Last Sunday I ran the Los Angeles Marathon – my first marathon ever. It was a magical experience, however the magic wasn’t in running 26.2 miles. It was in all the little moments along the way.
Waking up at 3 AM to walk to the shuttle and knowing the only other people you see are the crazy ones about to run a marathon.
Exploring an empty Dodger Stadium for the first time, waiting for the race to start.
Running through the streets of a new city surrounded by thousands of people.
Everyone lined up along the route, cheering and showing their support. Local shop owners passing out sliced oranges and pretzels. The little girl handing out free Girl Scout cookies. HERO.
My plan was to walk / run the route in a strategic way, either taking a break every 3 miles or every mile later on. I discovered this method worked better for me when I did my last half-marathon. I outlined it in this video.
This somewhat worked out in the beginning. But about halfway through it just turned into “move as fast as possible, preferably by jogging and not walking.” And take advantage of the free snacks. Free Girl Scout cookies. HERO.
I made it just under my backup goal of 4:30 (4:29). As soon as I finished the race and stopped running my legs cramped up and felt like they were about to snap off. Crazy how the brain works, because I had been walking off and on the entire time and felt pretty pain free. My body knew there was more work to do and kept the cramping at bay.
While I’ve been sore for days after I surprisingly had the least amount of blisters or toe bang-up from any other race I’ve done. It definitely wasn’t the shoes, because I used the same torn up Nike sneakers I’ve been running in for a few years. I wore some nice, thick Smartwool socks which provided padding and kept my feet dry. Getting this pairing down has taken some experimenting but it’s been the best blister-free experience yet.
So what’s next? People have been asking me if I’ll do another one. Running another marathon feels like the same mindset as mountaineering – you need to have a very short term memory to want to do it again.
Once my last bit of soreness goes away I’ll probably set my sights on something else (Disney? Chicago?). But I want to find a way to train that incorporates CrossFit with only 1 to 2 long runs during the week. I do not want to do a dedicated run only training program at the expense of other areas of fitness.