April 14, 2020
The Los Angeles Marathon 2020; last 26 miles at age 26
The Los Angeles Marathon, which was my third marathon, was one for the books. After completing the Kaua’i Marathon over Labor Day weekend, I was feeling extremely defeated. That marathon was tough for me in more ways than one, and it challenged me in ways I wasn’t strong enough to conquer. You might be thinking, “But you finished it, so shut up”. And yes, I agree. But as I’ve learned with my running coach these past few months, I have a long way to go as a runner. I am naturally capable and have the drive, but there is so much more to running, on a competitive level, than just putting headphones in! After completing the Kaua’i marathon, I kept reminding myself how much I adored the course in Los Angeles and that I just didn’t need to continue my efforts on a course that made me that miserable again. Good idea? I think so!
I did end up getting back on the horse and I came around to getting mentally prepared to train for Los Angeles. I was very vocal about wanting to find a running coach for this next one. Unlike the past 2 marathons, I created my own training schedule, made nutrition plans, and pushed myself further than I ever thought possible. I very confidently knew that if I had a professional helping me through this process, I could find more success. Additionally, in mid-October, I had just started at a new job in which I was working 10-14 hours a day, 6 days a week. I didn’t have the capability to create my sweat schedule, monitor my progression, and plan every run and workout in advance – it just wasn’t possible. I went ahead and asked Evan Flock, my personal trainer – LookLike, LTD, if he knew of any running coaches. He then reached out to his network to get the name of a running coach in Philadephia who comes highly recommended. Cue in John with FixYourRun. It took one 30 minute phone call, but really 2 minutes to say YES. I find it super important to thoroughly rant and rave over my experience with John and Evan over the past 4.5 months. December 8th was the official training start date that John and I put on the calendar. In running terms, I was already late.
I worked my ass off. Let me repeat that one more time – I WORKED MY FRICKIN’ ASS OFF!
Every morning the alarm went off at 6am (or earlier) and the workouts would be 1 of 3 options:
1. 6:00am Indoor Cycling then a Run to follow, approximately 3 – 6 miles
2. 6:00am Indoor Cycling then Personal Training (Evan emphasized my core, arms, upper body, and glutes)
3. One long run (Wednesday, Friday and Sunday were the lengthier ones)
I would go to work by 9 or 10 am at the latest, work 10-14 hours, and then do it all over again. Amidst the craziest professional episode I have had in my career yet, I never let my training schedule suffer. That is what I am most proud of. And YES, there were many mornings where I woke up and just didn’t want to. I listened to my body if the workload the night before kept me there until midnight. Sometimes the lack of sleep just wasn’t worth it for the days to follow. John was so flexible with managing my running schedule per week with the insane hours that my work called for. He knew I was doing everything I could.
Let’s skip to the Marathon. What was I aiming for? I was aiming for 4 hours. As a reminder, LA #1 was 3:56 and Kaua’i was 4:31. This time I wasn’t running as fast but I had the mileage built. I would kick myself if I didn’t make 4 hours happen. Both John and my family and friends were reminding me that I worked my ass off and that is what I should be proud of. And of course, they also reminded me that this is fun and that I should enjoy the ride – a hard feat to convince my competitive brain!
I started with the seated coral group C, due to my great past marathon time, and this really helped in the success of my run. This allowed me to start with people at a pace similar to mine, instead of dodging slower runners that acted as landmines. I paced at 8:03 – 8:05 per mile for the first 15 miles. My stomach was acting up, which helped me in that sprint for the first 15. I made a quick bathroom stop and got back out there. From mile 15, through the end, I was pacing 8:30 – 8:35 per mile. I finished strong at 3:46 – an entire 10 minutes faster than my last tour de Los Angeles. There were so many furry friends, cheerful pals, and familiar faces throughout the route – which I am unbelievably grateful for! I promise those faces made a tremendous difference along the way; there is nothing like running circles around your hometown. Los Angeles, I love you. I will never forget this PR!