Los Angeles Marathon

Los Angeles Marathon 2013 – Race Report Part Six

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I finished the LA Marathon

In the Santa Monica parking structure with the prize, the 2013 Los Angeles Marathon Medal

This is my sixth 2013 Los Angeles Marathon race report post.

The first post is here.

The second post is here.

The third post is here.

The fourth post is here.

The fifth post is here.

I am chronicling my road to the 2013 Los Angeles Marathon finish line with the Los Angeles Roadrunners Run/Walk 5 training group.

After a few hours of sleep, I was up at 2 AM to get ready for Los Angeles Marathon Race Day.

Preparations had been rehearsed over and over during the Roadrunner training runs. The right amount of coffee was consumed, the right breakfast, all running gear, glasses, belt, iPod, Garmin – all of it was packed safely away and ready to go. Racing bibs were pinned to my Roadrunner shirt.

I was apprehensive (as always) that our car would be inoperable (although we have another) due to the hit and run accident of the previous day or that the electronic gates of our complex would not open.

These fears were unfounded and Alice and I hit the road to the City of Santa Monica parking structure off of 4th Street. From there we would take the shuttle bus to Dodger Stadium and then run back – Stadium to the Sea.

We were booked on the 4:30 AM shuttle, but we arrived early – as we have each of the three previous years. As we exited the parking structure elevator, I remembered I had left my iPod and Gymboss timer in my running bag and had to return to the car. Whew, I almost forgot them!

The portable restroom was visited and we walked down past the Santa Monica City Hall to board the bus.

The bus ride was smooth and I think I dozed a little on the way – waking up when we passed the LA Convention Center.

Dodger Stadium

Walking down through the barriers in the Dodger Stadium parking lot

We disembarked the bus and made our way to the Loge Third Base Section of Dodger Stadium where the special Los Angeles Roadrunners section was. There were stadium seats in which to sit and the private (recently remodeled too) restrooms.

Alice and I sat in the stadium seats adjacent to the Run/Walk 5 sign and waited for our fellow runners to trickle in.

Dodger Stadium

A view of the Dodger Stadium field from the special LA Roadrunners section

After a few hours, and at 6:30 AM (the race starts at 7:25), Walt who had arrived along with the rest of Run/Walk 5 lined us up.

Walt lines us up in Dodger StadiumWalt lined us up

At this time, I decided to take a few photos of the members of Run/Walk 5 and their running partners. I have posted all of the photos on Facebook and Google Plus. So, I won’t post them all. But, here are a few:

Alice and Nancy in Dodger StadiumI swear I ordered a name for Alice’s bib

Flavia and Sue in Dodger StadiumFlavia and Sue

We left the friendly confines of the ballpark and made our way to Running Corral D. Note that each Roadrunner had a “D” on their bib for the “D” corral.

Of course, my bib was “B” 2013.

Luckily, I had learned that you could always drop down a letter or two. In no way, was I a three hour marathoner to qualify for corral B.

But, this was a bib clerical error and the security attendant did balk at the entrance to corral D.

Why is this important?

Fellow Roadrunner Doug, remember the former Marine embassy security guard who helped me via conversation to traverse the 20 milers was barred from Corral “D.” He had to run on his own.

I said a silent “crap.”

Doug, was going to be my lifeline, if the going got tough and he was gone. I never saw Doug on the marathon course.

We waited in the corral for a while, warmed up a little and posed for some photos.

Run Walk 5 in CorralRun Walk 5 in Corral “D”

Run Walk 5 in Corral D 2Run Walk 5 posing

Soon, it was time to start the race.

We lined up, the national anthem was sung, we moved forward.


You know it is time to start the Los Angeles Marathon, when “I Love LA” starts.


Run/Walk 5 was off.

The first four miles weave through Chinatown and are downhill. when we course more towards central Los Angeles we confront the massive First Street Hill.

The Tonga drums do help – a little.


I videoed this television coverage of the marathon at the top of the hill and you can see the group fairly well.


