Posts Tagged ‘santa monica’

Sorry about the video quality. I am still trying to figure out how to upload videos from my GoPro without compressing the file and losing audio/video quality.

My recent trip to California was literally the greatest time of my life. I got to spend some good quality time with my brother, run a marathon on the beaches of Santa Monica and Venice, and road-trip from LA to San Francisco.

The 2013 Beach Jam Marathon was Saturday morning and my friend Mary was supposed to meet me at the start. We ran together the evening before and she wasn’t sure if she was going to race. She decided that morning that she would run the half marathon, so I was going to run it with her. We had such a great time together at the 2012 LA Marathon so I knew this would be fun too.


The course was a 13.1 mile loop starting at Crescent Bay Park in Santa Moinca. From the start, you head south along the Venice boardwalk a few bocks past the pier and turn around. Then, back to the start/finish area for the first aid station. Continue north to the end of Will Rogers State Beach for the next aid station, then back to the start /finish.

The race was a small event held by Rocket Racing Productions. Between the 10 mile, half marathon, and full marathon there were about 75 people. I’ve learned to enjoy the small events because of the more personal atmosphere. Although I love great crowd support, some of my most memorable races have been very small ones like this.

My game plan…
Have fun, run smart. This wasn’t going to be a “race” to me. Since I’m training for my first 100 miler I just considered it my long run for the week, but this time I had company for the first half, a mobile pit crew (my brother), aid stations, and I got a medal at the end.

The weather was perfect that morning. Well, to me it was. Starting in the low 50’s, the the temps would rise to 71 before the race was over. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and just a light ocean breeze.

The first half…


This picture captures the mood perfectly.

As the race started, the conversation and laughs came quickly. We kept a slow, comfortable pace. My constant stops at every rest room slowed us down even more, but the clock wasn’t a concern. The mood was awesome. I felt strong. This was going to be great!


We continued on. Everything went great until mile 11. Mary was getting tired, and something didn’t feel right with my ankle. A few days before, I tweaked it while running in the snow and now the pain is starting to come back. As we finished the half marathon Mary got her medal and took off to get some food. She would come back to cheer me on at the end. I still had 13.1 miles to run, so I kept pushing forward.

The second half…

It was starting to get rough. I called my brother around mile 14. He was going to meet me a couple of miles down. I’ve never had a mobile pit crew, but my brother was amazing. He brought me beer and meds near mile 16 to help get me to the finish. I sat down in his car to enjoy my beer and my ankle was starting to swell. After a few minutes I took off and my brother was going to meet me a few miles later.

At the aid station near mile 18 I stopped to look at my ankle. It was getting bigger, and my pace was slowing rapidly. I typically run about a 9 or 10 minute pace for this distance but I was at about 13 minutes so I was obviously hurting. My brother met up with me again near mile 20. This time he brought me some ice, ibuprophen, another pair of shoes, and another beer. I rested there for about 20 minutes icing my ankle and keeping it elevated. I tended to the 2 very large blisters on my feet, changed my shoes, and went on my way. This race was getting brutal, but without the help of my brother I would have been suffering thru it.


I felt a lot better. The ankle still hurt, but I was close to my normal pace again. I saw Mary at mile 21. She walked with me for a couple minutes and we talked. She knew my ankle was in bad shape, but she could tell I was doing a lot better. I was ready to get this race over with. I only had 5 miles left. One more hour and I could relax and ice my ankle. That’s all I wanted.


Beach Jam Marathon course.

I pushed thru it and finally made it to the finish. I got my medal and Mary gave an ice pack for my ankle. This was the hardest marathon of my life. Other than my ankle I felt great though. I wasn’t even sore.

What I thought of the race…

*well organised
*race staff was very friendly
*aid stations were fully stocked – water, sports drinks, granola bars, gels, electrolyte tablets
*beautiful course
*plenty of rest rooms along the beach
*very affordable

*no crowd support
*not a closed course – had to dodge people the whole way (especially in Venice)
*medal was pretty basic
*not chip timed

The bottom line…

If you like quiet, scenic races then this is for you. If I lived in LA I would participate in other events held by Rocket Racing Productions.


Last week I found out that my next race was cancelled. I was planning on flying to California to visit my brother. I planned on running the La Jolla Canyon 50k, but it ended up getting cancelled due to an issue with permits. So, I searched around for other races in the LA area that same weekend. Even if I find a 5k, I am running a race while I’m there. Well, it must have been my lucky day. There is a marathon in Santa Monica (where I’m staying) the same day the 50k was scheduled (March 9th). The Beach Jam Marathon starts in Santa Monica and runs along the ocean south to Marina Del Rey then north to the Pacific Palisades, then back to Santa Monica. I’m looking forward to the challenge of another marathon. I always enjoy the scenery, the happy runners I chat with along the way, and the sense of accomplishment that I get from races. Let’s just hope this one doesn’t get cancelled…