Malibu Marathon Race Recap- November 2012

The day could not have started out more perfect.

This was the first marathon that I have not needed to spend the night in a hotel. That, in combination with my Mom having my children at her house for the evening, gave me the perfect night sleep. I woke up free of a migraine (I have chronic migraine disease), I was hydrated, well fed, I had my marathon support man with me, and the weather was nice and cool. So you can imagine my disappointment when I completely failed to come close to what I truly felt capable of and have executed in training many times over. Frustrating, yes, but after 4 marathons I have learned to let it go and keep trying. This distance has given me trouble in the past and, if I am honest with myself, I probably was not trained well enough. I needed to do longer long runs and more tempo work.

A nice, small race with only a 1000 or so runners, the Malibu Marathon started at the Camarillo Airport. In typical Southern California fashion, the race was a half hour late getting started. Since living here I have not been to a race that has started on time. I guess I’m spoiled having run the bulk of my races on the East Coast, as late starts rarely happen there and when they do the runners give the race directors such hell they need not show their faces in town again. That half hour delay is a disadvantage because the temperatures begin to rise, which for most slows you down. Ok, minor detail, but worthy of a mention.

After the gun went off, the first half was really flat and, I thought, very nice through the agricultural fields of Camarillo. Most of the aid stations were fine, no complaints. The mile markers were these cool surf boards. Again, a minor detail, but I’m still not sure if it was the actual miles ticking away or seeing the cute surfboards, but each board made me smile and I looked forward to seeing the next one.

We ran past the The Naval Air Station Pt. Mugu and then onto the Pacific Coastal Highway (PCH or Hwy 1) up along the majestic Pacific Ocean. This is where things got good and things got bad. I had kept a nice, easy pace in the beginning and then, around mile 10, as we starting along the coast, I saw my husband cheering me on and I thought “this is where I need to pick up my pace.” The view of the ocean was epic and like no other run I have ever experienced, but my lungs began to tighten up. You see, PCH is a Highway with… you guessed it! Traffic! All of that traffic makes a shit load of exhaust and fumes. I was inhaling plumes of thick exhaust, my lungs burned and tightened up.

I carried on and looked forward to the next surfboard mile marker and then, at mile 15, I saw a huge pod of dolphins that were leaping through and surfing the waves. Truly a sight to behold.

I continued on through the exhaust and then; dunt, dunt, duuuun the HILLS around mile 20! Just when you’re ready to curl up and go to sleep, even on a flat course, the fun part began. Luckily, I had TriBeccaTO and Quadrathon waiting there to jump in and run me to the finish. My husband also met me at this point and gave me a new water bottle. I stopped to use the bathroom and was really not feeling well at this point. This was the beginning of the largest hill and I felt like a was going to hurl. Becc and Stuart put me in my place and the three of us set off for the finish line. It was a tough 6 miles of rolling hills, Stuart kept telling me this was the last hill and I was relieved when it finally WAS the last one. The last strech was down hill and I gave one last push to get my body across the finish line as fast as possible. I saw my husband along the sidelines cheering “you got this babe!” “you got a 3:38” but I looked at my Garmin and knew he was mistaken… I crossed the finish line at 3:56 about 11 min off of what I wanted to achieve. I was disappointed, but almost instantly let it go. It happens, I’ll keep trying. I grabbed a bottle of water, took my shoes off, and headed for the ocean to cool my swollen feet in the ice cold Pacific.

You received this really cool beach towel along with your medal…

It was the best feeling having my husband, Becc and Stuart there to put things in perspective for me. I had just run sub 4 and I did get 6th in my AG (small race) but still… So Marathon #4 complete… #5 coming soon to a blog near you.


1- 9:00
2- 9:01
3- 8:57
4- 8:54
5- 8:51
6- 9:26
7- 8:45
8- 8:42
9- 8:36
10- 8:39
11- 8:36
12- 8:52
13- 8:29
14- 8:09
15- 8:16
16- 8:34
17- 8:21
18- 8:32
19- 8:52
20- 9:25
21- 9:55
22- 9:47
23- 9:09
24- 9:50
25- 9:00
26- 10:10
.2- 7:59

Time: 3:56

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  1. says

    I ran the half here last year and my husband ran the full, I really loved the race! Although it started late for us too, haha. I agree that the view of the ocean is amazing, and I enjoyed seeing dolphins and surfers along the way. Great job on the run, this is not an easy one with the hills along PCH!

    • Lisa says

      Thank you for your comment Paulette, yes those hills were killer at the end, but then again I should have trained for them, shame on me. So funny that it was late last year as well! Have a great night Paulette.

  2. says

    I am so glad I got to be a part of your day! You may not have got the time you wanted but you will get it! You can do it. That was a tough course! Thanks for including me in your day!!!

  3. says

    You ran a really solid middle stretch… rolling hills, temps, not to mention 26.2 miles… the marathon is so unpredictable. This makes me a little nervous for my next marathon attempt. I know you are capable of much more than that too… that marathon can really chew us up and spit us out! But at the same time, I admire your perspective and that you were able to let it go so quickly.
    Congrats on marathon #4 done!!

  4. says

    Congratulations Lisa!! I know that you didn’t hit your goal but you ran an awesome race on a tough course. And I have no doubt that you will get it. I can’t imagine having to run through car exhaust but what an amazing site to run along the coast and see dolphins in the waves! And the surfboard mile markers – so cool and definitely would have put a smile on my face.

