Long Beach Marathon Recovery

It has been 8 days since I ran the Long Beach Marathon.

I cannot lie, the first two days after the marathon were pretty uncomfortable. I spent most of Sunday afternoon watching football, resting, hydrating, and napping. I had Joe stretch out my legs for me which was very kind of him. I got a great nights sleep. Monday was pretty uncomfortable. I didn’t do too much of anything all day (luckily I had the day off) and my legs needed the day off. My feet were in pretty rough shape too with blood blisters and a toe nail that finally came off yesterday. I felt much better when I woke up Tuesday but I had to stand all day at work on Tuesday which really tested my legs. Sitting, bending, and walking up and down stairs was very uncomfortable and walking for 6 hours or so didn’t help the situation.

Wednesday and Thursday were much better and by Friday I had no soreness. I decided to wait until today to go on my first post marathon run. I’m really glad I waited. I probably could have tried earlier but my legs would have been very fatigued. The rest was necessary. I did a simple 4 mile out and back on the Strand and it was a fantastic run. No groin or ankle pain thank goodness! My legs were still a bit on the tired side.

Official photos are in! Running hard on the beach path.

Moving forward my running plan is just to do what feels good for the first month post-marathon. Last time I ran a marathon I was frustrated by how tired my legs still felt a few weeks out so I’m just gonna do what feels good for at least 1 month and then assess how I feel and where I am. I have to say: I have a burning desire to run the LA Marathon. I’m putting that decision on hold for a month so I can let the PR glow wear off a bit. I just know that I haven’t reached near my potential in training. There is so much room for improvement in my training meaning there is a lot of room to set a new PR. This is very enticing to me. No decision today but it’s on my mind. There are other training options on the table (get fast at a half marathon? Tri?) but I have plenty of time to figure out what I want to do.

In the meantime I’m focusing on doing what feels good, although after setting a new PR running feels pretty damn good right now. My other post-marathon goal is to focus on nutrition. I definitely use training as an excuse to eat like a glutton and I’ve gained some non-muscle training weight. Not a big deal. I’m just using Lose It! to track what I’m eating. I also am breaking down the nutrients in what I’m eating. I think if I eat smarter I will become a better runner.

Oh hey, a marathon photo.

In other news: I worked over my reported splits with my statistician (my dad) and realized that there is NO WAY the splits for mile 20 onward are accurate. 4 15 min miles followed by 2 5 min miles? Completely impossible. I was a bit bummed my stats weren’t accurate. My dad seemed to think I likely ran 13 min miles 20-24 and 9 min miles 24-26.2. I tell him all my times when I run so I trust his judgment. He also pointed out that I ran Long Beach 9% faster than I ran Chicago.

I believe I likely ran a 9 min mile for mile 25 and the .2 nub of mile 26 thanks to the above tattooed man. Thanks bro.

People keep telling me that I am a very photogenic runner. I assure you that I am not and if you look at my official race photos you can tell. Not my most flattering. I look like I’m running a marathon and not paying attention to the photographers. This is probably a good thing. Who wants to be the jackass holding up the race and posing ridiculously for photos? These race photos were exceptionally bad.

See I am not always photogenic.

Also, Gillian requested that I post my running playlist so here it is.

I repeat many songs while I run. This time around I was really into “Black Skinhead” by Kanye West and “Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. Throughout my training I started putting 2 or 3 new songs on my training playlist. I did this for the race with 3 songs from the original Jock Jams. I am ashamed to admit how excited I was when “Pump the Jam” came on. Yay 1990’s. I hesitated to put “Shake it Off” by Florence and the Machine on my playlist but I was glad I did. It came on around mile 23. That song reminds me so much of the first time I took the bar exam. It reminded me of the frustrations I’ve had in the past year and really motivated me. Finally, I made the playlist extra long because I just wasn’t sure how long I would be running for. “Rebel Girl” by Bikini Kill was the last song that played as I ran downhill to the finish. “Rebel Girl” is one of my favorite running songs. I heard it start, I got excited but got so swept up as I was booking it to the finish line that I stopped listening to the music. Being so into a moment that you forget music is playing? Priceless.


