Saturday, March 23, 2013

Race day memories of a strong LA Marathon 2013...

Has it really been a week since I ran my 3rd L.A. Marathon? It feels like longer and I certainly have a case of post-marathon blues. Fortunately I have the Vancouver Marathon on the horizon at the beginning of May to focus on and my official race day photos from last Sunday to remind me how fantastic a day it was.

Nothing beats that feeling of crossing the Finish Line
LA Marathon 2013 Finish Line
After a season of injury and never fully recovering from my first Honolulu Marathon (especially that Diamond Head hill), I was more than overjoyed to cross the Finish Line in 3:42:18, shaving off a full five minutes from last year's time and setting a new PR for all five of my marathons to date.

Running through Beverly Hills
Running through Beverly Hills LA Marathon 2013
The misty marine layer made for perfect running conditions the whole race, keeping us cool and refreshed, although the run did come out through Hollywood and my local West Hollywood neighbourhood.

The sun came out when I ran down Rodeo Drive
Running Rodeo Drive LA Marathon 2013
I spent first part of race paranoid about my knee injury at every hill and incline and the first 10k felt quite hard after resting the week prior, but the fantastic cheers section really kept me going and gave me the boost I needed to find my groove.

The Veterans Administration part of the course seems endless at times 
Running Veterans Administration LA Marathon 2013
My favourite section of spectators was in Hollywood where the road was lined on both sides with enthusiastic crowds cheering and showing support with signs, cowbells and positive energy that sems to go on forever.

My special marathon music selection helped set the pace
Running LA Marathon 2013
The L.A. Marathon is a great entry level marathon as it's relatively flat, making it a potentially fast course, but it's also a wonderful way to see the different areas of the sprawling city you live in or are visiting, it truly is from Stadium to Sea.

This photo says it all as I really had to dig deep those final miles
digging deep LA Marathon 2013
For me the hardest part had to be from Mile 21 to Mile 25 along San Vicente Boulevard, which seems an endless and rather repetitive road.

I wasn't hurting, but this is when my energy levels started to dip and that's when I was thrilled to see our T2:  Team to End AIDS running coaches supporting us along the course - cheering, taking photos and checking if we needed anything like salt or water.

Final dash to the Finish Line in Santa Monica
Final Finish Line dash LA Marathon 2013
It also reminded me why I was running the marathon, not just for my own sense of achievement, but to help thousands of people who rely on AIDS Project L.A. for essential services and support.

Just crossed the Finish Line
After Finish Line LA Marathon 2013
As a team we collectively raised over $171,000 this season and that gave me the extra boost to get me to Mile 25 where the course starts to be slightly more downhill and you can pick up some much needed speed.

Still trying to breathe after finishing (those photographed are everywhere at the end)
After LA Marathon 2013 Santa Monica
Those final miles my mind is always racing and trying to calculate if I can make my goal time or even beat it.

Official race time 3:42:18
LA Marathon 2013 Finisher
When you hit Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica you know that the Finish Line is in reach and you can see it, then it disappears down a dip and you wonder if the marathon will ever be over and you curse that last .2 miles.

This photo taken by our amazing T2 support staff
LA Marathon 2013 Finisher medal
For all my doubts about not beating last year's time I crossed that Finish Line with a real smile on my face when I did and there really isn't anything like being cheered along that final section to make you put everything you have into that final dash.

I haven't run all week to allow my body time to recover and have been eating everything in sight, but I know it'll soon be time to start training again. Just one more marathon and then I think it's time for a little break. Well, at least until the L.A. Marathon 2014...

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