After the First Street Hill, the course becomes a slow incline with occasional downhills through Hollywood. While I felt strong during the first nine miles or so, I could tell I was just not “feeling it” today.

The group’s pace was around 14:30 or so per mile which is what I expected and for which we trained over and over. But, I simply was not feeling it.

The temperature warmed up with the rising sun. I do not do well in the heat. But, was it THAT bad?

I tried additional sugar and water. Caffeine was managed. No chance of a bathroom break. But, I felt sluggish.

The half marathon mark came and the split was about 3:15 – right on pace.

Alice and Nancy were leading at this point and I barked at Nancy at one point because I thought she messed up the interval timer as we went through the 14 mile water station.

By now, I was struggling, a little dizzy and definitely not thinking clearly. The “BONK” Bear was on my back.

I fell back and weakly tried to yell at Alice and Nancy. They did not hear and the group left me.

I had planned contingencies about different run/walk ratios with different strategies, if I felt like I was bonking out. I ignored the warning signs as my glycogen suddenly ever more depleted.

I could only walk.

I was dizzy and pissed off with myself, but knew I had to finish – so I pressed on, albeit slowly.

Your mind and emotions can play tricks on you in this state. I even felt like quitting.


I remembered back years ago DNF’ing a LA Marathon after I fell at mile 17.

This was not going to happen – no matter what.

I knew I could walk the rest of the race at a very slow pace and still PR. The first half was a good strong pace – I just had to finish.

Somewhere out of the blue, I saw Tamara, Teon (who had hurt his knee) and Janet. I thought what? Did they bonk too?

Now, Janet and Tamara had been sick for a couple of weeks with a bad cold/flu/bronchitis so it was understandable that they would be spent.

I really cannot remember when we started walking together but the conversation helped me get over MY thoughts of quitting.

Tamara was walking at a faster pace than I could handle. I struggled to keep up. The pace, in fact was 19:30. I was a little depressed that I was struggling. I pounded the sugar and kept her pace anyway.

Tamara Teon and JanetTamara, Teon and Janet

We passed mile 17 and the video board in Beverly Hills. I saw the message that was left by my wife, Alice. It spurred me on! I have to do this.

Maybe I can recover some glycogen, composure and start running again.

Pace Leader Mary came upon us and her hip was really bothering her. I asked her if she had taken some Advil and she said she had. She soon dropped back.

Mary had the BEAR on her shoulders and joint pain. I didn’t think she would finish. She soon faded with Tamara’s super fast walking pace (being facetious!)

As we arrived at the dreaded Santa Monica Blvd. straight away another Run/Walk 5 member joined us, Cristina. She was HURTING.

She had developed blisters and each step brought agony. I have been there – a number of times. Advil and Tylenol worked for me and I had some extra.

I gave Cristina two extra strength Tylenols and she recovered very quickly. Her brother soon joined us. This really perked up Cristina.

Teon and Tamara were walking a little faster and at this point I decided to NOT drop Cristina. They went on ahead.

Teon Janet and GregTeon, me and Janet

I was with Cristina and Janet.

Between mile 19 and 20, I saw Tara, my last year’s Roadrunner training partner. She had pretzels and was full of encouragement! This really helped.

On to mile 20 on Sepulveda Blvd and the VA (Veteran’s Administration grounds). The twisting and turning and slow upgrade is the “Heartbreak Hill” of the Los Angeles Marathon.

We made it out of the VA. I was feeling better.

Cristina’s family joined us, including her mom, her sister and her sister’s husband. I gave Cristina two more extra strength Tylenol as she said her blisters were starting to bother her again. She picked up the pace with the support of her family.

Cristina Janet and Greg

Hugo (Cristina’s brother), Cristina, Janet and the old guy telling Janet to keep her hands off of her hips

As we were walking up San Vicente, I was plotting a running finishing beginning at 26th Street. We passed Bundy Drive and I asked Cristina and Janet if they wanted some extra credit and run off course to include my “Heartbreak Hill” where Nancy had fallen during our last 20 miler.

