Monday, January 16, 2012

13.1 marathon LA recap

I officially completed my 3rd marathon!
Best birthday present to myself ever!
To make the long story short, I broke 2 hours and came in with a time of 1:58:59. So for the rest of the year, I can slack off on half marathons, since I already met my resolution! :P And this was also the first race where I ran the whole time even through water stations. But now let's back up to the beginning. 

Yesterday morning, I was not feeling the race at all. I had gone to bed past midnight and didn't want to wake up at 5AM in order to make the 7:00AM start. 

So I snoozed until 5:30AM and grabbed a quick breakfast of pita bread with cheese and headed out the door. I had never had pita and cheese before a run before, but I figured it would be fine. 

When I got to Venice Beach, the whole place was packed. It was quite an experience, since I've only really done small local races before. But I liked the atmosphere and seeing all the runners. Before the race started, it wasn't quite light out yet, but I decided to wear sunglasses just in case it brightened up. The real reason was that I have never worn prescription sunglasses before, and I wanted to try them out. Probably not the best idea to try new things like a new breakfast and new glasses on race day, but it turned out okay. 
You know you're cool when you have sunglasses on even though it's dark. 
The worst part of the morning was trying to decide on a race strategy. I thought I might be able to hold a 9:15/mile pace, but I didn't know what my pacing strategy should be. So I did what I'm not supposed to do. I decided to try and hold a 9:00/mile pace for as long as possible and then positive split to a 9:30/mile or so pace later in the race. I figured, this would average out to a 9:15/mile. 
For the most part, I stuck with the plan. I did end up positive splitting when I got tired. 
I started really struggling around mile 9. I was tired and just wanted to walk. I also ended up throwing out the free GU that they were handing out at earlier miles. I don't take any energy gels during the race, but I wanted to try out clif chocolate cherry flavor after the race. That was the saddest moment of the race, when I no longer had the energy to hold on to an unnecessary item. 
Right at the end when I looking at my medal and also for a trashcan where I can throw up. 
After mile 10, I really wanted to walk for a bit. But since there was a clock by every mile marker, I knew that it was in the realm of possibility to make it under 2 hours. Whenever I wanted to quit, I reminded myself how sucky it would be to have to hold to a 8:55/mile ish pace for the first 9 miles all over again in a future attempt to come under 2 hours. 

So I just gritted my teeth and pushed on. By start of mile 12, the balls of my feet were so sore that I couldn't pick up the pace at all. In a last ditch effort, I started heel striking. I'm usually a ball striker (hee hee). But seriously I prefer to stay on the balls of my feet to prevent knee pain, but I figured a mile of heavy heel striking wouldn't hurt. 

There was a really nice downhill in the last 0.5 miles, which was awesome. So I came in under but close to 2 hours, heavily heel striking, but I remembered to raise my arms up in the air at the finish line. I also smiled and waved at all race photographers I saw. 
A brand new PR! 
In conclusion, I think I should take this as a sign that I should race every year on my birthday. Thanks for reading this super long recap. And I also loved all your good wishes on the race! Definitely helped. Have a great Monday! 


  1. Great job Rena! Congratulations on your PR, what a great birthday present.

  2. Wow, great job and way to get solidly under 2 hours!

  3. CONGRATS!! So awesome! You did it! Sub 2 hours! Enjoy this PR!

  4. Awesome job I am SO HAPPY for you! And HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

  5. Wonderful! What a way to spend your birthday! I bet you're still smiling big over your amazing finish!!

  6. NICE!!! congrats on the PR, woohooo!!!

  7. Wooohooo! Congrats on the PR!!

  8. Awesome Job!!!!!! Congrats!!!!!!

  9. Happy Birthday (Late) ! Wish I had seen this sooner.

    You did very well! Sub 2 and a PR :) You SHOULD race on your birthday every year!!