Long Beach Marathon (SUB4ORDIE) : Part 1

I mentioned a lot of my race faux pas and how I managed to completely BLOW my Goal Race in the  “Lessons Learned From a Completely Terrible No Good Race” post.

If you’re interested in the nitty-gritty details, continue reading.

If you only want to hear about the race itself and all of its disasterous crapshoot, come back tomorrow.

If you’re interested in telling me how much I suck and am not “as awesome as I think I am”, feel free to proceed directly to the comments section.  You’re only adding fuel to my Sub4 fire.

And thanks, I feel completely validated as a blogger now to officially have haters.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Race Eve – Sweaty Emily and I shake-out ran, hit up the expo, and carb-loaded like champ, and got to sleep at a respectable time like good little runners.  Read her posts for more D’s – I’m just gonna hark her photos and let them do the talking.

p.s. thanks Julie for the bag of candy – carb trifecta COMPLETE

p.p.s Danica, I still feel really bad about the exploding Sprite.  Swear I wasn’t trying to make your life anymore miserable than it already was.

Race Morning – Everything early goes as planned.  Alarms functioned, intestines cooperated, and we got on the road on-time despite Brian hiding the car down the road and around the block.

(he loved the frantic “WHERE THE F IS THE CAR?!” call I’m sure)

I had pre-paid & reserved parking, and had a general idea of how to get us there…

When we hit horrendous & unexpected traffic a few miles from the exit, I started to worry but knew we had a time cushion and should be fine.

And then (for some unknown god forsaken reason) I veered off the highway early, got lost around the piers, and ran into every closed on-ramp in the county.  After 20 minutes (?) we made our way back into bumper-to-bumper and started throwing up hail marys while lacing shoes/attaching time chips/stripping sweats in our seats.

Conversation quickly went from anxious excitement to anxious fear/dread/ourlivesareruined.

<10 minutes until gun time – I threw the car into a spot and we hit the pavement running before the engine even shut off.

Took the stairs two-at-a-time out of the garage and sprinted across the street to Subway, per our devised plan to avoid the porta-potties we were sure had mile-long lines.

Homeless man : “no bathrooms here! Ya gotta go down ___ st and turn at ___ st and…”


We continue our sprint – Em considers squating in the City Hall bushes but we keep going – my business was nothing I’d leave in even my worst enemy’s landscaping.

On our downhill sub4 (minute/mile, not hour/marathon) sprint Em caught sight of Auld Dubliner’s barely-cracked-open door and shoved her way inside.  I figured no way in hell an Irish Pub would be open before 7am on a Sunday, but by some stroke of our first good luck of the day, a (very startled) bartender looked up as we stormed inside like a heard of freaking buffalos stressed runners about to miss their race.


Permission granted, and we plowed through the ladies room door – completely void of concern that we gave the male janitor inside a heart attack (and wasted no time waiting for him to exit before dropping trou and taking care of business in record time)

Our sprint to the start continued, straight through the restaurant throwing ‘THANK YOU THANK YOU YOU SAVED OUR LIVES NO WE’RE NOT BEING OVERLY DRAMATIC BYE!’ over our shoulders to the nice barman.

The course came into sight just as the wheelchair gun went off.  Em needed to get in wave#1 (the corrals were self-seeded) if she was going to have any fighting chance at her PR.  We got to the start and I left her to hop the gate while I continued my “warm-up sprint” further down to corral#2.

I got to the opening just after wave#1 was released, thankful we were both safe and sound in our respective corrals.  It was one thing to jeopardize my own race, but I was sick thinking my poor planning could have cost Em her PR.

…And then here she comes – running outside the corrals, cutting in front of me, and diving into the back of the already moving wave#1.  The Corral Police wouldn’t let her in.  I watched her weave and push towards the start until I lost her ponytail in the crowd.

And then I keeled over and died.

(I wish.)

With my stomach in my shoes I moved with the crowd for the wave#2 start (waves were staggered at 5 minute intervals).  I choked down a mini Snickers just as the gun went off, and realized Garmin was still strapped around my tank top (in an effort to ensure I wouldn’t forget it during our haphazard in-car dressing in traffic) and hadn’t started locating satellites yet.

