Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Race Recap: LA Marathon

Ok.. let's see. I think we waited too long to type this recap out. But here goes...

Arriving in LA!
JV - All we really talked about on the plane was about the things we were planning to do and visit (and eat). I was constantly yelping restaurants, since I love food and trying out new places. When we landed the weather was nice.

Luz - Palm trees everywhere!  We decided to head straight to the expo (so glad we did!) After dropping off our things, we jumped on bus and arrived at the LA Convention Center for packet pick up. Little did I know I was going to be meeting the person I look up to the most..  Deena Kastor.

Out of nowhere I asked Luz, "Why is there a long line here?". She looked at me and said "Its Deena Kastor!!". She was all happy that I was able to spot Deena for her . We quickly got in line, but unfortunately she had to leave. However, we saw that people were following her to the stage where she was going to be speaking. We ran to the stage and got front row seats. Deena was nice enough to sign our bibs and was able to motivate me and Luz for the marathon.

She was talking about injuries. At the moment, I was bummed out at what led to my injury... not paying enough attention to the signs early on. After she was done talking, it sunk in. I can let this injury sabotage my mood (and this trip) or I can overcome it. I was going to be doing something stupid on Sunday.. really really stupid. I was going to be running the marathon. I promised myself as long as I finished.. no matter the time.. There was a chance I could make things worse.. but I was willing to take that chance. I wasn't going to beat myself up. I was going to be 100% happy that atleast I got to experience part of something amazing. And I don't regret it. A week and a day later.. I can't wait to get back to running, but with time.

Our goodie bag included our marathon t-shirt (awesome looking!), a pack of Shot Bloks, those pop chip things, tons of flyers, and sunscreen. NICE!

 I'm so glad we went to the expo right after we arrived.  Deena inspired both of us to do our best.  We were ready to take on that marathon! >:)
After the expo, we were starving.  Luz quickly spotted a random Chinese food place and I'm so glad we went to it.  Best shrimp fried rice ever lol :) ! I wish we would of brought some home :(

Day 1
Santa Monica Beach
After yelping places, I thought it would be a great idea to go to Santa Monica Pier. As we were walking to the pier we somehow ended up going to an outdoor mall where they had so many stores. We ended up walking around and doing a bit of shopping. After the shopping, we actually went to the pier and took a few pictures. It was really nice seeing the ocean again. I think it was Luz's first time seeing the ocean up close. OH RIGHT!! I forgot about that..

We walked all day long! Bummer it was a little windy and cloudy, not a bummer since we wouldn't be dying on Sunday. While shopping, I was snacking on cinnamon pretzels (mmm.. carbs right? ;) lol) While also keeping track of upping my water throughout the day.

We had our dinner early-ish (TACOS!) and stopped at a convenience store for last minute things ( vaseline, pretzels and hair pins) JV mentioned Yum Yum donuts and I couldn't resist buying myself a donut (carbs!) haha. That night, we ended up going to try Roscoe's Chicken & Waffles. We played it safe and just split the waffle and chicken piece lol (it was past 10pm).

I tried staying up, tried to put together a playlist into my ipod.. but I was tired of walking all day and slept like a baby. We left our stuff ready in our marathon bags, ready to be put on in the morning.

Day 2
Wearing my marathon shirt before the actual marathon haha.. 

Race Morning
Was I nervous? Erm... yes and no. Not the type of nervous when you're going for a PR and you are trying to think up several scenarios when things can go wrong and ruin your chances. It was different kind of nervousness... like going into the unknown. I had no idea what was going to be happening today.

We left for the race with more than enough time. 5am wake up call, but 5:30 we were in the car. We arrive with more than an hour to spare! So we walked around.. took pictures in Dodger Stadium, lined up for the Port-o-potties.. and headed to the start line...

Seeing all the runners and everybody lining up got me pumped.  I was even more excited because I was going to do the marathon with Luz. I was determined to make sure that I was there to cheer her on for support.  We lined up and we were ready to go!

Day 3, Race Day

Mile 1-4
Ok, the nervousness kicked in. Right when JV decided we should line up with the 3:45 pacer. Heh. I'm def not going to stay here very long buddy... He was running with me today, we had no plan, just finish this thing.
First mile, I stayed relatively conservative and told him I wanted the first two miles around 8:40 and depending how I felt, we would speed up (he was my personal pacer afterall).  After passing the 3rd mile marker I realized... I had not ran more then 3 miles in a very long time. This brought on fear, what the heck was I going to do at mile 10? 15? 25?! I shoved those thoughts away and turned off my ipod. This was not going to work. I had to relax. So I let my mind wander off from any expectations today. If I hurted, I would walk.
Mile 4 was a bitch. Why? The incline wasn't too bad on the hill... but it stretch out for about half a mile up. This course was not what I expected. Rolling hills during every mile. I remember looking at the elevation map, the end was the best part.

