Tag Archives: marathon

Another Year Of Marathon Watching (or We Tried Our Best)

For the past few years, I’ve gone out to watch the runners for the LA Marathon. I have always enjoyed watching the runners and cheering them on, even if I didn’t know anyone running. This year, several of my friends were supposed to be running but had to back out for one reason or another. I knew I had 1 friend running and I wanted to be out there to support him. Plus, it always seems like I find out I had more friends running once I’m out there.

I’m usually at the same spot each year because it’s pretty close to my house and it’s easy to drive to. With all the street closures for the marathon, I like to minimize the issues I run into by driving to the marathon path. Plus, since it’s close I can get there early and not worry about how long it would take me to get back home.

This year, I was going to watch the marathon runners with a friend who wanted to go watch it from near the finish line. I had never done that before and figured it could be a fun adventure! Plus, we were both having a lazy morning and if I had gone to my usual place I would have missed my friend running by. So we made a plan to meet at the light rail station to head into Santa Monica. The end of the light rail was only a few blocks from the finish line, so we figured that would be the easiest way to get there.

And while it did end up being the easiest way to get there, it wasn’t that easy once we were in Santa Monica. The crowds were pretty crazy, especially compared to what I’m used to at the location I normally watch from. And there was a sea of people past the finish line lined up while the finishers walked through after collecting their medals.

I had been using the race tracker app to track my friend and he crossed the finish line pretty soon after we got to where we were watching. But then we realized that there was no requirement for him to walk all the way to where we were watching. I had no clue where he was meeting his family and we gave it about 20 minutes before we figured he must have left the race area before he got to where we were (I found out later that he left the race area 2 blocks before where we were).

We did enjoy watching the other finishers go by us and we both were amazed by how many of them seemed so casual for just finishing a marathon! There were some people who looked tired but so many others weren’t sweaty and I would have guessed they were waiting to start a marathon and not just done with one. I know I look so much more exhausted after doing a 5K than most of those marathon runners looked!

After watching for about 30 minutes, we realized that it was just getting a bit too crowded for us and we weren’t going to see anyone we knew. As much as we wanted to keep cheering people on we knew it was time to go. We walked back toward the train station but decided that we wanted to do a bit more walking around. It was a really nice day out and I’m not in Santa Monica that often. We walked back and forth on the promenade and then went to the mall at the end of the promenade to get some lunch.

We had a nice relaxing lunch outside (it was way less crowded than it normally is in Santa Monica on a weekend and we were enjoying not feeing super packed in) before heading back to the train to go back home. There were so many marathon runners on the train with their medals and that was so cool to see. Hopefully none of them were too tired to get up from their seats when they got to their stop!

Even though this wasn’t what I was expecting with watching the marathon, it was a fun adventure. But I think I’ve decided that next year I’ll be back to watching from where I normally watch. Plus, my friend who watched with me was talking about maybe running the marathon next year and I want to make sure I’m in a spot where she can find me and I can have some awesome signs to cheer her on!

LA Marathon (or Cheering On My Friends)

I’ve been cheering on the runners at the LA Marathon for the past few years. It’s a really great event to go out and watch and since so many streets are closed that day the traffic isn’t too horrible (LA drivers stay home when there are too many closures). For the couple of years, I’ve known people who were running in the marathon and that made me want to go out and watch the runners even more. And this year was no exception with almost a dozen friends doing the marathon, many for their first marathons ever!

Even though I’ve cheered on the runners in the past, I’ve never really done much beyond driving over to the course and standing out there to cheer and clap. But this year, I felt like I should do more and wanted to make some fun signs for my friends. I had a couple of ideas of things I wanted to do, went to get some large paper and cut out letters from Staples, and got creative.

The rum and cute one signs are ones I’ve seen at other events or online, but the other two were ones that I came up with. I had let my friends know what signs I had made so they could look for me while they were running and I tried to get out to the course on the earlier side. I also had some friends who wanted to join me for cheering on the runners this year. Normally I’m by myself, but it was nice to know that I would have other people hanging out with me while I waited for my friends to be running by us.

