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Monday, May 25, 2009

The L.A. Marathon

The L.A. Marathon is happening today! Am I there? Am I running it? No and NO, Captain!
But why, you may ask? After all, you're a runner. Why not join the 17,000 others out there today? And what better to blog about than a marathon?

Perhaps I shall take you back to my early (and even more ridiculous) years of my life...

I was 21, fresh out of college.
I ran cross-country in college, and then proceeded to stop running all together.
My roommates Vanessa and Aaron had trained for the L.A. marathon and were heading to the LA Convention Center the night before the race to pick up their racing packets.
I tagged along.
What can I say? The Olympic-themed music in the background, the endless rows of sawdust-flavored power bars, Vanessa and Aaron saying, "You should totally do this with us." I suddenly found myself filling out a racing application and grabbing a bib. How bad could it be? So maybe I hadn't run more than a lap in at least THREE months, but hey, my competitiveness was still VERY much in shape.

Yep, dumbest thing I've ever done.

Never combine an insane competitive nature with absolutely no training.

It took a while to realize my fatigue:

At Mile One, I was still in shock at the droves of people that actually paid money for this event.
At Mile Two, I was mesmerized by the thousands of male runners peeing on the brick wall.
At Mile Eight, I was taken aback by the magic spray that someone sprayed on my knee and how my knee miraculously went numb.
At Mile Eleven, I was bewildered when Vanessa took a tumble and limped behind me, saying, "Don't you dare slow down!"
At Mile Thirteen, I was ashamed for even thinking of complaining when the guy with the deformed leg passed me.
At Mile Fourteen, I was enthralled once again by the magic spray, although this time, I pointed at my entire leg and not just my knee.
At Mile Sixteen, some little kid living in the neighborhood, which was part of our course, (bless his heart) offered me a blow pop.
At Mile Eighteen, I was blown away by the second wind effect, and I literally thought, "I could run 52 more miles."
At Mile Nineteen, I was thinking, "F-you, Mile-Eighteen-Self!"
At Mile Twenty, I came across the Magic Spray people again, but was highly disappointed that they didn't have misters of this magic spray to run through. I held out my whole body, but they didn't get it: they just sprayed my leg.
At Mile Twenty-three, I broke down crying. I had run 5Ks my whole life, and for the first time, I didn't think I could make it the final 3 miles. Even though I had run 23 miles already.
At Mile Twenty-six, I cursed the Metric System and it's stupid conversion that required me to run an extra .2 miles.

At the finish line, I collapsed into the largest firefighter I could find, and he carried me to (well, I don't remember much at this point), but I distinctly remember picking someone who I knew would be able to lift my body weight.

Good News:
I didn't walk once.
I finished in 3:43... seriously not bad for no training.

Bad News:
Hello, I.T. Band Tendinitis! We were introduced at the Marathon, and he's like the relative that keeps knocking on my door whenever he's in town.
The next morning, I couldn't stand erect. Not even kidding. When I really tried, I could stand at a 90 degree angle. Nothing worked on me, except maybe the Pythagorean Theorem.
I could not stand up completely for six days.
I walked like a chicken for two weeks. An elderly chicken.
I couldn't run for two months.
Every night, I whimpered in bed. Who whimpers when they're 21?

So I finally stood up, walked again, and eventually ran again. But never again have I ventured to put my body through 26 (.2) miles of torture.
That would require training and (gasp) responsibility.
Here's a recent photo of me with the expression that is on all of my running photos: "Why the hell am I doing this? It's so painful!"
And do you notice how I'm running away from extremely good looking men in the background? What's THAT all about? Yes, I still run. I come from a family of runners. My favorite is the 10K, and one of these days, I'll break 40 minutes. My coach, Scott Guerrero, thinks the answer may lie in drinking more beer. Wait, no. That's backwards. I asked him recently, "Why couldn't I run that back in the day?" to which Coach postulated "Too much beer?" Ah, potato, po-tah-to...

Coach also wrote, "I think you are more than capable of sub-40. Just gotta have the right training plan and find the right race. Of course...this would mean you would probably have to prioritize training over beer...which is something I could never in good conscience recommend..... miss you guys...."

We miss you too, Coach.

So I'm about eight seconds away from the breaking 40 minutes, which in "runner's talk", is about eighty million miles. But I'll get there.

In the meantime, I'd like to give tribute to my parents and what has led to my ridiculous behavior:

My mom got Epstein Barr's virus shortly after I graduated high school. She was in bed for months. She fought back by walking. The walking turned to jogging. The jogging turned to an obsession with running. Mind you, the most running my mom had ever done was running the length of the soccer field sidelines when she would watch me play. Today, she's completed over 10 marathons. She doesn't run for speed. She just trots along... and finishes. And I tell you, nothing stops that woman from finishing anything she sets her mind to.

My dad always knew he could run, but never did. He was too much into beer (and probably smoking various green leafy substances). But one day in his first year of college, his track stud friend bet him a six pack of beer that he couldn't run a mile in less than six minutes. My dad broke five. Nothing like a good motivating factor to make you strive for excellence.
Today, he'll run the 10K's with my mom, and usually, just like his olden days, it's without much training. He still does great.


  1. I love how you honored your padres here. Very cool.

  2. My padres are very cool. I'm lucky. :)