I felt comfortable so far.  We were doing even splits and I liked the course.  Even though , there a lot of hills. 

Mile 4-20
Yes I am skipping all the stuff in the middle. I don't want to bore you lol But nothing really happened. Besides.. slowing down a little after the hill. Gaining a little speed, then my foot reminded me I was still injured. We walked through some water stations, and we mostly took water from the first 15 miles and food from every station which really helped. I never felt thirsty or hungry.

Some of the highlights:
  • I started drinking water and first Shot Blok at mile 2. Then I would take another Shot Blok every other mile (when I would remember) and sip some water at every aid station... and conveniently, there was aid stations at every mile. 
  • It was horrible trying to find a port-a-pottie. The ones JV tried were locked.. (see picture above.. lol poor JV) and probably spotted the next one within a 2-3miles.. 
  • Food that I ate along the course after I ran out of Shot Bloks:
    oranges, bananas, cheez-its, pretzels, half a Mocha Gu.. yuck
  • other stuff they were giving out, but i didn't want: gummy bears, chilli dogs(?!)
  • random people giving out Oreos, I love you!
  • We were actually on pace for a 3:5x up until about mile 15... :(
  • As we neared mile 20.. all I could think about was the "Wall"
  • I'm not sure what was worse.. up hills or downhills.. they both hurt by now (but during downhills, my foot hurt less)
  • My flipbelt was super comfy! This was the first time wearing it and I had stuffed 2 phones, 2 shot bloks, tiny vaseline (worked wonders! no chafing!) and cash/creditcard. Nothing fell out. Nothing was bouncing around and you can't even see it in our pictures!
  • My shoes (Saucony Virratas) never hurt my feet one bit.. except the little blister I got. For first time use, I got lucky. Very Lucky. They shall now be my lucky shoes :-)
  • I had no idea what part of California we were.. except when we hit Hollywood, obviously because of the stars on the sidewalks lol (funny video I found of on youtube! haha didn't even see this guy on the course, and kinda glad I didnt)
  • Mile 13 came out of no where..I was surprised at how fast time was going by. The miles that dragged the most were probably 17-23.. 
Probably because that's when we were going the slowest hah!
See Below
Mile 13 was bathroom break.. or more like
Where's "a Port-a-pottie for JV"? haha

  • When we hit mile 20.. I thought back on how horrible and how long it took us to finish our 20 mile training run, this felt ALOT better.. maybe because of the excitement/food/water being handed to us. I LOVE MARATHONS! 
  • I was having fun the whole way! People's encouragement really pumped me up I still felt good.  
We were running at a good pace and everything.  The crowd was awesome! They did an amazing job at cheering on all the runners.   People were giving out so many goodies and snacks along the course.  The only thing that was bothering me was that I couldn't find a port-a-pottie lol .  I felt bad because I didn't want to ruin our momentum.  Luckily, I was able to find one after 3 miles and resume running.  :)
    Mile 20-26
    •  I was still waiting to hit the Wall... nothing yet. 
    • Mile 22.. things kinda took a turn for the worse.. every stride my foot would hurt alot. I walked every 5 minutes or so. Then the 4:30 group caught up to us. We tried following.
    • Mile 23 I didn't want to walk anymore. So I told JV, from here on out, we were running to the end, even if my foot hurt like a bitch, I wanted to pass the 4:30 group. And we did. Our last 3 miles were all negative splits. Which surprised me... I had been holding back throughout the race because of my foot.. and in an attempt to conserve my energy.
    It was around this time were my legs were getting tight and slowed down a bit, but Luz always managed to cheer me on to keep on pushing.   It was during this time for some reason I got really hungry.  This has never happened to me during a race and its something completely new to me.  Luckily,  I was able to get snacks from people along the course and i started eating.  I just kept getting snacks as I kept passing aid stations. :)  The last 3 miles seemed like the hardest.  We both said that no more breaks until the end.  I got pumped from the crowd's cheering and by thinking that in a few minutes we will be at the finish line. 

    •  As we neared the finish line, all I could think of how much I wanted to do it all over again. 

    Some of my favorite pictures Marathonfoto took...

    Bottom left, crossing the finish line
    The Question now is... should I splurge and buy all the pictures?! haha

    See you in 2014 LA.. def going back.

    ...Did I miss anything? It's hard to remember after a week and a half haha

    Tuesday, March 19, 2013

    LA, The Marathon that almost didn't happen

    I'll share with you guys a little bit of what I thought was the most amazing weekend of my life.
    Full recap later.

    Short Version:

    I finished. Or shall I say, WE finished. JV decided to run the marathon with me.. all 26.2 miles. What I thought would be a disaster (trying to stay together.. feeling bad I would slow him down... my foot leading to a DNF.. which would mean he would either continue or drop out too) turned out to be the best time I had.

