Running the Los Angeles Marathon

Words can not possibly describe how I feel right now. After months of training and practice runs, I am a proud finisher of the 2014 Los Angeles Marathon. Together with about 25,000 other runners, I ran 26.2 miles from the Dodger Stadium all the way to Santa Monica. 
6 corrals down from the start line. 2014 LA Marathon
Many of us, including me, faced obstacles and even more mile markers than we ever crossed in our whole life. It all began at 7:20 am, when I - a first timer - decided to beat five corrals to meet up and stick with a pace setter. At the end of Mile 1, I finally spotted Scott's bouncing balloons and 3:35 sign. Like little ducks, Scott took us 3:35 hours' pacers under his wing. "Try to run in the middle of the road and in a straight line as much as possible to maintain and save energy", we were told. Up the hill, he called out to us: "40 seconds of hill, remember, little steps, little steps, folks." 

And then something interesting happened: I saw the 13 miles' marker ahead of me. And I was crashing. Realizing that I was "only" at the half-way mark, my body started racing towards that dreaded "wall". Suddenly out of nowhere, Dustin, a runner from the DTLA Running Group, was running by my side. He grabbed my hand, and he put me back together again with gels, orange slices and a lot of electrolyte water. It took him two miles down the road to "talk" me out of my low spirits. I continued running, vividly feeling every mile on my thighs, but I was okay. I re-focused and took in the scenery. Los Angeles is quite the city. From sports to stars to luxury cars to the ocean, she has it all on display.

 Several friends helped me finish.
Hundreds of people watched from the sidelines along the course to watch and cheer us on. Volunteers saved us more than once by holding out water cups, bananas, bagels, gels, and salt sticks, while the Californian sun sizzled on all of us in full force. Held up signs made us chuckle quite often, even a homeless man had one: "May the course be with you", while live bands provided the soundtrack. Personal messages, pictures, even small videos texted in live from loved ones were shown along the course. Sometimes the timing was perfect, and the designated runner spotted it. Many have sent me messages, and I was lucky enough to see some of them live, including this one. Dr. Lynn is a cancer survivor, and her road certainly was far more arduous than mine today.

Footsteps away from the 26.2 mile marker
Today some of us also got to witness the tremendous support runners showed fellow runners. When one tall lad, his face white as a sheet, was unable to get to the side of the road to pick up something, another runner ran up to him, patted him on the back and handed over his water and a Razzle. Wheelchair racers received loud cheers from runners, who passed them, while others paced along side them for a brief while. 

Finisher Medal, 2014.
A mile before the finish line, Dustin congratulated me on finishing the longest run of my life. The orange 26.2 mile marker appeared, the portal to the finish line. And my feet took me there...words can not possibly describe how I felt, when a small volunteer offered me the Finisher Medal. I went down on my knees, so she could put it over my head. A minute later, my father, currently recovering from his own marathon, a heart surgery, came running up to me with a wide smile. Yes, it was a challenge. Yes, there were low points. And folks... we did it! We are Marathoners.