Commentary: I'm finally ready for the big race

Editor's note: Newport Beach resident Carrie Luger Slayback has spent the last several months writing about her training to run the Los Angeles Marathon at age 70. The big race is Sunday.

Here is my prediction for the morning of the L.A. Marathon. I am running in Bib No. 12549.

I'll awaken about 4 a.m. and spend five minutes pulling on well-worn marathon clothes. No fashionable new duds, which may irritate.

•Fanny pack, containing Shot Blocks (gummy, Gatorade-like race "food.")

•Peanut butter and honey sandwich to eat in the car, plus an easy-peel tangelo.

•Toilet tissue. Big marathon crowds demolish port-o-potty supplies.

Local runners gather at my house so, house lights on, front door standing open, and I'll clear out of the bathroom. Marathoners head straight for the bathroom, taking care of business, pre-race.

The big van rented by my heroes, Caroline and Catherine, and piloted by "JohnO," who just flew in from Minnesota, will pull up at 4:20 a.m. sharp and load Jill, Judy, Jake, Marc and Carrie.

I'm the butt of jokes, due to my digestive mishap in Evie's car after running Long Beach. Nobody will sit by me, but JohnO says not to worry, he'll swipe a vomit-bag from his airplane trip home.

We'll arrive at Dodger Stadium, unload the van and, of course, line up at the port-o-potties again.

At 7 a.m. we'll move toward starting corrals based upon finish time. Then, packed closely, we'll wait.

Time for nervous laughter, stretches, skyward looks for weather and prayers. When the gun finally sounds, corrals move to the starting line in tiny steps. We'll finally be allowed to cross the line about 7:25 a.m., still packed together. I'll jockey around to get clear of runners.

The race is on.


Now for the priceless riches provided by Saturday Runners.

•My commentary of Jan. 26 described Jill and Tony's Suburban "demonstration drive" through L.A's course.

•Catherine and Caroline's preplanning in the form of a rental van and JohnO's generous chauffeuring to the start. He's not even running.

•Jake's advice, mostly kind presence, and willingness to run with us, even though he's really a 7.5-minute-mile man.

•And the overwhelming gift of Judy, who will add an hour to her marathon finish time by pacing me. She's an effortless distance runner with many marathons under 3.5 hours. In January, she quietly announced that she'd pace me.

I didn't believe it. When she kept showing up for 6 a.m. Saturday practice runs, I asked "Why are you here?" "If I'm going to pace you, I have to work out with you," Judy said in her understated way.

I'm still amazed at my good fortune.

Jake's gripe about my erratic race behavior is that I run fast in the excitement of the start, only to die later. Besides a lightning start, whenever I spot an older female runner, I surge ahead, attempting to put miles between us. Judy's consistent running style is the antidote for an unpredictable brawler like me. A steady pace is the ideal.

In the past, I've had good luck following unorthodox intuition, but this time let the professionals take over.

All I have to do is run.

Note: Techie readers can follow Luger Slayback with Race Day Tracking using Bib No. 12549

Newport Beach resident CARRIE LUGER SLAYBACK is training to run the Los Angeles Marathon at age 70. Read more about her adventures at

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