Los Angeles Marathon

Los Angeles Marathon 2013 – Race Report Part One

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I finished the LA Marathon

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

Well, I finished!

This was the post with the above photo on Facebook after I finished the Los Angeles Marathon on Sunday, March 17, 2013. It sums up this marathon season fairly well.

The quest to finish my eighth Los Angeles Marathon began a year ago.

I was unhappy with my athletic performance in 2012 and felt I underestimated my training regimen and the long 26.2 mile run itself. I sought redemption and I knew it would not be easy.

I had to train and run more and faster.

I had to lose weight.

I had to avoid injury.

I started.

First, the My Fitness Pal continued and I measured my calories in and my calories out. Week in and week out, I lost the weight. For race day 2013 I was down over 10 pounds. I wanted more, but this would have to do for this year. My weight = 220 pounds.

The training continued in Thousand Oaks with week day 5K runs every Monday, Wednesday and Thursdays with wife, Alice. Every week until race day.

Tuesday and Sunday were cross-training walk days – also 5K. Every week except after long runs of 20 miles.

Fridays were off.

Long runs were with the Los Angeles Running Club in the spring and summer. Every week unless we were on vacation or were racing. While on vacation, Alice and I would run there. The runs were at least 7.6 miles and sometimes longer, especially when we prepared for the Disneyland Half Marathon in September.

Here I am with Alice the first Saturday after last year’s LA Marathon.

LA Running Club

 The spring and summer of 2012 passed quickly.

The California beach runs in Santa Monica and Venice Beach were challenging as I stepped up to a 2:1 Run/Walk/Run ratio and at least a 15 minute per mile pace. I ran with Alice and LA Roadrunner’s R/W 5 pace leader Nancy. After a number of weeks, I settled into the faster running. I did bonk a few times under the sun and heat though.

I wanted to be prepared not only for the summer season ending race of the Disneyland Half Marathon, but also for the Los Angeles Roadrunners R/W 5 training which began the next week after the race.

I was going to run THIS year as a regular member of the R/W 5 group and finish the training runs and the marathon with them.

Here I am at the Disneyland Half Marathon race:

Disneyland Half Marathon

Alice and me in the pre-race corrals at the Disneyland half Marathon

These were my goals for the 2013 Los Angeles Marathon training season.

I had a good race at Disneyland, despite the heat. My legs cramped again at the finish, but my “new” compression socks helped control the agony and I did PR.

On to the Los Angeles Roadrunners and marathon training with another half marathon , the Las Vegas Half Marathon in December.

The marathon training season arrived. Roadrunners started. Walt returned.

The question: Would I be able to hang with the group? And, if I did, for how many miles?

LA Roadrunners 2012The LA Roadrunners’ organizational meeting in Spetember 2012

LA Roadrunners R/W 5

Walt introduces everyone at the first LA Roadrunners R/W 5 meeting

So, Run/Walk 5 started – We came, We ran and We KICKED ASS.

Gregory Flap Cole

The mileage was low and I was smiling

I settled into the group and I could hang.

Run Walk 5 September 2012

The mileage increased.

Up Georgina we went.

Alice and Nancy ran the Long Beach Half Marathon in October. I declined to race (maybe in 2013), but volunteered to be the photographer!

Long Beach Half Marathon Alice and Greg

Alice and I before Alice’s Long Beach Half Marathon

Alice and Nancy at the Long Beach Half Marathon

Alice and Nancy complete Long beach in front of the LA Running Club support tent

I started talking to members of Run/Walk 5 more and more as Alice would leave and lead the group with Nancy.

The miles increased and I was still with the group!

The Las Vegas Half Marathon came in December. Would I be able to PR?

The answer was YES!

Greg and Alice at Las Vegas Half MarathonAlice and me in the pre-race corral before the December 2012 Las Vegas Half Marathon

With long run marathon mileage pushing past the half marathon distance in the middle of December, how would my body respond?

I was making friends, having great conversations with Run/Walk 5 runners, but,  what would the LA Roadrunner 16 miler on December 15 bring?

Well, I finished with the group while Sue and Flavia held me back from finishing too fast!

But, the new year would bring more challenges – health-wise and miles.

Los Angeles Marathon

Support @Flap – Gregory Flap Cole in the 2013 Los Angeles Marathon

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Support Your MarathonerSupport Your Marathoner

It is another year and another Los Angeles Marathon for me. This will be my eighth.

As you know, I have been training with the Los Angeles Roadrunners and am ready for this race.

Please support me!

I will certainly need your help to finish the entire 26.2 miles in a personal record time.

Check out this video from ASICS, a Los Angeles Marathon sponsor:


So, how can you support me at the Los Angeles Marathon?

