Milestone Los Angeles Marathon

By Colleen Yorke
Navigational Art By Colleen Yorke, © 2015.
Two days have passed since we finished our 26.2 miles' run through Los Angeles' cities, and while we are returning to the routine of our lives, our legs are still reliving the journey from 48 hours ago. We limp to class or work, we walk stairs going sideways, and we take ramps and elevators whenever we can. And yet, most of us will run again. "You are mad," my friend Anna protested. "Surely once is enough!" But once a runner, always a runner... We continue to discover, we continue to learn more about ourselves, and running a marathon takes us to places some of us would have never dreamed of seeing. What did we learn, what would we do differently?

I would, for one, strongly advise first-timers to not try to beat five runners' corrals to meet up with their pace setter one mile down the race. Of course it can be frustrating to have to wait in the back of a line, instead of belonging to a cool corral club. Still, trust me on this one. A start sprint is just stupid, and I paid for it dearly around the half mark. The clock starts when we cross the start line, not before. We have the road ahead of us and many mile markers to work ourselves up to the desired pace. As we progress further down the road, the course thins out: Slower runners and short-fused lighting rods are dropping back. When it gets tough, we trust our training. With a little bit of luck, we might even have an ounce of energy left to give it all up the last 375 yards. It would certainly startle those photographers sitting atop the 26.2 mile sign, now scrambling to capture a frame of us.
Finish Line 2014 Los Angeles Marathon.

I will carry my own water bottle. I do not want to have to think about the next water station. I will steer clear from "over-geling", and I will carry more jelly beans. They are small, easy to carry, and easy to digest. Some people develop heartburn or an upset stomach after eating or drinking acidic foods, such as orange juice, lemonade, lime juice. If this is us, we will keep our hands off those orange slices.

Most of us had the distance down, but we underestimated the steady climbs throughout the course, frequently requiring our feet to push against concrete. While my Sketchers did carry me to finish with no blisters, cuts, burns or lost toe nails, my thigh muscles took quite the beating. Even though going the distance is the larger portion of the marathon training, focusing on building up and cross-training is important. I will adjust my rolling practice runs on the treadmill to a 1% or 2% incline. 

We surely will be sore after a marathon, but we do not need to leave the finish line in a blaring ambulance. 15 runners did. Why? Mostly because they did not recognize or listen to their body alarm signals. Knowing our body and paying attention, when it turns on its warn lights is crucial. Maybe we did not get the time we hoped for, but we did enjoy the experience. And we will come back even stronger next year. 

I also realized that I run for views, for friends and for memories. I do not want to do the journey of 26.2 miles alone, I want to share it with someone. What are your take-aways? What would you do differently?