RECAP: Los Angeles Marathon 2013
The night before the race I did my usual night-before-the-race ritual. I laid out my running clothes and gear in the order that I would put it on in the morning. I went to bed around 9:15pm, but did not sleep as well as I would have wanted and kept waking up every so often. My alarm was set for 4:00am, but I woke up about 15 minutes prior and just couldn’t go back to sleep. I was too excited.
My friend and I left his place around 4:30am. We arrived at Dodger Stadium just after 5am. It was colder than I expected. Luckily I brought a jacket to check into gear check. We walked around for a little bit, but ultimately found a place to sit near some of the barriers until 6am. Listed to the DJ play a lot of awesome songs. Was getting pumped! Checked my gear in around 6:10am and used the porta potty. Luckily there weren’t lines for either. Fast forward 45 minutes later. Time for another visit to the porta potty. This time there were lines everywhere! Didn’t take longer than 10 minutes though.
We then made our way over to the massive crowd near the open corral. While we waited to enter the corral I ate a few of the Cytomax chews I brought with me for a caffeine boost. We were finally allowed to enter the corral around 7:20-30am. This was a pretty emotional part for me. My eyes started to well up. I was finally here after months of training and a nagging injury. Once we started to move in the corral my friend told me “Good luck! See you at the finish!”. After that it was a few minutes until I crossed the start line and I was off. It was pretty surreal moment running out of Dodger Stadium parking lot. I ran a very slow pace. I didn’t want to put too much pressure on my IT band. I kept looking at my Garmin to make sure I wasn’t running too fast.
Mile 1.5, my IT band started to scream at me. I slowed down to a jog. But that didn’t help. I had to walk, there was no other option. Occasionally I would try to run or jog. The pain prevented me from doing that. I walked.
I knew that if I dropped out I couldn’t until mile 7. Since that is where the drop out points started. I had a long ways to go until mile 7. Heartbreaking to be walking 2 miles in. I walked and listened to my music. There wasn’t much more I could do. I couldn’t enjoy myself. When spectators read my name off my bib and yelled “Go Westley!” it was hard not to burst into tears. My pace was slow – 20 minutes per mile. The slowest pace I have ever ‘ran’ in a race before. Going downhill or uphill made my IT band worse. I had to slow down even more from my slow pace just to make it up or down the hills.
Fast forward to mile 8.5. I saw an aid station to my right. I thought maybe some Ibuprofen would dull the pain. Maybe it would help me run. I knew that there wouldn’t be an aid station for a few more miles. I stopped, grabbed two and chased it with some water. Off I went, slowly.
Mile 9.5 , he pain didn’t dull or going away. I had to drop out. There was no way I could keep this up for 16.7 more miles. I decided that the next aid station I see that I would drop out.
Mile 10.5, I stopped at the aid station and told the volunteers that I needed to drop out. They told me that the shuttle back to the start line would be there soon. At this point it was 10:30am. I only covered 10.5 miles in two hours and fifty minutes. Weeks ago I ran 18 miles in two hours and thirty four minutes. Super disappointed. But I had to drop out. This was my first DNF (Did Not Finish) ever.
The shuttle arrived at about 11:15am. Me and 6 other people boarded. I managed to get a half hour nap on the shuttle. We arrived in Santa Monica about 12:15pm and a ways from the finish line. I followed the stream of people to the start line since I had no idea where I was in Santa Monica. I had to find my gear. I asked a volunteer and they told me I had to go into the finisher area to retrieve it. This was absolutely the last place I wanted to be. I entered the finishers area. Saw all the happy (and hurt) finishers displaying their medals proudly. I heard the clank of the two medals – the LA Marathon 2013 medal and the LA/SF Challenge medal. Both of which I hoped to earn that day. But I didn’t. I couldn’t stand to look at the medals. I got my gear and got out of that area as fast as I could.
After some texts and phone calls, I finally found my friend. He was happy about finishing and displayed his medal proudly. Honestly it was hard to be happy for him. I was too down on myself to get past that. I really wanted to get out of Santa Monica. I couldn’t stand to be there.
Later that evening I finally had a beer, which was the first one I had in 42 days. It didn’t taste as good as I expected.
Prior to the race I had ideas of what it would be like to finally cross the finish line. Getting my medals and buying a finisher hoody to display how proud I was of myself. It just wasn’t in the cards this time. I always say that everything happens for a reason.
I will get my revenge. Definitely running LA Marathon in 2014. And maybe the Long Beach marathon or Seattle marathon this year? We’ll see. I’m not giving up!
I want to thank everyone for their support before, during and after the marathon. I can’t thank everyone enough!