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.

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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 2

MTR: Week 2

I woke up last Sunday morning to see clouds outside my window, but fortunately the temperature was not too cold. I was able to head out to Santa Monica with my team for a 9 miler in some Under Armour running tights and an old race tee—no layers necessary 😀 !

The 9 miler itself was a two-part run, with the first part being an out-and-back along the beach (7 miles), and then finishing up the last two miles down Ocean Ave. It would have been the perfect run—if it were not for the mild humidity (sticky skin = eww), the entitled bikers who think they own the entire strip of road along the beach, and the random staircase we had to climb back up to the pier, just so we could finish two more miles (slightly ruined my mojo).

 Walking back from the LSD on Sunday.
Walking back from the LSD on Sunday.

At least we had snacks and water when we finished, and I decided to stick around in the area after the run (hey, now I only had to pay one-way for the bus ride home!). I decided to make the ~40 minute walk over to Venice Beach so I could have lunch at Seed Kitchen.

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Welcome to Venice.

Walking near the beach was quite a site once I hit Venice. There were street artists lining the road, as well as crowds consisting of skateboarders, tourists, and the occasional verbal brawlers. But after I turned left, away from the beach, I ended up walking along a quiet street of local shops and cafes. Seed Kitchen was nearby.

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Vegan deliciousness or veggie delite? Hmmm…

After stepping inside, I was somewhat taken by surprise since I expected the restaurant to be a lot larger than it actually was. It did have that cozy feel to it however.

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I took a look at the menu at the front counter, and decided to go for the BBQ Tempeh Bowl.

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I don’t know why I can’t resist ordering some kind of bowl dish from vegan restaurants. Perhaps it’s because I know I won’t be disappointed—or at least not entirely—since I can expect a variety of ingredients.

 BBQ Tempeh Bowl - a gluten-free bowl with steamed kale, bean sprouts, carrot shreds, and bbq tempeh served over organic brown rice :)
BBQ Tempeh Bowl – a gluten-free bowl with steamed kale, bean sprouts, carrot shreds, and bbq tempeh served over organic brown rice 🙂

Other than the small size (compared to the price) and the BBQ sauce actually tasting more like a tangy tomato sauce, this bowl did NOT disappoint.

 Just look at that tempeh!
Just look at that tempeh!

I ravaged through the tempeh too quickly—as I didn’t have any to mix with my rice that was pressed to the bottom of the bowl!

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Ah well, the rice was good on its own anyways 🙂

Even though I felt like I fueled up well after the 9 miler on Sunday, my energy the rest of the week didn’t measure up, at least in the beginning.

Sunday – LSD 9 miler at 9:30/mi, with the team

Monday – Rest

Tuesday3 miler early morning solo-run at 9:38/mi

Wednesday – Rest

Thursday – Rest

Friday 5 miler not-so-early morning solo-run at 9:13/mi 😀

Saturday – Rest (originally planned a 6 miler)


Total Mileage -> 17 miles

I had to nix my planned early weekday morning runs since I felt too tired, especially from Tues-Thurs, and I think that may have affected my pace on Tuesday. I originally planned for it to be a 4 miler, but I was surprised I was even able to make it to 3. It was definitely not my best run for the week, since instead of feeling pumped and energized, I wanted to get back into bed after the run!

At least Friday’s 5 miler proved to be much better. I got up at my own time since I didn’t have class (just lab), and did not try to rush myself to get out the door and back before a certain time. On Saturday, I felt lazy tired again, and used my morning to catch up on studying before heading out to lunch. I also “excused” myself out of the run since I was going to run 10 miles the next day with the team! 

Do you like taking unplanned rest days, or find that it throws you off?

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