Number Marathon Completed: 14
Location: Los Angeles, California
Time: 4:28:24, Pace: Overall 10:15/mile: ran ~20 miles , walked ~6 miles
Weather: 50-80s, slightly overcast in the beginning, sunny during the second half
Terrain: Rolling hills/mostly flat
In my last post I discussed my decision, thoughts, and game plan about running the LA Marathon while pregnant. Please check that out if you have not already.
Today I will recap the race and throw in some pictures from the race day. It’s a bit long, so I apologize : )
My morning routine: Sunday morning my alarm went off at 4:20 am, which really felt like an hour earlier given daylight savings. I did my normal pre-long run routine…I never change anything up race day. I treat it like any other long run: I got dressed, had coffee (to make sure I did #2 before starting my run, ha!), and ate a plane old Powerbar–I don’t like anything fancy or a lot of stuff in my stomach before and when I’m running…just a high concentration of glucose/energy. Everything was laid out in the hotel bathroom the night before so that there was no fumbling around in the morning and so that my mom and sister could get a little bit of extra sleep (every minute counts at that hour!).
The forecast was as follows:
The temperatures looked pretty good for the morning hours!!
Getting ready for the big run with my sister.
The outfit: The skirt and sports bra were new…I usually treat myself to a new running item for each marathon I do. I conveniently had a gift card to Lulu which covered the whole outfit plus another bra, which I was in dire need of cause none of my bras fit well anymore (and these new ones are already feeling tight!)! The tank on top…I HATE being hot when I run, and whatever shirt I start off wearing rarely stays on very long if the temperature is anywhere above 45 degrees, so I always where a cheap shirt that I don’t mind throwing out if I have to. The tank was like, $4 or something like that from Forever 21. I love my compression socks, which I wear for every long run that I do. Not sure if they actually help with injury prevention or not, but they sure are comfortable to have on after you’ve been running for a couple of hours and your legs start to swell. Since my legs are so short, I always have to roll the tops of them : ) And finally….the boobs….they’re not fake I swear, ha…that’s pregnancy for ya ; )
Getting to the race: If you plan on running L.A., make SURE you arrive early. The race starts between 7-7:30 at Dodger Stadium, and there is only ONE exit off of the highway. I think we left the hotel around 5:20 and got there with plenty of time. This was not the case last time….three years ago (gosh three years already?!) I “bandit ran” part of the L.A. Marathon, and we did not leave early enough to get there. There was a HUGE line of cars waiting to get off that one exit. We would’ve missed the start of the race that year had we not pulled the ultimate jacka$$ move of cutting in front of people getting off the exit. It was mortifying and we deserved every angry look and (finger) that we got! haha. That was fortunately not the case this year : )
In the car on our way to the race!
Arrived at the race start dark and early.
The race start: I was SHOCKED at how lax security was in this post-Boston era of marathon running. Yes, they had security people there who wouldn’t let you in if you were carrying a bag that wasn’t clear, but once you got passed that point, security was sorta a joke. My mom and sister could’ve EASILY ran the first part of the race with me if they had had the craziest desire to do so. There were volunteers checking your bib if you had a corral start, but ANYONE could’ve lined up in the general starting area. And if you missed getting to your corral on time or wanted to get in a higher up corral, you could’ve easily snuck into one of the corrals (at least that was the case for Corral B). Maybe that’s just the relaxed, laid back mentality of California for ya….Chicago is WAY stricter…Back even before Boston in 2009, I remember getting to my corral late for the Chicago Marathon and having to climb over this huge fence while some ginormous bodyguard/bouncer-like appearing man chased after me to try to stop me! haha.
Waiting in my corral right before the start of the race.
Three notable things about the start of the race:
1) I was rushing to make it to my corral on time and heard “Julia!” I turned around and saw one of my friends, David, from high school, who currently lives Portland. Of all the places, and all the people there, he somehow caught site of me lining up for the L.A. Marathon. I had no idea he was running this marathon:
I of course had to document this random coincidence with my camera. David, btw, went on to run a sub-3 marathon (2:55 I believe). Badass.
2) I met another runner in my corral who was 24 weeks pregnant. Woohoo!
3) The sunrise was phenomenal. My iPhone unfortunately does not give it justice:
I had no idea how long I would last, which I already discussed in my last post. One of two things I thought would stop me: either my shin, which randomly flared up badly out of nowhere about 1-1.5 weeks before the race, or the heat. In regards to the shin splints (technically, shin splint since it was only my left leg), I took nearly the ENTIRE week off of running before the race. I think I did one 2.5 mile run and that’s it. Better to show up to the start of a race healthy and under trained rather than over trained and injured. Plus, any running you do that last week will make no difference in terms of your physical shape, anyway.
