LA Marathon 2015 Race Review

In a bit of a time crunch. I have to rush to get to a Lakers game. You know….premier seating….no big deal… This is gonna be a speedy post. I’ll start with a pre-race picture. Here we are, The Three Amigos at Dodger Stadium. Wait!!! That can be our team name! Then we’ll actually have something to say when we do a team cheer. photo 1

OK. 7 things you need to know…I don’t have time for 10.

1. Marta amazes me. She is absolutely 100% ridiculously amazingly incredibly awesome. She ran a 3:35 today, and was hurting in the 20s and pulled through. I am so inspired by her. She just added a whole lot of pressure to Ellen and I with our spring marathons. I am so so so proud of her. It’s crazy how I can be prouder and more satisfied with my sister’s results than my own. I’ve been feeling blah about my Boston training, and today just made me feel like, WOAH, I can do this. Thank you Marta! Oh, check out my hot ice-pack knees. Gracias LA Marathon!

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2. It was the brownie toast. It was totally the brownie. I’m having a pre-race brownie from now on.photo 5

3. Ellen and I aren’t really sure what our combined time was in the charity relay (donate to Girls on the Run here!) because the race wasn’t split 50/50 and the results look funny online, but we’re pretty sure Ellen ran around a 1:40 and I ran around a 1:32. SO let’s just say if we were one person we’d be running a 3:12 marathon. Not too shabby! I averaged under 7 which felt really good. I felt strong throughout and my calves and shins felt fine (I’ve been freaking out about my tight calves and phantom shin tightness lately). It was a great tempo workout to gage where I’m at. Ran with Peter most of the way and saw so many familiar faces on the course. Now I just need to figure out my Boston pacing plan. I’m not as cool as Gisele who can just go out there and run. I need a plan to keep myself calm.

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Check out the buns in the background of this picture!

My Portion of the Relay

My Portion of the Relay

4. THANK goodness for sea breeze and cloud coverage. The one day of the year that I appreciate the cooler temps at the beach. The LA Marathon was SUPER prepared with so much water, hoses, cooling towels, etc. It was not as hot as we anticipated. Still hot, but nothing like what we were dreading. Although I’m really wondering what Marta, Ellen and I can do in 60 degree weather. Runcation, girls? photo (5)

5. Anna and Alaina are the BEST cheerleaders ever. Check out these awesome posters. They were at the half with me, made it to 20 to watch Marta and I and surprised us at mile 24. I actually shouted, “Oh my gosh!” when I saw them. I pushed a little harder after that. I shouldn’t have that much energy at mile 24. I didn’t get to see Brent at the finish, but he was there SCREAMING for Marta. I love Brent for always being there for us with all this running. Joe, do you like the poster I made for you!?

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6. Watching the elites run past was awesome. They are so inspirational! And those muscles on the girls. I need to bulk it up! Protein bar, anyone? I also got to see Gisele and Marta too before I started.

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7. We celebrated at Sunny Spot which was fun because all my favorite people were and the food is really yummy, but seriously…the service sucked. We have the worst luck when it comes to post marathon service. Just give me my beer and my food please.

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Thinking of running this race? I LOVE the LA Marathon so this is mostly pros. I really can’t imagine not doing it next year. Anyone looking for a pacer?

Pros:

  • So much positive energy and excitement in the city leading up the race
  • AWESOME point-to-point course that ends at the ocean
  • Loved the shirts this year, and the Asics gear is really nice
  • Easy for spectators to drive around and see you all over the course
  • Great post race snacks (teddy grams!!)
  • No lottery to deal with
  • The race started earlier this year which a HUGE difference in finishing temperature
  • Great expo
  • If you live in LA, so many familiar faces on the course
  • Ice at the end and lots of cooling towels

Cons:

  • Logistics can be hard for a point-to-point course you’re not from LA and don’t have a bunch of friends willing to drive you around
  • Can be really hot
  • I thought there would be more water further down the end. I finished my 1 bottle pretty fast.

