Alternate title: Stuff that would’ve made the race report even longer.
The shuttle bus driver made a wrong turn on the short trip to the Dodger Stadium. It was a short detour that wouldn’t have bugged me if I wasn’t sitting in front a a Chatty Cathy with an annoying voice.
I bumped in to Carlos — a fellow Bruin — and some of his friends. Carlos ran last year’s marathon too and reminded me that organizers promised no rain in a promotional email. We laughed at their optimism.
I noticed that people bring some nice throwaway sweaters. A guy near me who took off a rust orange Volcom hoodie. If I knew I was going to see my brother anywhere early in the race, I would’ve picked it up and brought it with me.
Councilman Tom LaBonge greeted the runners at the starting line. He said, “I’ve already been to the Griffith Observatory this morning and it’s not going to rain!” I liked his optimism, and was glad his prediction (or educated guess since the observatory provides some great views of the city) panned out.
When the MC introduced Frank McCourt, owner of the LA Marathon and the Dodgers (for now), I booed. I wasn’t the only one. I mentioned this on Twitter and another runner noted that booing on Sunday was inappropriate because McCourt hasn’t mismanaged the marathon. It’s actually improved under his ownership. One can’t say the same for the Dodgers. I’ve been a Dodger fan since I was a kid and only recently became a runner. Booing McCourt is almost a reflex.
On Saturday night, I made a sign for my shirt. The Chapulín Colorado catch phrase roughly translates to: Good guys, follow me! I was in rush changing shirts on Sunday morning and didn’t check to make sure it was visible. Unfortunately, my ponytail covered the note. Fail. Maybe I can wear it for a Halloween race along with my Chapulín Colorado costume.
Race support & logistics
I’m glad it never rained on Sunday and scared away spectators. There were tons of people out, especially later in the race/morning. I saw a couple of signs that read “you trained longer than Kim Kardashian’s marriage.” That made me laugh even though it wasn’t technically true for me. I preferred “You’re the sh*t!” at mile 20 and “Make the wall your bitch!” around mile 23-24. I appreciate funny signs. It distracts me from worrying about my pace or any pain.
At two separate points, I almost slipped on an orange peel and tripped over a bump in the street. I caught my balance, but freaked out a little and became more alert of any road issues. Also, I still take bad race photos even during a good race. I kept getting caught chewing.
As usual, the volunteers were pretty awesome. I thought the water stops were more crowded than last year, but that made sense as it was warmer/sunny. I still need to find a good way to grab water at an aid station without slowing down much to dodge runners who take walk breaks.
Although my splits every 10K show that I was getting faster, I never really felt like that. I thought I was slowing going in to the 30K mark and only really felt faster in the final 5 miles. Still, it’s neat to have those numbers and know that I ran a smart race.
Post-race, recovery, and future plans
I felt pretty good after crossing the finish line. I got my medal and heat blanket, took photos, and got some snacks (something to hold them would’ve been nice). I had no problem walking the few blocks to get to the meet up area and found Sean a few minutes later. We walked a few blocks more to the car and were out of Santa Monica and home quickly. My post-race experience was such a contrast to last year’s when I was freezing and waiting forever for my dad to get the car so I could get home.
Sean has been incredibly supportive and helpful pre- and post-race. He texted me, “you did it!” as soon as my finish time posted. He never complained about waking up at 4 am to drop me off for the shuttle, standing around waiting for me to come through in Beverly Hills or spending an hour looking for parking in Santa Monica. When I saw him, he wasn’t holding up his Nelson Muntz sign (he was snapping photos), but he did bring it out. Best thing: He remembered to bring some chocolate milk. That was refreshing.
My parents were too tired to come out this year after hosting the fundraiser party (they raised over $2,000 for the orphanage in Tijuana). They sent their support via texts, calls and prayers while in Mass.
I’m still slightly sore, but I know that comes with the territory especially with the way I ran the downhill miles at the end. I’m grateful for accessible ramp sidewalks and living on a first floor apartment. I have no problem taking a few days off of any kind of exercise.
I know a lot of people come off a great race ready to sign up for several more. I’m not one of those people; too cheap. I’ll likely race another half this spring as well as a local 5K and 10K. I got more PRs to set.