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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

25th Annual L.A. Marathon Recap

This is my 6th marathon this year and 62nd marathon overall

This is also my 10th consecutive L.A. Marathon, after my very first marathon back in 2001 with no training and didnt know I was getting myself into, I found myself walking the entire marathon and finished in 7:39, but after that one I was hooked and I have decided to run the L.A. Marathon every year, below are my results from the past 9 years that I ran the L.A. Marathon.
  • 2001 - 7:39 (My very first marathon ever!!)
  • 2002 - 6:58.55
  • 2003 - 5:18.43
  • 2004 - 5:25.34
  • 2005 - 5:05.08
  • 2006 - 4:16.40
  • 2007 - 5:08.42 (a new point to point course for 2 years)
  • 2008 - 4:28.45
  • 2009 - 4:19.35 (back to out and back course in downtown LA)

This year they have a whole new course which starts at the Dodger Stadium and ends in Santa Monica while running through many landmarks of LA. I really loved the new course, it took me to many area I never been to, although I have been living here for more than half of my life. So it's interesting to see a whole new course this year.

The Expo

I went to the expo at the Dodger Stadium on Friday cuz I know it's gonna be a crowded on Sat. The expo was REALLY small compare to the usual LA Marathon expo, I was done in half an hour, but I went back a few time just to kill some time. I bumped into my Maniac friend Emil, we seem to bump into each other every race. Here are the things I did at the expo

  • tested ride the EliptiGo bike, it was really a fun bike to take it to the beach
  • met Bart Yasso and have him signed my bib
  • met Sarah Reinertsen and have her signed my bib
  • threw some baseball and tried to hit the target, but missed.
Bart Yasso and me

Sarah Reinertsen and me

Race Day

2am - left my parent's house and drove to Santa Monica to park my truck
2:45am - arrived in Santa Monica's parking Lot Zone C where I have purchased my parking pass
4am - took the shuttle and headed to Dodger Stadium
4:40am - 7am - hanging out on the Dodger field for the first time, something I will always look forward to, what a cool experience!! didnt know there were over thousands kids of Student Run LA running the race.

7:45am - race started, after a few mins, I was able to catch up with Dean Karnazes and ran with him until Mile 1!!! He was just finished biking from San Fransico to LA on th ElipitiGo bike so he was just taking it slow early on.

got to ran with Dean was a thrill

After the Mile 1, we exited Dodger Stadium and make our way down to Sunset blvd, it's nice to have a downhill early during the race, but it's kinda suck to have a big hill coming up on Mile 3, but thanks for those volunteer who were on the Taiko drums on the sidewalk to keep us moving.

At Mile 6, I passed by the Burrito King, the place where Jimmy Dean Freeman stopped by while he was test running the course and ordered himself some tacos, too bad it was closed or I would have ordered myself a few.

At Mile 13, I passed by another famous fast food joint on Sunset blvd, The Carney Express, again that place was closed, or else I would have ordered myself a hot dog.

At Mile 16 just before the mile marker, I saw the Don Franscisco table on the right, so I ran over there and check out what they had, I didnt want a coffee but I did grab one of their tote bag, I ran with that bag for the entire race with all my goodies in it. Then we made our way down to Rodeo Dr.

Just right when I made a right turn on Wilshire Blvd at the end of Rodeo Dr, I noticed some people were dressed in green infront of the NikeTown passing out JellyRanchers, so I ran over there and grab some, and they also gave me a wristband. =-)

Then around Mile 19 when I ran in the Westwood area, I noticed some male strippers were dancing on the table, all they were wearing was their boxer briefs, I guess thats the way to attract more female runners to run this race every year.

From Mile 21 to Mile 25 I was carrying my bag while I was running and just trying to enjoy as much as I could, although I was really struggling with the humid weather, I drank a lot of water, and at one point, the volunteers were handing out bottles of Sunny D, so I grabbed one and took my time and finish it before I started to run again.

After I passed Mile 26, I pushed myself to run the last .2 mile without stopping, and just before I crossed the finish line, I noticed Bary Yasso was standing on the right side greeting the runners, we exchanged high five and I crossed the finish line at 4:44.54

The good things that I grab a free bag at Mile 16 was that I could put all the food at the finish line inside my bag, although all they had was bagels, fruit cups, some crackers, and powerade, but that's better than nothing.

After I met up with some Maniacs and have some group pics, I headed down to the pier to get my checked bag, it was a long walk, I wish they could have moved the trucks closer. But I saw there were a lot of food vendors there, like Rubios, California Kitchen Pizza, Don Francisco's coffee, etc, I was glad that I had $20 with me so I was able to buy a hot dog and a slice of pizza. After hanginout for an hour or so, I walked to the Hot Dog on a Stick vendor and I got a Hot Dog, it was VERY good, then after awhile I walked back up to the finish line and stopped by McDonald's and bought another burger before I headed to my truck and drove home.

