So this was a rough week for me. I had a good Christmas holiday with the family in the Bay Area, but then I came down with a cold which sucked all the energy out of me for a few days and gave me a cough that will not go away. Seriously, this is the kind of cough that just takes up residence in your system, refuses to pay rent and when you try to evict it, it just finds the perfect excuse to stay around longer while you keep suffering ever so unfairly. As a result, I didn’t get around to doing my two maintenance runs during the week which made this Saturday’s run of 14 miles all the more problematic.
Regardless of what others may tell you, I did not have a hangover on Friday night (I was saving that for after the run). The alarms on my two running watches went off at the time I set them for, but it still took me another ten minutes to drag my ass out of bed. Once I succeeded in arising from my all too brief slumber, I got dressed for the Saturday morning run and took the time to apply a lot of Body Glide on myself as these double digit miles have me getting more prepared than ever. I also made sure to put a lot of it on my thighs as I foolishly forgot to on the 12 mile run. Unlike before, I wanted to be able to walk as normally as possible after I finished this run.
I thought I was making good time, but it turns out that I arrived at Griffith Park a little later than usual. By the time I arrived, my pace group “13: The Sequel” was already at the starting line ready to go, and finding a parking spot was more frustrating than usual. Because of my pathological fear of getting a parking ticket, I did not want to park against any curb that had the slightest amount of red on it. Ever since my last ticket, I have been very OCD about not getting another one. There are many other ways I can donate to the police department.
By the time I did find a parking spot, my pace group had already started, and I had to run to catch up with them. I didn’t even have time to put my car key in the key bowl, something the coaches leave for us to put our car keys in so that we don’t lose them on the run. I also had to leave a gallon jug of chocolate milk in my car since I didn’t have time to put it on the picnic table. This week, it was up to the “13: The Sequel” pace group to bring snacks and treats for all the Team to End AIDS runners, and I wanted to insure that chocolate milk would be available for everyone as we would especially need it after a run like this. I had to spend this 14-mile run hoping that the chocolate milk wouldn’t be all warm by the time I made it back. Remember what Heather Langenkamp said in “A Nightmare on Elm Street:”
“Warm milk? Gross!”
This run took us on a route of twists and turns through Burbank and Glendale as we had to dodge all sorts of construction on the roads. There was a hill for us to run up, and it was that deceptive hill on Cumberland Avenue. We all handled it a lot better this time than we did on our 10-mile run, and we were assured by the coaches that this would be the only hill on this course. But once we made that right turn off of Cumberland and ran down another hill, we saw some other Team to End AIDS runners running uphill on the opposite side of us. WE WERE TRICKED! Well, no, we actually weren’t. Whatever pace group that was, it turns out they were running in the wrong direction. Of course, our mentors Jessica and Esther were at times on the verge of taking us in the wrong direction sometimes, but they typically avoided doing so at the last minute. Thank goodness for the two of them, and I say that even though Jessica loves to tease me more often than not (I get teased by women a lot so I’m used to it).
I did wear my New Balance watch, the one I got for Christmas from my parents that has GPS on it, with me. But in the process of trying to figure out if it had interval timing on it or not, I ended up filling all the memory to where I couldn’t time myself on this run. I ended up having to use my old Ironman watch, which does have interval timing on it, to keep track of my 3:1 pace in case I somehow got separated from the rest of the pace group.
For what it’s worth, I was able to use the New Balance watch to keep track of my pace which was good. At the same time, the pace kept going all over the pace to where I could never figure out if I was going too fast or too slow. It would say I was running a 9 minute pace, and then later it slowed down to fourteen minutes. As a result, this watch threatened to be more indecisive than I am on a daily basis! Also, I kept losing the GPS signal which made things all the more frustrating. It looks like I have to look through the instructions yet again to figure out what I’m doing wrong (which is probably everything).
Looking back at this particular run, I think I started off running too fast. As I waited at crosswalks for the light to turn green, I could feel my heart beating at an incredibly fast pace. Now on one hand that made me feel good because it meant that the fat on my body was taking a beating, and that’s just the way I want it. Lord knows my belly is a lot bigger than it has any right to be.
