For most people, Sunday was exciting because it was St. Patrick’s Day. I, on the other hand, woke up bright and early and excitedly drove to my old hood to spectate the LA Marathon!
This is my third year watching the LA Marathon. I watched it two years ago from inside Starbucks to avoid sitting in the torrential downpour that was happening. I had just registered for the Chicago Marathon and I remember thinking to myself, “what the hell have you gotten yourself into?!”
Last year I watched with my friend Chrissy. We both went to college in Boston so we have years of Boston Marathon spectating under our belts. The weather was great and we had a lot of fun.
This year, the weather was great for marathon running. I got there early, met up with a friend and camped out from 8:45 until noon with coffee and New York Bagel. This year I didn’t personally know any runners but I was excited to see the crowds and the elite runners, especially Deena Kastor. I have professed love for Deena before on the blog. This is mostly based on my 100 viewings of Spirit of the Marathon.
Speaking of lady runners, I love the gender challenge that the LA Marathon does. Basically, they start the women 18 mins before the men. That number is based on the average length of time it takes women to finish vs men to finish. The winner of the gender challenge gets an extra cash prize.
Obviously, I was stoked with the lead women went by before the dudes!
Look at her! It’s like she’s just chilling, running a neighborhood 5k. I should note that I was sitting just in front of mile 22. This is the point when people look and feel like death! Aleksandra Duliba zoomed by like it wasn’t anything. She ended up winning, the next women was at least a minute behind her. Then came Deena!
Deena looked like she was hurting a little bit, and she was in third place. Should also be noted, Deena looks like she weighs about the same as a feather. She basically could float to the end.
Moments before Deena came by, the men passed. Unlike the women, the men were in a pretty tight pack and they were totally battling it out which is so much fun to watch.
Neck and neck! I love watching the elites!
After the elites, the other runners started to pass by. I love cheering on marathons almost as much as I love running them. Usually I pick out something about someone’s shirt or their name if they have it on their bib and yell something about that to them. This year, I saw a guy in a Guinness shirt taking a walk break. I yelled at him that he was 4 miles away from a cold Guinness and he started to run again! Success!
Other interesting people to pass me by:
This woman in an Irish outfit!
There were a bunch of runners dressed up for St. Patrick’s Day which was fun to watch. I can’t say that I’d ever run a full or a half marathon in a costume, but as a spectator it’s fun to see.
Obviously, there was a ton of media coverage in LA about the marathon. However the best thing I read all week was this article in the LA Times about a judge who helps runners in the Midnight Mission on skid row in downtown LA train for the marathon. I was very inspired by this article. Running can be a transformative experience and this article is definitely worth a read. Thanks Gillian for bringing it to my attention.
Yesterday was a great day. Every time I watch the marathon I remember how I felt when I finished my first marathon. I love the feeling I had when I crossed the finish line. I felt like I was soaring. The feeling was on par with finishing the bar exam, finishing my first half marathon, setting a PR or graduating from law school.
This past year has been so exciting, but at the same time frustrating. I’ve prioritized the bar exam over running. I wanted to run the LA Marathon but when I found out I didn’t pass the bar, that plan was put on hold. Working, studying and training for a full would have been overwhelming. I was so glad I ran the Pasadena Rock n Roll Half. It gave me the emotional boost I needed to finish my studying strong but I still wished I was able to run LA.
Because my career has been up in the air I had been hesitant to set any solid race plans. What if I get a job and don’t have time to train? What if I don’t pass the bar and decide to retake in July? It’s easy to put off any kind of plan until you have these big questions worked out. At the same time, this uncertainly about career has been going on for almost a year. I could be unemployed for a while. I feel like I’ve been putting things I want on hold. Sometimes it’s necessary. For me, training for a marathon and studying for the bar would have been too much. However, I don’t want to put off doing things that make me feel good about myself and make me feel fulfilled until some uncertain date in the future.
I have several running goals I want to achieve but I haven’t really committed to any of them. Until now.
I’ve been contemplating this move for a while, and I am so excited to make what will hopefully be a glorious return to marathon running on October 13th in Long Beach!
I choose the Long Beach marathon for several reasons. First, I researched the race and almost everything I read was positive. The course is mostly flat, there were a good number of water stations and the race seems to be well executed. Obviously, Long Beach will be way different than Chicago, which is a major city marathon. Nothing will compare to running in Chicago (crowds, supporters, it being my hometown) but I’m excited for a different experience. Now that I live in South Bay, the race is pretty close to where I live. Hopefully I’ll have a bunch of friends watching and cheering me on. Also, for a marathon the entry fee was not outrageous as far as marathon fees go.
The final perk that helped me make up my mind was the fact that there is a half marathon being run on the same course as the full. Thus, if there is a disaster of some kind and I cannot train for the full I still have the option to run the half. I don’t expect that I will need to do this. I take signing up for a full marathon seriously and want to train for the distance. I’ve never really had an injury that has precluded my running a full. However, if I get a job that demands me to work 70 hours a week in August and my training is derailed I still can opt into the half. If there’s a will, there’s a way and if something comes up that derails my training, I’ll deal with it when it comes up.
Overall, I am really pumped to take on this new challenge. I cannot wait to be able to say I run marathons (plural!) I didn’t do any speed work when I trained for Chicago and approached the race with a casual run/walk method. This time, I want to train a bit more intensely and set a real time goal. Because I ran Chicago in 5:20 I should be able to PR in Long Beach if I put in the work. Thank you, countless minutes spent noodling with race pace calculators! Plus, I get to log tons of miles along the ocean front which is one of my favorite things to do right now.
Oh, and I can’t wait for my legs to look/feel this bad ass again.
Congrats to everyone who finished the LA Marathon yesterday! You guys are amazing!
Congrats on the sign-up! It’s always so inspiring to spectate a race, isn’t it?!
YAY! I’m sure you’ll do great! I know you will!
Thanks for the shout-out! I loved that article. Between that, marathon Sunday, and this post – I am itching to do one. I’ll probably register for Long Beach after I run the OC Half on May 5. I know you’ll rock a huge PR in Long Beach!