Long Beach Marathon Race Recap

My second marathon is in the books. I conquered the Long Beach Marathon yesterday with a 32 min PR.

photo (22)

All photos after the above one were taken and edited by Joe who is way more talented with a camera than I will ever be.

This is a long post. If you want the short version: I ran hard, finished in 4:50 beating my B goal by 10 mins. I didn’t walk during the final mile, completing one of my non-time specific goals. I may have injured my ankle but I finished with a big smile on my face.

But let’s go back to the start.

Pre Race

I woke up at 4 am on Sunday morning. I stretched, covered my body in body glide (I was hoping to avoid the chafing issues I had in Chicago), got my hydration game going, took some Advil (I know, I know, and it came back to bite me later) and hit the road with Joe. I don’t want to gush too much but he woke up early with me, handled all the driving, parking, and communication with my friends who showed up to spectate, plus he was my personal race photographer, assistant after the race when I was hobbling around and was just 100% proud and supportive while doing it. It was his first marathon experience ever and I think he enjoyed it but not enough to run one himself. He is just a fantastic human being.

We made it to Long Beach quickly. I hopped out of the car and walked to the start line. I was able to easily hop into the porta potty line and navigate around the starter area. One of the benefits of the Long Beach Marathon is that there are only 5,000 runners. Far fewer people than run the Chicago Marathon. It was still dark outside. I stretched out a bit more and hopped into the corral. Because there are so few runners the entire corral system is open for the full marathon.

Unfortunately there was a delay starting the race because the course was not clear. The race ended up starting 17 mins late. I had to go to the bathroom again but was unable to access the bathroom because the porta potties were lined up on the other side of all the bicyclists who were doing the bike tour. During the delay I chatted with a nice lady who was running her first marathon. She was from Georgia. I was a bit nervous and, like last time, talking to a stranger calmed me down.

Finally we were off!

The Race

It only took 2 mins for me to get to the start line. Everyone around me started running before they reached the timing mat. WHY? I was going to walk for as long as I could before I had to run. The start was crowded but I managed to spot Joe just as I was passing him. He didn’t see me at first but managed to get this photo. Where’s Katherine?

Side note: the weather was flawless for running. The temps were in the 60’s and there was cloud cover for most of the race. Much more pleasant than it was in Chicago two years ago.

The first 6 miles of the course took us out over a small bridge, over to the Queen Mary and around back south on the bike path. I decided quickly to think of the race as 4- 6 mile segments. The first one was very nice. Obviously, it was the beginning of the race and we could see the sun rising over the ocean. Within a mile I knew I had to stop to use the porta potty and figured I should do it sooner than later. Stopping running is always easier first thing in the race. Like my last marathon, I was jealous of the men who could just pull to the side of the road and go. I waited in a short bathroom line and was on my merry way.

I was conscious of the cardinal rule of running: Don’t go out too fast. I had picked up a 4:45 pace band from the expo and I wore it with my running watch. This is the first race I’ve done with my running watch. I let my body pick the pace for the first 6 miles. I wanted it to be slow and maintainable obviously. I was running probably about :30 per mile faster than the pace band but the pace felt easy.

The major highlight of the first 6 miles was seeing Julie Weiss. Julie was featured in Spirit of the Marathon 2. She lives in Santa Monica and ran 52 marathons in 1 year to raise money for pancreatic cancer. She is a total badass and pretty inspirational. I yelled her name instinctively upon seeing her. She didn’t hear me but her friend (who is running 12 marathons in 1 year) did and pointed me out. I ran alongside them for about 1 min and we chatted about the 2011 Chicago Marathon which we both ran. It was a pretty cool running celebrity sighting.

I felt great during the first quarter of the race and I saw Joe standing at the mile 6 sign. I was so excited to see him.

After that I was a little weary because I knew I still had a long way to go and wouldn’t see him again until the final miles. The route went down the bike path. The sun was peeking out through the clouds and it was breathtaking. My only complaint is that the path was narrow and some girl had her unregistered boyfriend riding alongside her on a bike. It annoyed me and pushed me to get in front of them.