  • Go here to the ASICS Support Your Marathoner Website.
  • Search for me under Friends Find runners: Gregory Cole, Los Angeles Marathon Bib Number B2013
  • Upload your text, Photo, or Video onto their website.
  • Your submission will be displayed on the large video screens throughout the race on ASICS’ large video displays.

And, thank you!

The race will begin around 7:30 AM Pacific Daylight Time on Sunday March 17, 2013 and I will be tweeting up (Follow @Flap) my race splits (also on Facebook).

Thanks again….

Locum Tenens Dentistry

Is Running a Marathon Bad for Your Heart?

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My 2012 Los Angeles Marathon Bib and Finisher’s Medal

The answer is NO, despite the fact there have been some deaths during marathon races.

What the researchers found was that, even as participation in marathon racing almost doubled during the past decade, to more than 473,000 finishers in 2009 from about 299,000 in 2000, the death rate remained unchanged, and vanishingly small. A total of 28 people died during or in the 24 hours immediately after a marathon, most of them men, and primarily from heart problems. (A few of the deaths were due to hyponatremia, or low blood sodium, in those who drank excessive amounts of fluid.) Those numbers translate into less than one death per 100,000 racers.

“Our data shows, quite strongly, that marathon running is safe for the vast majority of runners,” Dr. Pham says, “and I suspect that, for many of the runners,” the activity saved them from suffering a heart attack that might otherwise have been brought on by a sedentary, unhealthy lifestyle.

A similar epidemiological study, published in January in The New England Journal of Medicine, reached the same conclusion as Dr. Pham’s report, even as its authors looked more widely at data involving fatal and nonfatal cardiac arrests in half and full marathons over the past decade. The researchers found 59 cases of cardiac arrest during a half or full marathon, 51 of them in men, and 42 of them fatal. The average age of the affected racers was 42, and an overwhelming majority of them were approaching the finish line — within the last six miles for the marathon and the final three for the half — when they fell.

“The findings reinforce what we really already knew,” says Dr. Paul Thompson, the chief of cardiology at Hartford Hospital in Connecticut, an author of the study and a longtime marathon runner, “which is that you are at slightly higher risk of suffering a heart attack during a marathon” than if you were merely sitting or walking sedately during those same hours. “But over all, running decreases the risk of heart disease” and therefore the likelihood of your suffering cardiac arrest at all.

But, Dr. Thompson continues, running does not absolutely inoculate anyone against heart disease. “Genetics, viruses, bad habits from the past, bad diet or plain bad luck” can contribute to the development of plaques within the arteries or of heart damage like cardiomyopathy, an unnatural enlargement of the heart muscle, which running simply cannot prevent.

So, have regular physical exams by your physician and if you have a family history of heart problems see a cardiologist before you run a marathon.

The activity of training and running a marathon can be greatly rewarding and beneficial for your heart.

Los Angeles Marathon

Los Angeles Marathon 2012: Race Report

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At the end of the last post, my wife, Alice, and I had just returned from San Diego after visiting my daughter, Allison, her husband, Nathan and my new baby grandson, James Phillip. Here is another photo of him:

As you can tell, I am a delighted grandfather.

Alice and I did not eat our regular dinner because of the lateness of the travel. We normally have turkey burgers and this fits real well into bathroom voiding in the early AM. But, we did not get home in time and went to bed.

The weather report was 40% chance of showers with wind. Temperatures were to be in the low 40’s to start at Los Angeles Dodger Stadium in Elysian Park and mid-50’s by the finish in Santa Monica.

We arose around 2 AM, showered, dressed, gathered our gear and drove to Santa Monica. In Santa Monica, there are the shuttle buses that ferry us to Dodger Stadium. We parked in the Santa Monica Civic Parking Structure, went to the porta potties and were bussed to the stadium. I never ususally get car sick, but the bus was very stuffy and full of runners. I was a little nauseated and wondered.

After arriving around 5:20 AM, we walked up the long flights of stairs to the special Los Angeles Roadrunner section at the Club Level. We took our seats and waited for the marathon start at 7:30 AM.

The Run/Walk 5 gang was there:

Maria Elena and Tara

The time passed quickly and after a few trips to the bathrooms, we lined up and Walt our Run/Walk 5 leader led a pep talk and a prayer. We headed out to our starting corrals:

Walt is in the center and the sun had not yet risen at 6:30 AM or so

One last view of Dodger Stadium

After the usual pushing and shoving in the crowds of runners, we found the corral and proudly displayed our wrist band. We went in behind the gates:

The sun was now up and there was NO rain. It was a miracle. Everyone checked their phonez for the weather report and looked West. There were clouds but the weather did not look ominous, like last year. Although I had placed my rain pancho, I was too soon find out that it was not needed and soon removed after a few miles of the race.