‘Twas the day before the LA Marathon

If you’re reading this and running the LA Marathon tomorrow you better be sipping on some water or sports drink. I just got back from the LA Marathon expo, and I know it’s been talked about enough but it is HOT outside. The LA Marathon is starting 30 minutes earlier this year to accommodate for record breaking heat. I thought last year was hot, but there is a BIG difference between mid 80s and low 90s. I hate to say it, but runners need to adjust their goals for tomorrow. My plan was to pace for a 1:30 half in the charity relay (shameless plug…last chance to donate is today), but because I’m running the second half and Ellen likely won’t cross the starting line until a little after 7, I won’t even start running until after 8:30. I’m going to take my own advice, and run this easier. No starting with 6:50s tomorrow. OK, enough about the heat. You can read my previous post for advice for running in hot weather. LA Marathon has stepped it up this year! Last night Brent and I walked down the street to see the mile marker marathon lights. The city looked beautiful!

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On to the expo. My favorite thing. It felt awesome sleeping in this morning and not having to wake up for a long run. Ellen, Marta and I met at the LA Convention Center around 11. Marathon expos are my FAVORITE!

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We felt like kids in a candy shop. Oh and has anyone ever tried those Lenny’s cookies? We had SO MANY samples.

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I’m usually skeptical of sales pitches, but when it comes to running I’ll try anything new. Was super tempted to get this massage thingie, but resisted. I did buy kool ‘n fit spray. Hoping it helps loosen up my muscles. Has anyone used it before?

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We went to Playa Provisions for lunch and had their breakfast sandwich and heirloom salad. A trip to provisions is not complete without dessert. We toasted with their AMAZING brownie!

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Earlier this week I made this LA Marathon Logistics Plan and sent it out to the whole running gang. I’m running for Sunny Spot!

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And a few other things that have been going on…

We sent out the acceptance letters and waitlist letters for Equitas #3 yesterday!

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We celebrated my co-workers birthday at Bottega Louie this week. Those mushroom fries. Woah!

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I’ve neglected my poor calves lately. This week I discovered my peroneus longus muscle (I just learned what this is) is SUPER tight. I got a foot massage and they pretty much just touched my calf and it felt tense. This was an icing and resting week, which worked out well with preparing for the half tomorrow. That is not a growth in the picture below. I stuffed ice in here. One of the many reasons I prefer training for shorter distances. This is what my life has come to! Compression socks, rollers and weird ice packs.

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I CAN’T WAIT FOR TOMORROW. SO EXCITED FOR THE MARATHON!!!!!! Runners, hydrate, eat pasta and go to bed!

LA Marathon Tips, More Food Adventures, and Notes from Long Run #?

I’m embarrassed to admit that exactly a year ago on the night before the LA Marathon I was sitting on the couch with my bowl of pasta crying. The forecast called for sunny 86 degree weather, awful running conditions. I felt sorry for myself and complained to Brent that it wasn’t fair. I had trained for months and put in so many miles. I knew I was ready to qualify for Boston and I hated that it had to end this way. His response was perfect. He looked at me and said, “Cristina, no race has been run!” One of the many difficulties of a marathon is not knowing what you’re going to get on race day. Unlike other distances, factors like temperature, elevation, how many hours you’ve been sleeping, what you’ve eaten and how you hydrated affect you so much more in a marathon. Runners tend to be control freaks and we can control much of our race prep, but we have no control over the weather. Those of you looking for tips for running the LA Marathon in the heat, keep reading. I’ve crashed and burned in heat, barely making it to the finish line in 4:45 and I’ve qualified for Boston in the heat. If you’re smart, you will cross the finish line strong. Living in Southern California it’s rare for me to run a race in cooler than 70 degree weather. I’ve learned a lot through trial and error. Check out my tips below.

Calling Mama right after I finished

Calling Mama right after I finished the LA Marathon!

