Yet, again, I’m super late in getting this up, but I’m determined to catch back up since I have 3 races coming up later this month.
There are some races that you can’t wait to run again and LA Marathon is definitely one of them. Sean & I decided way back that there was no better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than to run a marathon, lol. This is Sean’s longest running race streak, with 2016 being the 5th time in a row he’s run LA and this was my 2nd time running this race. You can read about last year here.
So last September we signed up the day registration opened (it was $160 plus fees) and were locked in for a Valentine’s Day race. Normally LA is run in March but this year because they Olympic Marathon Trials were going to be the day before, they moved it up a month.
One nice thing that they do for this race and I’ve seen similar at other big races is that they have discounted hotel rates at local hotels, in downtown and Santa Monica. We typically stay at the Millennium Biltmore hotel in Downtown, it’s conveniently near a shuttle to get to Dodger Stadium which means we don’t have to get up in the middle of the night :).
We left for LA Saturday morning, very early like 6:00am so that we could get there in time for the Olympic Trials. I didn’t want to miss a moment. And we made it there in plenty of time which allowed us to get our packets before the trials started.
We got to the LA Convention Center at just before 8:00am, took a few photos in front of the cool Skechers branded stairs and got in line to go into the Expo. There were a few awesome security guys who were managing the line and I’m not being sarcastic here they did a great job of making sure that we all got in calmly and safely and made sure no one cut the line.
Once inside, it was super quick to get our bibs, they are really organized then went to get our shirts and bags. One thing about LA, they give you a ton of swag unlike most races. We got a nice shirt, a few drinks, a Maple Protein thing and a can of Beet Juice, a mini clif bar and I think there were a few other little things.
This was the first year that Skechers was sponsoring the race so there were lots of new things around the expo. They had a cool booth where you could get your photo taken and then put it up on a map of the course. Since we were there early we didn’t have to wait too long.
We chatted for a few minutes, got into the awesome group photo and then headed to check into our hotel.
Sean got in his daily run before we headed to Bottega Louie for dinner. We did this last year as well so it’s our LA Marathon tradition :). This year though, we were smart and shared a salad & pizza instead of 2 entrees. And of course we had to have the chocolate souffle, a pre-Valentine’s Day dessert ;).
After an early dinner, we headed back to the hotel to set out our gear and relax. All the gear.
I did not sleep well that night. I just kept waking up, but I do think I managed to get a few hours of sleep eventually. We set our alarms for 4am and I think I finally got out of bed around 4:15am. We got ready and walked over to the bus stop around 4:45am. There were more people waiting this year than there were last year so we had a little wait for the next bus.
I am so bad at eating before/during a race so this year I had a few new things to try. I ate a croissant while waiting for the bus and then had a custom mix of Tailwind & Core Proven Nutrition in my bottle. I had 2 additional bags to refill with in my pack.
We got to Dodger’s Stadium relatively early, got to the port-a-potties before there was a line and then I checked my bag relatively early. Sean & I were in different corrals, he was in A and I was in E, the last of the seeded corrals. We took a few photos and then split up.
The race started at 6:55am again this year. The sun was just up and we were off. It’s too funny as you leave the stadium, there are so many guys running to the left to pee on the side. This might be a sign that there should be port-a-potties inside the corrals, lol.
I was feeling pretty good to start, just running easy, I knew that there would be a decent hill around mile 4 so I was gearing up for that. It felt pretty warm around this point in the race, although no where near as warm as last year.
I think I ran into Marathon Mitch at some point around here. He got this cool action shot of me. It was his 16th time in a row running the LA Marathon.
And then around mile 5, I got this weird lump in my throat and had to stop on the side of the road, just past the chili dog spectators because I seriously thought I was going to be sick.
What was so funny is that I was drinking my tailwind/core proven nutrition blend regularly to try and combat this issue. So needless to say, I ran/walked the rest of the race.
There were some moments when I really thought I was going to be walking the rest of the race. I did decently for the first 12 miles, on mile 13 I stopped to refill my bottle, miles 14 – 19 went ok before miles 20 – 24 were tough, climbing up to Santa Monica. I ended up with miles 25 & 26 being decently fast considering.
No matter how you do in this race, the one thing I have to rave about is the spectators. They are absolutely amazing at this race. So many people who had their own little aid stations with oranges, bananas, water, gatorade. This is truly a special race in that aspect. I am grateful to all those who had orange slices cut up and ready for us and everyone that took the time out of their Valentine’s Day to get up and support us. I thank them all in addition to the amazing volunteers.
I’d say I still need to work on my fueling so I don’t feel sick while running. I’m not sure what the issue was this time because it was really early to be feeling sick, I know I can go over 5 miles without any fuel.
Anyways, I finished up the race running almost the entire last mile. I thought the finish line was earlier than it was and I couldn’t walk that close to the finish. Once I finished, I walked slowly to find Sean I didn’t feel good at all and was freezing. I got my awesome medal, they did a really good job on the medals, but I couldn’t put it around my neck because I felt like it was choking me.
I was kind of out of it, I still managed to smile for a photo before I found Sean. He took all my stuff and helped me get some snacks and my bag before we snuck out of the finishers area so I could sit down for a few minutes and get warm for some more photos.
One note about the bags. For some reason they had them all out of the trucks. Not sure what was up with that, but I did hear that there were a few people who were missing theirs.
Post race – they give you a lot of treats, it was bananas (I’m not a huge fan), animal cookies, 100 calorie pack teddy grahams, granola bars, pretzels and bagels with bottles of water. They did have the heat sheets this year as well as towels you could get to cool off with. It was pretty chilly when I finished though.
Unfortunately, LA Marathon uses Marathon foto for their photos so I’m lucky Marathon Mitch took a photo for me or I wouldn’t have any. The prices are a bit more than I want to spend.
Sean & I hung out in the park for a few minutes while I stopped feeling sick, got a few post race photos before heading out to the Pier. We got some burgers & fries and then by that point I was feeling better.
They had transportation to take us back Downtown. This year it was a bit longer of a trip because there was a lot of traffic so keep that in mind.
This is definitely a must on our race calendar, we’ve already registered for 2017. Hope to see you there!