The Run/Walk 5 running gang was set to go:

Maria Elena, Alice, Nancy, Tara and Mary

I was ready to go as well:

Walt had us line up, but Tara and I went far to the right since we would be running at a different pace and run/walk interval than the group. We did not wish to be trampled by the eager fast runners that were behind us in the open runner area.

I took off my spiffy, Canuck jacket and hung it on the wall next to the corral. I reached for my Bloggie Video camera and discovered that when starting to video the beginning of the marathon I had run out of storage space. Good job, Greg!

Making our way to the start line

I did capture this brief video before the camera shut down:

The race started uneventfully. The rest of run/Walk 5 went at their 15 minute per mile pace and soon became a distant image.

Tara and I stuck to our 30 second run and 45 second walk interval. Our early pace was to be around 17 minutes per mile which would be re-evaluated after the first 20 miles. The first four miles went well and we were a little fast. then we came upon First Street.

We had decided in training that we would walk up the early, steep hills and we did. Our time was not affected that much and we saved a whole lot of glycogen. First Street actually seemed shorter this year. I suppose all of that training pays off!

Tara and I had long discarded our rain panchos and there was NO rain. The sun came out and I think I swore a little about the heat. This was funny, since we both thought that we would have to endure torrential rains like we did last year.

I wished I had my sunglasses and my visor since I was now carrying my hat. Oh well, the best laid plans…

Around mile ten, I could hold it no longer and went to pee. I thought I felt something else, but nooooo that could not be happening.

Remember how the previous night, I did not have my usual meal because of our visit to see my grandson in San Diego. I thought everything was fine and that a race dilemma was not going to happen.


By mile 12, I was looking for a toilet. Unfortunately, along this stretch of the course, there were none for about 3 miles. Finally, at mile 13, relief was obtained.

Of course, there was no toilet paper in the porta potty. But, I was prepared! Thanks to Walt, who had a similar occurrence at the Chicago Marathon in a past year. Now, I always carry Wet Ones with me and I used them!

5 and one half minutes lost to my dilemma. But, at least my hands were clean. Thanks again, Walt!

I called Tara and raced ahead to catch up to her.

I caught up to her in a few miles and then came the biggest disappointment of the race.

In West Hollywood at the 4 and one half hour mark (around noon), they started closing the streets and ushered us off onto small, crowded sidewalks. The race rules said at the 6 hour mark and the two previous years, these streets were never closed. This slowed us down measurably and really pissed me off.

The street closures in Beverly Hills continued and the cops were down right rude. I was going to say something, but I figured that they would make my marathon race shorter by placing my in handcuffs and escorting me to a holding cell, before escorting to the Los Angeles County Lock-Up. The LA County jail is not in Santa Monica.

I, also, knew that Alice would not bail me out and that the vaseline that was being distributed by volunteers along the marathon course would be put to good use by Bubba, if I bent over or otherwise. I kept my mouth shut, except to fellow runners who I harassed unmercifully until we exited Beverly Hills and the streets were open again. I, especially bothered a Legacy Runner who kept repeating what I said, that I would write about the closures. He would say “write about it”. Well, sir, here it is!

Tara and I were walking by about mile 17 or so. Run/Walking was difficult on cramped sidewalks and by the time we reached Santa Monica Blvd and Century City, her hip was bothering her. I just kept walking, turned off the timer and figured I would just finish the race with Tara and forget about the time.

We reached mile 20 at Sepulveda and then right into the Veterans Administration. The course now is a slow uphill grade and so we slowed down some. I knew that Santa Monica and a long downhill beckoned.

The last 6.2 miles were fairly uneventful. I was a little nauseated around 26th Street, but drank tons of water. I got better.

Yes, the streets and water stations were open in Santa Monica! Thanks a lot Beverly Hills.

Soon, we made it on to Ocean Avenue and we saw the finish. I teared up a little, but it was probably due to the torrential wind that we endured since San Vicente and 26th Street. The wind, someone told me, was about 60 miles per hour. Sometimes, I felt I was going backwards. In fact, the 24 mile marker almost collapsed and blew down on us.


I asked Tara if she had anything left after passing 26 miles and she said NO, but that she would now run across the finish line.


We finished, received our medals, I gathered up a bagel and banana.

Alice met us about one half of a mile down Ocean and we walked back to our cars.

Another Los Angeles Marathon was finished.

Here is my Garmin data:

And, the official finish:

Will I run the Los Angeles Marathon next year?

Of course, and I will be in Los Angeles Roadrunners, as well.

Next on the agenda is the spring/summer Los Angeles Running Club season and training for the Disneyland Half Marathon in September.