Race Recap – 32nd Skechers Performance LA Marathon

Race Recap – 32nd Skechers Performance LA Marathon

I find it SO hard to believe that a week ago, I ran my third marathon—and it ended up being a sub 4:00 one as well! So many things went well with this training cycle, and even though the race is over, this particular marathon has given me the encouragement to keep pushing my training to the next level and conquering more goals associated with this distance.

In the days leading up to the race, I actually wasn’t too hyped up for it. I had other things on my mind (lab work + lab “social” life), but I still made time to go down to the expo at the convention center late Friday afternoon on race weekend.

My third marathon expo.
My third marathon expo.

It was really just a routine visit. I wasn’t too excited about sticking around. To keep up with tradition, I found and photographed my name on the runner’s wall, picked up my race bib/shirt, and walked around the booths for just long enough to gather some freebies.

Trying to find/get all the samples I can.
Trying to find/get all the samples I can.

I didn’t gather much despite it being a MARATHON expo (just a couple mini Larabars and a coconut water), but one of my favorite booths was Clif bar’s. They had samples of their newest nut butter-filled bars and ginger ale/spearmint shot bloks!

Hello, Clif!
Hello, Clif!

After taking a picture with my bib at one of the booths, I decided to head home. I was actually feeling pretty hungry so the “carbo-loading”, you could say, commenced that night—with a Spicy Lentil Wrap from Trader Joe’s.

spicy_lentil_Wrap
Friday night turn down 😴 with a Spicy Lentil wrap from Trader Joe’s. I put this right up there with the grilled eggplant wrap!

Tahini sauce brings everything up a level, just sayin’.

The day before the race was a relaxing one, but because I was with E in Glendale, we did plenty of walking. I did try to keep hydrated and made sure to get home early enough to set aside my stuff for race morning and get into bed by 8:30pm.

I woke up the next morning at 3:30am (yes, it’s true), got my race gear together, and called for a Lyft since the rest of my teammates were taking a ride share service/staying at a hotel near the start with family. From Santa Monica, the drive was less than 20 min.

I got to the start with a good 2.5 hours to spare before we had to toe the start line. I had plenty of time to collect some free shot bloks and Clif bars, fuel up with “breakfast”, use the restroom, and warm-up. It was still very breezy and cool outside, so I stayed warm by huddling in a corner of one of the open women’s restrooms.

Waiting at Dodger's Stadium...
Waiting at Dodger’s Stadium…

I was waiting solo for a long while…my teammates did not show up until about 5:30am. Even then, it took me a while to find/get to them at the seats on the ground level. There were a a few of us who met at this point, and after a group picture, we immediately went to bag check and then the start.

I decided to start in the open corral with three of my teammates since I wanted to pace with someone from the beginning. Looking back, I feel like this strategy helped me immensely in getting that sub 4:00. It took us a while to get to a sustainable race pace since we were slowed down by the crowds of the open corral, but once we made it past downtown, I kept up with one of my female teammates for the majority of the race.

Everything felt great for the first half of the race. We were running down Sunset and I felt comfortable enough to talk with my teammate at an 8:47/mi pace. Once we made a turn in Hollywood however, things started to shift.

I felt a sharp pain in my right foot as we made our way down a steep downhill. I had a feeling that I got my first black (big) toenail, and despite knowing this, I tried to ignore it for sanity’s sake.

The next slip-up was my fueling strategy. I was so focused on hydration that I wasn’t sure when to start chewing on my bloks. In my last two marathons, I busted out the plastic bag between miles 11-13, but this time, I was more concerned about keeping up with my teammate. I also didn’t feel too hungry (in fact, my stomach felt a little bit “mixed”…in that, a bathroom stop would have been nice).

When we reached Beverly Hills, I began to second guess my earlier actions of not fueling up. I was starting to feel slightly fatigued, and felt like I had to push quite a bit to keep holding on with my teammate. I surprisingly managed to make it through miles 17-20 without giving up or writhing on Rodeo Dr!

Once we reached UCLA/West LA territory though, we were hitting the Mile 20 mark. My teammate took off, but I listened to my body and just kept my pace. I stopped to take out my bloks and began to fuel up at this point.

Once I reached Mile 21, I felt a little bit better. Mile 22 was when we began to approach Brentwood/San Vicente—the last four miles of the race towards the SaMo finish! Honestly, this was the worst part of the race for me (up until 25.5!!) because I felt tired (mentally mostly), and irritated by anyone that said we were “almost there”. My pace wavered in the 8:50/mi range until it settled at 8:55/mi. I didn’t want it to dip into the 9:00/mi range, so I made sure to keep my walking breaks incredibly short.

