A Little Bit of Background
Last year, I ran my first marathon, the Los Angeles Marathon, and I finished with a time of 6:48:18 because blisters on ball of my right foot forced me to walk/limp the last 10k. I said to myself that won’t happen again. I trained harder, added interval training, speed work, and getting my miles back up. I also incorporated stairs, hill repeats, etc. I wanted to be better.
So, when the Conqur Endurance Group announced a Flash Sale, which was the first day they officially announced registration of the Conquer LA Challenge, and all it entails; I honestly couldn’t resist and I signed up immediately. A new brand new challenge, an inaugural medal, and most importantly a challenge. I do love a good challenge. Ok, here we go.
My training plan got derailed in June when I had to have surgery, then again in September when I went in for the last and final surgery. In October while out on a training run I had stepped off a curb, and sprained my left knee. I have been recovering from that sprain since. I was given clearance by my doctor to start light training runs in February. I had lost about 9 months of training.
The goals I had set for myself for this years LA Marathon, I had to change. I decided I was going to go out, have fun, enjoy the course, and finish.
Come on, lets admit it. This expo is nothing but first class awesome sauce. I love the expo, I love hanging out with my friends and talking to vendors. When I picked up my bib, the first thing I looked for was the white “ConqurLA Challenge Sticker” and it was there. Awesome! However, there was something else on my bib I wasn’t expecting. There was a letter before my bib number, but not just any letter, the letter “B”. I thought, I’m in Corral B. OMG! That is a very big deal, in order to get into Corrals A – E you have to qualify. It was amazing that I qualified for Corral B. I was excited. I picked up an event poster, saw all 31 years of LA Marathon medals, and then went home to rest.
I was very nervous about this years LA Marathon, and I couldn’t figure out why. I wasn’t nervous last year. I tried to shake it off while I was on the tour bus headed to Dodger Stadium, however, once I arrived I was freezing cold. That is unusual for me in this weather, it was only 55 degrees Fahrenheit outside. I was trying as best as I could to stay warm. It was time for me to line up and get into my assigned corral. That was an amazing experience, and I’m glad that I had that opportunity. I was so close to the start line, words cannot describe how I was feeling, but I was blessed.
The horn blew, and the race had begun. I crossed the start line mats, clicked start on my Garmin Forerunner 235 and I was off. Surprisingly, I didn’t get run over by any of the other runners, but we all were jogging together while smiling and waving at the spectators who were there to support us, all of us who were running. By about the first mile my left glute muscle was tightening up, but it wasn’t bad at all. I decided to slow my pace, and shorten my stride, it usually helps. By mile 10 it was really bad, and I had started to slow down drastically. It wasn’t good, I was now mostly walking with lighter and lighter jogs.
At mile 14, it was so bad that my upper hamstring was now tight and painful. I was thinking about how I didn’t need this right now, and how this cannot be happening. I started thinking about my previous races, and the only time this has happened was at the beginning of the Santa Monica Classic 10k in September when my left calf was tight and hurting for the first 3 miles. After slowing my pace down, and shortening my stride, my calf muscle was loose and I was able to go at normal stride.
Once I reached mile 16, my left glute and upper hamstring was not getting better but worse. I was in so much pain, I almost broke down and cried. At mile 18 I had finally reached the Rundalay cheer section in Century City. Juice asked how I was doing and if I was ok. I told him about my left leg, and he made sure my entire left leg got sprayed with Icy Hot. It was the relief I was looking for, and Pixie made sure that I got a beer after she gave me a big hug. Anthony asked how I was doing, and made sure I got a beer and water. I talked to Manny, Sandra, and Maggie while I drank the majority of the beer. I was asking Maggie about Jo, and where Jo was on the route, how was Jo feeling, etc. After hearing about where Jo was and how she was doing, I gave the rest of my beer to Maggie, then I was off to conquer the last 8 miles.
I felt fantastic, the Icy Hot and beer was what I needed. I hit mile 20, I started to feel a sharp pain in my upper right side of my back, right underneath my sports bra. It wasn’t friction burn, but it hurt to breath. I was thinking are you kidding me right now? I was mentally yelling at my body to get it together, and to knock this s**t off. I was frustrated with my own body, and it was not behaving. My only thought was to finish, especially when I only have 6 miles left.
Miles 20 – 24 were nothing but pain, pain from my left leg, and pain from my upper right side of my back. I found it difficult to jog, but I jogged as best as I could and walked. I reached mile 25, I was about to break down and cry when I looked up and saw a red shirt with a [R] on it. I quickly noticed it was Sheny. I went right up to her and gave her a hug. I broke down and started to cry on her shoulder, I was in so much physical pain. Sheny told me what my heart needed to hear. After having a donut hole, and resting I had decided that I was going to go and finish this marathon.
With less than a mile left I jogged, I jogged all the way to the finish line. I made it, I reached the finish line and crossed it with my hands up in the air and a smile on my face. As I walked through to collect my finishers medal, I was crying. I was feeling a smogus board of emotions. I was very proud of myself for finishing, even through all the physical pain, I couldn’t believe I had finished, I couldn’t believe I had finished my second consecutive LA Marathon, and I was in an extreme amount of pain.
A volunteer saw me and she put the medal around my neck, and congratulated me. I smiled through tears as I thanked her. I looked and immediately to my left was the Conqur Endurance Tent for the ConqurLA Challenge medal. They saw me coming, marked my bib, and put my medal around my neck while congratulating me. I had never had any volunteers put medals around my neck, this was a first for me. It was such a great feeling.
I limped, very slowly, to the car. When I got back home my left calf was extremely swollen. A friend of mine had to help me prop it up and told me to stay off it for the rest of the night. Two hours later I took a pic and texted it to my friend who said it was looking much better. I stayed off it for the rest of the night, and feel asleep watching TV. When I woke up, I was able to get out of bed without holding onto the walls and furniture. I was also able to walk pain free, and without holding onto anything. I was sore, but in no pain. I walked around the house, cooked myself a good meal, rested and watched Netflix.
Then, I checked my Garmin to see, just out of curiosity what my finishing time was. Including the bathroom break I took at Starbucks on mile 3, the rest break at miles 18, and 25; with the walking, I finished with a time of 7:21:11. At first I felt horrible, because its slower than last year. However, I quickly remembered how much physical pain I was in the entire 26.2 miles. I also remember how it didn’t shatter my spirit, my heart, and how I never once thought quitting. I just thought about pushing forward.
Last year, LA Marathon showed me how strong I am mentally; this year, LA Marathon showed me how strong I am physically. I learned something new about myself each time I completed the LA Marathon. I also lost 9 months worth of valuable training. I am very, very proud of myself. Through all the physically pain I still finished the LA Marathon.
This goes to show that no matter how much you might have prepared for a race, you never know how your body is going to feel on race day. I also remembered that everyone has their good races, and their bad ones. This was the worst race I’ve ever done, but that’s not stopping me from signing up again for the ConqurLA Challenge. I’ll be back at next years LA Marathon.
Let the training begin.
Up Next: Marathon de Paris