Los Angeles Marathon 2006 Los Angeles Marathon March 19, 2006 This was the view from my hotel room at about 7 am, looking up Figueroa at the starting line. Despite it being so close to the hotel, we had to walk one block over, down the street, and back to line up at the end of the starters. I actually ended up farther towards the head of the line than I meant to. At my pace, it’s better to start way at the back, so as not to block the way of faster runners in the early crush. Our official times are determined by computer chips that we wear on our shoes that record the exact time we cross the start and finish lines, so times are accurate even if we cross the starting line after the starting horn sounds. I ended up only about a minute and a half behind the official starting time. Even though you can’t really tell, there is a group of taiko drummers on the side of the street, pumping us up with their drumming. This was somewhere in the first or second mile. At about mile three, we passed this airplane at the side of the road. I’m not sure what it was doing there! A bit farther along, there was another group of taiko drummers. This time, I was on the right side of the road to photograph them. Not sure what I meant to take a picture of here, but all I got was my shadow. I suppose I could try to pretend I meant to make this arty shot, but no. Just hit the button at the wrong time. Much of the marathon looked a lot like this: palm trees lining wide roads, with lots of runners all around. Off on the left, a school band entertained us as we passed. There were also quite a few rock bands set up in various parking lots and gas stations along the route. I was impressed that they were out there all day, keeping us going. Oftentimes, the entertainment packs up and goes home before the slowpoke runners like me get there. If I remember correctly, this particular band was doing a cover of Devo’s “The Girl You Want” as I ran by. These kids were putting on quite a show, singing and dancing. A group of AIDS Marathon supporters cheered us on at the seven-mile mark. It was really nice having them shouting encouragement, especially at the 22-mile mark. The coaches also ran back after finishing their own marathons to check in with the AIDS Marathoners still on the route to make sure they were doing okay. I felt well-taken care of! Coming up on Mile 8, I was still feeling good and keeping up a good pace. Unfortunately, by Mile 9, my right leg was starting to hurt, and marathon became increasingly difficult all the rest of the way. Cheerleaders! This is one of several groups of cheerleaders along the route, cheering us on. In fact, there were lots of people lining the entire route, cheering, playing boomboxes, waving flags. It was the most community support of any marathon I’ve been in. It really helped keep us motivated! These two guys entertained us with some rousing rap/hiphop. Around Mile 10, we crossed the Santa Monica Freeway. Cars honked and people waved as we crossed the overpass. A metal band played from a gas station. Since the roads were closed, the gas stations were also closed, and became stages for bands and singers. Just before the halfway point, we ran through this arch in the road. Inside, speakers blasted us with music! Mile 18, and there were more walkers than runners in road around me. Yet another band. I can’t remember what kind of music they were playing, but I remember I liked them. Possibly some kind of classic rock/blues? The scenery changed a bit around Mile 19, as we ran into residential neighborhoods. About here, I switched from a 2:3 run/walk ratio to 1:2 because my leg was hurting too much to run for two minutes. I managed to keep that up until about Mile 22, when I couldn’t run any more at all. I walked the rest of the way. Even walking was hurting pretty bad by the time I was done, but I was determined to cross the finish line if I had to crawl across! My pace slowed from 15 – 16 minute miles early on to 20+ minute miles at the end, but I kept moving! Mile 26! Almost there! That last 0.2 mile is a killer!I was really pleased—and surprised—that the roads were kept closed to traffic for the entire time I was on the route. I was expecting to have to run on the sidewalks for at least the last few miles. It made it a lot easier not to have to deal with traffic. And, at this point, I was glad I’d got an early start—I was finished before 4 pm, which I wouldn’t have been if I’d started farther back in the pack. The finish line! Boy, was I glad to see that! I walked through, handed in my timing chip, got my finisher’s medal, and then realized I wasn’t quite done yet—I still had to walk back to my hotel. Four more blocks! Eeeeeeee! Why am I not done yet? Whew! The Wilshire Grand! Back to the room to soak my legs in a cold bath, then settle in to a room service dinner and quiet evening.My official time was 7:42:31. I finished 18,702 in a field of over 25,000. It wasn’t my best marathon, but it wasn’t my worst, either! And I wasn’t last!