By the time I got to Ocean Ave., I tried to let the crowds around me give me the final push I needed to finish fiercely. The finish line felt incredibly far away, but once I hit 25.5, I started to kick things up and go, go, go! The shot bloks were finally kicking in I suppose! When I crossed the line, I had run the race at a solid time of 3:53:57. I didn’t know of this time exactly until I read a series of texts from my Dad since he had been tracking me the entire run.

Bag check was much better this year!
Bag check was much better this year!

I was able to slow down to a walk, gather a medal and my gear at bag check, huddle up with a heat sheet, and take some fun post-race photos. I also collected as many protein bars as my arms could carry, and met up with my teammates at our designated family reunion area meeting spot.

People around me were still in a daze...
People around me were still in a daze…

I waited with my team for about an hour and a half just to congratulate, commiserate, and photograph the moment. The teammate I had ran with up until mile 20 ran a 3:46 marathon, and considering it was her first, she did a great job.

All of us took the train back to our destinations, and I got off pretty quickly. It felt so nice to be able to get back home at a decent time, unlike how it was the past two years fighting traffic to get to downtown! Now I had enough time to attend to my battle scars…

One ripe blister and gunmetal-polished toenail, came right up!
One ripe blister and gunmetal-polished toenail, came right up!

At least this small gem reminded me that I just did something pretty amazing that morning??

3rd time's a charm!
3rd time’s a charm!

Out of all the 26.2 distances I’ve raced, this one was the most painful, but also the most accomplishing. I had a goal, and luckily was able to meet it. It was a challenge, but a challenge worth giving up a smooth heel and big toe nail for. And if I only want to get better and faster at this monstrous distance, it’s only going to get more eventful from here!

Have you ever run a marathon/had a great marathon experience?

Would you ever consider running a marathon?

Have you ever had a black toe nail?

MTR: Week 11

MTR: Week 11

This week in marathon training brought about some temporal changes—afternoon/early evening runs shook up my usual morning run routine, and a busy day on Wednesday called for an early morning run.

Saturday’s run ended up being more of an impromptu run, since I needed to go by the grocery store to pick up some much-needed essentials for dinner. In total, I was able to run a speedy 2 miles while checking-off an errand πŸ˜‰

 Needed to grab some dinner essentials on Saturday night so...running was obviously the way to go ;)
Needed to grab some dinner essentials on Saturday night so…running was obviously the way to go πŸ˜‰

Sunday – LSD 10 miler afternoon solo run at 9:28/mi

Monday5 miler morning solo run at 9:13/mi

Tuesday Rest

Wednesday –  5 miler early morning solo run at 9:18/mi

Thursday –  Rest

Friday –  5 miler morning solo run at 9:18/mi

Saturday –   2 miles total (run to the grocery store in the early evening!)


Total Mileage ->  27 miles

Since I had company over until Sunday afternoon, my 10 mile run had to be squeezed in sometime in the afternoon. Despite there being a rainy forecast, the rain subsided for me long enough to get in my long run. I felt super accomplished after this run, for sure πŸ˜€ !

It was harder for me to get in my 5 mile runs as the week went on, but I’m glad I was able to in the end, and keep in line with my team’s training plan. Rest days were more than necessary this week, since I felt myself wanting to sleep in for longer than usual. I also feel like this has something to do with my added emphasis on weight training. I’m also continuing to keep an eye on my food intake, especially my protein content, as according to everything I described in this post.

This coming Sunday’s run is a 13 miler welcome-back run with my team, but we have a 16 miler planned for the following week! Marathon training is approaching the ‘serious threshold’, folks—soon it will be time to nail some PDRs πŸ˜€

MTR: Week 10

MTR: Week 10

This week turned out to be quite interesting—I ended up streaking! Run streaking, that is.

β™₯

Sunday – LSD 10 miler morning solo run at 9:20/mi

Monday – 3.2 miler morning solo run at 8:54/mi

Tuesday 5.6 miler morning solo run at 9:16/mi

Wednesday –  4 miler morning solo run at 9:19/mi

Thursday –  4 miler morning solo run at 9:19/mi

Friday –  2 miler morning solo run at 9:25/mi

Saturday –  Rest (finally)


Total Mileage ->  28.8 miles

This week turned out to be a slow one in regards to work. Since everyone is slowly getting back to the grind, that meant a lot more free time in the mornings for me this week. And since I was up for it, I ended up running each morning at a pace I felt comfortable with. The weather was pretty nice too, and may have also been influential πŸ˜‰

Sunday’s long run was a harder one to get through because I had just come back from my visit with family. The feeling of homesickness (almost) had me skip out on the run altogether, but luckily after the run, I felt better. On Monday, I felt quite speedy and it showed with my pace. On the days following, I mentally felt ready to run, but my pace began to slow as the days went on—with Friday’s being my slowest for the week. I also focused a lot on weight training and began altering my food intake this week—topics which I plan to go into detail about in a separate post. 

