Big Block Party - Los Angeles Marathon RR - KickRunners.com
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#1 of 27 Old 03-05-2008, 06:49 PM - Thead Starter
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(Tetsujin, domo arigato gozimasu for your wonderful advice and all the kind support you have given me!)

I heard many negative things about the LA Marathon: it is always hot, no one PRs, the course is a point-to-point designed for political/business reasons because it’s hilly and full of concrete, goes through ugly areas, etc., but I figured I should do my hometown marathon once. Other gripes are the narrow road that’s a big uphill and steep downhill between miles 1-2, and the last 13 miles are gradually uphill plus there is an uphill finish.

But I also heard it’s like a big block party—there’s music and entertainment, crowd support is great, you get to see parts of L.A. you wouldn’t experience otherwise through a car window, and of course, there are those wonderful Taiko drummers near the end.

With all this in mind, my goal was to just experience the circus and finish it. It’s a people’s marathon, not an elite race. No way will I ever BQ, so this was a great race for me.

On race day, I had to make adjustments because it was sunny, windy and warm outside (in the 70s) and I had trained in colder temps and rain. Also, I had a persistent phlegmy cough and a strained hamstring so I decided to run/walk at 12-13 minutes per mile.

I took it easy on the first half, since I heard too many people go too fast on the downhill. I saw a girl blow out her knee at 2.5 miles. I also saw 3 Elvii, Marilyn Monroe, Uncle Fester, and a guy dressed as a Trojan. I heard that Pizza Box man and other famous stunt runners were out there too. But it was mostly people who were fundraising, running in memory of loved ones, first timers, experienced marathoners, and legacy runners. There were 8000 Students Run L.A. kids, and they were very well behaved and just as determined to finish as any adult.

I slowed down even more for the second half because I got very dizzy and my heart rate was too high. My legs cramped (a new problem for me). I had white salt deposits on my skin (never happened before either). I had taken Gu every hour and drank liquid (H2O and Gatorade) at every water stop, so I was surprised by all these problems; I heard later that a lot of people had leg cramps. But I was determined to get a finisher’s medal no matter what.

Miles 16-19 were tough because I was trying to manage the dizziness, too fast heart rate, and leg cramping (it seemed like a lot of people around me were hurting too). At mile 17, I saw a man down and medics were putting an IV in his arm. I didn't want that to happen to me. I ate some orange and banana pieces, which really helped. As soon as I could, I resumed my run/walk strategy and started passing a lot of people. I felt a lot better by mile 20, passed the Trojan, and ran the last mile nonstop, passing even more people, and finished happy and relieved at 5:55.

Other stats: I finished 10,534 overall (out of 17,30cool.gif. Women 3177/6694. Age Group 411/670. Age Grade 41.7%. I may not be speedy like many of you folks out there, but at least I wasn’t lastcool.gif!

My DH was awesome. He handled all the logistics of driving from the start to the finish line (not too easy with all those street closures and one-way streets) and he met me at the finish with a bunch of rosesbiggrin.gif.

Race support was great! The crowds were very enthusiastic and helpful. There were plenty of water, Gatorade, fruit and pretzels on the course, mostly in the poorer neighborhoods than the richer ones. The LA Fire Department took good care of us, turning on fire hydrants when it got warm, and quickly tending to the hurt and heat exhausted.

Thank you for reading!
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#2 of 27 Old 03-05-2008, 07:00 PM
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dromedary - congrats on your marathon. White salt on the skin is never a good sign. Smart of you to recognized it and managed your race well. You drank every stop but probably not enough in that heat. Nice DH!!
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#3 of 27 Old 03-05-2008, 07:41 PM
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Good job on reacting to the conditions! And roses at the end! I bet you were the envy of all the other nearby finishers! Hope you recover well, that cramping can really be a problem. I had it too for the first time last fall and I could feel it the next day even...
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#4 of 27 Old 03-05-2008, 07:43 PM
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Dromedary, that was a tough race and you hung in there. Good on ya!

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#5 of 27 Old 03-05-2008, 09:21 PM - Thead Starter
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Hi Ksrunr, thanks for confirming that white salt on skin is a bad thing. I saw that on myself after I noticed it on a lot of people around me, especially this 7 foot tall muscular guy. I also felt chills, which was weird too.

In addition to drinking water and Gatorade on the course until my tummy sloshed, I had a Camelbak Flashflo (48 oz) and I drained that too! Had no idea I would need so much liquid.

Next time I do a full marathon, it'll be in the autumn and someplace colder (not Chicago!).
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#6 of 27 Old 03-05-2008, 10:37 PM
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Way to go!

Somehow LA is cursed with warm weather and sunny skies. Fine if you're hanging out, but tough conditions if you're running for 4-6 hours.
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#7 of 27 Old 03-06-2008, 12:00 AM
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Those kinds of temps would've killed me so I have to give you a big Atta Girl for toughing it out and getting the job done. Sounds like you did a good job in monitoring yourself and reacting appropriately. I think it would be very difficult mentally to feel crappy in a run and then see all kinds of other runners struggling too. Way to go, Dromie!

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#8 of 27 Old 03-06-2008, 12:02 AM
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I already posted over at the other place, just wanted to add;

Congrats on getting that finishers medal. banana.gif

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#9 of 27 Old 03-06-2008, 01:26 AM
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Yaaaaaaa headbang.gif Dromi!!!
I knew you would do just fine.
Sounds like you had a great time at the party to boot.
Running with Elvii smile.gif and Uncle Fester how could you not have fun??
Congratulations on #2
Thanks for the report.
Looks like the skunks really paid off.
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#10 of 27 Old 03-06-2008, 09:18 AM
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Way to keep going and finish strong! Now you can say, "Been there, done that!" Congratulations!
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#11 of 27 Old 03-06-2008, 05:10 PM - Thead Starter
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hey arc918, you were right about everything! It was a good experience, and I'd do it again if they ever go back to a loop course and change the date to sometime colder in the year.

