Last Sunday I ran the LA Marathon for the first time. The morning was cold but the heavy rain from the day before had moved on and as the wheelchair racers crossed the starting line the sun broke out kissing the hills surrounding Dodger Stadium with golden light. Soon after the horn sounded and eighteen thousand runners started toward the Santa Monica pier.
The warm sunshine brought out large crowds, live bands, drum lines, cheerleaders and a host of well wishers. I ran at an 8:30 pace for the first half, finishing 20K in 1:46:49.
Entering the last miles of a semi-quiet stretch of the San Vicente – mile 24 – my left calf cramped. It was sudden and tightened so much that my left foot felt like it turned to the right. I stopped and stepped to the side of the road and began to stretch. A nice woman walking her dog the opposite direction pointed out that I was only two miles from the finish line.
I spent what felt an eternity stretching and walking a few feet then stretching again. After about 5 minutes or so I began running. I guess this is the part of the wall everyone talks about. My legs felt like lead and my pace slowed to 10 minutes – sometimes slower. As San Vicente ended and the finish line loomed about a mile away I pushed as much as my legs would take and crossed the line in 4:02:10. A new PR!
After a week of stretching, a massage and taking it easy I am out running again. I’ve decided to train for the Montana Marathon in Missoula this July. I hope to break the 4 hour barrier.
ASICS put together this video of the LA Marathon. It’s worth a peek. I look forward to running LA again next year.