They passed and Janet grumbled something. Ha!

It was definitely cooler now and the ocean was NOT far from us – so was the finish.

When we reached 26th Street, we started running again. We did a 1:1 Run/Walk/Run ratio and the last 3.2 miles we had an average pace better than 15:00 per mile.

We passed tens of Zombie walking marathoners and I suddenly felt good. Janet and Cristina were keeping the pace.

We hit Ocean Avenue and we passed even more runners/walkers.

As the finish line approached, I told Cristina that even though we were a little slower today, we should finish STRONG.

With about a half mile to go, we hit a walk break and Cristina said she didn’t want to walk any more.

We all sprinted to the finish!

We finished strong.


Here is my official finish:

LA Marathon results

Here is the pacing from my Garmin:

LA Marathon garmin results

Although I did not finish with the main Run/Walk 5 group, I was able to hang with them for at least half of the race. I am grateful for this and am grateful to finish with Janet and Cristina (who completed her first marathon).

Why, did I not finish at 6:40 with Alice and Walt is unknown, but I have my suspicions. I probably need some more hill training for the many early hills on the marathon course. I, also, think my nutrition was off due to the early shuttle ride.

But, in any case, I had fun and am looking forward to the spring and summer session of the Los Angeles Running Club where I will be training for the Disneyland Half Marathon in September and my next marathon in Long Beach (October).

Next year – I WILL finish with the group!

Los Angeles Marathon

Los Angeles Marathon 2013 – Race Report Part Five

Posted on

I finished the LA Marathon

In the Santa Monica parking structure with the prize, the 2013 Los Angeles Marathon Medal

This is my fifth 2013 Los Angeles Marathon race report post.

The first post is here.

The second post is here.

The third post is here.

The fourth post is here.

I am chronicling my road to the 2013 Los Angeles Marathon finish line with the Los Angeles Roadrunners Run/Walk 5 training group.

Training with the group was over for 2013.


After a week of the nightly 5K training runs which were done very slowly, came some carbo loading.

Scheduling for the marathon race weekend had been prepared weeks in advance.

Oh, did I tell you that Sunday was also the first birthday of my grandson, James Phillip? And, James lives in San Diego?

The birthday party was scheduled at Peter Piper’s pizza for Saturday afternoon. A piece of cake…..

Friday was race bib pick up day and Race Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Greg and race bibReally “B” race corral = stepping up in the race world?

Nancy met Alice and me – in fact, she beat us there at the entrance. We took some photos, including the obligatory USC vs. UCLA one.

Nancy and GregCan you guess where we went to college?

After the bib pickup we ran into fellow Roadrunners.

We saw Alan Culver at the Roadrunner wristband distribution booth. The wristband allowed entry into the special Roadrunner section of Dodger Stadium.

We ran into Leon, who graciously obtained an extra race shirt for Alice and me. Thanks Leon!

We saw Flavia from Run/Walk 5.

Off we went to buy some race gear and to walk the Expo, including the Roadrunner booth.

The Expo was larger than I remember, but was nothing special until we met up with the actor Michael Sorich at the Roadrunner booth.

Michael SorichMichael Sorich – pizza??

Michael as always is funny!

We talked about how we always run into each other in the bathroom on marathon day. Yeah, it happened again, but I am getting ahead of the story!

We finished up walking the aisles at the Expo, and Alice texted our friend and fellow Roadrunner (but injured) Tara to meet us from lunch.

Lunch was at the French restaurant, Taix, where we have gone each of the last three years. Mary was to meet us there, but she got held up at the dentist for a crown cementation and was feeling a little sick anyway.

Tara on her crutch soon arrived and we enjoyed a meal – I had the French Dip with French Fries = lots of carbs there.

We finished up, hugs all around. Tara asked what I would like around mile 20 (near her home). I said pretzels and she said see you on Sunday.

