Saturday, March 17, 2007

Walking in L.A.

I got my pictures from MarathonFoto, the official photographers of the L.A. Marathon, and Rosie took some good pictures too. Since I was asked to write an wrap up of the L.A. Marathon for the Southern Cal Walkers newsletter, I thought I'd illustrate it and post it on my blog. Click on the photos to get and even closer up marathon experience.

Who says nobody walks in L.A.? On Sunday March 4th there were thousands of walkers in downtown L.A. though most of them called themselves runners when they started the L.A. Marathon across town at Universal Studios. Out of a field of 26,000 there were just over 50 of us die hard walkers who agreed to walk the whole way and be judged over the new 26.2 mile point-to-point course.

What was advertised as a faster course turned out to be slower--much slower. In fact the overall winner, Fred Mogaka with a 2:17:14, was the slowest winning time in L.A. Marathon history. The walkers I heard from were also off of their anticipated times. The top male was once again Eric Fischer with a time of 4:43:30, though he was aiming for a 4:30 time. Lindsey Goldbloom was the first female walker at 5:30:27. Afterwards she told me, "That was the worst of my 13 marathons. Just be glad you finished that was all I wanted to do."

I had my tactics all planned out but right from the start there was trouble--trying to make it through a port-a-potty line before the starting gun! Once I did get to the starting corrals it was pretty much packed with little room to manuver. The start was a gentle, no make that a rather severe climb for 1.5 miles before a long, knee pounding downhill to Hollywood. The drop leveled out somewhat but the gentle downhill continued through most of the first half of the course. For the first few hours it was a nice and sunny, then it started heating up, and kept getting hotter. Before I reached the half-marathon mark I was slowing way down.

So much for getting a decent time, all I wanted to do was to survive the second half. Then I got a call on the cell phone from my wife, our 15 year old nephew who was running his first marathon was having even more trouble. I caught up with him at mile 18 and encouraged him not to give up and to walk with me. Those last few miles were very slow but we had company, there were plenty of runners all around us, though everyone was walking at that point.

Yeah, I could have finished faster, my nephew could have quit, but we crossed the finish line together, 6 hours 18 minutes (chip time) after that exhilarating, "Whoo hoo! Here we go!" 26.2 miles ago.