Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Flap's 2010 Los Angeles Marathon


The 2010 Los Angeles Marathon

Yesterday I participated in the 25th Los Angeles Marathon and the first Stadium to the Sea Course Run. I started training last October with the Los Angeles Roadrunners and although I did not finish with my group, the training proved invaluable. I wish to thank my Walk Group #5 paceleaders Leah and Don for their tireless efforts on behalf of the sport.

Here is my race bib from yesterday:


I started the course yesterday well rested and trained. However, I was not as prepared for the hills of the initial 6 miles of the course nor the heat. With my LA Roadrunners group we had trained at Venice Beach, Marina Del Rey and Santa Monica but usually early in the morning and during the fall, winter and early spring. The temperatures were usually in the 50's and 60's and with a cloud cover. I do not do well with the heat, being fair skinned and the sun was out in force yesterday.

I stayed with my Roadrunners until around mile 8 and dropped back, unable to sustain a pace of around 15:50 per mile. Leah had taken us out so that we could have a scheduled restroom break at mile 13 and still finish within the 7 hour range for our group. I decided I would go a bit slower and hope to catch up at mile 13 when they stopped. This was not to be the case.

I did not catch up by mile 13 since there were even more hills than I anticipated. Plus, my legs from the inital 6 miles of the course had lost their spring. I resolved to go as fast as I could, but finish nonetheless. Then, my feet started to blister from the hot pavement and although I was pumping in analgesics they hurt and I could not get the traction that I normally would have.

In the meantime, the day got warmer and warmer. I was pounding in the Gatorade from my bottles and Powerade from the many stations along the course. I still felt queazy, like I have felt before when dehydrated and sweating out electrolytes that the body needs to run its energy machine. Three marathons ago I had fallen at mile 16.5 and had to retire from the marathon. A decision I regretted deeply for over two years and which I think about every day. I was never going to quit again.

Around mile 17.5 along Wilshire Blvd and just south of Rodeo Drive, one of my belt Gatorade bottles dislodged from the belt and I stopped to pick it up. I got extremely dizzy and could not walk. I reached out to a passing racer who along with his partner escorted me to the curb. I wish to thank this unknown racer and his girlfriend for helping me and preventing me from falling. As soon as I was seated curbside a Beverly Hills motor police officer came up and radioed for the Beverly Hills Fire Department and Paramedics.

I waited about 10-15 minutes and the paramedics arrived. I rested and knew with some rest and hydration I might be able to continue. They asked me the requisite questions took my pulse and blood pressure and gave me the option of retiring from the course.  Just as the moment of truth arrived, three members of my walk group walked by and asked me if I was OK. I said for them to move along and that I would see them at the finish. Then, two Roadrunner pace leader monitors came up and by the look on their faces, I thought I was going to be taken off the course.

I insisted/pleaded to the paramedic captain, that I wanted to continue. He told me to rehydrate myself at the next water stations and to pound the Powerade and water for the duration of the race. He kind of shook his head on why I wanted to continue, but allowed me to proceed. Another paramedic bandaged by leg where I had worn a sore. Thank you Beverly Hills Firemen and Paramedics for your prompt, courteous attention. I never would have been able to finish the marathon without you.

Back on the course, I was alone, blistered, hot and dehydrated. I prayed for the last 4 miles of downhill along San Vicente Blvd. But, I was at mile 18 and had 4 plus miles to go before the cool breezes of Santa Monica. I plodded along. The Westwood part of the course was MISERABLE.

At the West Los Angeles VA, I decided to sit and rest for a few minutes, gather myself for the last leg of the marathon and rehydrate myself. I sat and rested on a VA bench for a timed five minutes. Back to the course.

I was still dizzy and knew if I started to wobble they would pull my ass off the course. I had to find more Powerade. I was out and no station in sight. However, there was a private African American support group with a tent up and they were pulling up stakes and leaving. I went over and asked them for some Powerade anyway. The nice lady could have blown me off. I mean after all I was a strange old white guy - who was I to her? She responded: would Gatorade be OK? She gave me a small bottle of Srawberry Gatorade. She saved my marathon and I thank you!

I made it to San Vicente and now they were re-opening the streets. I had to walk on the sidewalk but this was like so many training sessions before with the Roadrunners. I was gathering speed and increasing my pace. I began to pass racers left and right. I met a young mother named Karen (completing her first marathon) and we walked together for about two miles until her husband met her along the course to walk with her. I took off when I hit Ocean Blvd. with 1.2 miles to go.

I wanted to walk at pace the Raodrunners trained me and would leave whatever I had left on Ocean Blvd. I broke down a bit when I saw the finish line and the clock, like I had dreamed about over so many months of training. I was flying at sub 16:00 minute per mile pace at this time. I crossed the finish line, received my medal and was greeted by my wife, Alice who had finished the marathon more than an hour previously.

Here are my offical results:

And, the rewards:


The longer version:

Thanks to everyone and as my feet heal, I am ready to start training for next year's Los Angeles Marathon. Next year, I will finish with my Roadrunner group and my goal is 7:00 - 7:15.

I KNOW I can do it.


  1. Anonymous2:30 AM

    congratulations,because teeth health is just one blood and one love with the shin

  2. WOOHOO! Congratulations!

    And of course, you could ace the LA Marathon as well!

  3. Congratz! Yes you did it not because of your great stamina but because of you believe in yourself and that's the key. I envy you.

  4. Congratulations! Regardless of your body's dehydrated state, your strong will to finish the race proved fruitful.

    Next year will be a new challenge.

  5. What a way to have a great accomplishment. It really is a wonderful and uplifting feeling to hear this kind of unforgettable moment on wining a Marathon.