For the first week of January, I’m pretty happy with my efforts, but it would be nice to turn those ‘solos’ into ‘group runs’ again. Thankfully since my running group will be back in session starting this week, there should be a lot more help in the motivation department. I’m also looking forward to the changing scenery of Sunday long runs!

What has been the duration of your longest running streak? 

MTR: Week 9

MTR: Week 9

Cold weather + sore legs from running in the wrong shoes does not equal the most fun running week ever (why didn’t I pack my Hokas?!)…but being able to hibernate and have home-cooked meals most certainly makes up for whatever running workouts I could muster this week πŸ˜›

 Thursday's "race": a freezin' 5k
Thursday’s “race”: a freezin’ 5k

Sunday – LSD 12 miler morning solo run at 9:29/mi

Monday –  Rest

Tuesday 1.5 miles on treadmill 

Wednesday –  6.5 miler evening solo run at 9:24/mi

Thursday –  3.1 miler at a NYD Race (!!) at 8:55/mi

Friday –  Rest

Saturday –  Rest


Total Mileage ->  23.1 miles

Sunday’s 12 miler gave me an opportunity to do a little bit of exploring…since I sort of got lost, haha. I planned to originally meet my Dad at his gym, but he actually had to pick me up from the grocery store near where I ended! We did drive back to the gym though, and I was able to soak my sore legs in the hot tub spa—and my legs required that for sure!

Wednesday’s run was a relaxing (mentally) evening run, but my legs still felt sore, particularly my calves and the sides of my quads. It made me yearn to get back to my “real” running shoes, but I kept telling myself things would get back to normal starting next week…I hope πŸ˜› ! It felt nice to kick-off the new year on Thursday with a 5k, and since I was able to run it with a close friend, it made the event much more enjoyable—even in the 43 degree weather (not considering the nasty-cold 14mph wind chill!!).

Friday and Saturday were rest days due to it being my last day with the fam and a travel day. I also used the “free” time to reflect over my schedule for the coming semester, and to see how my running schedule will fit in. Classes don’t start for another week or so, but this week marks the beginning of my second lab rotation. Still, I do think that morning runs will be manageable—along with designating days for cross-training, stretching/yoga, and weight training. I aim on delving into the details regarding my plans about the things I plan to do in support of my running in a separate post, but for now, I know they are some things that have just got to be done πŸ˜‰

MTR: Week 8

MTR: Week 8

This week in marathon training I would say was better than last week’s—at least in terms of my overall mood and expectations during and after each run.

Sunday’s long run was a solo run that I was able to squeeze in despite having company over πŸ™‚ . I just did a repeat loop of last week’s long run and added an extra 0.7 miles to make it a real 10 miles. I ran in my Hoka’s again, and had to walk with sore calves throughout The Grove for the rest of the day, but it was an soreness I didn’t mind dealing with.

Actually, my sore calves seemed to stick around for the entire week, even when I switched to running in my old gym shoes. I didn’t want to pack my Hoka’s when I came up to my parents’ house for the holidays, so I ran my Thursday and Friday runs in my old gym shoes as well. Despite the soreness, I was able to clock in some paces I was proud of.

 Morning of my trail run.
Morning of my trail run.

Sunday – LSD 10 miler solo run at 9:20/mi

Monday3 miler morning solo run at 9:17/mi

Tuesday –   Rest

Wednesday – Rest

Thursday –  4 miler mid-morning solo run at 9:09/mi (it was quite a windy run!)

Friday –  4 miler evening solo run at 9:17/mi 

Saturday – 6.4 miler trail race at 10:29/mi  (steep and killer hills = not fun)


Total Mileage ->  27.4 miles

Saturday’s run was my last official race of 2014! It was a trail race, so it included some pretty nasty steep hills that eventually got me to let go of my I-have-to-run attitude and just walk up. After the 3 mile turnaround, it was all downhill which meant gaining back some time I had lost.

It was a good challenge and humbling experience though, and the race also gave me an excuse to meet up with my cousin for lunch right after πŸ˜‰ !

Runners—how do you handle calf soreness?

