Runners start the 2013 ASICS LA Marathon at Dodgers Stadium, with the men's… (Rick Loomis / Los Angeles…)
For Nick Arciniaga, the Asics L.A. Marathon on Sunday became the equivalent of one of those tougher days on the treadmill.
"I don't know why, my legs just weren't there," Arciniaga said. "Some days, it just feels weird and you don't have it."
The 29-year-old product of Cal State Fullerton and Fountain Valley High produced a seventh-place finish in the race, completing the 26.2-mile course from Dodger Stadium to the Santa Monica Pier in 2 hours 17 minutes and four seconds.
Arciniaga, 29 — who had run a 2:11:30 in the 2011 Houston Marathon — plotted to run somewhere in the 2:09 range Sunday. So he characterized the day as "disappointing."
Kenya's Erick Mose won the men's race in 2:09:44.
"I could've been in contention if I had done it, but it just wasn't my day," Arciniaga said.
Arciniaga fell back from a group of about 10 runners in the early going, compromising his original plan to stay within reach and let the faster runners perhaps tire by chasing the $50,000 bonus awarded to the winner of the marathon's gender challenge.
After recovering from the slow start to find himself within 20 seconds of the leaders by the 11th mile, Arciniaga faded even more.
"Neither of my plans panned out the way I hoped," he said.
Consolation came in the pace of his final three miles, and Arciniaga said he'll return next year to try again after finishing behind five Kenyan runners and fifth-place finisher Vitaly Shafar of the Ukraine.
Women's winner Aleksandra Duliba's time of 2:26:08 was the sixth-fastest time in L.A. Marathon history.
"This was my dream to run this time," she said. "I'm so happy."
Despite being pained by a right leg spasm after running downhill around the 24.5-mile marker, Duliba said she simply "pushed away … and I had no more problems," responding with a mile time of 5:09.26.
Impressive for the first-time marathoner from Minsk, Belarus.
"When I saw the entry list, I saw athletes who I knew could push me," Duliba said. "I expected to be able to run in the 2:26, 2:28 area. I was very surprised each time" runner-up Zemzem Ahmed "came up to me. I expected her to go faster, but she stayed behind me."
By Mile 19, it appeared only an injury could stop Duliba.
"The first goal was a good time, but now that I have the money I can think about buying a new apartment and a new car."
Duliba said she expects to return to defend her title next year.
Men's winner Mose and runner-up Julius Keter are close friends from competition, so when they glanced at each other late in Sunday's race, there was a realization one of the two would win.
Keter, the grandson of Kenyan Olympic legend Kip Keino, said he accidentally inhaled some water through his nose at the 24-mile mark, just as Mose opted to make a decisive move.
Asked whether he said anything to Keter as he pulled away, Mose said no.
"I was not planning to win the race, just to run my best time," Mose said. "But when I found myself so strong at that time, I was happy."