by Kevin Grevemberg
This weekend myself (Kevin Grevemberg) and fellow NBR'ior Fernando Feria flew out to the City of Angels to run the LA Marathon. Neither one of us had a particularly stellar train-up leading up to this - in fact we both would freely admit that we were woefully underprepared for the endeavor. Fernando and I discussed at length during our "too little too late" Narwhal 20 milers what strategy we would follow in order not to die out there. We settled on going out slow then shooting for a 4:30 finish time – seemed doable.
We met up in LA and stayed with NBR alum's Todd and Chantel aka the Chantodd™. They were incredibly gracious hosts. Since I had abandoned any notions of a PR or a BQ long before, I didn't experience the jitters I had while picking up our bibs at the marathon expo. In fact, the warm weather and sunshine had me excited! We basically did what you shouldn't the night before – aka drank too much alcohol and too little water which was only offset by the amazing pasta dinner that Todd prepared for us.
We left a bit late and arrived at the shuttle bus pick-up 10 minutes too late and were told the last bus was gone. Fernando then asked the transport captain "Well what do we do now?" Before he could answer, a handful of other stragglers showed up as well as another bus. The transport captain told the driver in broken Spanish to take us to such and such point and that we would have to walk the rest of the way to Dodger stadium. The driver nodded and we took off. Whether he hadn't understood the instructions or didn't care, he proceeded to take us all the way which, was great as we would definitely gotten lost and missed the bag check.
Fern's late sign-up for the race put us in the very very back in an open corral. This was good, as it kept our speed in check for the first two miles until we picked up Todd, who had agreed to pace us Bandit-style the whole way. Todd was basically a combination sherpa/tour-guide giving us little tid-bits about what to do and where to eat in each of the neighborhoods we padded through. Mile after mile peeled away and I was struck by how enjoyable this was turning out to be. We weren't in a hurry and not worried too much about splits. I started to get a bit of an IT warning shot across the bow around mile 17, but after a good stretch during a bathroom break I shook it off. Looking at our split times post race we had basically started to negative split after the first 25k and kept that up for the duration. We ran into an awesome Cheer squad led by Chantel and their running team Republic somewhere in West Hollywood. The photo speaks for itself - we were actually still having fun deep into running a marathon!
As we passed mile 20-21, we conquered our last big uphill climb - the rest was cake. When we hit mile 23 we did something I have never been able to do in a marathon - we started to drop the hammer getting faster and faster. The last mile we clocked a 7:20 pace - a far cry from the 10's we had been doing in the beginning. Todd, who had been taking short vids right behind us the whole way, hilariously stuck with us almost to the bitter end until course volunteers standing next to signs that basically read "bandits GTFO!" finally drove him off 100 meters from the finish.
We did it. We didn't die. I finished my 3rd marathon and more importantly Fern finished his marathon marathon - his 26th. Not only that – we "crushed" our goal time crossing the line at 4:17:38.
Can they all be this fun? NYC marathon see you in November...