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     This was my second LA Marathon and my third marathon in all. I had high hopes for my performance this year- dreams of qualifying for Boston and all. Training had been going very well and I was right on track for a 3:25 finish. Of course, it didn’t all go as planned, but what does?
     Unfortunately, due to an upper respiratory infection and a strained hip flexor, I missed a good 3 weeks of training during the last month. On the Monday before the marathon I tried a short run, but couldn’t make it 2 miles without hip pain, so I aborted. I was not planning on running the race at all. Friday before the marathon I tried again, just to be sure, and was able to do 7 miles with only a bit of soreness. So, with my family stationed at miles 10 & 20, should I need to stop, I decided to give it a go.
     Miraculously, my hip did not bother me at all until about mile 24, and even then it was not an issue. The problem was being out of training for so long and missing around 3 weeks of training, I was not in great shape to do 26.2. I took it easy coming out of the stadium, found my pace group, and hung with them as long as I could- about half of the race. From then on it was a battle to get to the end. Training in Westlake last year (read: hills) I was quite prepared for our own “heartbreak hill,” which is a section of the race that winds through the VA Hospital grounds, around mile 22. I was like, “what V.A.?” This year, however, the V.A. came for me to give me my long-awaited beat down. Luckily, one my fellow runners came along and motivated me to renew my efforts and really helped me get through that tough section. Near the end, I was so exhausted that I thought I only had .2 to go after reaching mile 25. After looking at my watch for about half a mile I remembered that it’s 26.2, not 25.2! At that point though, there was no stopping and I finished as strongly as I could. 3:50.
     As grueling as it was, not having been in the shape I needed to be in, and feeling many times like I might not make it, somehow I was still able to savor the experience of running a marathon through the streets of Los Angeles. I wasn’t going to waste all of that time training, leading up to this major event, and only leave with memories of pain and disappointment (hey, pain is a given, right?). I enjoyed having my family, friends, and fellow runners out there supporting me, fed off the energy of the crowd, high-fived drag queen cheerleaders, thanked or acknowledged everyone who cheered me on, and enjoyed the beautiful weather. So, that’s what I went home with- not the time that I wanted- but a great time nonetheless, and another shiny medal to hang in my office.