Overall I really enjoyed the new course, although it was a bit challenging, but I love to see all the landmarks of LA that I never seen before, I am very looking forward to run this race again next year for my 11th straight year.

Next Race............................The Great Race of Aguroa Hill,(Chesebro Half Marathon), 3-27-2010

Monday, March 8, 2010

Red Rock Canyon Marathon Recap

This is my 5th marathon this year and 61th marathon overall

It has been proven that it's possible to run a marathon after driven all night and had little to no sleep.

The Red Rock Canyon Marathon happened on Saturday, March 6th, 2010.

Friday night, March 5th, 2010 I got off work at 10pm, headed home, did my last minute packing and left my house by midnight. Then I stopped by the ARCO gas station to fill up my rental Mazda 5 and bought a 24oz coffee and on my way to Red Rock Casino, NV, where I will park my car and take the shuttle to Red Rock Canyon.

After 4 hours of driving I finally arrived at the Red Rock Casino at around 4:30am, the first bus that leave for the Red Rock Canyon was at 4:45am, so I got a little time to change and gather all the stuff that I needed to put in my drop bag. I finally got on the bus and we took off a few mins after I got on. The moment I got on the bus I saw Yolanda "Walkin Diva" was sitting by herself, so I decided to sit next to her and we chatted and shared our stories about our RNR New Orleans the weekend before.

We arrived at the Red Rock Canyon around 5:10am or so, it was still pretty dark, our bus driver was a little lost since there weren't much signs to lead him to where he should park. Finally one of the runner on the bus saw a waving sign in the distance and suggested him that he should just stop and let us just walk toward the signal which was held by the race director Joyce. I picked up my bib and shirt at the table and headed to the restroom area to get ready, it was really cold like around between 40's and 50's, kind of reminds me of the morning of the Chicago Marathon.
About 10mins before the race start, race director Joyce gathered us together and walked us to the starting line, which was only a few mins walk, she congrated a few runners who were celebrating their birthday that day, they were each wearing their birthday cone on their head so they were easy to spot.

Me, Brook, Al and Steve gathered for a group pic before the race start.

After the race started, we had to do a little loop back up to the staging area and come back to the starting area for the first mile or so, then we will run straight on one of the most scenic course in NV for about 14 miles before the turnaround.

I got the following descriptions of the course from their website:

The Marathon course starts at the Red Rock Canyon Visitors' Center, at roughly 3740 feet elevation. After making one loop around the Visitors' Center runners then follow the paved scenic drive with traffic climbing to the summit overlook area at 4771 feet in the first 6 miles. The course continues over downhill, flat and rolling terrain. Marathoners will turn onto Oak Creek dirt road for a 0.35 mile out and back section (total 0.7) after which they will rejoin up again with the scenic drive continuing toward their turn around point; elevation approx 3800 feet. Runners will then return along the scenic drive against traffic, climbing back up to the summit overlook at 4771 feet elevation. The last 5 miles is a screaming downhill with a short climb back up to the Visitors' Center for the finish line. Preliminary measure: Total ascent= 1820'; total descent= 1791'; Net= +29'

I forgot to bring my Garmin and my bottle with me so I was carrying a 32oz of Gatorade with me the whole time, I didnt know what I was thinking. But I was just out there enjoying the course and not worry about my time.

The first half of the course seem to go by fast, probably because of the beautiful scenic view that made you forgot that you are actually running. By mile 13, we had to run on this short dirt road for our first turnaround, then we had to run for another mile for our second turnaround point at Mile 14 before we head back to where we started.

Heading for our first turnaround at Mile 13.1

The second half of the course was more challenging than the first half since we had to go back up and face some uphills that used to be downhill before. The weather was still overcasted with a little headwind around Mile 21. Then 4 miles left to go, I felt like I was on a cruise control by following these brother-sister runner from VA, I think. I hung with them and used them as my pacer, then with 1 mile to go, the brother needed to slow down, so I took off and just followed the sister, then after we passed the Mile 26 marker, I told her that we are almost there and tried to help her to keep going since she helped me getting through the past few miles. I could have just sprinted to the finish line but I rather wanted to finish with her. We both crossed the finish line around 4:40.26. Afterward, I thanked her for being my unofficial pacer.

After I waited for Yolanda, Jessica and Steve finished, we all headed back on the bus and back to Red Rock Casino to go our separate way, they all headed back to Cali while I stayed a night(more like a few hours) at Motel 6 by the Strip. I got my rest and left Vegas at 1am early Sunday morning and headed back to CA.

Next Race..................... L.A. Marathon 3-21-2010 (My 10th Straight L.A. Marathon!!!)