, I was worried I'd have a repeat of my performance at the Boston Marathon a few years ago.
So, I bought a white race hat at the Expo (for some reason, I only have dark colors) and planned to employ the "drink one, wear one" method at the water stations. I don't usually like to wear anything new on race day, but I figured a hat was pretty benign and it would not only shade my bald head from the sun, it would hold the water for a bit up there and continue to keep me cool. Turns out I was right.
Not to get too far ahead, but the heat never turned out to be too much of a factor - a small gift from the universe for which I am grateful.
So, we line up, the gun goes off and we're on our way. Right past the start is a small uphill followed by a HUGE downhill. It was hard to hold my pace running down such a steep hill, but I was pretty proud of myself for doing so.
There are two, what I'll call bumps, at the front end of the race, the first at mile 4 and the second at mile 5. That first hill is a killer. I'm not a pace group runner for various reasons, but I started a few minutes behind the 4 hour runners and when I caught up to them, I figured if I kept them in my sights, I would hit my #1 goal of under 4 hours.
So when we hit that first hill, I was happy to stay with them and let them slow me waaaaay down. The hill hits in LA's Japantown and there are drummers at the top that help you get past the hurt and up over the final steps. It reminded me of the Japanese drummers in The Bronx at the NYC Marathon.
Once past the second of the two bumps, it's really a slight rolling course (and I mean super slight uphills) with lots of downhills. In fact, every time I thought, "You know what would be nice right about now? A downhill," one would be there. As if I had conjured it.
But at mile 14.5 in West Hollywood there's a really steep downhill. Like a "lean-back-and-run-on-your-heels-downhill" that actually slowed me down a bit. It was a quad burner for sure, but better than a steep uphill for a half mile.
By the time I got to mile 19 the heat wasn't bothering me at all while I had gotten ahead of the 4 hour group, I was still feeling pretty good aerobically. But sadly, this is when the hamstring in my right leg decided to start to protest.
In fact, it protested enough that I felt my race might be in jeopardy. But I was rational about it, no panic at all. I walked a bit and it started feeling better so I picked up the pace and started running again.
Turns out I had to repeat this run/walk/run thing a few times from Beverly Hills through Century City, Westwood and finally Brentwood.
At mile 23 I was fed up with the pain and used all the mental energy I had left to bury it. After a half mile it was distant enough that I was actually able to negative split the last 5K of the race. Full transparency, it didn't hurt that the course was almost all downhill at that point.
I crossed the finish line missing my first two goals (1. Under four hours and 2. No walking), but I did beat my 3rd goal of beating my time from my last three marathons, so I walked away from the race without beating myself up too bad.
After the race I was thrilled to walk two blocks back to my hotel, jump right in the shower and do absolutely nothing for the rest of the day.
Would I run LA again? In a heartbeat. The race was fun, the course was great and it was really well organized. Now if they could just do something about the heat . . .