|The K-Swiss Mural at the Expo|
I arrived in LA Thursday morning from the Bay Area to hang out with friends, then headed to the Expo at the Dodger Stadium the following day. It was my first huge event, so I was really overwhelmed by such an expansive expo held outdoors with numerous sponsors showcasing their respective products, as well as the charities benefiting from the race.
|My name located at the third row of second column|
|The "jazzed up" Odyssey minivan|
Aside from the festive mood and great weather at the expo, there were lots of other great stuff and free samples so my sling bag got really heavy by the time I decided to leave the premises.
|Only in LA!|
Later that afternoon, I proceeded to a get-together with my grade school classmates. We had a lot of fun catching up with each other, so we ended up parting ways shortly after 10:00 PM. I almost forgot I had to wake up early for my marathon, but I was really stuffed with all the carb-rich feast we had for late lunch and dinner.
|All set to make history!|
With only 2 hours of sleep, I woke up at 3:30 AM to catch the early shuttle to the Dodger Stadium. It was an ordeal walking about two blocks in freezing cold, wearing only my Team World Vision tech tee over a long-sleeved base layer shirt, but there was no turning back. "This is it!" were the words that reverberated in my mind the whole time.When we reached the stadium, it was still dark, cold and getting really windy, so I decided to wear my trash bag poncho which turned out to be a fashion statement that day. After grabbing a couple of bananas, I went inside the stadium, where a lot of runners were holed up to keep themselves warm, do some stretching and take potty breaks.
|Calm before the storm (photo credit here)|
The stadium crowd had swelled as I inched my way out to the general starting corrals. The overall feeling was euphoric and it was really nice seeing and being alongside the Students Run LA runners in neon yellow shirts & matching Nike shoes. As soon as the gun went off, it started to drizzle then poured non-stop after Mile 1. Felt a little uncomfortable running with the poncho and when I decided to lose it before mile 2, the rain became intermittently torrential and worsened by occasional strong winds.
|Chinatown Dragon Gate (photo credit here)|
Mile 3 past Chinatown was the first hill and it wasn't that bad. "This is it" turned into "I can do this" in my mind so I kept on pushing, keeping my pace between 9-10 min miles. Mile 4 was unforgettable because the rain turned torrential and directed toward us, making it a struggle to see where we're going, except probably those with visors or hats. The thermal beanie I was wearing was rendered useless but I kept it on to keep my ears snug.
|Our HEROES! (photo credit here)|
|"Puddles" (photo credit here)|
|Cruising down Rodeo @Mile 17|
I remember one elderly spectator at around Mile 9 yelling: "Hey you're in Hollywood, you should step it up!" It made me push harder for a while but I decided to keep running smart if I wanted to finish the marathon, so I kept my strides short and took walk breaks as needed. The rains didn't matter for a while because I was focused on managing the cramps, as my legs got really stiff and walk breaks became frequent.
|Sta. Monica Blvd @Mile 18|
Mile 20 marked the longest distance I've ever ran during my training. What I was psyching myself up at that point was to do just 6 more miles to finally belong to the elite club of marathoners. I also decided to stay close to the sidelines where the awesome spectators and volunteers alike, who braved the rains mile after mile, could call out my name & cheer me on to the last 10K. True enough, they boosted my morale and while I was still doing short strides, I was taking lesser walk breaks and having a clearer picture of the finish line.
|The Runner's High|
Though a bit late, I got my second wind at the last 3 miles and the "Prayer of Hope" turned into a "Prayer of Thanksgiving." I kept on running and while I slowed down a few times, I neither walked nor stopped for another potty break. The cheers were getting louder, as kilometers turned to a few meters, miles into a few feet away. I went faster as I ignored the pain and got a clear view of the finish chute and even passed runners in the process. Somehow, the time didn't matter to me when I crossed the finish line. It just felt good that I completed it and gained the title "Marathoner" that eventful day.
|I'm a Marathoner!|
"I grew up believing that once you completed a marathon it was as if you had been sworn into a secret society. A society of runners who become sisters and brothers, bonded by blisters, chaffing, dehydration, cramping and intense pain! We will have endured the same rigorous path together."
"Every endeavor I have made ever,
Is coming into play, is here and now today!"
"This is the moment when all I've done,
All the dreaming, scheming and screaming, become one!"
~excerpt from the song: This is The Moment, from Jeckyll and Hyde: The Musical