Alice Perlowski, 31

Residence: Los Angeles Occupation: cardiology fellow at UCLA Number of L.A. Marathons run: 3 Best race: Last year's L.A. Marathon was my fastest time, 3:22, and that was nice. It qualified me for New York. I was very relaxed the whole time and really ran well. It was probably a combination of things. Like any endurance sport, some days you feel great and could go another 20 miles and some days you can barely make it. Worst race: Last year, I ran the New York marathon, and I had raised money for charity. Unfortunately I got the stomach flu . . . I couldn't eat anything for a week before the marathon, so I went into it feeling poorly. But I had raised so much money and I really wanted to do it. It was mind over matter and determination. I prepare really well for everything in life. When I got to the 20-mile mark I said to myself, you've done this a million times before. You can get through anything if you're in a positive frame of mind. Strategy this year: I'm probably going to run the way I normally do: stay relaxed and try to enjoy the weather and make the best of it. I'd like to qualify for New York. I usually don't even look very closely at the course -- I have a general idea, but I don't obsess over the topography. I deal with it as it comes. I learned that in Boston. The hills there are just killer, and if you sit there and try to memorize every hill, you'll end up feeling more tired. Advice for newbies: If people are planning on watching you, you should go over in detail the timing of when you're going to be passing by a certain point. For example, tell them you're running a 10-minute mile pace so they'll know when to be there. My husband maps out everything before race day to make sure he can see me at certain places. Pre-race ritual: I have my little routine: The Thursday or Friday before the race, I get a massage to work out any knots and get my legs flushed out, get the blood flowing to the muscles. The day before the race, I always run four miles, much less than I normally would do, but enough so that I can keep my legs warm and stretched out. I also always try to get a nap to make up for any sleep deficit over the week. Any sleep deprivation makes my performance poor.
Richard Hartog / Los Angeles Times
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