If you recall, Tara and I were inseparable last year. We trained together, ran the marathon together and finished the 2012 LA Marathon together. She suffered a knee and hip inury during marathon training last year and after many months of physical therapy, recently had knee surgery. I sure hope she is better soon!

Tara and me with medalsTara and me in 2012

Now, the big drive to San Diego and a big drive it was. From downtown Los Angeles to our hotel on Hotel Circle it was 3 and 1/2 hours. Alice and I took driving shifts and stopped in San Juan Capistrano for Starbucks.

In the meantime, I was in touch with my daughter Allison for a Friday night visit with the soon to be birthday boy, my grandson James. We, also made dinner plans.

Grandpa and JamesMy grandson James Phillip at almost one year old. Granpa is happy!

Dinner was late and I had some Coke only, but then the surprise.

My son, Greg, Jr. who lives in Chicago had just arrived at the San Diego airport. I was completely and happily surprised.

All of my children and grandchildren were to be present at the birthday party tomorrow.

Alice and I planned to rest and get some sleep on Friday night and Saturday morning.

Mission accomplished, as we continued to carb load a little.

We checked out of the hotel and drove to the children’s pizza place and James’ first birthday party.

Alice James and Grandpa GregAlice, James and the smiling grandpa

It was wonderful seeing my daughters ( I have three), my son and other grandchild, Abbie.

Greg Abbie and AnnieMy son, granddaughter Abbie and my daughter Annie

Cake was eaten and the party ended around 4 PM.

Now, the long drive back to Thousand Oaks, a hit and run accident a few blocks from our apartment, a few hours of sleep and RACE DAY.

Los Angeles Marathon

Los Angeles Marathon 2013 – Race Report Part Four

Posted on

I finished the LA Marathon

In the Santa Monica parking structure with the prize, the 2013 Los Angeles Marathon Medal

This is my fourth 2013 Los Angeles Marathon race report post.

The first post is here.

The second post is here.

The third post is here.

I am chronicling my road to the 2013 Los Angeles Marathon with the Los Angeles Roadrunners Run/Walk 5 training group.

The last training day was upon Run/Walk 5. One week and one day to go before the Los Angeles Marathon on March 17, 2013.

Walt delivered an inspirational last pep talk before we took off on our last 6 mile run. We are tapering now and letting our body accommodate and heal from all of the stress of the previous weeks.

Walts last pep talkThis will be a fun run today because it is picture day – also the mileage is low.

As is tradition, the Pace Leaders step aside and members of the group take their turn leading. We. also stop for photos video along the way.

Off we went…..to California and Ocean Street – the exact finish of the marathon.

Alice and meAlice and I are ready

Cristina and EvangelinaCristina and Evangelina were two of the early guest pace leaders

Here is the video:


Grace and Angela had their turn:


Nora, who had broken her wrist earlier in the season, led the way:

Nora and Magy lead run Walk 5Nora and Magy

We ran to California and Ocean for….

Run Walk 5 2013The official group photo

Here is video of Michelle and Irene who were running the Los Angeles Marathon relay for charity guest pace leading:


I even had a chance to guest lead the group:

Leading Run Walk 5Juliette is to my right

Our last training run would not be complete without Alice leading “The Wave of WEEE” down the Santa Monica Pier.


We returned to Westminister School in Venice and listened to Los Angeles Marathon Race Director Nick Curl deliver final race instructions.

Los Angeles Roadrunners Run/Walk 5 came and ran.

Now, it was time to KICK ASS!

Los Angeles Marathon

Los Angeles Marathon 2013 – Race Report Part Three

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I finished the LA MarathonIn the Santa Monica parking structure with the prize, the 2013 Los Angeles Marathon Medal

This is my second 2013 Los Angeles Marathon race report post.

The first post is here.

The second post is here.

It was the last Saturday in February and the longest run before the 2013 Los Angeles Marathon.

This run with Los Angeles Roadrunners Run/Walk 5 was to be the dress rehearsal for the race which loomed on March 17.

Weather was favorably cool, the body was stuffed with carbohydrates all week and I was ready.