MTR: Week 7

MTR: Week 7

This week in running was mild on the miles compared to the last several weeks. I originally thought I would be conquering a PDR on Sunday, but since many of the undergrads still had finals, they made Sunday’s run an optional long run day and reduced the mileage to 10 miles (even though it was less than that realistically). I was kind of bummed that it would be my last run with the team until next year, but at least I achieved a new 5K and 10K PR by running at 8:45/mi during the run! Despite having to stop at so many stoplights, running through downtown was a blast—even the especially challenging Bunker Hill area! It felt like my lungs were on fire!

 I had a "rest day" on Friday...but only from running. A 5 mile walk that took up the majority of my morning still kept me active!
I had a “rest day” on Friday…but only from running. A 5 mile walk that took up the majority of my morning still kept me active!

Sunday – LSD 9.36 miler with the team at 8:45/mi [new 5k and 10k PRs!!]

Monday3.68 miler morning solo run at 9:07/mi 

Tuesday –   0.5 miler treadmill “run” [I. can’t. stand. treadmills.]  

Wednesday – 3.6 miler morning solo run at 9:16/mi 

Thursday –  4 miler morning solo run at 9:32/mi

Friday –  Rest

Saturday – Rest


Total Mileage ->  ~ 21 miles

My legs felt super sore the next day (possibly the effects of still breaking in new shoes), but even so, I managed to get in some more runs early on in the week before I finally gave myself some rest days. Thursday’s 4 miler felt much more tortuous than it should have been, so I cancelled Friday’s run and made it an “active” rest day by walking from Marina Del Rey to Santa Monica. Saturday was a complete rest day (besides the walking needed to get some errands/eating out done), in order to save my energy—and stay on track—with maintaining my long runs on Sunday and my marathon training schedule!

What do you consider an active rest day? 

 

MTR: Week 6

MTR: Week 6

So…on Sunday’s run, I ended up with this lovely mark, courtesy of the dirt, paved roads near Brentwood Country Club. 

 Scraped my hand around mile 9 on Sunday's long run...
Scraped my hand around mile 9 on Sunday’s long run…

Sunday – LSD 12.7 miler with the team at 9:11/mi 

Monday – Rest

Tuesday –  4 miler solo morning run at 9:11/mi 

Wednesday –  6 miler group run at 9:23/mi 

Thursday –  Rest

Friday –  Rest

Saturday5 miler solo morning run at 9:07/mi [breaking in my Hokas!!]


Total Mileage ->   27.7 miles

Good thing I was running with others near by. One of my teammates offered some of the water from her water bottle, which I was able to use to rinse out the wound until I got back to the start point. It was also a good lesson for me in regards to what I should be bringing with me (or any serious runner for that matter) for long runs going forward—band-aids, or a mini first aid kit. 

 At least the locale of our Sunday long run was nice. It was route that started on Ocean Ave. in SaMo, and then lined through a residential neighborhood that eventually ended up at the entrance of Brentwood, an adorable area of residences, shops, juice bars, and yoga studios (probably one on each street corner)! We reached the boundary of Westwood before turning around—when I stumbled and fell around mile 9. 

But continuing to look at the bright side of things, I at least had negative splits! I started out with a 9:32/mi pace but after my stumble at mile 9, my pace actually quickened to what was eventually a 8:26/mi pace! πŸ˜€ . 

After Sunday’s LSD, I made Monday a rest day (but not a rest day for my brain—studying was in overdrive). I was able to get some running workouts in on Tuesday and Wednesday, but didn’t even try on Thursday morning since that was my day of exams!! Friday was also a take-it-easy kind of day, but Saturday’s 5 miler was actually a lot of fun since I finally got around to breaking in my new pair of running shoes (Hokas!!). I still plan to post a review of them, but I will say I absolutely love them as of right now πŸ™‚ 

What has been your worst while-running injury? 

MTR: Week 5

MTR: Week 5

Week 5 in marathon training has been a long & busy one. I have not been exhausted from the runs, but more so from the last week of classes and looming exams this coming week! We also had some crazy weather shifts in LA (raining early in the week), so that sort of influenced my mood in regards to getting out the door to run. 

Despite all of these fluctuations and changes, I did manage to rack up some quality runs over the week, including a speedy 5k race. 

 A 5k over the weekend, and new shoes---posts to come :)
A 5k over the weekend, and new shoes (!!!) —detailed posts on each to come πŸ™‚

Sunday – LSD 12 miler (in the rain!!!) at 9:27/mi 

Monday – Rest

Tuesday – Rest

Wednesday 7 miles total [ 1 mi warm-up at 9:03/mi + 6 miler at 9:09/mi]

Thursday –  3 miler solo morning run at 9:36/mi

Friday – Rest

Saturday – 5k race at 8:45/mi


Total Mileage ->  25.1 miles

Since I was up in Nor Cali for the Thanksgiving weekend, I ran a 12 mile LSD on my own. The team scheduled an optional 11 miler for that weekend, as I learned later, so I’m sort of proud that I ran that additional mile (because every mile counts πŸ˜‰ ). Monday was a travel day, and Tuesday was heavy rain day in LA, so those events put a damper on my running plans.