  5. says

    The half started late too, waiting for the last 3 busloads of runners. Don’t be too hard on yourself. You had a good time on a deceptivey challenging course. I have ridden that last stretch of PCH, those hills are tough! Sorry we didn’t get to meet.

  6. says

    Why do I tear up with race recaps? I’m such an emotional mess. I’m so happy for you. Completing a marathon is a huge accomplishment and you’ve completed 4! ROCKSTAR! Hugs my friend.

  7. says

    Way to go, Lisa! Hills are beasts when you’re running, and are even more so at the end of a race. Even if you’re still running strong physically, those last miles are rough! Add those hills in? You conquered ’em! 😀

    PS: Sub 4-hour marathon? In my dreams. 😉

  8. says

    You are simply amazing!!!

    Even if you didn’t reach your goal time, it’s still incredible in my eyes!

    Looks like an awesome route and I love the oiselle tank!

  9. says

    Beautiful post! I know you will get there. Looking at your splits they are so all over the place even in the first half…you’ve got an 8:52 and then an 8:09, there’s that weird 9:26 at mile 6…sorry to over-analyze but it just doesn’t look like you were cruising comfortably, know what I mean? And of course with a field that small you run alone a lot, which is hard. But you’re right to get over it, move on and not dwell. I know this will just make you stronger!

  10. says

    A half-hour late start would definitely be a mental obstacle for me. Especially if the race could start at any minute…for the next half-hour. And I know what you mean about racing with traffic. Ugh! Even though you missed your goal, you still had a fantastic race! Thanks for sharing! I need to run a marathon out there, just so I can jump in the Pacific immediately after crossing the finish line!

  11. says

    I totally forgot you were doing this one. For some reason I had it in my head that you were running CIM. In any regard, way to push through to the end and finish. You had soooo much going on this training cycle, I am sure it was hard to remain focused. I am proud of you. You are an inspiration!

  12. says

    I’m thinking that course is unusually cruel in its placement of hills! Congrats to you–it’s still a great time even when it’s not your goal time. I do get the frustration–I had a period of several marathons in a row when they just didn’t go right for me, where I knew I could do better. Finally, I just broke through. The same will happen for you, I promise!

    And you looked great in your Oiselle kit!

    • Lisa says

      Thank you Stuart! I really appreciate everything you guys have and are doing for me. I will be following you on Sunday, so excited for you and proud to know you.

  13. says

    That towel and medal rock! Congrats on another finish! I know what it is like to miss a goal, but am extremely happy you realized you ran a strong race.

    Take a look at what you did and where you can adjust… that’s what I’m doing for my most recent run. Always nice to know that goal is out there for you to grab!

    • Lisa says

      Thank you! Yes, I have reevaluated and have a plan. I’m going to try a different training method and see what happens. I love that I’m still chasing that goal!
      The towel was a great addition!

  14. says

    You did an awesome job. I thought the course was beautiful but super tough. I came in knowing I was unprepared for the hills but totally blew it. Ha. I was lucky to have a sub 5 finish. But there are so many great races in so cal we can always try, try again.

    • Lisa says

      Lauren, yes, I agree on the beauty and difficulty. I just visited your blog, I think your in this area, saw you were doing the Bulldog 50K… a race I have had my eye on… we should run some time! Thank you for your comment.

  15. Anthony says

    I am not a runner…far from it. But I love Lisa’s writing. Hidden in the sentences, words, and jargons on the story about your first marathon since moving back west is another story of starting over after a change. We have a start up company called AIMS, and as I was reading this it brought me to our first meeting for our company 3 1/2 years ago. The theme of that meeting was ” Big things start with small beginnings.” I am going to continue to egg you on Lisa until you write that best selling book about Life and the art of Running :)

  16. says

    What I love most about running is that their will always be great runs, what I hate most is the bad ones, but the good ones wouldn’t be so good without the bad. Regardless, in my eyes you did wonderful :) and there’s always the (inevitable) next one :).

  17. says

    Do they really all start late in Cali? I’m doing Surf City marathon in Feb. I hope not lol. As for not meeting your goal, I completely agree with just letting it go. I haven’t PRed with long distances in a while but I know its still possible. You’ll definitely get that 3:38 in no time. This was just a bad day and a tough course. Try again soon and you’ll nail it. You’ve got it in you!!

  18. says

    Congrats on a great race! I enjoyed reading your recap! I know it wasn’t what you were expecting, but every finish, especially the ones we fight the most for, is a victory! I had a similar experience at Marine Corp last month. I was hoping for a 3:48 and the combination of having to take 11 days off for an injury 2 weeks before the race and 25 mph winds left me with a 4:03. I was bummed about the time but proud of never giving up and giving it all I had. That’s all we can ever do. I’ve never run a race with only 1,000 people but I think that would be really interesting. I’d like to do a smaller race some time. Congrats again on your finish. You rock!

  19. says

    Great race recap, Lisa! So sorry it didn’t go as planned, but, it happens to all of us at some point or another. You gave it your all, and that’s what’s important to remember. :) There’s always another marathon around the corner. You rock, and, I can’t wait to see what’s in store for you next time! xoxo

  20. says

    I connected with you through runwithkate and love your picky bars – a great idea! I have nominated you for a Liebster award:) Optional of course!

  21. says

    I know this is an old post, but I could have written the same exact one. This is exactly how my MCM2012 marathon unfolded. I had the same 3:38 goal to qualify for Boston. It was also my 4th Marathon and I crossed the finish line in exactly 3:56:28 like you! This is so serendipitous!!