  1. Bring an icy water bottle to the start. Pour the icy water on your hands and cool your face. Stay cool and stay in the shade.
  2. Wear a visor and light clothing.
  3. Drink water at EVERY single water stand. Especially the early ones. Don’t rush through the water stands. TRUST me, it will save you time. When I ran Santa Clarita I skipped the first 4 stands and was focused on running every mile under 8 minutes. That was dumb.
  4. Whenever possible, run in the shade on the course.
  5. Last year when I saw Alaina at mile 17 it was really starting to get hot. I gave her a pack of stuff the day before and she, being a rockstar, runs next to me and screams “What do you need? Jelly beans? Pain gel? Cooling wipe?” I yelled “COOLING WIPE.” It worked wonders. They’re worth ordering on amazon now and sticking in your running pouch.
  6. You’re really going to need to replenish those electrolytes in the heat. This is tough though, because you definitely shouldn’t try something you haven’t trained with. But if you know nuun, gatorade, powerade, salt sticks or whatever else work for you, use them. If they don’t have your electrolyte of choice on the race course, give it to a friend and have them pass it to you on the course.
  7. This is the part where you’re going to hate me, and you’re not going to want to listen. Start slower. The logic of making up time while it’s not hot does not work. I tried it in Santa Clarita. I thought, “I can run a 1:40 half, and cruise the rest of the way when it’s hot.” Look what happened below. At LA I hit 20 and had been hydrating throughout and was able to push it for the last 6.2. If you start slow it really is amazing how much time you can make up at the end.

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    Oh Santa Clarita! 

  8. You might not hit your ultimate goal. If you were in shape for a 4:15, you might end up running a 4:25. But a 4:25 in 86 degree weather is INCREDIBLE and you’ll gain so much experience and mental toughness. I am SO glad I ran 26.2 in the heat because I know I can do it, I raced smart, and I’ll be even stronger for the next marathon. I don’t fear warm conditions because I was forced to learn how to handle it. In a way it was liberating! Ventura in September was super hot too, but I drank at every water stand and still ran a PR. And remember, there is ALWAYS another marathon.

Read this for even MORE tips! 

On to my long run….yesterday Ellen and I ran 21 miles from Redondo Beach to Santa Monica. (Actually, we ran to Sweet Lady Jane to be exact…when you’re running 21 miles you have to end at a pastry shop) Check us out at 0.0 on the beach path and the route.

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We met Marta, Joe and Jason for the last bit. They are tapering for next week’s marathon. Always nice to have company on those long runs.

So how did it feel?

Friday Dinner: Homemade pasta with marinara and roasted vegetables.

Friday Sleep: 8 hours. Slept like a rock. As usual.

Pre-Run Breakfast: PB&J and some water.

Post-Run SnackSweet Lady Jane Scone.

Long Run Fuel: Honey Stinger Pink Lemonade Chews and Honey Stinger Waffle, although I was really hungry at mile 19. I probably didn’t carbo-load enough Friday.

Long Run Hydration: Stopped for water a lot. It was hot out.

Long Run Outfit: Lululemon shorts, Canyon City race shirt, target sports bra, lulu socks, run happy hat!

How Did It Feel: I love love love point to point runs. Redondo to Santa Monica was beautiful! The last 3 miles were rough, especially because we ran up Montana to Sweet Lady Jane and it was uphill, but I think the constant water stops and fueling throughout helped. It was definitely hard, but not unbearable. One more 20+ run before Boston. Where should we run next!?

Other Notes: I drank lots of nuun after the run and didn’t experience that dreaded post long run headache. I also ate egg tacos with lots of hot sauce to help replenish some of the lost salt.

After the run Brent and I hung out with his Mom. We saw The Theory of Everything. Movies after long runs are wonderful. We then walked around Manhattan Beach (it was weird strolling on the path I had just run from start to finish) and ate at one of my favorite LA spots, Manhattan Beach Post. Here’s what we ate.

Cheddar Bacon Biscuits, Shrimp and Pork Dumplings, BEST BRUSSEL SPROUTS EVER, and Lamb Belly with Eggplant

Cheddar Bacon Biscuits, Shrimp+Pork Dumplings, BEST BRUSSEL SPROUTS EVER, and Lamb Belly with Eggplant

And here’s what’s happening in my kitchen tonight. I made use of my last Sweet Potato Quinoa Black Bean Burgers and made a huge pot of picadillo for tomorrow night. It’s gonna be a yoga day, so I want to come home to a ready made meal. photo 3 photo 4

And last, what I ran last week…

  • Monday- Four Miles at Back On My Feet (8:51 Average Pace)
  • Tuesday- Run MDR Track (5×800)
  • Wednesday- Off
  • Thursday- Seven Mile Run (7:24 Average Pace)
  • Friday- Four Miles at Back On My Feet (8:18 Average Pace)
  • Saturday- Twenty One Mile Run (8:31 Average Pace)
  • Sunday- Lululemon Run Club (Too lazy to go check the pace)

Until next week. Happy tapering LA Marathon runners!