In regards to the heat, I wasn’t sure how my body would handle running in warm weather, and overheating is something you do NOT want to do while pregnant. If I started to feel excessively hot, the race would be over for me, that was my rule.
As I said in my last post, I had my phone with me and kept in constant with my mom and sister, letting them know each time I passed a mile marker. If I at any point felt like stopping, they would come pick me up.
So how did I feel?? I felt great! When the first several miles flew by in a blink of an eye (ha, I made a rhyme), I knew it was going to be a good run. It was overcast for the first half of the race, so it felt very comfortable temperature-wise. I kept my pace in a very comfortable range, where I could’ve held a conversation if I had wanted to and where I wasn’t really forced to breath with my mouth open (I’ve mentioned this before, but one of the subjective gauges I use for assessing my intensity level is whether I can comfortably run while breathing at a normal rate only through my nose…not having to rely on huffing and puffing through my mouth to let more air/oxygen in. If I am able to do this, I consider this a subjectively easy exertional level).
Throughout the race, I never felt really hot, which was probably due to me running at such a comfortable pace and because I did a lot of training on the treadmill in my excessively hot basement gym in my apartment, so I was actually used to it feeling hotter/stuffier! Towards the end of the race, the sun came out and it got hotter, but I was mostly able to stay in the shade, and by then I was mostly walking anyway, so it didn’t affect me.
In terms of hydration and nutrition, I drank water or gatorade (but mostly water) at every aid station. I only took 3 Gu’s with me for fuel–which is the normal amount that I take for a marathon distance run (I usually take the first one at 1h15 minutes into the run, one at 2 hours, and one around 2:45), but I probably should’ve taken more, cause you don’t want your glucose levels getting low when pregnant, and because I was running for around a whole hour longer than I normally do when running a marathon. At around mile 24, I felt like I needed more food/energy. Literally right when I realized this, there was a volunteer along the side of the road giving out Nutrigrain bars. Bless her! Just what I needed! Best thing I have ever tasted in my entire life..haha. Within a few minutes of eating it, I felt a second wind coming on.
Stamina-wise/exertion level: Felt easy the entire marathon. My legs were another story though. At around mile 11, they started to feel a little sore, which is never a good sign when you still have 15 miles to go!! At that point, I thought it might actually be my leg muscles that force me to stop early rather than the weather or my shin (which surprisingly never bothered me)!
I can’t say I’m surprised they felt sore…that’s what happens when you do most of your training on a soft, giving treadmill and then try to run 26.2 miles on hard cement. I hate the treadmill and would never recommend training on a treadmill, but sometimes you have no choice. In order for me to fit my runs in, they have to be started by 4:30 am on most days in order for me to make work on time. Running in the dark at that hour in the winter when there are potential slick spots that you can’t see is just not smart when you’re pregnant. Anyway, somehow, my legs pulled me through another 9 miles of running without a problem, and they surprisingly weren’t that sore in the days after the race…felt not much more sore than the way they would’ve felt after any long run.
As I said before, I decided before the race that the most I would run was 20 miles, based on the fact that my longest run had been 17-18 mile run on the treadmill, and I didn’t to put my body through anything extreme race day being pregnant. I stuck with my rule. I started walking periodically after miles 17-18 and then stopped running at 20 miles and mostly walked the rest of the race. I of course, though, HAD to run the last 3/4 of a mile at the end of the race…wasn’t going to walk through the finish line ; )!
Splits from the race:
Miles 1-10: 8:51, 8:20, 9:21, 8:22, 9:07, 9:43, 8:47, 9:42, 9:18, 8:37
Miles 11-20: 8:44, 8:50, 8:57, 10:02, 8:47, 9:21, 9:25, 9:56, 10:27, 11:04
Miles 21-26.2 (although my garmin said 26.59): 12:45, 13:56, 12:11, 12:34, 15:10, 12:01, 10:19
The course: I really, really, really liked the L.A. Marathon course. People kept telling me that “ooh, that’s a hilly marathon” and that it was more challenging than some races. Um, were they talking about the same race?? What hills? I recall one short hill in the first ~1/3 of the race that forced me to briefly slow down, but other than that, it was just nice, easy, rolling “hills” or flat. Maybe my view is skewed since I wasn’t pushing myself during this race, and so nothing felt hard…I don’t know…but I thought the course was easy. The course for the Kansas City Marathon, ironically, and the Cincinnati Marathon felt a lot harder to me. I would definitely run this race again and try to “race” it.
