Sunday in early March, Los Angeles, CA, 8:00 AM Start. Point to point course, starting at Dodger Stadium and finishing near the Santa Monica Pier.
App and info click on LA Marathon above or call 213-542-3000, email firstname.lastname@example.org
The club has 2 of the 182 Legacy Runners remaining after 2013 who have done all of the LA Marathons: Ruth Carter and Scott Cline - Congratulations! You can find the Legacy Runners under the Community tab of the LA Marathon website.
Barbara Bates-Jensen at the LA finish line
2011 Los Angeles Marathon
Like many eager participants, I started the morning by physically removing my body from bed after the second alarm went off at 5:00 a.m. (the first at 4:50 a.m. as a pre warm?up). I had successfully executed the pre?planning activities the night before: no food after 7:30 p.m., no spicy food for dinner and completed the prepping ritual: Cytomax filled water bottles (3)2, Succeed tablets (5)3, tri?berry GU (2)4, mountain berry Shot Blocks (3), Tums (3) and 500 mg Excedrin (2). How is that for product placement? The most important of the pre?planning was parking my car at a small boutique hotel on Saturday night that is two short blocks from the finish line. The $20 fee is the same charged for official Marathon overnight parking, but this one is literally steps from the finish line on Ocean Ave.
As I started my second cold of the season on Thursday, I was determined not to have any side effects impact my running. It was a divine gift or mind over matter, or a little of both. All cold symptoms disappeared that day only to return the following day.
As I entered my hallway, I picked up a sticky note from my daughter that read, "Wake me, up, I want to go." She usually drives with us to the beginning of the route, and this year would be no different. As we drove towards Los Angeles on the slick streets, I thought a little moisture now is better than rain later...little did I know what was to come!
The pre?race street surveillance done the night before, paid off handsomely as we exited at Riverside Dr., instead of Stadium Way avoiding a freeway exit traffic jam. This was a far cry better than last year when runners exited on the 110 freeway fearful or not starting on time. Anyone ever heard of time chips?
As I waited for the race to begin, (for some strange reason, officials can never seem to start this race on time), I struck up a conversation with a professional singer who had done the race 11 years ago and decided to run it again this year. We mused over how hard it was to sing the national anthem and agreed it was a good idea to have a choir this morning.
The race began and I pressed my Garmin unit to start. It was nice not to have to circle the parking lot twice as we have done in last year. When you are running 26 miles, the idea of running past something twice does not sit well. It was a fairly routine race until mile 8, when my dear friend Janet Gutierrez, yelled out my name, "Cyrus!" It was a pleasant surprise. Mind you there are 25,000 runners out there and seeing her enthusiasm and gorgeous smile was fitting for the moment. Besides she is one of the sweetest persons I know - okay back to the story. At this point I was hoping, being that it was Sunday, someone would pray the half?marathon?rainprayer.
Around this time, I looked up to see a billboard that was congratulating a runner by name. "Okay, that's nice," I thought. Then it hit me. Someone paid to have a congratulatory billboard put up! How much did that cost? Only in LA I thought. Overall, there seemed to be less entertainment or maybe my focus was less - a few bands, a group of well? publicized cheerleaders trying to enter the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest cheering squad, and by now we have all heard of the 400 pound sumo wrestler competing as the heaviest runner to complete a marathon. The wackiest one was the two male go?go dancers in West Hollywood (women would have been more of a distraction).
2 Down from 4 in previous years
3 One for each anticipated hours of the race
4 For miles after 12 and whenever
LOS ANGELES MARATHON
As the rain poured down, I did pull out the "hotel" shower cap from my pack. These are wonderful by the way; an excellent and very light way to keep cold rain from washing through your hat and scalp. A BIG heat?retention difference! As always: Bless the volunteers for being there at all, much less under those conditions. The quantity of spectators who were on the course, and who stayed out on the course, was surprising. It is wonderful to have the support of these kind strangers, but I was saddened to see several of their "Pop?up canopies" in heaps of destruction from the wind.
Now that we Legacy runners are migrating towards the less populated back of the pack, I got to see many of my fellow crazies out there yet one more time. As Papillon Steve McQueen said at the end of the movie as he floated away from Devil's Island on his coconut raft, "I'M STILL HERE!!" And so what if I take a long time to finish? Why, if I just look at it in a different way I'm only paying about 25 cents a minute for the right to run the event!
There were many of the young SRLA students out there, gamely struggling with the conditions. I will happily say that the Students Run LA organization is excellent; a very high success rate both for finishing the marathon, and more importantly for training the kids about how to advance their lives. If you ever wonder where to put some charitable donation money, check them out...low operational costs, producing high?level results. On my way back to a warm car, it was great fun to talk to and see the smiles on the faces of two boys (I had helped around mile 10 by getting them rain ponchos which had been discarded) as they were doing the last quarter mile to the Finish.
Monday wasn't too bad, although I was reminded of old song by Archie Bell & The Drells, "Tighten?up" ?? it's the getting up and those first two steps! Tuesday's get up was wonderfully uneventful.