Choovie, I ate the spam musubi during carbo load time!
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#12 of 27 Old 03-06-2008, 05:17 PM
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WTG on a race smartly done Drom! Not surprising to me that the regular folks were out there supporting y'all whilst the rich ones were probably drinking their gourmet lattes behind air conditioned doors.

Trojan eh, like a USC one or one the latex variety? biggrin.gif

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#13 of 27 Old 03-06-2008, 05:24 PM
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Congrats on your Marathon.. and great job listening to your body.
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#14 of 27 Old 03-06-2008, 05:53 PM
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I'm glad you ran a sensible marathon..... congratulations!

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#15 of 27 Old 03-06-2008, 06:44 PM - Thead Starter
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Hally, since you ASKED....It was a USC type Trojan blush.gif, not some goofball in a big rubber costume (eewwww!!!!). Extra little victory for me because I went to UCLA.

Thanks JJJesse, the skunks did the trick!
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#16 of 27 Old 03-06-2008, 10:25 PM
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Oh, good heavens, drom, not the SPAM! uhoh2.gif

Wonderful RR. You write the best ones. Stop with the "slow" comments. Speed kills. You finished. Nuf said.

"3 Elvii." Snork!

And way to go, beating the Trojan. (Thanks for the clarification.) Ya done goot!

Awaiting the comeback of velour jumpsuit couture.
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#17 of 27 Old 03-06-2008, 11:07 PM
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Good job girlfriend! It was indeed a warm day, the day before would have been much better conditions. I wondered how a point to point marathon would be, it seems so wrong to take a bus back to the start after enduring a full marathon, especially in the heat. Kinda smelly, I would assume. But you did it, proud of you! Hope to see you soon at a smaller distance race in So Cal.

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#18 of 27 Old 03-07-2008, 04:39 PM
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Very nice race report. I always used to watch the race on tv then finally did it in 2006. You beat my time smile.gif. I am super slow but I enjoyed the race, your description of a block party is exactly right. Since then I've gone to watch it live. For spectators, the fact that you can take the red line to different locations is nice, I walked along the course from mile 4-8 to show my sister Hancock Park and then hopped back on the red line to see the SWAT team relay join up at mile 25 where 30 members ran the last mile together. Very touching.

Personally, I wish the race would still start and finish downtown really just because I like downtown and running between all the pretty buildings. I am hoping they go back to that someday. There is something fun about waiting to start the race standing by all those tall buildings.

Glad to hear you had fun. I like that you included that the LAFD was out there for support. The firefighters stay out there all day and do a great job cooling down the runners. Really a special group of men and women.
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#19 of 27 Old 03-08-2008, 11:17 PM
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Great Race Report! Great job on listening to your body and finishing the race! The calf cramping is a problem I have had as well. I have started taking electrolite pills to help offset the white stuff on the skin.
Now the roses at the end is something I have missed. I think that's because my lovely wife is usually running with me, usually behind but ocasionally she passes me and then greets me when I struggle across the line!
Find the cooler weather! Marathons can be fun.
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#20 of 27 Old 03-09-2008, 12:54 AM
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What a strong finish you had, dromedary.

With the weather, cramping, chills, and salty skin I'd suspect heat-related electrolyte imbalance. Especially since you've been training in cooler conditions.

Job well done! Enjoy the roses!

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#21 of 27 Old 03-11-2008, 12:53 PM
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Sorry it's taken me so long to respond, my friend. I know what you mean about the guy with the IV in his arm-that was Marine Corps '03 for me. You handled the challenges well and ran like a horse to the barn at the end; what could be better?
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#22 of 27 Old 03-11-2008, 02:24 PM - Thead Starter
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Thanks Sans! I am glad to entertain you. No more spam! (see avatar)

Sherie, point-to-points are difficult and I have only done 2 (this one and Country Music Half Marathon). Lucky for me my hubby has been my chauffeur so I did not have to endure stinky busloads of people, and I always had the luxury of a hotel near the start. I heard that L.A. provided free Metro rides for runners on marathon day. San Diego RNR is a point to point, eh? I bet you're going to do very well at your marathon debut banana.gif

beaton33, glad to hear from another veteran of the L.A. marathon. LAFD (and all firemen/women) are my heroes. I missed seeing the SWAT team relay, but read about them later.

trecker, thanks for the info about the electrolyte pills. I will have to try them next time on a hot day.

Thanks sistergoldenhair!

Opie, I really appreciate you taking the time to post here; you are a very busy guy. Whoa, you had to have an IV at Marine Corp '03? How scary! By the way, I really liked your RR with the description of the buzzard waiting for you to drop (I didn't see any, but I heard they live in the OC). Someday we'll do the same full marathon and I look forward to meeting you again.
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#23 of 27 Old 03-11-2008, 04:32 PM
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Sorry, I mean, I saw a guy there with the IV like you did and thought, not me!
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#24 of 27 Old 03-12-2008, 10:06 AM
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Sounds like a tough race! To hold out through all you went through and support your hometown marathon... congratulations!

I had one of those "just finish it" half marathons last year--similar deal... bad cold... hilly course... fortunately, not hot weather... and I found it tough... a marathon multiplies those factors exponentially, I think. Way to go for being a survivor and listening to your body!

Roses at the end--sweet!
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#25 of 27 Old 03-17-2008, 01:30 PM - Thead Starter
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My apologies Opie, I misread your comment...you're right, it's scary to see people down like that.

Thank you Lioness!
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