The SportsNation host finished her second half marathon in 2:11.
Minutes after crossing the finish line, limping noticeably thanks to a blistered right foot, Michelle Beadle walks into the VIP restaurant for refreshments.
A smiling hostess informs Beadle the courtesy massages for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angeles Halloween 1/2 Marathon finishers are to the right.
“Oh, hell yeah,” cries Beadle.
Minutes later Sunday, a gentleman who finished the half in 72 minutes lights up a 100-watt, all-teeth smile and asks Beadle if he might pose with her for a picture.
“Hell yeah,” says Beadle, who finished in 2:11:55. Amazed at the man’s time, Beadle adds, “Can I get a picture with you?”
Five minutes into meeting the 39-year-old co-host of ESPN’s “SportsNation,” it’s apparent Beadle’s go-to phrase is “Hell yeah.”
She is as real and raw as her Texas roots. Raised outside San Antonio, her zeal for her beloved Spurs is genuine.
“Hate bandwagoners,” she says.
There are many in the sports media world who loathe the TV sideline reporter, whose qualifications seem to be that they’re female and easy on the eyes.
Beadle is attractive but not in an intimidating sort of way. Looks are not what drive her Q Rating. She’s feisty, funny and quick with a quip. You want her in the room or in the bar when the game’s on. A diva, she is not.
Remarking that one reason she loves her job is because every day is different, Beadle says, “I’m not cut out to sit at a desk. The 30 minutes they make me sit down for hair and makeup, I’m like, ’How long does this take?’”
So it reasons that running, because of its lack of glam, would be her endorphin outlet.
“I don’t like the gym,” she says. “The idea of taking an exercise class doesn’t appeal to me.”
Beadle grew up in the San Antonio suburb of Boerne, Texas. Her love of sports stems not from sitting in the living room, breaking down college and NFL football with a mentor but instead by sweating.
She played basketball and baseball (not softball), plus ran track. She ran the 800 and 1,600 relay.
“Then puberty hit and I was done with that.”
She now runs fours days a week on average, somewhere between 3-5 miles. Sunday’s half marathon was her second. Her debut came at Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago (2:28:02) last year.
She ran/walked last year’s New York City Marathon as a social calling with friends, finishing in 6:08.
“One of the girls was walking two miles into the marathon,” recalls Beadle. “She tells us she got both knees replaced. I said, ‘You could have told us that before we started.’ We were laughing our asses off. We knew it was going to be a long day.”
She runs for some of the same reasons as Jane Doe.
“I just turned 39. Your metabolism changes. I can’t do what I used to do. I can’t eat what I used to eat. (Chips, guacamole, fajitas, anything salty are weaknesses) I do it just to see if I can. And maybe lose a couple pounds.”
After living in New York for 10 years, Beadle moved to Los Angeles about five months ago and the change is agreeing with her.
“The weather is a no brainer,” she says. “And I’ve found a place I feel very comfortable. It’s an easier lifestyle. Whether you know it or not, New York stresses you out.”
There was no need to run incognito. Asked if anyone recognized her, Beadle tilts her head and purses her lips, the body gesture equivalent to “Are you kidding me?”
“Nobody had a clue,” she says.
Wait, there was that one friend who yelled her name from his apartment deck.
“That’ll make you want to run faster,” she jokes. “You don’t want to look like you’re walking.”
Her performance did move one fan.
“It’s impressive,” says Steve Kazee, Beadle’s boyfriend. “It makes me want to run the next one.”
While Beadle is hardly obsessed with running, she can seem a little, well, nerdy on the subject. She says she spends more money on socks than shoes, trying, without luck, to solve her blister issue.
She was genuinely impressed at the size of the Cali Combo medal one runner draped around his neck.
“That thing is heavy,” says Beadle.
To earn the bling, a runner must finish three of the four California halves on the Rock ‘n’ Roll series in one year.
And like any runner, she’s not devoid of ego.
“I can break two (hours),” she says with confidence.
But she’s no me-me-me runner.
“I saw this man, had to be in his 70s,” Beadle marvels. “And there was this woman, overweight, but they’re out there. It’s motivating.”
Beadle often runs with earbuds buried. But not Sunday.
“There’s the music, the DJs,” she says. “I love the idea that at 7:20 a.m., you hit the first corner and there’s a band jamming out. You know the roadies weren’t keen on the idea.”
As for the free massage, Beadle passed.
“This stinky body?” she offers. ”I couldn’t make someone suffer.”