So I pulled off to the side, a few feet from the start line, while hoards of runners pushed by me until it finally had signal.  I took a few steps, crossed the first timing mat, and just like that Marathon #4 (ska SUB4ORDIE) was underway.

…to be continued.

Sarah OUaL


38 thoughts on “Long Beach Marathon (SUB4ORDIE) : Part 1

  1. What a freaking morning. Love that the homeless guy was more than willing to direct you to a bathroom. Poor bartender that had to work that early…at least it got you a bathroom!

    Can’t wait to read the rest. Get on that asap, k?


  2. The 710 traffic was horrible! We got off the freeway early and parked pretty easily. We opted for the port-a-potty lines and I was freaking out when the race started and I was only half way through the line. Luckily, I was in like wave 6 so I had time. :)

    p.s. This whole time I have been reading your sub4ordie as sub-4-ordee… yeah. Then I think like yesterday I finally was like Ohhhhh sub-4-or-diiieee… I get it nooooowwwwww.


  3. Hey. I like your carbs. Yeah.

    J and I did some running to the start of Chicago as well…he told me it was to “warm up.” WTF you don’t need to warm up if you’re going to be running for HOURS. Unless planning to sprint, which I was not. Again, I like your carbs. Next time you guys plan a trip, think about inviting me. Yeah.


  4. As a resident of Long Beach, I bet Snoop Dogg was very thankful you didn’t leave your business on his front lawn. Although, I’m sure he’d write a great song about it and bounce around in his little skinny self rapping about your turds.You could’ve had the rights to it and made yourself millions.

    Next goal: Leave your business on your neighbor Kobe Bryant’s lawn in Newport. Maybe he’ll give you half his NBA winnings.


  5. Ahhh! Found you on HungryRunnerGirl…and totally loving your blog! I love how blunt you are about things, and how much profanity you use….I swear I talk worse than a sailor so it makes me laugh every time! Sorry you didn’t get the PR you were hoping for….at least you finished (I know I know, who cares right?!)
    The prerace bathroom stories are always the BEST!
    -PS it also makes me laugh that you were whining about 80 degrees, I live in Texas, 80 degrees means its finally cooling off! BUT I feel your pain when you’re not used to it IT BLOWS!

    I’m following you now! You would LOVE runs with me and my friend Olivia, they usually contain a great deal of “I hate yous” “Bitch” calling, and worse.


  6. Your report has sent my anxiety level sky high. I totally feel for you guys and how panicked you must have been. Certainly not the most ideal situation to be starting a marathon in. Just started following your blog and I am really enjoying it. Can’t wait to hear more and look forward to reading a post in the future about your sub-4 marathon. =-)


  7. Gah I have anxiety after reading that! You had your own relay before this thing even started. I think you are ready for an urbanathlon.

    Running into random bathrooms with janitors is a special skill of mine – I have a tiny bladder that will wait for no one.


  8. Wow! What an “exciting” morning you two went through. I’m not sure I would have been able to handle that! Like others have commented, your post made me feel really anxious. I’m so glad my husband and I haven’t been through that yet, I’m not sure I would make it out alive. I would probably have a heart attack before I got to the starting line.

    I love the snickers picture, even though your watch was still around your tank top strap.


  9. Pingback: Long Beach Half Marathon Race Report

  10. Pingback: Long Beach Marathon (SUB4ORDIE) : Part 2 « Once Upon a (L)ime

  11. Pingback: Iron Girl/Athleta Del Mar 10K « Once Upon a (L)ime

  12. Pingback: How The Secret Marathon Was Born « Once Upon a (L)ime

  13. Pingback: Santa Barbara Marathon (Sub4 – “the secret race”) « Once Upon a (L)ime

  14. Pingback: Holiday Half – Bah Humbug, Chola « Once Upon a (L)ime

  15. Pingback: Run 2011 (Yes, I Freaking Did) « Once Upon a (L)ime

  16. Pingback: Hot Chocolate 15K – FINALLY the Recap | Once Upon a (L)ime

  17. Pingback: Oiselle Totally Trials – episode SweatyOUaL | Once Upon a (L)ime

  18. Pingback: O2O – Race Eve | Once Upon a (L)ime

  19. Pingback: Curse Words Pickle Brain | Once Upon a (L)ime

  20. Pingback: Long Beach Half Recap – Accepting the PR | Once Upon a (L)ime


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s