On Wednesday, there were some light showers, but I did push myself to go out for a run with the team—more like one other individual—and ran a 6 miler that seemed longer than it was. Thursday was another solo run that I just wasn’t feeling. Friday’s rest day put things in order so that I could run a rock-solid 5k on Saturday. I chose to run the shorter distance because a) the later start time meant I could coordinate it with the bus schedule and b) a 13 mi LSD was on the schedule the following day!

Does the rain interfere with your running plans? 

MTR: Week 4

MTR: Week 4

Hard to believe that one month has passed in regards to my marathon training! In all honesty, it feels like my normal running routine so far, but the LSD miles are packing on—and fast.

Sunday’s LSD run was literally a surprise to me until about half an hour before the scheduled run, since the email notification for our group was down. We ended up carpooling over to Dockweiler State Beach, so we were pretty much in the same area as the Woodchips run from last week.

I was bracing myself for a 11-miler, but when one of the captains β€œcheerfully” announced that the day’s run would be a 12 miler, I felt as though I should be both smiling and grimacing: smiling for the fact that I would have an extra mile tacked on to my total mileage for the week, and grimacing about the idea of running an additional mile I hadn’t β€œmentally” prepared for. But the run went well overall though, despite some minor aches in  my thigh/knee area after mile 10. 

TURKEY TROT craziness!!!
TURKEY TROT craziness!!!

Sunday – LSD 12.6 miler at 9:40/mi, with the team

Monday – Rest

Tuesday –  5 miler solo run at 9:24/mi

Wednesday – Rest (although 8 hours on a bus doesn’t seem as restful as it sounds…)

Thursday –  10k race! and ran my fastest 10k to date at 8:43/mi

Friday – 3.3 miler solo run on “old” routine route at 9:21/mi

Saturday – Rest


Total Mileage -> 27.1 miles

The highlight of my week though was the turkey trot I participated in! Recap soon to come, but to summarize, I was able to beat my current 10k PR from this race with a pace of 8:43/mi! Friday’s run was a 3.3 miler on a route most familiar to me since it was the one I always ran on before moving to LA. The rest of the day was spent napping/catching up with old friends while doing homework at Starbucks/watching movies. I would definitely say Week 4 turned out to be a great running week in regards to my marathon training progress πŸ˜€ !

Did you do any running over the Thanksgiving holiday? 

MTR Week 3

MTR Week 3

Week 3 of marathon training started off well with a 10 miler—but then hit a rest plateau during the work week. I did however manage to rake up 18.7 miles for the week, thanks to the fact I was able to weekend warrior it out…

 Snacks after the run!!
Snacks after the group run!!

Sunday – LSD 10 miler at 9:25/mi, with the team

Monday – Rest

Tuesday – Rest

Wednesday – Rest

Thursday – Rest

Friday5 miler solo morning run at 9:11/mi

Saturday – 3.7 miler solo morning run at 9:25/mi


Total Mileage -> 18.7 miles

Sunday’s 10 miler was a run along Woodchip Trail that crossed through Manhattan/Hermosa/Redondo beaches. Since the trail itself is about 4 miles one way, we had to run an extra 1 mile on the pavement before returning back to home base. We did get to stop by the pier for about ten seconds, breathe in the ocean air, and use that fresh energy to power ourselves back to the starting point. 

Overall, it was a great run, and even though I had some slight tummy issues, it was nothing debilitating fortunately! I was one of the first few girls to finish, and since it was one of the faster guys’ turn to release the snacks for us post-run, I was able to get first dibs πŸ˜‰ !

Since my Dad was in town from Monday through Wednesday, I put running on hold. Thursday was a jam-packed day regarding school-related stuff, so even though I did wake up quite early, I wasn’t in the mood to set out for an early morning run. On Friday, I managed to garner the energy I needed for a morning 5 miler, and was happy with the faster pace I must have gained from the four consecutive rest days! Saturday’s run was also planned out as a 5 miler, but I was feeling off in the morning (and actually ended up going back to sleep after waking up at 6 still feeling dead tired), so I was satisfied with knocking out a little under 4 miles.

I am looking forward to week 4 though, since I will be running a turkey trot and (plan to) run along old, familiar routes towards the end of the week. All those miles—and good home-cooked food—to be excited about πŸ˜‰ !

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