Race Recap : Asics LA Marathon

This past weekend was a weekend to remember. An awesome course, meeting many of The SF Ambassador Team for the first time, while seeing others again. Perhaps one of the highlights of this weekends run was hitting one of my goals I set for 2013. This weekend at the Asics LA Marathon, I ran a PR. Not only did I PR, but with my new training plan, I went from a previous PR of 3:32:08 to a crushing 3:11:54. My training plan has given me confidence in running and my ability to go after my ultimate life running goal of becoming a Boston Qualifier. Now for a recap of the weekend … 

the entrance to the expo

 Race Expo : Saturday March 16

After getting in late on Friday night into the Santa Monica area, I decided Saturday morning would be my race expo day. I got up and did my final 3 mile taper run before heading to downtown Los Angeles, where the marathon expo was held at the LA Convention Center. As I made my way into the convention center I knew this was going to be a good weekend. The energy within the expo was fantastic.

Walking into the main hall, I made my way to collect my bib. There it was bib “B2446” was in my hands and it was official, I was now ready to run the Asics LA Marathon on Sunday. Along with my bib, I was provided with the typical race day swag, a gear check bag, filled with fliers, paperwork, and a pretty awesome green LA Marathon technical shirt.

After walking through the expo to take a look at the goods and vendors, I made my way to The Wipro San Francisco Marathon booth, where I met fellow ambassador Aletta for the first time, and helped Ciarra promote the June 16 marathon. During this short time at the booth that I was there were a lot of people discussing their excitement from running the SF Marathon last July and collecting their LA/SF Challenge medal after finishing the race on Sunday. Like these runners I too was excited to cross the finish line to grab not only my LA Marathon medal, but my Challenge medal as well.

Race Day : Sunday March 17
For me my wake up alarm went off at 3:00 AM while in my hotel room in Santa Monica. Yes this is very early for a race with a 7:28 scheduled gun time, but it allows me to get up prepare everything I need for the race as well as start to consume my pre-race calories in the form of my smoothie and coffee as well as hydrate with my Nuun Hydration products. Between my breakfast and start time, I also loaded up with ENERGYbits and SunRype fruit bars (who sponsors me in my endurance events).

Once I was ready to make my way out of the hotel I headed to the shuttle pick up location at the Santa Monica City Hall. With registration of the marathon, a shuttle to the start is provided, this makes for an easy way to get to the start line, not having to worry about finding a ride or driving to the start only to figure out how to get back to your car. The lines to the shuttle were not bad at all, maybe 30 seconds to wait for the next shuttle to pull up and load into a seat. After a 20 minute ride on the shuttle, we were dropped off at Dodger Stadium.

Luis, Me, Meg & Lauren

Getting to the stadium just past 5:00 am, I was able to sort the important things out. Where is the gear drop, the corral locations and most importantly, where are the bathrooms to use prior to the race. The marathon had everything running smoothly and was very well organized. With about 2.5 hours prior to the race, the area inside the stadium and in the parking lot area where the race started, was rockin’. The energy was high and the music was pumping! During this time I was able to meet up with fellow SFM Ambassadors the first to arrive to the stadium was Meg, then shortly after I was able to meet LaurenLuis and Westley for the first time in person.

After getting all settled in and dropping my gear, it was time to get energized and focused for this 26.2 miles in front of me. While in the B corral with Meg, we were also able to meet up with other SFM Ambassadors Ryan and Keith. With my final good lucks and well wishes to my friends, I started to move closer to the 3:05 pace leader. Here I was able to chat and talk to other runners gunning to earn their BQ time. During time this time chatting and focusing on the race ahead, the wheel chair division, hand cyclist, elite women were all released onto the course. As 7:28 started to approach runners began to shed their extra layers to get ready for the release of the rest of the field on the the streets for the LA Marathon.

There went the horn, 21 seconds later I crossed the timing mat and I was officially ready to try to get my sub 3:05 time for a race I worked very hard for. The first 20km I was feeling very good, in fact my I was averaging a 6:57 / mile for the first 20km. By the 13.1 mile point I was where I needed to be clocking in with a time of 1:30:34. Still feeling good through the beginning of the second half of the marathon, I was in good spirits and enjoying my performance. I knew that based on my race strategy, if I could get to mile 23 feeling good, I could really hammer it during the final 5k.

The biggest challenge on the course would be coming up going into mile 21 at the VA. Here is where my legs started to feel a little tired as I battled up the gradual climb. This is where I really lost my ability to hit my BQ time, from mile 21 through 25 my splits were as follows: 7:59, 7:55, 8:06, 8:02 and 7:58. Looking back on my splits this is where I lost my momentum and was the difference between my finishing time and a BQ time. However, even with these times, I knew in my head that I was still on pace to knockout a pretty drastic time off my PR. I but the hammer down on the BQ, but still it wasn’t good enough to try to give chase at mile 23. It was good enough to get me through the line with an official time of 3:11:54.

screen shot from http://www.lamarathon.com

Everything the course had to offer was great, it was well organized and had awesome support throughout the race. Starting at Dodger Stadium, I was able to see and run along side some of the major landmarks LA has to offer that I otherwise would have to drive to see. Runners were treated to Hollywood Blvd, Sunset Blvd, Beverly Hills, and a beautiful finish along the coast in Santa Monica. Along with the challenging climbs and enjoyable downhills, the rolling streets made for moments to pick up the pace and really turn up the speed. The hot temperatures that were predicted earlier in the week didn’t bother to show up for the race, so the runners were also treated to nice cool weather through most of the course.

Post Race
After crossing the finish line, I had experienced something I have never experienced before in any other race. I broke down in tears after crossing the line. I think this was due to the mixed emotions of feeling like I had given everything I had into training only to come short in my attempt to go from marathoner to Boston Qualifier. Along with this feeling of frustration I knew I had PR’d which was a great feeling. However, during these minutes immediately after the finish the failure to qualify out weighed my successes of a PR.

After collecting my finisher medal, I made my way to collect my LA/SF Challenge medal, changed out of my gear and finally made my way to meet up with my wife and son just outside of the area sectioned off just for runners finishing the race.

Though I will take sometime off from my attempts to qualify for Boston, I do have training to get back into as I have Big Sur Marathon on April 28 and The Wipro San Francisco Marathon on June 16. That is 2 more marathons in the next 90 days.

5 thoughts on “Race Recap : Asics LA Marathon

  1. Congrats on your PR!! Sounds like you will be BQ'ing very soon!

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  2. I am hoping! I won't be giving the 3:05 time a shot until November.

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  3. Thank you. It was a very fun course and the weather was great to be able to run for a PR.

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