Thursday, March 25, 2010

Race Report: Los Angeles Marathon 2010

ORN: 26.2 miles, 5:44:31, R1/W1 (mostly), 13:08/mile

Quick Summary:

The Honda Los Angeles Marathon. It's perhaps hard to be upbeat about my slowest marathon ever, but, on reflection, I did "run the best race conditions allowed" and that's my goal. The combination of a bad head cold (which morphed into bronchitis a couple days post race), three weeks of virtually no running and a hot day conspired to a long day on the road.

The course was terrific. The logistics of 26,000 runners going point-to-point in a big city are daunting. Being with family for the weekend was awesome.

The Gory Details

Pre Race

We flew to San Diego on Friday afternoon and stayed with my sister. On Saturday, her son John and I headed to LA while Gretchen and my sister dug in the garden all day. First stop for us was the Expo at Dodger Stadium. For two guys who enjoy both baseball and running, this was a perfect spot.

The Expo was a crush of people but we got our bibs and escaped with our sanity. At the expo, we met up with Darrell and headed out for lunch together. It was terrific to connect again. Thanks for your hospitality, Darrell!

After taking Darrell home, we worked our way back towards the end of the course, actually driving its last six miles. We got out and walked along the view overlooking the Pacific. Wow, that was neat. Fighting LA traffic all this time meant it was late afternoon. We found our hotel a couple miles from the finish line and were pleased to get out of the car. John and I had some pancakes for supper, watched some basketball and tried to get to sleep around 9pm.

Race day came early. Up at 3:45am, drive to our assigned parking spot in Santa Monica and board a shuttle bus at 4:50am to the Dodger Stadium start line. It turned out to be a good thing we booked the 5am shuttle. We only took 14 minutes to get there. I read that folks on the 6am shuttles got stuck in traffic and barely made the start. In fact there was so much traffic, they delayed the start by a half hour.

The Race

Here's an experiment. I recently bought a new-to-me digital camera to try producing a video race report rather than writing it all out. It seemed approprate to try this in this race, given we ran through Hollywood. The effort is amateurish, I know. I'm no video editor, so this is just as I shot it during the race. But, it is real. If you've never run a marathon, it might make it more real for you. If you have, you can identify with the degrading conditions and mental ups and downs.

Starting Grid Report How will it go?

Mile 5 Report All systems are working.

Mile 10 Report Feeling better.

Mile 15 Report Realizing it'll be slow.

Mile 20 Report Slowing down.

Mile 24 Report Legs done.

Mile 25 Report Reflection during final half mile.

I welcome any feedback on this video report.

Post-Race Reflections

The race was a good one for John, only his second marathon. He pulled off a 4:20 race and finished ahead of 80% of the pack. He felt good at the end, which was one of his aims. I was thrilled for him. We will do this again on October 10, when we run the Chicago Marathon together. It will be a unique opportunity to compare two mega-races in the span of seven months.

We stayed an extra day in San Diego and flew home on Tuesday. Feeling badly on the trip home, I saw a doctor late Tuesday afernoon. He diagnosed my "cold" had moved deep in my lungs, forming an early stage bronchitis. He put me on an antibiotic but before it could kick in, the gunk got worse Tuesday night. I ended up missing work on Wednesday and Thursday, awake both nights coughing badly until 3am or so. Hardly the poster boy for invigorating marathon experiences. Nevertheless, if this was lurking in my lungs on race day, it explains a lot.

I also pulled up the graph of my daily runs for the past month, below.

Yeow! My 24 mile training run, three weeks pre-marathon, was essentially my last run until race day. The taper truly matters. Even if the mileage in a taper decreases, it should not go to zero. THAT picture speaks a thousand words to me.

So, taking all of this into consideration, I'm pleased with even finishing this marathon. My lungs ache but my legs do not. I had very little soreness in my legs after Monday Monday...even 6 hours in a cramped airplane seat on Tuesday did not add to stiffness. My feet, which have often ached following a marathon, feel fine. I'm actually antsy to get out and run again on Saturday, if the lungs allow. I'm much more pleased with the race today than I was on Sunday.

So, that's the report. Thanks for listening. Persevere.



Luther said...

Enjoyed the video reporting. Hope you use this format again.

Sarah said...

I had fun watching your video reports! Congrats on another marathon for the books!

I really think the critical factors for you were the cold/bronchitis and the relative heat. My personal opinion is that the lack of training in the previous three weeks wouldn't matter so much considering your experience and training up to that point.

But anyway, nice post and glad the knee is doing okay.

Nina said...

Great idea on the videos and fun to watch. Congrats on pushing through the pain and finishing with a smile!

Pat said...

great videos. I always go into a brain fog when I'm running long. You did much better than me. I did notice you got much better at shutting down the camera as each segment was taped. Less pavement viewing.

I wish you would have shot some more video of the course, ocean, landmarks.

Anyway, great job on the marathon. Good luck in Chicago.

crossn81 said...

Loved the video idea!! Great job. My thoughts would be to embed the video into the post or string them altogether using Windows Movie Maker!

Way to Persevere

Darrell said...

The video posts were very cool, kinda like running with you. Looks like you actually got started ahead of us in the starting corral, so I may have actually passed you out there some where.

Sorry to hear that the cold worsened into bronchitis. I'm still suffering lingering effects from it now a full week later. Hope you can get well soon.