2019 Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon

Here’s to my fourth consecutive Los Angeles Marathon. I look forward to this weekend all year long, it’s my absolute favorite marathon. When Conqur Endurance Group took over in 2016, they have added a couple of challenges, as well as rewards. It just keeps getting better yearly.

My third year in a row finishing the ConqurLA Challenge, let me tell you, I can never get enough. In order to complete the ConqurLA Challenge you must complete the Santa img_2999-1Monica Classic, the Pasadena Half Marathon, and the Los Angeles Marathon. The races and the order which they are in, feels like training for the Los Angeles Marathon, as well as a nice tour of best of Los Angeles. The best part of all, is the awesome medal you get. Who can say no to this?

The medal is HUGE! I couldn’t believe how big it was until I got it. It blew my socks off. It is amazing and I love the colors. The design is to kinda fit the LA Double Play Challenge medal. I love these medals.

LA Double Play Challenge: By running the LA Big 5k on Saturday, then the Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon on Sunday, you get some extra bling at the finish img_2993-1line. That’s a total of 29.3 miles for the weekend. I love this challenge because it gets me out to enjoy the L.A. Big 5k the morning before the marathon. This medal is awesome as well. Plus, its always fun walking around wearing all three (3) medals. Its my “Mr. T starter kit” as I love to call it. Always makes people laugh.

I love the colors in this medal, reminds me of summer time. This medal blew my mind when I first saw it. I love the design, its amazing.

“Are you LA Loyal”? I am a proud LA Loyal. To be an LA Loyal, all you have to do is run the Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon for consecutive years. This year, as well as last year, I wore my LA Loyal bib proudly. Next year, I get a couple of big rewards. (talk about the rewards here, all rewards for all years) I can’t wait to earn that 10 year medal one day.

I missed the cut off date and I wasn’t able to get my LA Loyal Bib like I did last year, however, I still continue my streak and I am still an LA Loyal. I took advantage of the flash sale and signed up for the 2019-2020 Conqur LA Challenge Session. Next year will be my fifth (5th) year and I will be receiving some cool items including the LA Loyal Bib. I can’t wait.

Saturday Morning: LA Big 5k 

The LA Big 5k is an excellent way to celebrate and kick off LA Marathon weekend. This race has the exact same start line as the L.A. Marathon, Dodger Stadium. The route then takes you through Elysian Park, and right back to Dodger Stadium where you cross the finish line. This race is the last race in the Tour of L.A. Triple 5k Challenge and also the first race in the L.A. Double Play Challenge. This event sold out this year. The first time I have seen this event sell out. I knew it was only a matter of time before it starts selling out.

My morning started off great. I stopped at Starbucks for coffee on my way to Dodger Stadium. No traffic going there. I got a good parking space. I sat in my car, relaxed, and listened to music. I like to take it a bit easy because I do have LA Marathon the next morning.

I ran into “Marathon Lion” in the parking lot while I was getting my gear ready. She told me that she injured her back and she was still in some pain. I decided to walk with her to3a008d0a-c2dc-4ecf-8ac0-9bc03857573a make sure not only that she’s ok, but also to help her out by making her laugh, and taking her mind off of the run. We were engaged in conversation that I even forgot where we were. Everybody was walking. I was amazed. It was a pleasure to cross the finish line with her and my running bestie. The medal is very colorful, I love it. I feel that they really captured the race itself but also the City of Los Angeles in the medal. I couldn’t wait to see the medal for the L.A. Marathon.

After the run I had an appointment for a session with the NormaTec Compression Boots! Thank you again Dr. Lopez for taking care of me. I truly appreciate it. My legs felt like a million bucks after the session. I was ready for the Los Angeles Marathon, and I was already making my next appointment for LAM Recovery.

 

Marathon Sunday

The L.A. Marathon sold out this year. I knew it would start selling out soon, especially since the Santa Monica Classic, and the Pasadena Half sell out annually.

I couldn’t sleep. At the most I probably got 49 minutes of sleep. Once I feel asleep, I kept waking up. I decided to get outta bed at 1am, made a cup of coffee, and start getting ready to go. I parked at Santa Monica around 2:40am. I sat in the car for a bit before getting my gear ready before heading over to take the shuttle to Dodger Stadium.

On my way to the shuttle I met a young man who is running his first marathon. We talked all the way to Dodger Stadium about races we ran, races we want to run, etc. He asked me for some advice for LA Marathon. The only advice I give is to 1) take the first six miles slow, 2) listen to your body, and 3) have fun. Once we arrived at Dodger Stadium I showed him where the bag check is. As we were walking towards Dodger Stadium we were discussing our dislike of port-a-potties. I showed him where the restrooms are inside Dodger Stadium. We wished each other luck, and parted ways.

img_2610

Last year, I was freezing waiting to get into the corral, so I decided that this year I would purchase the Start Line Hospitality package. I must say, it is well worth the money. The tents are headed, private port-a-potties (I always prefer to use the restrooms inside of Dodger Stadium), bagels, Cliff Bars, bananas, coffee, tea, bottles of water, and bottles of Gatorade. Lots of tables and seating. I meet two runners who were running their first marathon. We talked about the LA Marathon, Ragnar, other local races. We were smiling, laughing, it was great. It was really great to meet new people and just have conversation. I loved it.

