Friday, May 9, 2014

celebrating five years of running with four hours of torture

Two months ago I completed a marathon. The idea of running the 2014 LA Marathon had been in the back of my mind for over a year, because it would be a way of celebrating five years of running. So in the after glow of my fall half, I signed up.

There were about 4 months between the time I signed up and race day. In that time, I moved to my own apartment, took two and a half weeks off because of an injury, traveled to Seattle for a writers conference, and got ready to host my sister and her family in my new place (they arrived just days before the race; my brother-in-law ran it with me). I also logged around 300 miles (I think??? though that number should have been higher), including both 18 and 20 milers. Those days were pretty great because, aside from spending three hours running, I had the rest of the day to justify every lazy or indulgent desire with, "heck yeah I'm gonna do that, i just ran 20 miles." Mostly that meant eating popcorn and drinking alcohol.

So, race day. Was crazy and awesome and a little disappointing all at the same time. I knew not to expect to hit my original goal time (sub 4:15) because there were so many variables, including the fact that my injury had taken me out during a crucial time in training. I also woke up at 1am the morning of the race trying to figure out what time I really needed to get up. I'd set my alarm for 2:30 (we needed to leave at 3am) but then realized that because it was daylight savings time THERE WAS NO 2:30. Trippy. And only 4 hours of sleep. On my couch. After hearing my nephew barf the night before.

Even if you're not a runner, you probably know that while a marathon requires physical training and endurance, it's equally a mental challenge. That was definitely the case for me. Here's what I remember thinking at each mile:

Mile 1: I saw Ben! Hi Ben! And wow, there are so many people running.

Mile 2: Get out of my way! Oh and there's Mandi! But she doesn't see me! MANDI! (didn't see me.)

Mile 3: Running downtown is fun when there are no cars. But so many people...

Mile 4: I'm tired already.

Mile 5: There are still people in my way!

Mile 6: I hope my 10K time is good because people who are tracking my progress are getting a text right now.

Mile 7: Echo Park is so cool.

Mile 8: I can't wait to cross mile 10.

Mile 9: Am I at mile 10 yet?

Mile 10: Omg there's Lori and Andrew and Natalie! (My sister and her kids, didn't expect to see them here.) I almost start crying because I'm happy and scared and exhilarated.

Mile 11: What does the fox say? I hope this song isn't stuck in my head the rest of the race.

Mile 12: Hollywood is so weird.

Mile 13: I wonder what my half marathon time is? Again, people are tracking. And where's Judy? I need to see Judy!

Mile 14: There's Judy! I need to pee. (Stopped to use porta-potty, which, with the line, took about 6 minutes!)

Mile 15: Downhill, yay! And holy crap, why is the sun out?

Mile 16: I can't believe I still have 10 miles. It's getting really hot.

Miles 17-18: A blur.

Mile 19: I'm so hot. Where's Mirna? I need that gatorade. Mirna, Mirna, Mirna... There's Mirna! Also, I'm really tired of injesting sugar (gatorade, shotblocks).

Mile 20: I swear I see mirages. Long, hot, unshady stretch.

Mile 21: Holy crap.

Mile 22: This is how I felt:

Mile 23: Cramping, running under hoses that spectators are holding out for us, I don't know how I'm gonna finish this thing.

Mile 24: I stop to walk next to an older gentleman who starts encouraging me. But then he won't stop. Decide to start running again so I don't get stuck with this guy.

Mile 25: I don't know if I will ever run again.

Mile 26: Who decided to add that freakin .2 to this race?

Ten minutes after I finished: I want to do another one!

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