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LA Roadrunners: The First Day September 12, 2009

Posted by Richard Lowe in LA Roadrunners.
Tags: , , ,

Today marked the first day of 27 weeks of training with LA Roadrunners. It began at 5:30am. And yes, the sun had yet to rise.


While my wife was fast asleep in our bed, I strapped on my running shoes, grabbed my gym bag, ate a few grapes, drank two glasses of water, and headed out the door to pickup fellow runner Kekona S. I found the drive to his house very zen: the stillness of a Saturday morning energized by the prospect of a new experience.

After picking him up, we made our way to Westminster Elementary School, the home base of LA Roadrunners. I asked Kekona if we were crazy. “Yes,” he replied. “And just wait for the 20 mile run days.”

When we arrived at the Westminster, all the fellow marathoners were lined up and registering. It felt like the first day of school, probably because we were actually at a new school, but also because we were in the company of a bunch of new faces and our emotions were a mixture of nerves and excitement.


One notable thing is that with our registration we received an official LA Roadrunners shirt. I was happy to discover that it’s not one of those typical “free” t-shirts made by Gildan or Hanes with an ugly design. It’s a true race shirt: dry-wicking, lightweight, and visually appealing. Let’s just say I plan to wear it.


From there, we headed into the auditorium. Head Coach and bronze medalist Rod Dixon gave an inspiring speech about setting goals and accomplishing them. He said there’s nothing quite like training for and completing a marathon, something only 1% of people do. We all cheered—I found it very spiriting to be in the same room with people who share a common goal.

After Coach Dixon rallied our energy, we broke into our pace groups. The LA Roadrunners structure the training runs by runner pace: it starts with Group 1 at 7:30 mile and goes up to Group 10, which runs a 12:15 minute mile. After that, they break the marathoners into Run/Walk groups. I must say that I love the fact that they have pace groups for every speed. It encourages people who are intimidated by running a marathon to get out there and do it in a way that is manageable.

I joined Group 3, which is the 8:30 minute mile pace and we headed to the Venice boardwalk. After brief introductions—and discovering that I was one of only three others in my group who had never completed a marathon—we were off. Our pace leader led us on a brisk 3.5 miles along the beach, which we finished in 30:13, or a pace of 8:38 per mile, calculated thanks to my handy running calculator. We did run slightly slower than our official group pace time, but our pace leader wanted us to start slow and begin building our running foundation.

So far, I’m very happy with my choice to join LA Roadrunners. It’s extremely organized, which is a huge plus for a first-time marathoner. It takes a lot of the uncertainty out of the mental and physical planning of running 26.2 miles. I know I’m going to have a lot of questions, both about race day and my own running development, and all the pace leaders and training coaches seem approachable and supportive.

With that, I’m out. Need to take a short nap before we head to the Edison tonight for birthday drinks.

Find more photos of today’s training run on the LA Marathon blog.


1. Anders Dahl (@VoodooDahl) - August 29, 2011

Great blog. You should continue it.
Are you still running?

I found your blog, since I was looking for info on L.A. Roadrunners, I plan to sign up for L.A. Marathon 2012 and I wanted to learn a bit more.

RJL - August 29, 2011

Hey Anders,

I loved LA Roadrunners. I highly recommend them, especially if this is your first marathon. And even if it’s not, you’ll meet a lot of awesome people.

Go for it!

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