A wet day in LA

I knew as soon as the 10 day forecast for Los Angeles was posted that rain was imminent on marathon Sunday. I stalked weather.com all week desperately hoping to see a smiling sun in place of the cloud with raindrops. It never happened. It was no surprise, then, that race day dawned cloudy and cold and shortly after the gun fired the rain started.

California rain is unique, more like a deluge than a drizzle. The roads have no capacity for shedding the teeming water, thus, flooding occurs quickly. Some people are impervious to such miserable conditions; the men’s winner broke the course record by 2 minutes in his marathon debut. Others are not so hearty; 2000 people, including myself, were treated for hypothermia at the finish and 30% of the field did not finish.

Despite the misery of the weather, there was plenty about the day that was agreeable.

This photo of the start is from the Huffington post. I circled myself in yellow.

Positive: In 2000 at the age of 29 in the marathon Olympic Trials, I set my PR. In 2011, at the age 40 I came within 60 seconds of that time.

Negative: A guy running barefoot kicked my butt (every time I stepped in yet another puddle, I kept thinking that he didn’t have to worry about his shoes getting wet and heavy).

Positive: I only missed the Olympic trials time standard by two minutes. I am feeling a lot more confident about my ability to run that fast.

Negative: I have to run another marathon this year.

Positive: I got the VIP treatment from race director Peter Abraham race day. I was allowed into the suite at Dodger Stadium race morning. There was food, plenty of comfortable seating and lots of bathrooms. My sister graciously dropped me off at 4:40am and I spent the next 2 hours keeping warm inside rather than having to mill about in the cold. I even did my pre-race warm up along the hallways of the stadium.

Negative: I still had to stand around in the cold for almost an hour. We went to the start line early to secure good positions, and the race was delayed by 30 minutes.

Positive: Race morning, I had nothing with me but some extra clothes, my phone and Ipod.

Negative: Triathlon requires so much time in the morning – setting up transition, warming up three sports, standing in line at the porta-potty – that time flies. Sunday morning, I had nothing to do. Time stood still as I waited for the race to start.

Positive: I ran well. I ran hard. I never gave up even when I felt like I might fall down.

Negative: I am so sore I am hobbled. Last night, at the airport, I tried to run to catch the parking shuttle. I ended up doing a weird, Frankenstein type shuffle instead that actually made people stop and stare.

Positive: I raced for the first time with my Garmin. Instead of focusing on mile splits, I broke the race up into 8x5k. I glanced at my pace periodically, but was most concerned with my 5k times. It made the race go by so much faster.

Negative: I was on pace for the Olympic trials standard until 35k when my race unraveled quickly and dramatically. The last 7k was ugly. The 6:15-6:18 pace jumped to 6:45 and then I just stopped looking. My legs were seizing, I started to become disoriented, and my hands were so red they bordered on purple. The finish line never looked so good.

Positive: I stayed in a very nice hotel near my sister’s house.

Negative: My room seemed to have some kind of auditory anomaly that made every sound from the room next to me VERY LOUD. I was privy to the couple’s evening activities in explicit detail. I acknowledged their exploits by slipping this note under their door:

“Bravo on your performance last night. The entire hotel needed a cigarette afterwards.”

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15 Responses

  1. Jennifer says:

    This is cool, Joanna … can we cross post on LAVA?

  2. Jennifer-

    Of course! Thanks.

  3. Terzah says:

    I’m a lurker on your blog, but had to comment on that note you put under the couple’s door….I almost spit my tea all over the public desk computer. Congrats on running a good race on a bad day!

  4. Phil Kazmier says:

    Congratulations! Thanks for the post and the tweets

  5. Susan says:

    Your note…brilliant! :~)) Congrats again on your excellent performance and perserverence!

  6. Christi says:

    I love the note. Congratulations on a great performance in less than stellar conditions!

  7. Nan says:

    Hahaha….nice! You are so kind to give congratulations when it is warranted.
    And congrats to you on a gutsy finish in the cold rain. Happy Frankenstein leg healing. See you soon.

  8. Runningman says:

    Great recap Joanna. I think you should send a copy of your note to the hotel manager and owners.

  9. Lara says:

    Very proud of you to suck it up and do so well on a yucky day! Keep it up and we may just stop calling you “Princess”…

  10. Devon says:

    Joanna, It was awesome to run with you for the first 16 miles. Sorry things didn’t work out in the last 10 but you will definitely be there in Houston next January! Thanks for being my running buddy yesterday!

  11. Brandon says:

    Lara! Bite your tongue!

  12. Thanks for leaving the note, JZ. It was a joy to read. I consider my mad skillz a gift to be shared. 😉

  13. Baaaaaaaahaaaaaaaaaahahaaa!!!
    This made me laugh out loud.

    Including the note = classic.

  14. mfranks says:

    Love your blog. Very inspiring.

  15. Miguel says:

    Jo, two things have made you still fast at 40:

    1 – You have always managed to take a step back from yourself and see the positive and negative of things. Makes for good mental balance.

    2 – Your humor is priceless and as keen as it ever has been.

    The only thing more potent than your great attitude in the years I have known you is your will.

    Nice going!