[BEGIN BACKDATED RACE REPORT:
Marathon #7 / Overall #8 / State #2 (California)
Asics LA Marathon
Los Angeles -> Santa Monica, CA
The Asics LA Marathon is probably one of the most iconic marathons I’ve ever completed to date. It offers a point to point course from downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica Pier and had the catchy phrase “Stadium to sea”.
It was a pretty big event, and parking (surprisingly) was not too difficult. I had been at the USCAP conference the past two days before, and drove up to San Diego on that Friday afternoon. I headed straight to packet pickup, and then headed straight to Elbert’s place in Burbank.
On Saturday, I ended up getting a hotel at downtown LA, which was right next to the shuttle stop that would take us to the start line at Dodger Stadium.
Of note, everyone lost an hour of sleep, for on Sunday was the first day of daylight savings time.
Race morning – at the Dodger Stadium
It was a quick shuttle ride from my hotel to the start line within Dodger Stadium. The baseball stadium is pretty huge, and it was a little chilly at the start as well as people were sitting down within the bleachers while waiting for the start. There are a total of 6 seeded corrals, from A to E and then general. To be placed in one of the A through E corrals, you must have completed a marathon within a certain finish time range, which the fastest in A and slowest in E.
The Start Line
It was packed with close to 30,000 runners altogether. Everyone is doing the marathon (there are no half options).
Leaving Dodger Stadium (mile 1)
We got a view of the downtown Los Angeles skyline at sunrise when we took off.
Chinatown, Japanese district (mile 2-3)
Of course there’d be that stereotypical dragon ceremony out on the streets of Chinatown. The Japanese district had some interesting murals on some of the building walls…
Downtown LA through the 101 (mile 4-5)
Downtown LA had a few hills, but they were all manageable. At around mile 5 they had a hot dog station… time for a pit stop ha
Sunset Blvd (mile 6-8)
This stretch of the marathon course went by Echo Lake (a tiny lake in the city), and traversed through the neighborhoods northwest of downtown. There is a consistent line-up of spectators and random signs and parades. The Hollywood sign can be seen from a distance.
Portions of Thai Town (mile 9-11)
This is a continuation of Sunset Blvd, making its way westbound onto Hollywood Blvd.
Entering Hollywood (mile 11-12)
This is probably one of the best parts of the LA Marathon course, as it traversed straight through Hollywood, allowing you to see some of the iconic landmarks (such as Capitol Records, the Dolby Theatre, etc). The spectators here were pretty densely packed.
More of Hollywood (mile 12)
West Hollywood (mile 13-14)
Throughout West Hollywood, the roads actually became cambered throughout the entire width and it was uncomfortable… passing through Rodeo St and crossing San Vicente Blvd.
Beverly Hills (mile 15-17)
Then the course entered through the center of Beverly Hills. Spectators and various parades were definitely present… lol
Sunset Blvd to the 405 (mile 18-20)
After Beverly Hills, the course traveled back onto Sunset Blvd, and some of the spectators were already making fun of the 405 freeway (including exit to 405 in 1.5 miles… lol).
The VA of West LA (mile 20-21)
This part of the LA Marathon course had relatively less spectators compared to everywhere else. The VA is a relatively quiet place I guess… Somewhere around mile 20-21 there was a beer station – hydration and carbs lol
San Vicente Blvd (mile 22-25)
This is the last stretch of the marathon course before hitting Santa Monica beach. San Vicente Blvd was loosely packed with spectators, including people complaining about the time zone change (the person who used the F word might be from New York… lol), and “You’re faster than the 405”. LOL
The 405 (I-405) is one of the worst freeways to be at 90% of any given time in LA. The 405 bypasses downtown Los Angeles but passes through the already packed west side into Orange County. And they’re doing construction on the 405, which is taking FOREVER lol. So it might be true that we’re faster than the 405 during true rush hour traffic… ha
San Vicente Blvd to the finish line at Santa Monica Pier
After mile 25, San Vicente Blvd ends at Santa Monica Blvd, and you can see the beach and beyond into the Pacific Ocean. It was beautiful and refreshing to see the finish line area overlooking Santa Monica Pier…
Bandit = someone who is not officially registered to run the race but does so anyways…
Obviously I didn’t care about my finish time on this race, and it was purely a “fun run”. It was indeed one of the best large city races I’ve ever done. In the previous year, I had come to Orange County only to DNF on the 2013 OC Marathon. Part of that was my fault during training and recovery (I had ran Hell’s Hills 50k the month before that and had bad foot pain the following week). But the other part was over a girl whom I dated for a brief period long distance. And things went downhill between me and her when I came to visit. So I couldn’t exclude the fact that the relationship with her didn’t affect my marathon performance.
The panoramic above was actually the last place me and her had visited in 2013 before we stopped talking. So in a way, it kinda hurted and brought back some painful memories. I remembered this place clearly. But things aren’t the same this year. Last year, this place was a place of heartbreak and the emotions of a failed marathon. But this year, this place represents the finish line of the long anticipated LA marathon (planned since August of 2013), a place of victory and successful completion, now, a memory to remember, replacing the old and painful one from a year ago.
So, at mile 25 1/4, at this very site, I deleted that girl off my Facebook, for good, before I crossed the finish line of the 2014 Asics LA Marathon, which was less than a mile away 😀
END OF BACKDATED RACE REPORT 6/26/17]