C4P Taper = (almost) Marathon PR

Got to downtown much earlier than I needed to, but it was better than having to deal with traffic.  I parked at the Wells Fargo lot, a little farther than where I used to park (Arco), but it was free (for signing up early).  I walked over to the Pershing Square Metro station a couple blocks away, and took the 22 minute ride to the start.  I talked with Mike on the way — a first time marathoner.  We arrived, and it was cold outside, so I stayed inside the station since we still had at least 2 hours before the start.  Train loads of runners arrived every 6 minutes, then eventually I started making my way over to the start.  I saw Scott Sullivan and Michael Hayden while looking for a port-a-potty, walked over the 101 overpass, then entered the seeded corral (3-4 hour finish time).  There was hardly anyone in there, but the general start area was already starting to get packed near the front.  Unlike last year, the race officials seemed to allocate more space, so I never felt crowded like it typically gets in big races like LA.

I stood near Diana Rush, Jussi Hamalainen, and a runner who recognized me from the TwinPeaks 50/50 the other week.  After the Ace Young performance, and minus Mohammed Ali and a countdown, we were off — about 20 minutes after the elite women, who will be battling with the men to get $100k for whoever crosses the finish line first.

The beginning was a gradual uphill, then just north of the Hollywood Bowl, we would begin our long descent for several miles.  I did see Borat’s co-star handing out water at the Mile 3 aid station — fully clothed, as we headed east to Vine.  It began to get warm, as I fell into a comfortable pace, reaching the 10k split at 44 minutes.  Hmmm…was that too fast?  I figured it was because there was a good amount of downhill, so I just kept maintaining my pace, which felt relatively comfortable at the time.  We continued on 6th, looping around central LA as we made our way towards Exposition Park, near the half way point.  I got there at 1:37 — yup, that’s too fast, and knew that I’d be in for another of my famous positive splits.  I backed off a little, but it was more because I started feeling the affects of my 3400′ climb training run yesterday, not to mention C4P the week before.

We were now going through some pretty ugly parts of downtown LA, neighborhoods where I’d never go or take someone through, which was a little strange.  I think the course designers wanted to show everyone the LA skyline from the 6th St bridge, which means you have to go through some bad areas to get there.  Personally, it wasn’t worth it, and wish they’d kept one of the previous courses — any of those would’ve been better.

As we continued east towards Boyle Heights, I saw Diana again — we stayed close for a while, then I pulled a little ahead on one of the overpasses.  Once we crossed the bridge, we were finally heading west to the finish line, which was still about 3 miles out.  I was pretty worked by then, but knew I could squeeze out enough for a 5K — just didn’t know how fast I could do it.  I wondered if I was the only one who felt that marathons were harder than 100 milers, then I saw Jussi up ahead — let’s ask someone who has run all LA Marathons and 20 Angeles Crest 100’s.

Me: Hey Jussi — do you think this marathon is harder than AC?

Jussi: Yes…MUCH harder.

I felt better after getting confirmation from the expert, as I ran past him, and crossed the 24 mile marker at 3:13.  Can I do 2.2 miles in 16 minutes?  Let’s give it a shot…so I switched gears, and paced with a female runner who I think had the same goal in mind — sub-3:30.  We passed a lot of runners along this stretch, and crossed mile 25 together — only 8 minutes to do the last 1.2 miles, as the 26 mile banner came into view.  My watch read 3:26, and after gauging how much farther we needed to run, I realized that our goal would not be met.  She eventually pulled ahead, as I eased up a little, then we made the final right turn onto Flower, the last 300 yards to the finish.  I felt the slight uphill, then as it leveled off, I heard my name over the PA, and crossed the line — 3:32:13 was what the clock read.  After factoring in the chip vs gun time difference, my official time ended up being 3:31:57 — my second fastest marathon time, and my fastest LA Marathon.

So the question is, should I put in more 180 mile weeks before my races.  Did that really help me, or would I have gotten a faster time if I had actually tapered properly?  Whatever the case, I’m happy with the outcome, and now it’s time for my much anticipated rest for a couple weeks.

Next up…the Dos Lunas 100k!  Looking forward to that one, since it’ll be at night, and I’ll be running with Jeff the whole time.



  1. Congrats on PR! I think Van Phan raced herself in shape with lots of long races, and I know of some people who succeeded on running high miles with no taper (Michelle Barton? I did a bit of that too). We will never know if it could have been better ON taper, but as you said, in either case – be happy!Oh, and what is Dos Lunas 100k??

  2. Speaking of marathons – do you know there is a LinkedIn Group dedicated to Marathons?Yup There is.Its actually for anybody who enters or wants to enter a marathon. So that would include walkers, 2k, 5k. 10k and Halfers.Its just getting started.http://www.linkedin.com/e/gis/25009/14D41334DC61 The forums, mailing list and other stuff should be up and about within two weeks.We are currently getting the logo developed.The temp. home page is at http://www.ZaleTabakman.ca/linkedinmarathoners

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