Back to the race where I ran my first Full (in 2012), LA Marathon
I was hoping the experience would be the same. I was wrong.
It was better than 2012.
The night before I was to leave for LA, my dogs got under my feet and I slammed my head (and cell phone) on the garage floor. The major impact was on my cheek and the phone shattered.
I got very little sleep that night. I was suppose to get up at 4am to drive to the LAM Expo to help out at the San Francisco Marathon booth. I was unable to do that - I didn't arrive until 1pm.
I was exhausted and the head still hurt. While no major damage, I certainly didn't feel 100%. I only stayed at the expo until 4pm. However, it was a great time to speak with so many about the great San Francisco race. I am so proud to be one of their Ambassadors.
My friend, Jessica came by - we took multiple pictures together and she kept complaining she looked "fat" standing next to me. Our solution - I stood in front of her, so she didn't look so "fat". This is us, having a laughing moment!
Went back to my hotel and within a few hours, I was in bed. I needed to be back at the LAM Expo to help out at the KT Tape booth.
On my way to the KT Tape booth, I stopped by the SFM booth to have a picture with Ciara. She works in Business Development for SFM. What a creative and great person - so glad I finally had a chance to meet her!
As one of the KT Tape sponsored athletes, it was such a thrill for me to introduce others to KT Tape. Many friends came by to visit. Including my friend, George from Hallmark Movie Channel. We worked together on the Ricky Schroder, "Our Wild Hearts" movie project. George is also a runner and ran LAM last year.
Here we are with the course sign me made for me. It shows the Our Wild Hearts artwork.
|Michael Hanson - fellow Las Vega'n|
|George and Stephanie Bradsher|
|Westley Lashley - we FINALLY meet!|
I stayed at the expo until 1pm. Went back to the hotel - ate, relaxed and was in bed by 7pm. Got up at 2:30 to shower, eat, pack up and head to the shuttles in Santa Monica.
I was feeling good and relaxed. I had a slight headache (weird bed pillows), but wasn't overtly concerned.
Arrived at Dodger Stadium and ate a few more bananas. I stopped eating at 5:15am. More than 3 hrs until gun time. That is always my strategy. Stop all foods and fluids 3 hrs before gun time.
Made a few potty breaks and bumped into friends
|Dave Mari and Stephanie Bradsher|
Met up with some more runner friends in Corral C:
|Michael Hsu, Jill Bidwell and Emil Cheng|
We started the race and the same crowd energy as last year - came flooding back to me. LAM is truly a local event. People line up the streets, like I have never seen.
As we approached the first hill at Mile 4, we decided to keep our 3:1 interval. Shorter strides, taller body. We had a goal to get to Mile 20 and celebrate by walking for a few miles. We couldn't even think beyond Mile 20, yet.
We were doing amazingly well. We kept a solid pace - like two little robots. Chatting away, enjoy each other's company.
With each passing mile, I was enjoying the race more and more.
As we came onto Santa Monica Blvd and Mile 18 - we made the choice to make one pit stop and then run all the way to Mile 20. This was going to be tough. The fatigue was setting in and the brain was getting tired.
The temps were dropping and even chilly at times. So glad I wore my arm sleeves.
We started running and we both got into a zone. You know that zone - when all you see is what is 2inches in front of you. We saw the Mile 20 archway and we had the biggest smiles on our faces. We had reached Mile 20 feeling better than we thought. We walked for a bit and started to run again.
Oh dear. My hammies started to hurt. Confused. They were fine a mile before and now hurting? I applied some pressure and took some electrolyte capsules with my Island boost fueling. In my brain I was getting ticked. How could I run so strong and then this happen, AGAIN?
We started running and my brain wanted to quit - I was mad and frustrated. I couldn't let this happen. We made it past Mile 21-22, that was the toughest part for both of us. Then...all of a sudden, my legs didn't hurt anymore. I told Vera - let's keep running - let's not walk. I had decided that walking this late in the race was cramping me up. Best decision I made.
We started running - we were 7 minutes off our goal finish time and I was not going to let Vera fail at her attempt to get a PR. She deserved this chance.
Coming up on Mile 23, I heard Michael Jackson music BLARING and realized it was my friends, Ken and Sabrina from Hollywood Half Marathon. I ran up to them and started dancing (while running forward).
Vera and I kept running. I knew if we were holding on at Mile 25, we had it. Not a word was being uttered between me and Vera - we both were in a zone & had an unspoken understanding. My mind was in complete shock that I was RUNNING the last 5k of the race. All the while I was looking at Vera, waiting for cues that her calve was hurting. I was reading to hoist her on my shoulders if she cramped up. No joke.
There is was - the Mile 25 marker. As I turned the corner to go onto Ocean Avenue, my mind raced back to 2012. I remember walking, dragging and being in so much pain. One more corner and there it was...the Finish Line. We had it.
For the past 3 miles, Vera and I were weaving in and out of people - people were yelling our names along the course. We held it steady and kept going. Vera pulled in front of me and I told her "go...go...go!!!"
It provided me a sense of comfort to see her in front me, I could keep an eye on her. My garmin had died at Mile 23. I had no idea if we were even close to her PR, but she was bolting and I came in 20 seconds after her.
She did it. She crossed in 4:47 - She beat her PR by 3 minutes. I couldn't of been happier. We both looked at each other in complete disbelief. We just ran the last 5K of a Marathon!
It was such a surreal moment, one I thought I would never accomplish. Every full I had done in 2012, was such a struggle. I was practically crawling until the last .10 of the race.
I couldn't imagine a better race than 2013. To share it with Vera and to see her earn her well-deserved PR, was such an incredible moment.
|Vera and I|
|Mitch and I|
I am glad LAM is my only Full for 2013. I couldn't of wanted or planned any better. Medal was so-so, but the memory of the entire race, especially that last 5k was the best prize of them all.
Looking forward to focusing on my 5k's and Half's for 2013. Next up...Hollywood Half on 4/06.
(c) C. Ragsdale 2010-13
Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
*Sponsored by RobKellerMD.com and KT Tape
*San Francisco Marathon Ambassador 2012-13
RRCA Certified Running Coach, IFA Certified Sports Nutritionist & Public Speaker
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