I knew that I might have some problems with my left hamstring. I knew it was still a bit weak from my knee injury back in late 2016, and I did not want to aggravate it nor prevent further injury. I took the first start line slow, walking instead of jogging. My sistah, Mrs. C., stayed with me. We did speed up our pace a bit once we hit the 5k mark. We were on pace and on point for a six (6) hour finish.

The hills in downtown Los Angeles were causing extreme pain on my left hamstring. My upper hamstring and the bottom of my glute muscle was becoming intolerable by the time I hit mile seven. I was taking ibuprofen every hour to two (2) hours to help with the pain and swelling. I was also taking salt pills about every 5k to help with the heat and muscle cramps.

img_2653

Sunset Blvd.

It got hot real quick. By the time I hit Grumman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, the clean up crews were breaking down all the course support, and cleaning up. I was able to maintain a 16 minute pace which put me in good time. At this point the trucks coming by really threw off my mental game. I let it get to me until I hit West Hollywood. I ran into “Ali” from Adidas Runners Los Angeles (AR:LA). I was so happy to see a familiar face. She was in the same position I was in mentally. I really made sure to make her laugh and encourage her. I even made sure to run/walk with her.

Once we hit Beverly Hills at mile 15 I was eating an orange and I saw the camera’s. I told “Ali” to smile for the cameras. I said I’ll smile even with this orange slice in my mouth. I did just that. Not only did Ali laugh, but an officer from the Beverly Hills Police Department laughed as well. That’s what I love the most when I run the Los Angeles Marathon, is making people laugh.

img_2751

“Orange Slice Smile” in Beverly Hills

I was happy to see Jane on the course as well. We ran into her right before we hit Rodeo Drive. I also ran into other friends on Wilshire Boulevard. I managed to stay with Ali until mile 21 (Brentwood), she had a ton of energy so she took off in a sprint to the finish line. I was hurting, bad. I was limping. The pain was isolated and didn’t spread during the marathon. I was also starting to suffer from leg cramps. By the time I hit mile 23.5 I had major blisters, one blister on the ball of each foot. Running/jogging was no longer an option for me. I’d have to walk to rest.

When I saw the Santa Monica City Limits sign I knew I hit mile 24. I was doing my best to keep it together mentally, but the pain was too much. I was starting to lose it. I did my best to contain it. I wanted off of the course, I wanted to collect my medals, go to my car and head back to the hotel. Heading to Ocean seemed like twenty (20) miles. I saw El Will, and I asked if I can walk with him. He was having a difficult marathon this year as well.

We talked a lot, caught up on what’s been going on in our lives. We saw Adam Gorlitsky making his way to the finish line. I highly recommend you read all about his journey to the finish line of the Los Angeles Marathon in his robotic exoskeleton “suit” here. It is an amazing, and inspiring story. Once I saw Mr. Gorllitsky, El Will and I cheered him on. Talking to El Will and seeing Mr. Gorlitsky really put my mental game back on point.

El Wil and I finally crossed the finish line, together. I stopped for a bit and talked to a fellow Adidas Runner L.A. team mate, and to have a couple of pictures taken. My AR:LA team mate gave me a bagel, which I ate quickly. While I was walking back to my car, I was so much pain I couldn’t even stop for the photographers to take pics of me. I apologized to both of them that I am hurting badly. They understood. It took me a good thirty (30) minutes to walk 0.75 mile to my car.

I finally got to my car, I took my endurance pack off, I took my medals off, I grabbed my BCAAs and my protein and I chugged both of them down quickly. I sat in the trunk of my car for a bit and rested. I put my slides on, grabbed my bottle of Gatorade out of the trunk and I was on my way back to the hotel. First order of business was of course a shower. It took ten (10) minutes to get all the salt off of my face. It was so bad, it was stinging my eyes badly.

The medal is absolutely stunning. I love how Conqur Endurance Group put the marathon route on the front of the medal. I love the front of this medal. I must admit, I was a tad bit disappointed in the back of the medal because it looks like the back of last year’s medal. However, once I saw that next year is the 35th Anniversary of the L.A. Marathon, and I remembered that this year was the 10th Anniversary of the Stadium to the Sea course. Now the back of the medal just fits and makes it more sentimental. Then, I loved the back of the medal as well. Did I mention I love the participant shirt this year?

Reflection: This was by far the most physically painful, and my slowest marathon to date. Honestly, I cannot complain. I finished and I learned so much about myself during this year’s L.A. Marathon. I learned that no matter how much physical pain I’m in, I have the mental strength to keep going even though I want to give up. When I got back to the room I thought “I am a warrior, and I did it.” I thought about the entire marathon, the

img_2872

Medals from 2018-2019 Conqur LA Challenge Session

pain I was in, how I dealt with that pain during the marathon, and what I could do differently to handle it.

I also realized that my pre-marathon nutrition as well as my nutrition during the marathon was on point. Finally. I got my nutrition down. I didn’t physically run out of steam like previous years due to lack of nutrition. I also made a note that I needed to take the salt pills more frequently during the heat to prevent leg cramps. Everyone I talked to had problems with legs cramping due to the heat. The heat really was bad this year, compared to previous years I’d done the marathon.

All in all, I learned a lot about myself, what I am doing right, what I did wrong, and what I need to adjust. I’m glad I finished healthy, uninjured, and I finished strong. Next year is the 35th Anniversary of the Los Angeles Marathon and I hear its gonna be spectacular. I can’t wait. See you next year.

 

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.