The main question lingered in my mind: would  I be able to stay with and finish with the group? I wasn’t so sure.

The pace at the beginning of the run was quick down the Speedway alley in Venice. This is how it would be on marathon day since the pent up adrenaline and crush of racers would force the group to run more towards a 14 minute per mile pace than the customary 15 pace.

Up the Santa Monica Pier and Georgina Street. The hills were challenging, but I engaged members of the group, including fellow dentist, Flavia,  and put the climb out of my mind.

Down we went on San Vicente and around the golf course where there are more hills and the miles were increasing. It was warming up.

I found myself running with Doug, a man about my age and who was as interesting as his career was varied. We talked about his time in the United States Marines and his tour in Viet Nam. He, at a very young age was a Marine Embassy Guard and was one of the last evacuees from the American Embassy when Vietnam fell to the Communist North.

Walt even engaged the conversation and we had plenty of questions of Doug.

The hills and miles melted away with absorbing conversation.

We had some excitement off of Bundy Drive when our pace leader, Nancy, fell. She tripped on what I term “Heartbreak Hill.” She broke her glasses and bruised her head pretty good, but she continued. Walt relieved her of pace leading for the rest of the day. Nancy wanted to continue!

Back up San Vicente to 26th Street.

The group usually would run the grass median strip down the center of the street. But, a group of us, wanted to have nothing to do with the roots and uneven surface. No twisted ankles for us.

Janet and I lead the group down San Vicente towards Ocean Avenue on the sidewalk. We used a 1:1 run/walk ratio since the others would be going slower on the grass.

I was determined to not “bonk” out by running too fast down back to the Flag Poles in Venice. Janet held me back and we were safely reunited with the group near the water station on Ocean and the totem pole area.

The remaining four miles or so went uneventful and I finished with the group.

It was a good day!

Two more Saturday sessions and the taper before the race.

We returned to Dodger Stadium the next week for an additional session of the Elysian Park hills. I remembered the Stadium to the Sea marathon course hills and they are relentless.

More hill training is a good thing.

Dodger Stadium and the LA Marathon MedalLos Angeles Marathon Race Director Nick Curl shows off the 2013 marathon medal at Dodger Stadium

 Before beginning the hills, Nick Curl, Los Angeles Marathon Race Director showed off the 2013 medal. We also ran over to the Loge section (third base side) where we would all hang out prior to the beginning of the marathon – a special perk for the Roadrunners. We would have our own place to sit and relax, plus our own pre-race bathrooms = very important.Mary and the medalPace Leader Mary looks at the medal as Walt looks on approvingly

After seeing the entrance to our private Dodger Stadium area and dodging the massive amounts of construction happening at the stadium we took off.

Here we go:


And…. we finish up:


I was breathing hard at the finish, but considering that last year I could not run one mile of hills with the group, I was happy.

And, we went to Walt’s studio for brunch! Bagels….

At Walts studio

Next Saturday was the last training session = a tapering day of only six miles. But…. most important = picture day!

Los Angeles Marathon

Los Angeles Marathon 2013 – Race Report Part Two

Posted on

I finished the LA Marathon

In the Santa Monica parking structure with the prize, the 2013 Los Angeles Marathon Medal

This is my second 2013 Los Angeles Marathon race report post.

The first post is here.

The new year, 2013, brought new challenges and MORE marathon training miles.

While the official Roadrunner’s schedule takes the Christmas and New Year’s holidays lightly = “on your own” training, I had my own schedule to prepare for the long, long runs and the Dodger Stadium hill training which were in the near future.

The first Saturday training run in January went well. It was fifteen miles and I was able to hang with the group. All was going according to the plan.


I had a health issue which was unrelated to running.

While the surgical procedure, under anesthesia, went well, I had to miss the next Saturday long run (14 miles, a cutback week) and all mid-week runs.

My marathon season was in jeopardy.

I made backup training plans and even decided to run another marathon such as San Diego in June, if I was not able to resume training soon enough.

