My LA adventure transpired due to the unique format for the professional runners: an Equalizer. With the Equalizer, the women are given a pre-determined head start, hence the empty roads, and the men chase them down with the first across the line declared the winner. I am no stranger to the Equalizer; the Life Time Fitness triathlon in Minneapolis utilized this system to create excitement among the competitors and spectators. It was a marquee event upon which an invite was coveted. There was bonus money for the top 5 across the line, unlike the LA marathon which has a bonus solely for the winner. With only one person reaping the spoils, the men’s and women’s fields in LA are generally tiny, which is probably how I was able to obtain a start in such an esteemed field.
There are many advantages to acquiring a spot in the elite field. The race organizers take care of the runners, ensuring that they have the best race possible. There is no need to fight the throngs at the expo to pick up race packets. All of that is given to the athletes after a private race meeting. Speaking of the meeting, the quote of the day had to be this: "Whoever finishes first, please look jubilant when you cross the line and whatever you do, DO NOT, hit the stop button on your watch." The hospitality suite is always stocked with food. And then, there is my favorite part, the water bottle tables for special needs and the requisite tradition of decorating the bottles. In this particular race, the tables were situated every 4 miles. Yes, that is something to look forward to during a long day.
|My bottles, adorned for the big day.|
|The women's field ready to go.|
|Big smiles before the big race...|
|...no longer smiling|
Even though I slowed noticeably toward the end, I held it together enough to finish only a minute slower than my PR, which was run on a much easier course. I placed 6th overall in a time of 2:44.48.
I am not hobbled too badly and hope to recover quickly. The weather is only getting better, and Diesel the Dog will be anxious to get some exercise.