The second quarter of the race flew by. I was doing my usual routine, taking energy chews ever 45 mins or so and grabbing water from the stations. I ran while I fueled until the halfway point.

Around mile 8 I started to get hungry. I didn’t want to blow through my gels too fast so when I saw the Long Beach Tri Club around mile 8 or 9 with glazed donut holes I took full advantage. I was a bit nervous about taking a donut during a race because I’ve never eaten one while running before but I was hungry and decided to ditch conventional wisdom at eat the donut hole. I took it slowly and it felt good in my stomach thank goodness. Best race treat ever!

The miles between 9 and 17 flew by. I hit the half point, and headed towards Cal State Long Beach. I ran down “the hill” which would come back at mile 21. That portion of the course was out and back so I saw the elite runners which was cool. I was feeling great, staying positive, and having an easy time holding on to my pace. I started to walk through water stations after mile 13 and taking two cups because I was thirsty. I was careful not to over hydrate.

At mile 17 we ran into the CSULB campus. This is where my pace started to wane a bit. The area around the campus was duller than the rest of the course and there were some rolling hills. I did appreciate the frat bros who came out to cheer. Some were even dressed like zombies! Spectators really keep me going during a race. I rely on them to keep me moving. The course was pretty thin with spectators but it made me appreciate those that came out more. I decided to dedicate mile 18 to my best friend who started me running, Carolyn. She is my bicoastal bestie and ran her first half 7 months before I ran my first half. I didn’t think I could run 13.1 miles until she encouraged me. She’s been dealing with injuries over the past couple of years and hasn’t been healthy enough to run NYCM so she’s been deferring her entry fee. Thinking of her helped me push through mile 18.

Before I knew it I was at mile 20. I was so relieved to see the mile 20 marker. Only another 10k to go! At this point in the race I felt WAY better than I had in Chicago. I was tired and sore but I knew I was going to at least PR. I started to take walk breaks. I kept them short but I knew that my pace was dropping. At mile 21 I walked up the big hill because I knew I needed to conserve energy. My brain was yelling “run!” but I knew it would only burn what little energy I had left. I was glad to reach the hill because we were running along the out and back again. I could visualize the rest of the course and I knew my spectators would come up eventually. Funny and gross thing: around this point in the course there was a road kill squirrel in the middle of the course.

Around my mile 21 walk break I felt a tick in my left ankle. It was mild but not the type of pain you’re supposed to experience during a marathon. I’ve never had any ankle pain while running and my right ankle felt fine. This is how I knew my left ankle was not ok. The whole thing caught me off guard. I knew that the moment I finished I need to get to a medical tent and I hoped it wouldn’t get much worse before then. The pain went away after I started running and I didn’t feel it at all after mile 24.

I kept trotting along, taking a run/walk approach to get to the finish line after mile 21. I could tell from looking at my pace band that I was not going to make a sub 4:45 finish but I knew if I kept battling I could get my sub 5 hr finish I wanted so badly. Instinctively, my mind went into battle mode. I dug deep and thought about my friends who couldn’t run marathons, the people who died or were injured at the Boston Marathon last spring, and passing the bar on the second time after failing it the first time around. These were my main motivators through the final miles. I thought about how much I wanted to see Joe and my friends who came out for the race. I thought about my post race meal. Hell, I thought about anything that would keep me going when I wanted to quit. At mile 22 some guy on the sideline said “Katherine, carry me on your shoulders”. It’s hokey but his words helped push me. I started to think running the LA Marathon in March isn’t a crazy.

Mile 23 came and I started to think about how close I was to the finish. I baited myself with thoughts like “this is just a simple out and back on the strand. You eat those runs for breakfast. You can do this!”

Around this point in the course the half marathoner course met back up with the marathon course. This was not my favorite thing. Almost all of the half marathoners I saw at that point were walking. They were supposed to stay to the left of the course and there were even cones to mark it but they were bleeding pretty heavily into the marathon course and I had to expend a lot of energy in the final miles bobbing and weaving around them. This was probably my only major complaint about the Long Beach Marathon. The half marathoners split from the full marathoners after mile 26 so they didn’t clog the marathon finish line which was nice.