MY FIRST MARATHON
About one year ago, right before my 49th birthday, I decided that it was time I started taking care of myself. Most of our kids were off in college and we had one more at home who was a Sophomore in High School and never home so this was a good time to concentrate on ME. I joined Weight Watchers and started to walk to help the weight loss. I soon discovered how much I enjoyed walking. Early mornings, you would find me at the Arcadia High School track walking briskly and listening to the birds wake up. It was a wonderful way to start the day!
One day, while watching the LA Marathon on television, I mentioned to my husband Mark, your Vice President, that I would like to make the LA Marathon my goal for next year. Several weeks later, he told me that he had mailed the check in for the two of us to walk the Marathon - and that is when my training began. Mark became my coach and would make weekly charts for me stating how many miles a day I should walk. I was doing 15-minute miles on the track and 18 minute miles long distance. I even started jogging!! After all my training, I had no doubt that I would finish the marathon.
As the days for the Marathon drew nearer, it was raining and cold so I figured I would be doing a 17-18 minute pace and told my family what time to look for me at the finish. Little did I know that the weather gods had other ideas!!
Mark and I arrived at the Bonaventure Hotel bright and early and very excited - or I should say, I was very excited - Mark was too busy packing up his Camel back, measuring the powdered Gatorade, counting out the salt pills and the glucose tablets, making sure the ass-gaskets and toilet paper was on hand, and putting the mole skin and glide, sunscreen, and other necessities into baggies. I knew, upon looking at his supplies that I was ready for the AC 100!!
After the Marathon, Mark asked me what my favorite thing was about walking it and I had to say the beginning. The crowd was so energetic and exciting - singing I LOVE LA and waving to Mohammed Ali was unbelievable. Apparently, the gun went off because I could hear cheering and see the balloon arch go up - but wasn't sure until 10 minutes after the cheers died down and we started to move. All the training, and we were walking baby steps. I looked at Mark and asked when we would actually be able to stride and he just laughed. "Be patient" he said. "And remember, you need to stop trying to run - you are a walker". Sure enough, the excitement had gotten to me and I was trying to run along with the crowd. Thank goodness for my coach (pack-mule?), because the entire time he made sure that I was pacing myself and not getting over-tired or dehydrated.
The first ten miles went so quickly that I felt that this Marathon was a "piece of cake". The crowds cheering, plenty of water and Gatorade, and the bands and cheerleaders made it so much fun! The only problem was the grueling sun, hot asphalt, and no shade or clouds to be seen. I am not a hot weather person - guess I'll never do Badwater - and felt myself beginning to wilt. Mark said that my 17-minute mile pace was too fast for the weather and how I was feeling and told me to slow down to a 20 minute pace. That helped a lot - and so did the ice in my hat and the hoses sprayed on me. I began to notice around mile 14 that the street sweepers were catching up to us. I wanted to walk faster and keep them behind me but it just wasn't possible. As the police officers told us to move to the sidewalk and the street sweepers paced with us - I started to feel defeated. I knew then that my pace was not going to pick up and I wasn't going to be able to get done in 8.5 hours. We were being told to move to the sidewalk on the right of the street, but the portapotties were often on the left so whenever we needed them we had to cross the street.
At every red light, we had to constantly move so we didn't stand too long on one foot. As we continued to walk, we notice pieces of oranges, banana peels, and lots of paper cups on the ground but no aid stations left for us lone walkers. There were plenty of good Samaritans who sat at their card tables handing out water they bought at Costco and some even cut up oranges for us. I have to say here that it was really the "good Samaritans" that got the slow walkers through it. I couldn't thank them enough for the ice, sun block, water, and beautiful smiles. After mile 13, when we walked up a steep hill at the top was Mark's father and sister. It felt so good to see someone we loved waiting for us with hugs and encouraging words.
As we walked we soon had a group of people pacing with us. We began to help and encourage each other to get to the end. Every time the LA Marathon van would drive by and ask if we wanted a ride we would all tell them to keep going - we were NOT giving up.
The walk up Olympic Boulevard was the most difficult one. Downtown LA just never got closer. Mark - who was so fantastic along the way, telling us to drink, giving us Glucose tablets, taking our pictures and just being our own personal cheerleader - really kicked into action. He kept us going with his excitement over achieving our first medals and the completion of the Marathon. As we passed the Staple Center, we kept our eyes on him as he continued to encourage us. We were so grateful to him and extremely annoyed at his peppiness at Mile 25 - how can ANYONE walk this far and bounce around like that!
As we saw the light at the finish line, Mark asked me if I wanted him to run ahead across the finish line and take my picture. My first competitive thought was - "What - have him beat my time?" Then I just laughed at myself and told him that it was a great idea. He ran across the finish line and took pictures of our group crossing the finish line, getting the medal and wearing the Mylar blanket. Then we walked up four flights of stairs to the parking ramp - but that's another story!
To summarize my thoughts about this Marathon - I am so glad and proud to have done it. It took a year of hard preparation of turning myself from an over weight couch potato into an "athlete" and it was well worth it. I was upset that the aid stations shut down after 6 hours and the walkers were left to their own devices - there was also no food at the finish line and I practically had to fight for a Mylar blanket. So, I guess that next time I do a Marathon - I better run it!! Hey Mark, want to coach me for my first 5 K?
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