This year (or at least I learned about this only this year), there was runner tracking on the LA Marathon website. So I entered the race numbers for all of my friends and was seeing when they would be close to where we were standing just past mile 19. One friend was so fast that they ended up going past mile 19 before I got out there (they were so fast they qualified for the Boston Marathon!), but there were still plenty of people to be on the lookout for.

The first person I saw going by me was someone I know from Orangetheory. I forgot he was running and wasn’t tracking him, so I’m glad he saw me and got my attention so I could cheer him on. Next was my friend Jonathan who is the business manager for Orangetheory. He ran the marathon last year with Jordan from The Balanced Blonde, but he was running by himself this year. And he was looking pretty calm and happy while he sped by us!

The next people to come by were more Orangetheory friends. Jordan and Terry are usually in Monday workouts with me (Terry and I currently battle over which of us gets treadmill 11 because we both love that one) and they have been training hard together for a while. I know that they were super prepared to run a marathon, but it still made me so happy to see them happy as they came by us. I know how tough a 5K can be on me, I can’t imagine how tough a marathon would be! But Terry saw us with the signs and ran over to us with a smile and a high five for each of us!

Next, there were a couple of the women I know through the Tone It Up Facebook group running. Most of them were people who I haven’t met before in real life, so they had to be on the lookout for me with my sign. But I was following the tracking app carefully and tried to pay extra attention to when I knew they would be close to running by me.

But there was one Tone It Up friend running who I do know. Elva is someone who I met a while ago through the group and we had been at a few of the same events before (she was with me at one of my 5Ks). But she is also my neighbor and lives only a few blocks from my house! She and I have met up for a running hangout (she ran, I did run/walk intervals) and we keep saying that we need to do that more often. It’s tough with our schedules being very different, but I know we will make it happen.

She is such an amazing runner and has done so many races in the past, but this was the first time I would have a chance to cheer her on. I had her in the tracking list from the website, but she was also texting me updates so I would know when she was close. And right on time, she was coming over to me so I could give her a huge hug! I wasn’t expecting her to stop, but I’m glad she did so I could say a quick hi and we could get a fun photo together!

After Elva went by, I didn’t have any more friends I was looking for. But one person who was hanging out with me cheering on runners had a few more friends out on the course so we were all on the lookout for them! There were a few people who we think either quit the race or never started because their tracking on the site was either saying they couldn’t be found or that they couldn’t be tracked. And by 1pm, the sweeper car was getting close to where we were so we knew the runners were almost done. So it was time for us all to head back to our cars to continue on with our day.

I’ve cheered on the marathon runners several times now, but this was the most fun I’ve had doing it! I had so many people I was supporting at the race and that was just so inspiring. And I think having a group made things even better. We were all having so much fun talking about the crazy costumes we were seeing and laughing at the reactions the runners had at our Trump sign (several runners stopped to come over and take a photo of the sign). Hopefully at the next marathon, I can think of some clever signs again and will have more great friends out there to support the runners with me!

Marathon Viewings (or Olympic Trials and Workout Friends)

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, the main reason my friend Kate came to visit was to watch the Olympic marathon trials. To be honest, until Kate had mentioned she wanted to come to town for the trials, I had no clue that they were happening now nor that they were happening in LA. So I’m grateful that Kate was coming to watch them because I learned about them too!

The Olympic trials took place in downtown LA (they had to do a bunch of laps on the course to complete the marathon), and since I had to work in the morning Kate took the light rail there and told me where she was so I could meet her later. Fortunately for Kate, the course was only about a block away from the train station, so it was pretty easy for her to get there. She gave me a heads up where she was watching and as soon as I was done with work I got in my car to try to join her.

It wasn’t easy to try to get to the course. A couple of streets were closed, there were lots of confused drivers, and it didn’t help that the LA Marathon packet pickup was taking place in the same area at the same time so there were even more people getting stuck on the roads. I thought that I’d have to either keep circling the area or stay in my car when I was parked in a semi-legal spot. But after parking in a questionably legal parking space and sitting in my car, I saw someone move a cone blocking a street so he could get onto the street (it was a street a block away from the course). I found a parking spot at a meter and the meter had already been paid for! So I parked my car and walked over to meet Kate.