At mile 24 I saw Joe, my friend Gwen and my coworker Melody (whose husband ran the half and set a big PR). Melody had an awesome sign that said “Batman never ran a (half) marathon”. I have never been happier to see three people in my life.

Around this time I fell into pace with a man who can only be described as my marathon angel (he is the shirtless tattooed man in the above photo). He saw me walking after mile 24. I never truly “hit the wall” but miles 23-26.2 brought me close. I was so ready to be done. The tattooed man said something to the effect of: “run girl, we’re almost there!” I obeyed his ordered and stuck with him to the finish line. At mile 25 I remembered my goal and told him “do not let me walk”. I ran 80% of mile 24. At mile 25 I ran and did not stop until I hit the finish line! Everything in me walked to walk. My legs were screaming. My fingers were swelling. I wanted to walk but every time I said “go on without me!” tattoo man refused to leave me. I asked him to let me walk at least three times. Each time I asked him to go on because I felt like I was holding him back and, let’s face it, I really wanted to walk. At mile 25.2 I saw the big Jet Blue extra mile sign and I could see the message of encouragement Gillian left me!

I felt like the mile 26 sign would never come but it finally did. At mile 26.1 we turned the corner and headed downhill to the finish. Tattoo man pulled away and I ran to the finish, crossing the line in 4:50:50. That is an 11:06 min/mile pace, a 32 min PR and more than a min faster per mile than my Chicago Marathon pace.

For the record tattoo man did turn around after he hit the finish to give me a high five. I thanked him profusely for getting me through those final, most challenging two miles.

Post Race

I staggered through the finisher chute grabbing my space blanket, water, medal and food goodie bag. I ambled around the crowd near the end of the finisher chute (for the record, people crowding the finish chute… please step back. You’ll find your people and I just ran 26.2 miles so please get out of my way I’m having a hard enough time walking as it is).

I went to the medical tent where I got iced and reprimanded (rightfully so) for taking Advil before a race. My body but most noticeably my fingers were very swollen after I finished. It scared me. The medical tent is not somewhere you want to be at the end of a race. Joe was outside the medical tent and it felt so good to be reunited. Gwen came up to us pretty soon after I got out of the medical tent.

We headed over to Beachwood for a post race lunch of beer, tater top casserole and a ham and brie sandwich with Oliver and Melody.


I spent all day yesterday taking an ice bath, watching football, taking an hour and a half long nap and generally relaxing. I drank 3 vitamin waters per the medical tent doctor’s orders and got almost 10 hours of sleep last night.

My splits

I knew the even splits I wanted were shot to hell after mile 20. The Long Beach Marathon website breaks them down in this really cool way.

Overall, I am very happy with my performance. Passing almost 300 people in the back half? I’ll take it! It would have been really amazing to hit 4:45 but I set a HUGE PR and I haven’t set a PR since June 2010. I’m basking in the post marathon glow, hobbling around and enjoying plenty of treats. My ankle feels OK (for now) and I plan to rest all week and then slowly ease back into running next week.

Thanks to everyone for their words of encouragement! I feel blessed that people read this blog and give me encouragement. It really means a lot to me. Thank you!

Long Beach Marathon. It’s Happening.

Hello Everyone!

As promised, I’m posting on the blog before the Long Beach Marathon. I realize that I haven’t blogged a lot about this marathon training cycle.

This is my second marathon. When I trained for my first marathon in Chicago everything felt like such a big deal. Every long run was a personal distance record. I challenged myself and my body in brand new ways. You know the old joke: “How can you tell that someone ran a marathon?” “Oh don’t worry. They’ll let you know”? That was me to a T. I have a blog which really is pretty much just a license to talk about ones self. After weeks of training race weekend finally arrived. I traveled to Chicago and was reunited with friends and family and ran my first marathon. My only goal was to finish, and I did, in over 5 hours. The whole experience felt epic and monumental.