Luckily, I healed quickly and my physician released me to run seven days later.

The next Saturday long run scheduled was 18 miles – around the golf course and down to Bundy. I could do this – even with my lack of training. Right?

Well, almost.

It was an unusually hot January day and I made two errors during the run.

The first was to respect the heat since my Norwegian heritage, light skin, whatever makes it difficult for me to run with pace.

The second was to think that I could run fast down San Vicente (ahead of the group) at an accelerated pace and not “BONK” out. I lead the San Vicente “sidewalk” group in a 1:1 down the soon to be marathon 24th and 25th mile with Janet.

Janet and I separated from the main group and kept going down along the beach and Ocean Avenue. This was to be repeated on marathon race day – but more on that later.

The heat and lack of glycogen got me.

I bonked out around 16.5 miles and stopped at the Santa Monica Senior Center and was picked up by friend Tara. Janet continued on and finished in the heat.

I didn’t make it the entire way, but with my illness, I will take it.

The next week was fourteen miles = a piece of cake. And…..R/W 5 was having a social on Sunday with Walt at the Golden Dragon in Los Angeles’ Chinatown.

Golden DragonWalt likes the Golden Dragon. I like Asian cuisine, although Alice will say NO that I don’t like anything that isn’t on my regimented runner’s diet.

Flavia and TamaraR/W 5’s Flavia, her husband and Tamara

I, especially, like the chicken with the head left on so I can annoy Mary and Nancy!

It was a nice sized group of R/W 5 folks and we stocked up on calories since our first 20 mile training run was coming up in just six days.

Alice and Gregory ColeAlice and my mouth which is watering for the first course

I approached the next week with apprehension. I bonked out at 16.5 miles. How could I make 20 miles?

The first Saturday in February was our first twenty mile run of the season.

It was difficult.

Down the alley, back to the Santa Monica Pier, up Georgina, down San Vicente, around the golf course, down to Bundy, up the Heartbreak Hill at Bundy, back up San Vicente, down San Vicente from 26th Street, down Ocean along the beach and back home to the Flag Poles in Venice.

I ran with the group for about 17.5 miles (at pace) and then walked to compleete the full 20 mile distance. I kind of bonked out at mile 17, but accepted the result.

Next, week was our first Dodger Stadium Hill training session and brunch at Walt’s studios.  We were to run the hilly course of 5K three times around.

In previous training years, I could not run the course one time with the R/W 5 group – now, it was to be 3 times!

I didn’t think I could hang with everyone, but would at least do the distance.

Run Walk 5 at Dodger Stadium Hil TrainingRun/Walk 5 on a walk break in the Dodger Stadium parking lot – February 9, 2013

How long could I hang with the group?

Surprisingly, I hung in there and finished the three loops around Elysian Park. I felt that my energy. per-health crisis was returning and was encourged.

Alice and Gregory LA Roadrunners Run Walk 5 at dodger StadiumRun/Walk 5 on a walk break – going the other way!

After the Dodger Stadium hill training sessions, Walt hosts the entire group at his studio which is nearby.


Janet at WaltsJanet beating the eggs into submission

Mary and nancy at WaltsNancy and Mary, two of R/W 5 pace leaders

Run Walk 5 at Walts eatingWalt’s is soooo good after hill training!

The following Saturday was a cut back ten miler = a piece of cake and time for some photos.

Doug and PaulaRunning down Georgina Street in Santa Monica: Doug, Paula, Teon, Alice and Nancy

One of the Run/Walk 5 traditions is to do a “WAVE” down the Santa Monica Pier and otherwise other downhill spots. This year there was no hesitation!

The Wave down the pierWEEEEEEEEE!

The wave down the pierWEEEEEEEEEE!

Running down the pierThe end of WEEEEEEEEE!

On to the next Saturday’s final 20 mile run…..

I was feeling stronger and the week day runs passed by quickly.

I carbo loaded a few days before the run and was ready.

But, my doubts continued to linger. Did I have this?