By the time I had gotten to the course, the top finishing men had already passed by for the final time. So I never got to see them, but there were still lots of men working on finishing the course (it wasn’t easy in the heat so many runners either had to go slow or were at risk of passing out). But I was there with plenty of time to see the top women come by one more time. Kate had a runner that she was rooting for and had seen online that she wasn’t in the top 3 (only the top 3 get to go to the Olympics), but we were still excited to see her.

While I have no desire to ever do a marathon, it was still pretty awesome to see these amazing athletes running by me. And when the top 3 women came by, the entire crowd was shouting and cheering for them. It was so cool to be there to witness that. And the woman who Kate was rooting for was in 4th and the crowd was just as excited to see her go by as they were for the top 3.

Olympic Trials

We left a little bit after watching the leaders run by since Kate had to get to LAX for her flight home. I was able to watch the marathon trials for about an hour. And while I did wish that I had the chance to be there longer, I’m grateful that I was able to watch even a little bit.

The next day was the LA Marathon. I had gone out to the course in the past to cheer on the marathoners and was planning on doing the same thing again. I had a couple of friends running and I asked them all to tell me their average mile time so I could try to get out to the course in time to see them go by.

It was much easier to get to the course than the Olympic trials course, but it was still a bit difficult to park. I found parking after about 20 minutes, but sadly I missed the first person that I wanted to see running by at mile 19. But I still had a few other friends to be on the lookout for. So I double checked their posts on social media so I could see what they were wearing (it makes it easier to find them when I know what outfits to look for).

While I was waiting to see my friends come by, I cheered on the other marathoners. It was another hot day and the runners were having a tough time. I know that every person who was racing earned every mile that they went and some of them had to battle for every step. But even in the heat, so many people were still running with a smile. And of course, there were some pretty awesome costumes too. With it being on Valentine’s Day, there were some Valentine themed costumes like Cupid or wearing all red. I even saw one guy wearing a full tuxedo. And then there were the fun costumes like Forrest Gump and someone in a Gumby outfit (they must have been dying in the heat inside of that thing!).

I kept checking my watch for the time because I knew approximately when my friends should be coming by. I was terrified that I missed seeing them all (sadly, I missed 3 of my friends but I think one of them might have been faster than they expected). But after being out on the course for a little over an hour, I finally saw some familiar faces!

LA Marathon Friends

Jonathan (who is the business manager of Orangetheory) and Jordan (aka The Balanced Blonde) were running together. This was Jordan’s first marathon and Jonathan was staying with her. I was so excited to see them come by me and I know that they both heard me cheering them on. They both looked pretty happy and were looking strong at mile 19 (which is amazing to me!).

I stuck around for a little bit longer looking for my other friends, but after realizing that they would have had to do their miles 4 minutes slower than expected to still be on the course, I realized that I missed the rest of them and went home.

Even though I never want to do a marathon, I love getting out to the course to cheer people on. It’s such a huge accomplishment and you never know if you cheering someone on will give them the encouragement to ignore the pain or negative thoughts in their head and help them keep going. I know that there have been people on the 5K courses who have been that person for me. So I just want to make sure that I pay it forward.

A Speedy Friend Visit (or Making The Most Of 24 Hours)

When my friend Kate stayed with me the last time, she mentioned that she might be coming to town in February to watch the Olympic marathon trials. I set the date aside in my calendar and was really excited when Kate told me that she had booked her flights and that she wanted to stay at my place again. But because of her work and the varying costs of flights, Kate was only able to be here for 24 hours (almost exactly). So I was planning out how to make this the most awesome 24 hour visit ever!

Kate got here on Friday afternoon (which is why I couldn’t work out on Friday). I picked her up at LAX and I was super excited to see her. I miss having her live in LA, so even when her visits are super speedy it makes me so happy to have her in the same city as me. It’s funny that it’s such a big deal because since we graduated high school, we’ve lived in the same city for a very limited time. But since she moved to LA briefly I am even more excited when she comes back!

I had gotten an email from the SAG-AFTRA Film Society earlier that week that there was going to be a screening of “Hail, Caesar!” at the DGA that evening. So I asked Kate if she wanted to go to that and she did. It was actually her first time going to a screening with me (for some reason we could never coordinate schedules with the screening schedules when she lived here). But this time it worked out pretty nicely so as soon as I had picked Kate up we headed over to the DGA.

Since the screening wasn’t until 6:30, we had some time to grab dinner before the movie. We walked across the street to The Counter (I love that place!) for burgers and some catch up time. Kate filled me in on her work and her cats and I filled her in on the craziness of everything and my workouts. We had to eat pretty quickly to make it to the screening, but it worked out fine.

I really enjoyed “Hail, Caesar!”! It was really funny and even though some of the jokes were very much about the entertainment industry, I think that enough of the movie isn’t insider stuff that everyone should be able to enjoy it. I was laughing quite a bit through the movie and I think that the entire cast was amazing!

After the screening, Kate and I walked over to the West Hollywood Orangetheory location. I don’t work out at that location, but I wanted to show it to Kate because there is a Orangetheory near where she lives and she’s thinking about checking it out. Even though the studio was closed, the manager (who I’ve met several times and he knows me) was there and he let us in. I showed Kate the various equipment inside and I chatted with the manager about the crazy workout from Thursday (where there was 22 minutes on the floor straight). We didn’t want to keep him there too long after hours, so Kate and I headed out and headed back to my house.

The next day was the main event that Kate came to town for: the Olympic trials. I’ll share more about this tomorrow but Kate went early in the morning and I was able to join her there after I was done with work. Even though I missed most of it, I got to see a little bit.

After we were done watching the racers, we headed over to my side of town to get some lunch at one of my favorite places, Lyfe Kitchen. Even though they have so many good things on their menu, I tend to get the same things each time. I love their BBQ chicken flatbread but instead of fries (since I had some the night before), I got a side of steam veggies with my food.

Lyfe Kitchen

After lunch we only had a little bit of time left before Kate needed to be back at LAX for her flight home, so we were trying to figure out what to do. We finally decided on doing a bit of random searching in the car for new wine bars. My favorite local wine bar, Bottle Rock, closed down right after the last time I was there so I was on the search for a new place. I knew that any new place I found wouldn’t be walking distance like Bottle Rock was, but I still wanted to see what other places were out there.

I had randomly seen a wine bar driving around a few weeks ago, so we headed over there first. Sadly, the place wasn’t open yet for the day. But we were able to see a menu online and it looked promising. After checking out that place, we did a search on Google Maps for other wine bars in the area and we set off on an adventure! We ended up checking out 2 other wine bars (one that looked good and one that didn’t) and then it was time to go to LAX.

Considering that this was all done in 24 hours, I think we succeeded in maximizing the limited time that Kate had in town. She kept saying that this wasn’t really a friend visit since she was coming here for the Olympic trials, but I lucked out because she was staying at my house. So I wanted to make sure that Kate had a fun time in LA and didn’t just feel like she was flying in, sleeping at my house, watching the Olympic trials, and flying out.

I’m just glad that Kate was just as up for going on as many adventures as we could like I was.

Getting Faster Bit By Bit (or Speeding Up My Heart And My Walking)

I’m getting more and more used to my heart rate being fast during my workouts. And the more days that go by, the more normal my heart rate becomes. In fact, it might almost be back to before the medication this week or next.

It was nice for a little while to have my heart rate faster than usual. I felt like I was getting more out of my workouts since I was getting more time in the orange zone. I know that it doesn’t really work that way when your heart rate is fast due to medication, but it felt like that to me.

But this past week, getting into the orange zone wasn’t as easy this past week as it was the week before. I’m working on using heavier weights during all of my workouts, but I know that I have to step up my cardio as well.

I’ve been using the incline on the treadmill a lot more than I did in the past. For my base pace, power walkers are supposed to be at 3% incline. I now always have it at 4%. During my push pace, I used to be at somewhere between 6-9%. Now I have it at at least 10%. My all-out pace is still at 15%, but that’s because 15% is the highest that the treadmill goes.

But as I get in better and better shape, my heart rate doesn’t go as high with incline as it used to (it’s real proof that my heart is getting stronger!). I’ve tried to slowly increase my speed, but it hasn’t been easy.

When I started at Orangetheory, I was usually at 3.0 or 3.1 miles an hour. I liked 3.1 miles an hour because then I knew that at that speed it would take me exactly an hour to do a 5K. Eventually, I was at 3.2 miles an hour on the treadmill. And a little while ago I went up to 3.3 miles an hour.

But this week, I really wanted to push myself. Maybe it’s because in my head I’ve realized that there is no way that I will not have another surgery on my hip in my near future. It’s inevitable and I better use my hip before it gets cut up and I have a long recovery. So I went to 3.4 miles an hour for all 3 of my workouts. I know that this isn’t that fast yet and I’m still below 3.5 miles an hour which is the bottom of what power walkers are considered at Orangetheory, but it’s improvement.

And I need to keep taking steps like this in increasing my speed. I’ve decided that if I ever decided to do a half marathon, the only one that I will consider will be one at Disneyland. If I’m going to do something that crazy, I might as well be at my favorite place in the world. All Disneyland races have a required pace time of a 16-minute per mile or faster.

So I found this great chart online to help me get to my goal of 16 minute miles.

Walking Speed Guide

I would probably want to be at 3.9 miles an hour on the treadmill to feel comfortable doing a Disneyland race. I know that those races have lots of awesome photo ops, and I’d want to have time to take advantage of those. On the Disneyland race website they even recommend having a training pace of 15-minute miles to allow for the photo ops. So that would bring me to 4.0 miles an hour on the treadmill.

That seems like so far away from where I am right now. But in reality, it’s not that much more of a jump than what I have done from when I started at Orangetheory to now. So maybe in another year (unless I have my hip surgery), I’ll be at my goal speed.

I’m thinking of making a training plan to figure out how to steadily increase my speed. I’m also looking at making a plan for increasing my weights as well. I might work on that this week when I have some time between customers at my day job.

But if any of you have ideas on how to make a plan to increase my speed (I’m not even starting to think about increasing my distance yet), I’d really love to hear your recommendations. I’m really so new at all of this, so I can use any help that I can get!

Being A Spectator (or Watching And Not Wanting To Do The Marathon)

This weekend was the LA marathon, and again, I watched a lot of it from my house (it didn’t help that we were having a crazy heat wave).

I’ve previously talked about how in the past I thought that maybe one day I would do a marathon but how I no longer have that desire. I always thought that a marathon was the ultimate thing to do to prove that I’m in better shape than I was before. But I don’t feel like that is the truth anymore.

I was up right after the start of the marathon and watched it live on the news for a good portion of the beginning. I even got to watch the winner cross the finish line.


The marathon starts at Dodgers Stadium and then ends up at the ocean. But part of the course was only about a 10 minute drive from my house. And since I knew a few people running the marathon, I decided to head out and watch the runners for a little while.

I was handing out between mile 19 and 20, so a lot of the racers were starting to look a little tired (plus the heat wasn’t helping).


I think that almost everyone I knew running the race passed where I was before I got there. But I still was cheering on for random people running by. There were runners who were barefoot, wearing crazy costumes, dribbling a basketball the entire time, and blind racers tethered to a guide.

After watching the racers for a while, I saw a somewhat familiar face run past where I was standing. It was Rachel from “The Biggest Loser”. I knew that she had gained some weight back after the finale (she looked much better after not being so incredibly skinny), and she looked pretty great running down Santa Monica Blvd.

I also saw one of my favorite authors running the race. I knew she was running because she posted about it on her Instagram, but it was still pretty exciting to see her! I cheered for her, but she was super focused and didn’t hear me (I told her on twitter that I cheered and she thought that that was pretty cool).

While it was inspiring for me to watch the runners, it made me realize that I have no desire to ever do a marathon anymore. I’m happy with doing a couple of 5Ks each year (it looks like I might only be doing 2 or 3 this year). And maybe one day I’ll do a 10K. But I see no reason to do a longer race than that.

I’ve talked about this before about how in the past I looked at 5Ks as a primary source of exercise. Now that I have a regular workout routine, I look at the races as bonuses and not necessary to try to get in shape.

I feel such a sense of relief that I don’t feel the pressure to ever do a marathon. I’m more than happy to go out and support people I know doing a marathon (I’ll probably try to get a group together for next year’s LA marathon and have a bunch of people cheering). It’s a huge accomplishment and everyone who did race should be insanely proud of themselves.

