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Suzy Degazon-Long Beach Marathon
I now begin to get a little cold as I wait for the start, I watch the race walkers set off at 6.15am, when finally 7.30 approached there was about 9,000 runners in the fenced off corral, which was a mixture of half marathoners as well as the full. The National Anthem was played and off I started I slowly moved to the timing mat my chip bleeped into action and the race had started.
The first 10miles was packed it was a good job there was only 9,000 runners when Long Beach grows I hope they will allow the marathoners to leave at 6.15am as it was difficult to run with so many half marathoners some who were even walking in the first 2 miles!!
It was a game of survival and open opportunities of dodging around people! The course was beautiful and the ocean breeze felt great! There was a fireboat which looked like an exotic water fountain, it would sound its horn and the runners would be refreshed with a cloud of fine spray! From about mile 6 to 10 the run went on to the bike path which is not exactly a wide path and can be hard on the runners. I was wearing a good pair of Brooks which absorbed the pounding, but was difficult to get into a good pace as there was not a lot of room to maneuver, so I slowed down and took in the great scenery of the ocean and white sand, and remember doing the Pacific open water challenge earlier this year!
At mile 10ish, the half marathoners split away from the marathoners and the field immediately thinned out. It was at this spot I managed a side stitch, I did this weird run stretch dance of unusual moves to eliminate the discomfort then my attention to this problem was diverted as I saw a friend to run with! The next 8 miles where great and I ran chatting with a friend I trail run with, At mile 12 I was sprayed down with Kool n Fit, I had kept a steady intake of water and hammer gel, even thought the temperatures were cool I also kept on the endurolytes .
At mile 19 my friend told me to continue as we where going too fast, so I kept on, keeping in check with my polar which was telling me I was running at a good pace and if I kept on I would do a personal best time of 3hours and 39 minutes. I was feeling good and started passing a lot of runners the course which is 95%flat had a few inclines near the last few miles.
I started to get excited as I only had 4 miles to go. Then something happened to my Polar 625, the minutes got longer and the miles also got longer!!! I could not believe the last mile took so long!! I swear Ocean Blvd was so so long!
The spectators where great I could see the finish line my shins felt sore I thought should I sprint to the finish or just keep upright and run a dignified finish (truth be told I could not have sprinted for a zillion dollars!) then it was over, a huge square finishers medal was hung around my neck, then a girl took off the timing chip from my Brooks running shoe.. Water was given to me and I was nearly out of the fenced area when I saw my trail running buddy finish! I think he did his personal best!!
The race definitely had all the right elements. Bob Seagren certainly knows how to produce a good race environment. With a bike tour, 5km run, half marathon, kids 1 mile run there was plenty for the family to do!
Plenty of water out on the course I carried my own electrolytes and hammer gel, as the race did not have that fuel! It was scenic and cool temperatures to run in, there had been a good expo at the Long Beach Convention center and good post race food available.
The marathon web site was the best I have ever seen, and the race results the most detailed! I finished in the top 13% of finishers in a time of 3 hours and 43 minutes, good enough for 9th in the 40 to 44 age group and 43rd female overall!!
My shins where sore but I was very grateful to Kool n Fit for paying my entry fee. With this race I raise money for AVON against Breast Cancer, and thank the companies who help me along the way: Hammer Nutrition, Brooks USA, Rudy Project eye wear, Fuelbelt, Hawaiian Tropic Suncare, Polar USA, and as I am a triathlete not forgetting Profile Design & Aquaman Wetsuits, Spinergy USA!
Was grateful to see Al and the kids at the finish and was whisked away to enjoy a huge Mexican feast!
Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com
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