On March 19, 2017 I completed my 5th marathon when I crossed the finish line at the LA Marathon! The LA Marathon is one of my favorite races. The course takes runners from Dodger's Stadium across LA and finishes in Santa Monica.
The 2016 LA Marathon was my first marathon and holds a special place in my heart. I was determined to make this year's race my best one yet. I already knew the coarse and was hoping to get a personal best. Unfortunately my training didn't go as expected. As I increased my mileage training for this race, I started suffering from lateral knee pain in my left leg. The pain got so bad that I had to shut running down for a few weeks. I had to focus on other workouts in the gym and started to add more yoga into my routine. My knee pain finally started to subside after I gave myself a little break from running.
About a month before the race, I decided to go out for a 16 mile run. I knew that I had to get one or two long runs in before the LA Marathon if I still planned on running it. My knee felt great during the run. My pace was a lot slower than usual, but getting through those 16 miles pain free gave me the confidence I needed to run LA Marathon. Two days after my long run, I started suffering from lateral pain in my left foot. The pain was so bad that I was almost in tears just walking around. I had to shut running down once again. I was so mad at myself because I felt like I caused this injury by trying to push myself to get that 16 miler in. I finally started going to physical therapy and worked on exercises and different treatments for both my foot and knee.
One week before the LA Marathon, I attempted one last long run. I went out for 14 miles and had no pain. I made the decision that day to run LA Marathon. My goal now was to just cross that finish line. I was hesitant to post about the race on social media. After weeks of complaining about all of my injuries I didn't want to be looked at as foolish for trying to run a marathon without much training. I decided to not worry about what anyone thought of me because I was running this race for myself!
The day before my race I wanted to relax and have no commitments. I headed to the expo at the convention center in LA then came home and hit the couch for the evening. It really didn't hit me that I was running a marathon the next morning. I had no expectations for this race, other than to cross the finish line. I planned on just listening to my body and taking the race one mile at a time. My 3:30 am wake up call came quick the next morning. I had to be in Santa Monica by 5am to catch the shuttle to Dodgers Stadium. I had my usual bowl of oatmeal with 1/2 banana and PB when I woke up and then an hour before the race I had my protein bar.
At 7am, I crossed the start line with 20,000 other runners to head back to Santa Monica. We saw many of LA’s world‐famous landmarks along the way, including Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Rodeo Drive, and the Santa Monica Pier. There were bands and cheerleaders lined up along the whole coarse to help motivate runners. Out of all of the races I've done, this was one of the best spectated races. It seemed like the whole city was out there cheering everyone on.
The first 13 miles of the race went well and I was maintaining a good pace even though I wasn't pushing myself like I normally do. I was trying to conserve my energy for the end of the race. Mile 15 was when my lack of training hit me. It seemed like the sun was getting hotter and my quads were starting to tighten up. I had to start alternating running with walking. At this point in the race, I had several good friends texting me and giving me that extra push I needed to keep going. However, the last few miles of the coarse seemed to get tougher and tougher. I really wanted to push it to the end but the tightness in my quads were holding me back. I continued to alternate running with walking until the last half mile of the race when I was finally able to push it to the finish line. Once I crossed the finish line, I received the LA Marathon Finisher's Medal. I started crying tears of happiness because for months I wondered if this race was even going to happen. I fought for this race and couldn't believe what I had accomplished. I just ran 26.2 miles without any knee or foot pain. I finally gained the confidence back in myself that I lost over the past several months. It was such a special moment and made finishing the race that much sweeter.