Monday, March 10, 2014

Soaring temperatures kicked my ass in the L.A. Marathon 2014...

So we're officially calling yesterday's L.A. Marathon 2014 the 'Hellfire Marathon' after it was the hottest race day in the last decade. I thought badly spraining my ankle the weekend before, or the hour lost due to daylight savings was going to be the biggest challenge on the day, but the heat was what really kicked my ass in the end forcing me to finish just over that magical four hour mark in 4:03:25.

T2: Team to End AIDS runners raised over $181,000 for AIDS Project L.A. 
by running the L.A. Marathon 2014
T2 Team to End AIDS runners LA Marathon 2014
If I thought my first L.A. Marathon in 2011 was the most memorable way to kick start my marathon running experience with monsoon-like conditions, the latest marathon was almost the one to make me not want to run another 26.2 miles in my life. Now with 24 hours distance and much needed sleep I already find myself looking forward to my next race.

Start Line corrals at Dodger Stadium
LA Marathon 2014 starting corrals
The day started well, even though the time change meant in reality a 2am wakeup call, and my main focus was being able to actually run the marathon on my strapped ankle.

Getting ready to run the 29th L.A. Marathon
29th LA Marathon 2014 Start Line corrals
LA Marathon 2014 Start Line corrals
In fact I was probably the most nervous I've ever been before a race, faced with the possibility that I may not be able to make it to the Finish Line.

Running along Hollywood Boulevard between miles 11 and 12
Running the LA Marathon 2014
Along the course which ran from Dodger Stadium to Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica I remember focusing so much on the road, especially at water stations, mindful of discarded cups and bottles and trying not to slip and twist my ankle again.
Running the LA Marathon 2014
It hadn't really cooled down that much overnight, so it was a warm start, but for the early stages of the race it was bearable and I thought at least I was running towards the Pacific Ocean and there would be a breeze the closer I got. How sadly mistaken I was.

Feeling more confident in the early stages as my ankle and pace held steady, I was swept along by the amazing support along the course, especially the uplifting cheer section around mile 6 and spotting my own friends and supporters of my T2: Team to End AIDS teammates on the sidelines. All the homemade signs, costumes, cheers and orange slices were such a boost this marathon.
Running the LA Marathon 2014
This was my fourth L.A. Marathon and usually I start to feel the strain after the Veterans healthcare campus in West L.A. at mile 21, but this time when that sun came out, my strength started to be sapped after mile 15, and by the time I hit Beverly Hills I was really fading.

Relief after the Finish Line in Santa Monica
After the LA Marathon 2014
In pretty much every marathon I've run I've been able to save some strength for one last push towards the end, especially when I'm trying to beat the four hour mark, but this time I had nothing left to give.

The sun was fierce and beating down on all the runners and there wasn't much shade. I've run in heat before, last year's Vancouver Marathon was unseasonally hot (especially as it didn't start until 8am) and I've run in the humidity of the Honolulu Marathon, but running in 81° temperatures was just draining, demotivating and brutal.

A fantastic welcome and an ice-bath awaited at home
Congratulations post marathon balloons
Congratulations post marathon balloons
Any disappointment of not breaking the four hour milestone is obviously tempered by the fact that I was lucky enough to be running after injuring my ankle, plus the fact that I raised $6,580 myself from donations by friends, family and supporters, and collectively my charity training team raised a whopping $181,000 to help AIDS Project L.A., and the donations were still pouring in on race day.

Just the thought of seeing my husband and my Labrador Cooper along the race route always brings me to tears when I see them just before mile 15, and our reunion was even more sweeter after the Finish Line in Santa Monica.

Asics L.A. Marathon 2014 t-shirt, bib and finishers medal
ASICS LA Marathon 2014 tshirt finisher medal
Making sure all the pace group I mentor made it across the Finish Line was also a necessity, and the hugs and camaraderie certainly helped make up for the brutal marathon conditions and disappointing race times. After a great training season we'd all had high hopes for personal bests, but you can never predict what happens on the day, be it the weather or how your body performs.

I'm just grateful we all crossed the Finish Line safely and no one needed medical attention, like records numbers apparently did this year in the heat.
ASICS LA Marathon 2014 finisher medal
I've never looked forward to an ice-bath so much in my life, and when I awoke this morning it certainly felt like I'd run a marathon as my legs are still throbbing.

I think my official race photos will tell a different story to previous races, expect to see misery, suffering and a bit of determination on my face, and can't wake to share them with you all. Before they arrive, you can also check out this video of me crossing the Finish Line in Santa Monica (in red on the right hand side).

Yesterday now feels like a lifetime ago, but I did it. I ran my 7th marathon in total and 4th L.A. Marathon. 

Now, let the countdown commence to the L.A. Marathon 2015...

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails