Monday, January 14, 2013

My thoughts after the 2013 LA 13.1 Marathon

The review for my race this weekend follows, but first you have to bear with me as there are a few things I'd like to share.

I've been running since 2008, and in the last 5 years I've found that theres at least one unshakable truth about running:  It will always surprise you.  Each route is never the same twice, each race is never the same experience, and you will always have farther and faster to go.
Running the LA 13.1 was a first for me because it was the first time I'd run a race a second time.  Approximately the same course, same weekend of the year, same goal of "doing better".  Only this time, I had a Personal Record FOR THIS RACE to beat.  I had all the confidence of it being my 7th half marathon.  None of the pre-race anxiety that I had the year before.  I knew that my diet didn't have to be EXACT to do well.  I knew that I could function well even on poor sleep.  I was excited and pumped up about race day but it wasn't tearing me to shreds.  But in the back of my mind there was that  clock time from the previous year.
I love the course of the LA 13.1, and have replayed it in my head a thousand times as one of those GOOD race memories.  Running past the iconic Muscle Beach, through the eclectic town of Venice,  down to the paved beach path, the hilly turn around, the desolate stretch of 3 miles that tests your resolve, and the downhill finish line that suddenly jumps out at you.
As I ran it this year, I was greeted by memories.  Mile 1:  The farthest I had ever run without stopping to walk.  Mile 5: The path down to the beach, where a tornado of seagulls had surprised us.  Mile 6: Stop at a beach bathroom Mile 8: Cursing the slow incline that forced me to walk  Mile 11: Pain in my feet so bad that I wanted to cry Mile 13.1: Crossing the finish line with cramps in my calves and the feeling of victory as I completed a sub-3 hour half marathon for the first time.  

I had said in the past that I didn't think that I'd want to run the same race twice.  That the excitement of a new and different race each time was too enticing, that there are too many races in Southern California to stick to the same ones over and over.  But now I get it, I know why some people run the SAME race every year for decades.  Some courses just speak to you as a runner.  Some have such special memories to you that its like seeing an old friend.  And each race can be better than it was before.  

And, by the way?  I totally blew my old Personal Record out of the water.  2:42:56  

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