This time around I was committed to training but I talked about it less. Because I’ve taken on the distance before, the training felt less exciting. This is not necessarily a bad thing. I knew what to expect and I went into my long runs more confidently because I knew what to expect.



Unlike last time, where I trained with a 10:2 run/walk ratio, I focused on just running this time at least on my long runs. I’ve dealt with some on/off groin muscle issues which has led me to walk uphills on my runs however, my long runs were spent predominantly, well, running. I took far fewer walk breaks and was able to maintain a 10:50 pace on all my long runs. I even ran 12 miles two weeks ago at a sub 10:00 min mile pace. The average pace for my long runs was 10:30. I committed to walking the uphills due to the groin injury and walking every 45 mins for taking in Gu because I cannot run and also eat at the same time. Other than those short breaks, I just ran.

EDIT: this should read that I maintained at least a 10:50 pace (my 20 miler). Most of my training runs were done at a 10:30-ish pace)

I also had 5 training weeks where I covered over 30 miles thanks to added cycling. I challenged myself over labor day weekend and did an 18 mile bike ride followed by an 18 mile run the next day. Since I started training 12 weeks ago, I had 10 consecutive weeks of over 20 miles logged. This is pretty big for me. I’ll never be one of those people who can log 40-60 mile weeks on the regular. I’m just not built that way.

Given the effort I’ve put in though, I’m fairly confident I should be able to walk away from Long Beach with a PR, hopefully.


There isn’t anything BAD to report. On my run Monday my foot cramped up and started to hurt but it loosened up after walking and it didn’t bother me on my final run yesterday. I wish that I had done more (or lets face it- any) strength training during training. The week I was in San Francisco I didn’t get a long run in and I treated it like a step back week. Part of me is worried thinking I should have done another substantial long run of 16-18 miles. Its easy to second guess training during taper. I’m trying to stay confident right now and trust the process.


I’m so hesitant to announce goals for fear that I won’t meet them. However, I feel great about the pace I was able to produce on my long runs. I know the speedier runs I did with my run club are going to help me.  You never know what will happen on race day or during those final miles but here are my goals:

A+, over the moon goal: 4:45 or sub 4:45.

I picked up the 4:45 pace band at the expo today and plan to wear it during the race. This would put my pace at around 10:50 min miles. I feel this is do-able because long runs are to be done at about :30-:45 seconds slower than desired marathon pace. Additionally, I plugged my most recent half marathon time into McMillian and I was predicted to run a marathon in 4:25. This feels WAY too optimistic BUT I ran my 12 mile run 2 weeks ago at the same pace so there is hope I suppose. Can you tell I am rationalizing all my goals? It’s a marathon, a lot can happen. 

B goal that I will still be very happy to achieve: sub 5:00

This is big. A marathon with a 4 in front of it is a big hump to get over based on last time and I would be setting at least a 22 min PR which would be a huge achievement. I will be happy with running anything faster than 5 hrs. 

C Goal: Sub 5:22 (or 12:17 min mile)

Anything faster than this is a PR. Hurrah! 

D Goal: FINISH with a smile on my face

It’s hard to run 26.2 miles. Any day your body is fit enough to achieve this is a great day. I need to remember this. Amen. 

Non Time Goal: EVEN splits, no walking in the final mile

Last time I ran my pace dropped like a rock in the final 6 miles and I struggled to run. I noticed this trend in my early races, that I crap out and start to walk and kinda bag it towards the end when I’m tired. I’ve done a great job in the past two races I’ve run of not giving up near the end and pushing hard. I want to do that in Long Beach no matter how tired I feel. 


Today I hit up the expo with Gillian. Gillian and I were twitter friends turned blog friends turned real life friends. She is running the half and so we decided to take on the expo together.


Overall I really loved the expo. There was enough to see without it being overwhelming. I was able to buy more body glide (essential) and also check out the booths with out being swept away in a crowd. Its nice to hit an expo with another runner so we could catch up on life, blogs we like to read, get off my internets, and races we want to run in the future.

