March 4, 2001
Laura, Lance, Todd Byers and I carpooled out to do the Los Angeles Marathon, which is probably the largest marathon I have done to date (most have been 3000 people or less) – with around 40,000 runners. The start line is a total zoo and somehow we mostly are able to stick together.
The marathon begins near downtown Los Angeles (near the 110 freeway and 7th Street) and then continues by USC, and winds around a bunch of neighborhoods (to me, pretty nondescript), runs a bit through Hollywood, by MacArthur Park and then finishes a block away from the start.
In 2000, I had run part of the course with Laura, in her Boston Marathon qualifying performance. For the most part, I don’t remember that much about it because there were dark clouds overhead, it was pouring rain, and most of the time was spent looking down trying to avoid puddles on the course.
Today, however, it is clear, blue, sunny skies. After the Star-Spangled Banner is sung, and Randy Newman’s “I Love L.A.” is begun, the race is off. None of us can really stay together; we are trying to separate out from the mass of runners, some walking and blocking the street.
Through 13 miles, I feel pretty good, on pace for a 4th consecutive sub-4:00 marathon, but by Mile 18, I have to stop and walk, being short of breath. I think I don’t do that well when the weather warms up a bit. At Mile 22, I am walking and running some, but I get a full right side cramp and have to walk the rest of the way in.
At Mile 24, I pass Leo, a Runners High guy (who is really fast) trying to stretch out in the middle of the road. It makes me feel better that I am not having such a great day, if I am “passing” him at this late stage of the race. Because of the cramps, I have to walk in to the finish, but come in at a respectable 4:15:06. Lance is 10 minutes ahead of me and Laura is just 45 seconds behind me, so we all ran about the same pace.
I wouldn’t do this race again, unless I won a free entry. There are simply too many people and the course is boring.