But it’s nice to know that I don’t feel like I’m missing out on something by not doing a marathon.

Boston (or Again, I Have No Words)

Very few events make me speechless. Yesterday, I was at my first day back at work. I wasn’t watching the news or checking twitter. A couple of hours into my shift, I decide to do a quick twitter check (sometimes my app doesn’t let me know if my @ replies come in).

All of the sudden, I’m seeing all these posts about the Boston Marathon. At first, I was confused because I didn’t think a marathon would be on a Monday. So I decided to google it.

And after seeing what I saw, I couldn’t speak for a minute. Finally, I was able to say something to my co-workers and then after a bit I went back to work (I had to). But I kept checking twitter every so often.

I don’t understand why someone would do something so horrible. Finishing a marathon should be a moment of pure joy. Or at least I imagine it would be. I remember how happy I was when I crossed the finish line of the first 5K I did. I was with my dad, and the finish line was at the 50 yard line of the LA Coliseum.

And now that joy has been taken away from so many people.

One of the photos that has stuck with me the most was the one of the runner who fell down very close to the finish line after the first bomb went off. He was almost to the end, and then he was on the ground. I found out that this man was doing his 3rd Boston marathon and after the picture was taken, he crossed the finish line and walked back to his hotel.

That sort of resilience is amazing.

Another thing that was amazing was the incredible outpouring of support from the world. Of course there were the usual posts on twitter and Facebook, but people rushed to donate blood. There were even runners that as soon as the crossed the finish line they went straight to donate. There is a googledoc online where people posted if they had a place that someone could stay. I checked it out, and there are probably at least 1,000 posts of people who put their information out for the world to see just so they could help someone.

Why can’t there be this outpouring of love and support outside of a tragedy?

I read online that people are going to be wearing various race shirts today in support of those in Boston. While I do work in a casual office, a race shirt might be pushing it on a non-Saturday shift. So I went through my dresser and grabbed all the race shirts I had (some I don’t have any more).


I hope that if any of you reading this are in Boston, that you are ok. And also I hope that any of you who have friends in Boston know that they are ok now too (everyone I know is fine).

I don’t have another 5K until next month, but now I’m thinking I want to do something special when I cross the finish line this time to support those who weren’t able to finish the Boston marathon because of this. If any of you have ideas I’d appreciate hearing them.

26.2 (or No Marathon For Me)

It was the LA Marathon here in LA yesterday. I had a bunch of friends running, so I had the news coverage of the marathon on my tv this morning hoping I’d catch a glimpse of one of them running (sadly, I didn’t).

I’ve never done a marathon (the farthest I’ve ever done was a 5K and that’s walking), and at one point in my life, I dreamed of being able to say that I ran a marathon. I even had a personal trainer at one point who was training me to run. That stopped pretty quickly due to my hip hurting. So I gave up on that dream for a while.

Then they started doing marathons on The Biggest Loser. Some of those people were in much worse physical shape when they started and they could do a marathon. So I tried starting with the Couch to 5K program. And I had to give up on that again because of my hip.

I’ve pretty much given up on the idea of running. I know that high impact workouts are not the best for me.

And then one day, I came across this post on Daily Garnish. And it made me realize that it doesn’t matter if I never get to do a marathon one day. That shouldn’t be an end goal for me. For some people, all they dream of doing is a 5K. I have lots of friends who don’t think that they could do one. And I do it. Sometimes I’m a lot slower than I’d like to be, but I still cross the finish line.

And running isn’t for everyone. For me, it’s just not something that I should do because of my health restrictions. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to be healthy or that I don’t get good workouts in. I push myself so far in spin class. I drip sweat and I know that even though I’m not do all the standing work, I’ll get there one day.

So maybe I can take the approach I wanted to take with doing a marathon to spinning. Doing a 5K is the same as being able to do an entire class without a break. Doing a 10K is like not taking a break and making sure I use all the resistance that the instructor is saying. And finishing a marathon is being able to do the entire class, standing up work and all, exactly how the instructor wants it to be.

I might not be able to do a traditional marathon, but I can make my own marathon with what I am able and love to do.