I broke my rule. I took a few pictures. What would have been the best picture, I just kept in my brain space, so I sort of cheated you all there. But I'll tell you about it.

 I decided not to ditch my five dollar sweatshirt, but to use gear check. This meant I was really cold for about 30 minutes before we started, but now I have a sweet five dollar CA bear hoodie.

I decided not to ditch my five dollar sweatshirt, but to use gear check. This meant I was really cold for about 30 minutes before we started, but now I have a sweet five dollar CA bear hoodie.

The mile before the miles: It was the typical start for me, the 4:30 am wake-up call, the oatmeal, the wandering around the hotel room failing at my attempts to be quiet. Note for folks interested in the #lamarathon, book your room through the marathon site and you get a wristband for shuttle access from downtown to the starting line and from the finish line back downtown. 

 E pluribus unum.

E pluribus unum.

I'm borderline obsessed with this photo. Let's just get it out of the way, yes, I look like a tool. I didn't focus at all on me, just took the shot and shoved the phone back my my hip pack. But I love it anyway because there's just so much to see. It's all there: excitement, fear, happiness, anxiety, adrenaline, strength, nerves, all of it. And every person it the photo probably felt all of those things at some point during the race, whether or not an individual would admit it. Plus, there's something sort of rad about the dude reaching up to the sky. Is he praying? Reflecting some love back to Jerry? Stretching? Who cares. I love how this photo looks like America to me. 

Mile One: We were just out of the stadium area and at the bottom of an incline are treated to our first Dooms Dayer with a megaphone experience. "ACCEPT JESUS! YOU CAN'T CROSS THE FINISH LINE WITHOUT JEEEEEESUS!" his amplified anger scream carried quite well.

I suppose the finish line he was speaking of was metaphorical, but imagine "Repent Now" sign of your choice and wondered if he actually thought someone was gonna stop and be like, "You're right, hell with my training, give me a sign!" I've never understood this particular line of carnival barker and must say, the man about a half mile up the road who was holding a "John 3:16" sign and yelling in happy, non-confrontational tone, "God is good!" had a much better marketing plan.

Somewhere along Mile Three: When I turned a corner, the sidewalk was lined with tents. Homelessness is such a major issue all over the country, but it's particularly affected me since the last city in which I lived and my current city, both have large homeless populations. It's a complex issue with no easy solutions, but we were treated to a story of hope and inspiration the Friday night before the race when we attended a screening of Skid Row Marathon. For me, it was reminiscent of the work we did at Face It TOGETHER Sioux Falls, in how it put a face to homelessness (the way we did with addiction) and shared hopeful human stories. If you have a chance, check out this film. You will not be disappointed. 

Just before Mile Six: Oh, look that lake with the fountains that's in a bunch of tv and film. Oh yeah, Echo Park Lake. (This was a reoccurring theme on the run. Lol. I won't bore you with all the details.)

Mile Eightish: When my nephew, Will, was super small, like two or three years old, he would lose his sh*t when "Gangnam Style" came on. Like full-on dance, not THE dance, but his own fashion with pauses, Flashdance fast feet, and a dramatic drop to the floor. It was incredible, of course I'm biased, and it completely endeared me to the song forever. It's always on the running mixes to give me a giggle and a little burst of Willie style energy. Then the LA Marathon gave me this nugget:

 There were grandpas out there crushing it. I do love LA.

There were grandpas out there crushing it. I do love LA.

I really have no idea if it was Mile 10 or 11: My turtle race nature is well documented. The goal is always to have fun and finish. Yes, I have varying degrees of describing fun at this point. But there is always a point where I see something I would have never seen if not for the race. I was somewhere along Hollywood Boulevard, just plodding along and due to some construction, there was an empty space on my side of the road, so for whatever reason I glanced over my left shoulder and was treated to the most gorgeous view of the downtown skyline. It was still early enough that the sun wasn't too high and it was just that perfect time of day where everything feels possible. So if you ever wonder why I keep doing this to myself, it's because of those 10 seconds. I felt a little bad for the fast people who didn't look back. I'm the Lot's wife of marathons.

 Mile 12: Sunset in West Hollywood. This guy. I told him how much I loved his confidence and how happy he made me. And he and his friend cheered. I ran near them for a few miles because watching people's reactions was absolutely life-giving. The thong man is officially a totem in my life. 

Mile 12: Sunset in West Hollywood. This guy. I told him how much I loved his confidence and how happy he made me. And he and his friend cheered. I ran near them for a few miles because watching people's reactions was absolutely life-giving. The thong man is officially a totem in my life. 

Mile 17: Rodeo Drive seemed extra ridiculous when there was more salt on my face than a pretzel. I worked under the assumption that every woman (and some of the men) in the race was having a "Pretty Woman" moment, imagining getting kicked out of the fancy store for smelling like the 7th circle of hell. "BIG MISTAKE! HUGE!"

Mile 19.5: Super lightheaded. Dizzy. Actually contemplated looking for the next med tent. Remembered that Brownheads are bad asses and they'd have to scrape me off the pavement if it came to that.

Mile 20: A woman was passing out tiny cups of beer. The lightheadedness was still bugging me, but the Universe said to try the beer. Bradley Nowell said it was 40 ounces to freedom, but apparently about four was all I needed. The beer perked me up and snapped me back to life.

SIDEBAR: Anyone going, "What?" You aren't stalking me well enough. :) 

Mile 20.5: "Med tent, smed tent! I AM A BROWNHEAD!"

Mile 21: A very cute family was watching the race with their very cute yellow Lab in tow. Of course, I pulled over and asked to pet their dog. They obliged and as I told them about Joey, the Lab started licking my salty leg. Oh doggos.

Mile 22 and 23: I knew I was somewhere around Brentwood and had to use every bit of restraint to not yell, "JUICE!" down each street. I also decided that if we were super rich and wanted to live in LA, San Vicente would be a fine street on which to live. 

The greatest part about getting closer to the finish line was the cooler temperatures the closer we got to the ocean. It's also always nice to hit the point where I only have a 5K left and I know I can do that in my sleep.

 Seeing the finish is always pretty awesome. There were people lined along both sides of the last stretch, but for security, the last .2 miles is always just the runners. I'm usually smiling or crying, or both, at this point. On March 18, I was happy--how could you not be happy with that view?

Seeing the finish is always pretty awesome. There were people lined along both sides of the last stretch, but for security, the last .2 miles is always just the runners. I'm usually smiling or crying, or both, at this point. On March 18, I was happy--how could you not be happy with that view?

Mile 27: I put down a bottle of water (one chug), a banana (two bites), a protein bar (three bites), Goldfish crackers (poured into mouth, not Lady Doritos style), and a container of Muscle Milk (pretty much like a regular human) before we were out of the family reunion area. #shesalady

 I signed up for the Las Vegas Half Marathon 48 hours later. Because.  Running as a St. Jude Hero for that one .

I signed up for the Las Vegas Half Marathon 48 hours later. Because. Running as a St. Jude Hero for that one.

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