But towards the end, I found myself getting a lot more winded than usual. Not even those peanut butter and pickle covered Ritz crackers or those packets of energy gel could keep me on pace towards the very end. I kept going past mile markers and saying, “That’s it?” It didn’t matter what mile it was because it felt like I had run a lot farther. When the 10-mile marker came up, it felt like I had already ran 12.
As a result, I found myself running out of energy sooner than later. Esther and some of the other pace group runners ended up slowing down to a 1:1 pace while I tried to keep up with the 3:1 pace as I was with Drea; the sooner we finished this 14-mile run, the better. But in the end I just couldn’t get myself to run all that much, so I dropped back with those who were doing the 1:1 pace while those still running 3:1 left us in the dust.
I should also add that my cough threatened to get the best of me during this run. Before Saturday, I was overdosing on cold medicine and cough drops, so they may be the result of me slowing down some. Actually, I spent this whole run wondering why I didn’t bother taking a cough drop before I left my apartment. I got this huge bag of Ricola extra strength Glacier Mint cough drops that contain natural menthol and a “soothing syrup center,” and they have been a big help this past week. Any cough drop that has a “soothing syrup center” has me at hello, but for some bizarre reason I decided I didn’t need to take one before this run. What the hell was I thinking?!
I have to give it to my fellow “13: The Sequel” pace group runners; they put together quite a feast for everyone at the finish line. They ended up bringing a different assortment of cookies (chocolate chip, oatmeal and sugar) from Ralphs Supermarket, donuts, donut holes, bagels and cream cheese (whipped cream cheese to be exact), veggies and hard boiled eggs.
I helped myself to a couple of hard boiled eggs and a bagel. However, in the process of cutting a bagel in half with a knife, I ended up cutting my finger. For a moment everyone thought I would need stitches, but as John Cleese said in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” it was just a flesh wound. Steven was kind enough to lend me a band aid which I immediately put on to stop the bleeding. I should have known that I was going to cut myself as I thoughtlessly put my hand in the knife’s aim.
After finishing the 14-mile run, I immediately went back to the car to retrieve the bottle of chocolate milk. Thankfully it was still cold and not warm. However, it turns out that I wasn’t the only person smart enough to bring chocolate milk as there were already three or four other gallon bottles of it available for the runners to drink. I’m not even sure if the bottle I brought was ever opened. Oh well, the coaches will probably save it for next week.
This was a tough run for me. Granted, you can’t expect anything easy from a 14-mile run, but up to this point I have completed these runs with a lot of pride and little trouble. Even after all this time I have handled myself very well and have not struggled (not physically anyway). But with this 14-mile run, it really felt like I got my ass kicked. If nothing else, I need to keep doing those two maintenance runs during the week because they are incredibly important and necessary to our marathon training.
The Team to End AIDS coaches presented each of us with a certificate congratulating us on completing this 14-mile run. With this week of training, we completed the equivalent of a half-marathon. There was a slight problem, however; the date on the certificate said January 4, 2013, and the year was now 2014. Oh well, it’s the thought that counts.
At the very least, we all need to remember this fact that was written on a sign which was seen on the course of the New York Marathon:
“You trained longer than Kim Kardashian’s marriage!”
FUNDRAISING UPDATE: I am now at 75% to my fundraising goal of $1,000 for AIDS Project Los Angeles, having raised $746 to date. My deadline to reach the fundraising minimum of $1,000 is on January 17th. Now is the time to make that tax deductible donation that we’ll help you on your 2014 tax return. I know, I know, you still have the 2013 tax return to worry about, but the one you do for 2014 will be here before you know it. Please don’t start donating at the last minute like you did in 2013 and make a donation to my efforts today. It’ll be good for your karma!
CLICK HERE TO MAKE A DONATION TO MY EFFORTS.
Running on Iron Horse Trail in Danville, California
Week 12 of 2013 Los Angeles Marathon Training
Day 12 of 2012 LA Marathon Training