    Some highlights:

    • L.A is an amazing city! I love it there and was sad to leave. But for sure, L.A Marathon 2014 is in the books
    • WE MET DEENA KASTOR!!!!!!!!! AND SHE SIGNED OUR BIBS! (i think she was like my good luck charm, sorry JV lol)
    yep, me and Deena were matching :-)
    • People will hate me after I say this.. but... it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. I imagined I would be dying at the end. I mean I was.. but I guess I was just so happy to be there at the moment. I took my time.. I listened to my body (sorta)... hydrated as well as I could and never got thirsty.. never cramped.. didn't need to stop for bathroom.. no stomach issues.. never hit the wall... ate along the course to provide my body with sustained energy.. most importantly I smiled the whole way!
    • I wore new gear, Oops
      Although I wasn't suppose to wear anything new the day of the race... I tend to go against the rules. If you havent read many of my recaps last year, I tend to do it ALOT. and well.. it works (most of the time). This time I wore new shoes. Yep. NEW. The most I ran on them was 1.3miles a few days leading up to the race and I got lucky. Too lucky. My knees didn't hurt as much, small blister and that is all. I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS. Don't do any of what I did today, because honestly, it was a reckless miracle I finished. (I also ate a bunch of new things.. and thank god, everything worked.) I tried out the Flipbelt, new Brooks shorts, new headband (which worked! usually they end up falling off on me) but more on that later...
    • I ran injured. and I still finished at a time of 4:29 and pace of 10:17min/mile. Not the best time in the world, but I'm so proud of it. I'm 90% sure that this is a PR'able(?) time.
      10% not sure.. because.. well shit happens. :-)
    • I now have a bruise on my tendon.. where the pain began a month ago.. oops. Needs to go to doc asap again. And I have a feeling it aint gonna be good news, but I'm ready for some more rest :-)
      my hamstrings hurt like a bitch everytime i walk..
    • The course was better than I imagined... and harder than I imagined. I lost count of how many hills and downhills there were.. mile 4, I'm out to get you next time. 
    • I RAN WITH NO MUSIC! and I loved it!!!!!!!!! (a first in my books, when it hurts i plug my earphones in, today there was no such thing)
    What did I learn?
    Well more like re-learn every time I race... EVERYTHING is possible.
    If i can run a damn marathon injured.. after being out for almost a month and enjoy every mile, and even shout out "MILE 13 ALREADY?!" then I can damn well finish another...

    This marathon wasn't going to get the best of me. I am so glad it's over, because I still don't know how far I can go.

    Couple of snapshots, more to come later.

    L.A. Marathon 2013, completed.

    Wednesday, March 6, 2013

    Better Safe, than Sorry

    Or in my case.. better off undertrained and healthy, than injured.. (does that even make sense?)

    I thought I would be good to go this week.. or atleast somewhat good. Yesterdays run proved to me that I wasn't going to be able to get in a good run before the marathon (if there was even going to be a marathon).

    Yep... I'm contemplating the idea of not showing up. Why? Because I had goals in mind. As arrogant and as self absorbed as it sounds, I had goals I wanted to strive for... despite not being able to finish my training... despite this being my first marathon where my only goal is suppose to be to finish. I had goals that included a sub 4 hour marathon.

    And at this point I really think they are out of my reach. Unable to finish a measly 2 miles yesterday without any pain... I cried. I never pictured myself unable to run 2 miles the week before my first marathon. And I am broken. I am completely shattered at the thought that my is body not ready for this... although mentally I am.

    No marathon day shoes yet..
    No nutrition plan set...
    No hydration plan set..
    No race day outfit picked out yet..
    No Plan.

    Although I could easily just skip this marathon.. and pick out another. But it's in a completely new city and state.. the plane tickets are set, the hotel reserved. The money fundraised... I could also just wing it..

    At this point. I have one goal. Get better.

    If I cannot run 3 miles without any pain days before the marathon... I will not be lining up that morning. Why run a marathon in pain.. at a horrible pace.. and make my injury worse?

    Long ago I read a blog somewhere  about a guy finishing his first marathon under four hours without ever completing a long run... all he did was cross fit workouts. Amazing as it seems, it probably is do-able. It even gives me hope. Something he had that I don't... a healthy foot. I won't be trying to run anymore.. I am done trying. I think it hurts me more mentally, getting out there and coming back.. limping.. and in tears, with my dreams gone out the window. It hurts to read about everyone else long runs or workouts.. so I'm avoiding dailymile, blogger, twitter and facebook as much as possible.
    All I'm hoping for now is a miracle. That I wake up strong and healthy one day... and ready to conquer that marathon.

    But as of right now... I am not ready for it.

    Why attempt something I know I'm going to fail?