Hey everyone! I just wanted to share a bit about my experience with running the LA Marathon 2 weeks ago. As I’ve blogged about in the past here and here, I am a part of the USC Marathon Team this year, and we all trained together to run the LA Marathon. It was a lot of work and a little physically and emotionally draining, but it was so worth it! And the support group I had with the Marathon Team was really instrumental in me running and completing the marathon.
The weeks leading up to the marathon, we were running some pretty intense mileage (as many as 23 miles one Sunday) and during that one run, I irritated my knee. Luckily we have a great PT program here at USC, and I started going there and working on strengthening exercises to minimize the impact and force on my knees while I run.
The day before the marathon, the whole marathon team got together for a HUGE pasta dinner to carb-load for all of those necessary energy calories. Previous marathoners gave their experience, and we newbies asked them questions and set straight concerns we had.
The morning of the race, I had to wake up at 2:30 in order to carpool to the finish line (Santa Monica), where hundreds of buses shuttled people back to the start line at Dogers Stadium (this was mainly so that once we finished the marathon, our cars were right there for ease in driving back home).
We all hung around in the Stadium from about 4 until 6:30am, and the whole team was there so we all kept each other company. We checked our bags around 6:30am, to be transported to the finish line and for us to pick up once we finished the race. After going through the bag check, I went to the corrals and pumped myself up to run the race. It’s so awesome to see how many people come from al over the place to run this marathon – not only does it attract other American runners, but also international runners!!
After the race started, it was pretty much smooth sailing for the first 18-20 miles or so. All along the sides were people handing out water every mile, in addition to orange slices, pretzels and gatorade. It was so awesome to go through all the different neighborhoods in LA – Chinatown, Little Italy, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Santa Monica. The whole time, people were cheering us on, and many people were holding signs saying “I may be a stranger but I’m proud of you!” which was so awesome. Plus I was wearing my USC Marathon Team pinny, so there were more than 15 people who cheered me on and yelled “Go USC” or “Fight On!” which was another awesome booster.
— Cassandra Gabara (@CassGabara) March 30, 2013
The last 6 miles were definitely the hardest and the longest 6 miles I have never run, but I made it!! After I crossed the finish line I was given my Finisher medal, and I limped over to meet up with the rest of my team. We all ended up finishing, and while we were waiting for everyone else to meet up with us. I was so proud of all of us for all the hard work we put into our training and even on the day of the race. I had such a great experience on the team this year and I can’ wait for next year!!
— Cassandra Gabara (@CassGabara) April 4, 2013