I also really liked the t-shirts which are blue v neck tech tees. Unlike my Chicago Marathon finishers shirt it is not tiny. I cannot wait to wear it on the strand.

After we went to Simmzy’s of Long Beach for beer and burgers. As usual the food was bomb.

I have to work tomorrow for 6 hours but otherwise I’m putting my feet up and carb loading.

Thanks to all the people who have followed along with me and given me encouragement. If you want to track me my bib number is 3374 and the website is here.

Another Frisco Trip

Two weeks ago Joe and I headed up to San Fran for another trip to the Bay. This was my 5th time to San Francisco. Every time I go I fall more in love with the city.

This trip was based around our tickets to the 49ers vs. Packers game on Sunday but we decided to extend our trip to be Thursday until Monday. I was super happy about that because it meant I got to spend more time with Chrissy (one of my favorite law school people ever) and got to spend time with my cousin Mary who I haven’t seen in nearly 1 year.

Chrissy and I during 1L when we were young, innocent, and I experimented with bangs. #NeverAgain

We drove up on Thursday arriving in time to catch the Broncos vs. Ravens game (booo Ravens) at a bar. The bar was quiet and full of what seem to be mostly regulars. I love how Lagunitas is on tap at almost every bar in SF.

We also sat next to a very drunk man who told my boyfriend that he is blessed because he has a girl friend who loves football. Obviously, I will never let him forget it.

Thursday night we eventually got to Chrissy’s apartment which is really like a very nice hotel. There is a hot tub and a pool which needed to be taken advantage of. We also spent plenty of time with Penny. Penny is adorable but secretly a mischievous demon destroyer who kept putting the moves on Joe.

Penny snuggles with everyone.

Friday we went on a run and then headed over to Berkeley to see Mary. She took us to Sliver Pizza which was an amazing choice. They only have one pizza available per day. On that day the pizza was Roasted Yukon Gold Potatoes, Fresh Corn, Mozzarella, Bulgarian Feta Cheese, Mexican Key Limes, Cilantro Garlic Olive Oil. I also had an IPA.

Feast your eyes.

The pizza was amazing. I know that Cheeseboard corners the good pizza market in Berkeley but this was damn good. I loved the potatoes and sweet corn but the hint of cilantro stole my heart. After we walked around Berkeley with my cousin and got some delicious ice cream because it was vacation.

Saturday’s major food highlights included a trip to the farmers market at the Ferry Building where I was reunited with my favorite blue bottle coffee.


While I waited in line at Blue Bottle Joe went over to Strauss Creamery for milkshakes. We each got our own because I cannot control myself and I would have drank the entire milk shake before he had a sip otherwise.

Saturday was hot and we spent the entire day at Chrissy’s rooftop pool.

For dinner the girls went to a small hole in the wall Italian restaurant called Café Sport. I loved the vibe of the restaurant. There were things hung on every inch of the wall which made the booths feel very private.

I don’t remember exactly what we had. I do know we ate a ton of garlic bread, pasta with beef sauce and ravioli.

After we saw Moonrise Kingdom in the park and then crashed after watching numerous episodes of revenge. Party animals.

The highlight of the weekend was Sunday and the Packers vs. 49ers game. I have a deep dislike of the Packers as a native Chicagoan and was very excited to be at the 49ers season opener. We tailgated with burgers and beer in the parking lot before the game.

The game was exciting, probably the most exciting NFL game I’ve been to. The game moved quickly and it was close until the end.

It was great to go to a game where every down felt like it was do or die. The game was very loaded for the Packers because we knocked them out of the playoffs last year and they came to play. The 9ers ended up prevailing and a fun time was had by all.

Fun Fact: an elderly grandmother Packers fan flipped off one of the members of our group at one point. Oh, Green Bay.

We headed back Monday. I love San Francisco. San Fran is probably the only place I would consider moving outside of LA and I was so happy to explore it with Joe and spend quality time with Chrissy. I always eat well there and I am so excited to go back.

I have my marathon in Long Beach in 5 days. I am planning on posting before then. Don’t worry everyone who gave me a hard time for not blogging enough over the weekend 🙂