26.2 miles of a marathon always seem shorter when shared with a friend. Seriously. Well, let’s back this recap up just a bit. I decided to run the Los Angeles Marathon about 3 days before the race. The opportunity to run presented itself and I could have not pass up running this race for a third consecutive year.
The days leading up to the race I was out of town at an educational conference so the race was not on my mind and neither was parking for the race. 25,000 runners, plus the thousands of spectators encouraging the runners left limited parking at the finish line. Luckily, I was able to prepay for valet parking at the swanky Viceroy Hotel on Ocean Avenue which certainly had restrooms that topped the porta potties.
The line to load onto the shuttle is always outrageously long. While making my way to the end of the line, I spotted my running buddy Adrian (who created the coolest LA Marathon video recap). I quickly jumped into the line with him. We shared our excitement about the start of the race and our upcoming schedule of runs.
I got off the shuttle and waited to meet up with Sal. I bumped into a few runners from Instagram and friends from Team Runners High. It’s always exciting to see other runners that share your passion and love of the miles.
While waiting for the race to begin, I looked over my shoulder and saw my buddy Sal. At that moment I had to take a pic with both Sals. As we started into the miles, I saw some familiar faces at mile 9. It was ladies from the Mermaid Club! The Mermaid Club is community of women connected with each other across the globe to empower, motivate, and encourage other in all aspects of fitness.
The first half of the marathon was filled with light hearted fun conversation. Sal kept saying he felt like a million bucks…of counterfeit money. As the mileage increased the pain began to set in and we began playing mental games to keep going. At one point while running down Rodeo Drive, in Beverly Hills, I told him that if he stopped running down this street he would have to take me shopping and emphasized my love for Prada as we ran by the shop. Needless to say Sal kept running mile 17.
Last year when I ran the LA Marathon, I promised myself I would NEVER run this marathon or any marathon again. I had stopped at mile 25 and cried to my friend Diana about how defeated I was feeling. I saw Diana again this year at mile 18! I thanked her for the encouragement she gave me to finish and the never ending support she shows to everyone in the running community.
When we reached the final miles of the race, Sal was feeling pretty physically beat as was cursing all the hills on the course. An ice cream angel appeared at mile 24. We enjoyed strawberry sundae bars and it gave him some motivation to keep going. The final mile was a challenge. Sal had dedicated each mile to someone or something. I pulled out all the stops and told him to run for the love of his football team. He is a hardcore Steelers fan, so I used that as a final push and it worked! We crossed the finish line and Sal had earned a new personal record. He improved his finish time from 6:20 to 6:16. A four minute improvement for the win!
Running the LA Marathon, “Stadium to Sea” is always amazing experience. Starting at Dodger Stadium and crossing the finish line at the Santa Monica is the best. Now that it’s done, I am going back to speed training to improve my half marathon finish time. I’m seeing great improvements and hopefully I will be writing soon about a two hour half as I begin training for the OC Half Marathon.