The finish line: Best feeling ever seeing and crossing that finish line. Despite now having crossed a marathon finish line 14 times, it never. Gets. Old….ever. Best feeling and biggest high in the world.
The finish line! Best sight ever!
This finish was especially emotional for me, since I was running for two and didn’t even know if I’d run the whole thing. I had a smile glued to my face during the last mile…was just so happy and elated.
When I finished the race, as I did with my last half marathon, I said I was pregnant and asked for a second medal for Baby O. The lady was like, “sorry I can’t do that.” What? Really? Not everyone starts or finishes theses races…they always have plenty of medals! Bullshit! I took my medal off, hid it in my hand behind my phone, and walked up to a second girl handing out medals who couldn’t see that I already had a medal and placed another one around my neck : ) hehe.
Could’ve really used some sunglasses!
A medal for me and one for Baby O.
Race Highlights and other misc thoughts:
1. Peeing: For those of you following my blog, y’all know that peeing during my runs has been an issue for me throughout this pregnancy. I stopped FIVE times to pee during this race. Before being pregnant, I have never once had to stop to pee during a race. Ever. The first time it hit me during the marathon was around miles 3-4. I was elated when I saw these:
Yes, I had to document my excitement over the port-a-potties by taking a picture of them. I’m weird, I know.
My excitement quickly turned to terror when I realized someone had forgotten to unlock the port-a-potties! I decided to hold off until I saw the next set of port-a-potties, which were about a mile a later. Same story. wtf. I couldn’t wait any longer. There were police men hanging around the unusable port-a-potties. I didn’t know what to do, so I asked the police officer, “are you going to arrest me if I pee in public?!” They just laughed, shook their heads, and walked away. I found an empty staircase behind the port-a-potties and squated. Hey, when you gotta go, you gotta go, and this is especially true when you have a large uterus compressing your bladder!
Fortunately, there were plenty of port-a-potties later along the course that were NOT locked, so worrying about when and where I was going to pee was not an issue : )
2. Highlight: Seeing my sister and mom multiple times throughout the race (start of the race, miles ~7, 13, 19). They are the best supporters. Seriously…they chased me around throughout the entire course, cheering me on and always being nearby should I decide to stop. Both were troopers, getting up at ~4:30 with me and doing all the driving around and cheering me on throughout the entire morning. I should’ve picked up extra medals for them!! If you did not watch it already, here is the short video my mom took of my sister and I at mile 7.
Selfie at mile 7
Mile 7: Yes, my nails match my outfit. Believe it or not, that was not planned : )
Mile 13: Me and the little bump, which probably looks more more like a little beer belly right now, haha ; )
End of the race.
End of the race.
End of the race with my mom. My mom and sister had flowers waiting for me when I finished : )
3. I got teary-eyed three times during the race: the first time was after I left my mom and sister at mile 7. I was overwhelmed with gratitude…for being in L.A., for being healthy enough to run and continue doing what I love, for having such a supportive family. The second time was around mile 21 when I passed a collapsed runner who was getting CPR. These were not happy tears this time. These were scared tears for him and his family. I said a prayer and after the race found out that a runner had had a heart attack during the race but was thankfully resuscitated. When I passed the runner, one of the guys helping yelled at some of the runners/spectators to back away and not take pictures. I can’t believe someone would think about taking a picture of something terrible like that! What’s wrong with people?
The third time I got teary-eyed were once again happy tears when I crossed the finish line : )
4. I passed a bunch of (excessively, but appreciatingly) excited Lululemon spectators at one point during the race. The one girl pointed at what I thought was my belly and gave me a thumbs up and started cheering even more enthusiastically. My pride swelled when I thought she recognized and was excited by the fact that I was running pregnant. A few minutes later, though, I realized she was probably just pointing to my skirt and cheering for the fact that I was wearing a lululemon outfit, cause I don’t think the average person would be able to tell whether my “bump” is from a baby or a really large meal. haha.
5. During the last few miles of the race, I heard someone yell my name: It was Dean’s family’s neighbor from Chicago who also happens to work with me at Northwestern Memorial Hospital! What the heck? And I thought running into my friend at the start of the race was random. This was even more random that she spotted me along the course, in L.A., amongst thousands of runners. I had no idea she was going to be in L.A.
Below is a slide show of some additional pictures from the course of the marathon: