Tuesday, March 11, 2014

LA Marathon 2014 Race Report

I’m back in Colorado just in time for a snowstorm. My body has weather confusion. It is not sure if I should be sweating and sitting by the pool or shivering and shoveling the driveway.

But, you are not here for a meteorological report. You are here for a 26.2 mile race report.

This was marathon #6 for me (if you include the marathon I did within the Ironman. Some people don’t “count” that, but in my mind if there is ever a time to “count” a marathon, it is the one you do after swimming 2.4 miles and riding a bike 112 miles).

What to say about this race? I broke a bunch of personal rules including:

  • Not eating dinner until 10 pm the night before (11 pm if you moved your clock forward)
  • Eating pizza for dinner (in the past this has not been a good pre-race dinner for me. Interpretation = CD - colon distress)
  • Wearing new shoes (Yes. Can you believe it? The story is that I had been training in shoes ASICS sent me. While I loved them, they were slightly big. So, at the expo I got pair that was a half size smaller and decided to chance it. Not sure it was the best move. Let me rephrase: I am positively sure it was not the right move).

But enough about me. Let’s talk more about me and what transpired over 26.2 miles.

First I will say, Asics was incredibly generous and good to us as bloggers. From covering flight/hotel to amazing gear, to running idol meet ups, to lots of support and good meals. My favorite thing, however, might have been the private club room we had at Dodger Stadium before the race. Typically on race morning I can be found huddled somewhere on a street trying to gag down a banana or in a port potty line 15 miles long. Not this morning. We had private bathrooms, food, coffee and a great view of the stadium.

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Anne from FANNEtastic Food and I really bonded on this trip. Love that girl.

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And..me doing a nice pre-race braid for her (4:30 a.m. at the hotel – thanks for the pic, Mark):

With Jamie, Brian, Jess, and Anne at the start. Loving the glow in the dark hats. You pay extra for that! (Thanks for the photo, Anne)

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Another mistake I made - when I registered, I did not put in a past marathon time. This meant that I was not put into a corral. This meant that I was not with those of the same pace (I was way behind the 5:30 pacer, to give you an idea) . This meant that I spent the first three miles weaving in and out of people, which ultimately added .5 miles to my race. I really was not planning on running a 26.7 mile marathon. My fault, however. I have never run such a crowded or congested race at the beginning. I actually remember passing those big letters.

Here is Brian (Pavement Runner) and me at the start. I never saw him after that!

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Here I am looking for spare change.

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Abbreviated thought process throughout race:

Miles 1-8: It’s crowded. I am having the time of my life. I love running. Who knew there was so much downhill? I am flying. I love people. I love marathons. I love being in shorts. It’s nice and cool, and to think I worried about the heat. Wait. WTF with this hill (mile 3)?

Miles 9-13: My feet hurt. New shoes, bad idea. It’s still cool. I am not sweating. That GU tasted good. I think I like the plain flavor after all. I’m settling in. Just keep moving forward. Halfway is coming up. Stay hydrated. Why is it so fun to listen to Eye of the Tiger during a marathon? My feet really hurt. That couple in front of me is running holding hands. Really? Aren’t their hands sweaty and gross? Doesn’t that mess up their gait? Will they do that the whole race?

Miles 14-18: Good. Halfway in 1:53. I can do this. I might get a BQ after all. I see shadows. The sun is out. It is hot. Why didn’t I know about all these hills? That sign just said “Smile if you just peed a little.” I did not pee, but I am smiling anyway and now that sign holder thinks I peed. I am not sure why I do marathons. I am not having fun right now. I actually would really like to stop. Let me GU some more. I do think “GU” is a verb. ROCTANE might help. I hate this right now. My feet hurt. How do people run ultras? 

Miles 19-23: Coach Kastor said that there are hills around miles 20-22, then we head down for the rest of the race. I just have to get to mile 22. Great, now I am walking through aid stations. I am gulping water, pouring it on my head and I just put an ice pack between my boobs. Can this please be over? I am hot and everything hurts. I will stretch for a second. That did not help.  What else did Coach say? Oh yeah, imagine the ocean is pulling you to the finish. Let me try that. Why am I doing this? I am in Ironman! This should be nothing for me.

Miles 24-26.2: Okay, here we go. It’s all downhill from here. If I have any hope of breaking four hours I need to pick it up big time. Got to keep these last miles around 8:30-8:45 min/miles. Push it, push it, don’t stop. Do.not.stop. I have transcended my body and am not running completely with my spirit/heart/determination. This is what keeps me going.

I didn’t stop. I crossed the finish in 3:57:40. Actually this is my second to fastest marathon time, but slower than I expected to go for this race. I’ll take it.

Alysia Montano gave me my medal and off I went to the little VIP gathering at the Bungalows. Two words = open bar. I ran (well, hobbled) to my room first to get my slippers on. Then I joined the party. 2 beers and three pieces of pizza later I was a new woman.

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That night we had an amazing dinner at the BOA Steakhouse. I got the “40 day” dry aged steak because it sounded exotic (although I don’t usually eat food that is 40 days old).

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Here’s me with Jamie Walker (Fit Approach). Love this girl for how down to earth and real she is.

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And now for my most lady-like, special moment. Group photo at the end of the night. How could I have not known how I was posing? What is wrong with me? (Thanks, Ryan, for the photo).

Just for the record, those are built in shorts for my skort, not underwear.
Like it matters.

Thanks again to Asics for a first class and amazing trip. I really enjoyed meeting the other bloggers and hearing their personal stories and goals. You can check out their race reports/blogs too:

Brian from Pavement Runner
Monica from Run, Eat, Repeat
Rachel from Running Rachel
Jess from Race Pace Jess
Ryan from I Tri Because I Can
Jamie from Fit Approach
Mark Newman
Anne from Fannetastic Food
Kristin from STUFT Mama
Michele from NYC Running Mama

You can see more about the whole team HERE.

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Best race sign you’ve ever seen? I like “Run now, poop later”, “If a marathon was easy it would be called your mom”, “You could have chosen chess” and “Shut up legs.”

What’s the crowdest race you've ever run? Probably this one – but I do think it was because of being in the wrong pace group.

Do you have an embarrassing photo? I have a few good ones from when I gave birth. The nurse was nice enough to take pictures of Ken and me, but she didn’t do a very good cropping job.

Worst race mistake you’ve ever made?

SUAR

65 comments:

  1. I looked forward to reading your race report and you did not disappoint! Interesting how every race has something to teach us, even when it's marathon #6 and post-Ironman. Sorry SoCal was a disappointment in the marathon weather department but I am glad to hear you had a fun experience with all the other Asics folks.

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  2. I am fortunate to never experience the "suckfest" you mention in any one of my 13 marathons. Best was a 3:40 in Phoenix one year before those races got crazy crowded. Don't like large events and prefer small trail races around here. My best tri was in S. Cal. after a pitcher of beer and pizza the nite before. Congrats on your marathon. Had NO idea that bloggers get freebies like you did. But can't quit my day job just yet.

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  3. Loved reading your recap! I ran this race too and I thought I was going to die in the heat. I liked the "if it were easy it would be called your mom" sign that I saw in Echo Park. Glad you enjoyed running though my hood!

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  4. OMG....I cracked up at your "group" photo...it kinda looks like a body suit...well, at least it matches your shirt! Congrats on finishing #6. HUGE!

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  5. Congrats to you! I think you did an amazing job and it sounds like the whole trip was an amazing experience. The final picture? Priceless and all you!

    And I will admit that looking at various pics from various blogs, I am trying to figure out all the dynamics. Fun game.

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  6. Best. Race. Report. Ever. Congrats on finishing. I was following along on Instagram and it looked like you guys had a blast. Worst mistake I've ever made was wearing new shoes for a half marathon. Most crowded race for me has been Boston but it's the only REALLY big race I've ever done. Nice group photo, ha ha ha ha ha.

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  7. You are hilarious! It was so lovely to meet you this weekend. If I'm in Longmont/Boulder area anytime can we please go for a run? Also, I'm super impressed you were able to keep those last miles going at that pace! Nice job!

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    1. So good to meet you too. I'm really glad we got to talk over dinner the last night. Please let me know if you are ever in the area, I'd love to run. And, you have a place to stay!

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  8. Great job on finishing! I was entertained reading your race report :)

    Most congested race I ran was Marine Corps Marathon. So many people o_o

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  9. hahaha Loved this race report! You are so honest. Sounds like overall a great race - and with lots of perks!!

    Best group photo EVER hahaha

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  10. I wouldn't expect any other pose from you. lol anyways, congrats on the 2nd fastest marathon time!

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  11. Best race sign: NYC Marathon 2013 - in Brooklyn (of course): "Marathon: If it were easy, it would be called YOUR MOTHER". Second runner up (same marathon): "You run better than the government".

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    1. and CONGRATS on your 2nd fastest marathon!! New shoes.. you crazy girl

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  12. Reading your report was like reading my own. Had a similar long race experience due to no seeding at the start; ran 26.62 miles and felt like I never stopped dodging people after starting 20,000th due to this being my first marathon and no seeding in a corral. I also had a weird weather change experience but being from Utah, I was more weirded out by all the time changing. My only regret with the whole race is not knowing all the bloggers were doing all the VIP stuff. I work for ASICS so I was also there relishing in the ASICS VIP generosity and would have loved to get to meet all my bloggerebrities! Maybe next time...

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    1. Well that sucks. Would love to have met you!!

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  13. You know what they say, when in LA, take photos like LA people do!

    Best Race Signs: ‘Your are NOT almost there’ and ‘This is the worst freakin parade ever!’ held by a 5 year old boy.

    The crowdest race I ever ran was probably the Womens Running Series but it thinned out quickly.

    Every race photo ever taken of me is just bad. And I am pretty sure there are some drunk photos out there that I will never claim…ever.

    The worst mistake I ever made was admitting that I make mistakes.

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  14. Dear lord, that picture at the end of your Britney Spears crotch shot has me in a fit of giggles.

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  15. Great race report, has me cracking up as usual. I ran it too as my first full and despite the heat I had a great experience. Did you see the guy handing out chili dogs on the course?? Lol I didn't see any takers but my husband said he saw some of those "SRLA" teens partaking!

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  16. Who the hell doesn't count the marathon at the end of a freakin' IRONMAN?!?! Count that mother!
    Most crowded race: Denver R&R although I'm running Dallas R&R on the 23rd so that may take first place

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  17. The most crowded race I have done is the Vancouver (BC) Sun Run, 50,000 people. It is a 10 K. The best sign I have seen is "This is the worst parade". I thought the LA Marathon was mostly flat and downhill to the ocean. I was thinking of it as a bucket list run...I don't care for hills. Great race, congratulations! I love your training updates and race reports.

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    1. I think we all thought that it was downhill because it is a net loss in elevation.. but looking at the course map, there are definitely some rollers. It is a fun race, though

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  18. PRICELESS group photo Beth!
    You kicked ass in that heat. Any secrets you want to share on what you did?

    CONGRATS!!!

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    1. Walked through the aid stations, tried to stay in the shade if possible, dumped tons of water on my head. I also took salt tabs beforehand as a precautionary measure. Glad I did.

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  19. Beth, that photo has me dying!!! Seriously, I can't even stop giggling :)

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  20. Great race report. Pizza is my go to pre-race meal, I've never had GI issues with it.

    I'm running the Honolulu Marathon this year and I know it will be the most crowded because I was there as a spectator last year - no corrals, huge mass start and lots of walkers.

    Off subject, but I just finished reading "How to Be EPIC" in the latest Runner's World - Dimity McDowell's story of her first Ironman. Couldn't help but think of you.

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    1. I will have to read that - haven't seen it yet!

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  21. I don't normally comment, but I just had to thank you for posting that group photo at the end. Your posts normally make me giggle and laugh, but that photo had me BUSTING UP.

    Congrats on finishing the marathon! I always like to read your race recaps. :)

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  22. OMG, that group photo! Priceless! I think I peed a little. Glad you had a good time despite the small(er) shoe issue. I was thinking the first marathon after you Ironman must be kind of hard, but you did excellent ;-).

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  23. Great race report - always impressed by your level of detail. I can barely remember what I wore in a race much less what I was thinking.
    Glad you survived the heat - I plan on salt and walking through water stations when I run Flying Pig in May - but doubt I'll be pulling 8:30 miles to wrap it up!
    Thanks for posting the crotch shot - one of the reasons we love your blog is your honesty.

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  24. Impossible for you to look bad...good news...you got the race done and your legs are amazing!!! Thank you for chronicling all your adventures. It makes me want to run a little tougher thinking of your endurance. And I ordered the watch you suggested. Thank you.

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  25. Congrats on the sub-4, and with ouchy feet, no less!

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  26. That race time is nothing to sneeze at--esp in that heat!

    You should run Chicago...it took forever to reach the starting line. My most crowded race ever. And one of my faves, because it is my hometown.

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  27. Congratulations! I ran the 1986 London Marathon with more than 20,000 others. Back in those days, those numbers were staggering. I love the city, and lived and worked there in the late-1960s, but that race convinced me that running in smaller marathons in the future was the way to go for me, especially if I was hoping to run a fast time. By the way, this year's London Marathon is coming up on April 13. It will be Mo Farah's first marathon. If he is going to win, he will have to beat 12 men who have already run 2:07 or faster. Six of those 12 have already run 2:03 or 2:04. It's going to be an amazing race!

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  28. Congrats on the 6th marathon!! I love to hear about what goes through a seasoned runners mind while running...YEP, it's a lot of the same things I think about....OMG BEST LAUGH OF MY DAY was of your pose....Thank YOU! :)

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  29. Congrats on completing your 6th marathon! Loved the recap of this marathon; although I should have used the bathroom prior to reading--nearly peed myself (I know TMI) a few times!! You're such an inspiration...and I love that you seem to keep it real!

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  30. Awesome, awesome job!!! Congratulations on getting through the tough stuff!

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  31. I cannot stop laughing at your group photo shot!

    I'm just about to sign up for another marathon, and I need to stop reading painful race recaps! Eek!

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  32. Funny you should mention "Eye of the Tiger" (EOTT). Picture this. My husband and I were building a cabin on an island. In Alaska. The island is all wilderness. No roads. No nothing. But, one mile across the inlet is another island. There are towns and roads. There is a marathon. (you should run it, it's at sea level in a rainforest, cool temps) As the runners ran past one of the aid stations, EOTT would play. My husband and I heard that song all. day. long.

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  33. It was like reading a transcript of my own brain during my last marathon! Loved it! Best sign- "You run better than our government!" And "Morgue ahead...better smile!"

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  34. Congrats on one of your fastest times, in that heat..seriously awesome. I have definitely broken my own rules for races before, and some general common sense rules (don't try new things on race day).

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  35. OMG I love this! So true, I've run two marathons, both were a colossal suckfest, but so happy you made it through!

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  36. I've tried new things on race day, but never a smaller shoe! You're brave or nuts or both ;-) I have worn new socks, shorts, and singlet, but I think shoes are kind of crucial. Congrats on breaking 4 hours!

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  37. You're welcome for that fantastic group photo. Just to be clear, I didn't take it, but someone using my phone for me did. :) I'm on a plane writing up my race report and I add that last group photo and it dawned on me... Beth is crouching, in a skirt... and what the heck!? Did she forget? Does she care? From all the reading of your blog and meeting in person, I'm pretty sure it fit, so i left it up. Awesome times in LA and it was great to have some Ironman triathletes to commiserate with that a "dinky marathon" kicked our asses.

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    1. Haha!!! Yes, you are right - you did not take the photo (after all, you are in it!) and you are right that I wouldn't care b/c, well, if you read my blog you know I wouldn't care. So much for a "dinky" marathon. Let's get back to the easier stuff like IM training.

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  38. Your pose is the best! I was laughing so hard I woke my hubby, snorted and then the years came. I really needed that- thanks.
    Also, congrats on #6. Love your blog.

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  39. LOVED the recap and loved meeting you! I wish there was more time to hang out over the weekend so I could have chatted with you more. You are such an amazingly sweet and inspirational woman! :)

    Great photo of that blasted hill at mile 4! It was killer!!

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    1. Same to you, Rachel!! We had so much fun (even if the race kicked our butts) and I really enjoyed meeting you as well...hopefully our paths will cross again!

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  40. Congratulations on a great race! Sounds like you were treated very well.
    Best race sign you’ve ever seen? I like "run like you stole something"
    The crowdest race you've ever run? For me the Chicago Marathon but I didn't feel the crowd
    Embarrassing photo? Too many, I'm not very photogenic.
    Worst race mistake you’ve ever made? Starting too fast in marathon (don't we all).

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  41. Great re-cap! It's been hard waiting three days for it. ;-)
    Love the picture . LOL

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  42. The most crowded race was Broad Street Run in 2012. 40k runners over ten miles, and being corraled incorrectly, I had to start way in the back, spent most of my time zig-zagging. Ended up doing 11.5 miles through it all. But it's done, in the books, not my best, not my worst, and I cannot imagine eating pizza the night before a race. I always go to an omlette, with salt and potatoes and whole wheat toast. That morning, it's oatmeal and a banana, water and a huge evacuation. Love my ritual.
    Amy P. Philly runner

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    1. Huge evacuation :) going to steal that phrase!

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  43. Philadelphia was really crowded at the beginning! It thinned out so I was able to run my pace easily but there were definitely a lot of people. Boston wasn't that crowded due to the different waves starting.

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  44. Oh, gawd, that last photo! I will think of this throughout the day and I will laugh. Thank you.

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  45. seriously I could just jump up and down that asics got you on board, they are such a lovely group and no one deserves to be treated like a star more than you. I mean private porta potties are your thing right?? Hmm new shoes, that's just cray cray to the max. I've definitely done my share of hot living in Miami and I won't lie, I'd be happy to never do another super hot race :) Congrats on another experience, another finish and great memories.

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  46. Loved FINALLY getting to meet you. Incredible in person as you are on my screen.

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  47. Omg that last photo - I die. Nice underwear... I mean shorts. Lol!

    I had so much fun getting to know you this weekend! Thanks for making it even more awesome. :) Hope we're on another trip together again ASAP, preferably with more pools + palm trees... but maybe a less warm run. ;)

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  48. Congrats, Beth! What a joy to read this post. Well...you know...more joyful to me than running a marathon. And that last pic made me laugh! Seriously, glad it went well. Very proud of you!

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  49. I didn't realize it was your 2nd fastest marathon!!! That's impressive esp given the weather =)

    It was a pleasure to finally meet you after reading your blog for so many years. I hope our paths cross one day soon. Maybe we'll have to sign up for the same IM down the road!!

    Best of luck with IM training. I'm extremely jealous that you are going to get to experience another one this year!!
    xoxo

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  50. Ah I thoroughly LOVED reading your recap! It was actually my first marathon ever and pretty much everything you said happened to me! I went down half a size and my toes are still throbbing! And the "smile if you peed a little" sign.. saw that...and most important was not seeded and also had to weave through people for miles! My race results said I passed almost 10,000 people the first 10k lol.. Anywho my friend had just suggested reading your blog anddd am glad i took her advice!

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  51. Wow, awesome race report SUAR. Sorry I didn't get to meet you - I was probably just a little ahead of you the whole time (3:41). I saw the "if it were easy, it would be called your mom" sign (twice), and both were held by women. Go figure. I presume you didn't have to experience the waiting for your drop bag bonding that happened for numbers 1 - 4,000 (all on the same UPS truck). That was really bad logistics.

    Glad to hear you had such a wonderful time. Now I need to figure out what's next. Someday - Colorado.

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  52. That's a great time considering the extra mileage you put in at the start and the heat. Thanks for the links to the other blogs, too!

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  53. Thanks for the Recap, Beth! I'm getting ready for LA2016. I'll remember "imagine the ocean is pulling you to the finish", and will try it.
    Any pose is okay for a runner's post-race photo ;)

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