So last week we completed the longest run of our training (23 miles), and from here on out we have nothing but recovery runs to do before the big day. This week’s run had us running just 10 miles, but for some odd reason those 10 miles felt like a lot more work than the 23 I ran last week. A lot of that had to do with the weather being much warmer than usual, and the temperature went up to at least 70 degrees even before we began running.
Us Team to End AIDS runners met up again at the parking lot opposite the Los Angeles Zoo and at 7:30 in the morning the sun was already shining very brightly in the sky. I had all my usual running gear on, but I decided to leave off my grey compression shirt which I usually wear underneath my red Team to End AIDS shirt. Judging from how warm the weather was during this past week, something told me that I wasn’t going to need it. Turns out I was right. I did need a lot of suntan lotion though.
After weeks of treading familiar paths through Burbank and Glendale, Coach JC decided to keep us inside Griffith Park for this run. I actually liked that the fact that our route was going to be different than what it’s been in the past. We needed a change to shake things up a bit. At the same time, some of my fellow Lucky 13 pace group runners were not as fond of this terrain as me. Annette decried the lack of “visual stimuli” as everything looked the same with all the trees hanging over us and never providing enough shade from the sun. While I saw her point, it was kind of nice not having to run past houses (or even apartment buildings for that matter) which I can’t possibly afford to live in. With my unending period of unemployment seeming all the more unending in recent days, those sights make me all the more depressed.
The heat really was doing us in on this run, and by that I don’t mean the Miami Heat. For once, we came to remember what we appreciated about running in cold weather. We complain about how freezing it gets, but we actually run a lot more efficiently when the temperature is very low. When we’re dealing with summer-like temperatures and an obscene amount of humidity, suddenly it feels impossible to keep pounding the pavement even if we only have two more miles to go.
Towards the end of this 10 mile run, I spent most of it walking. I just couldn’t get myself to run with the temperature feeling too hot for the month of March. Even though spring is rapidly approaching, I’m used to it being colder than usual in Los Angeles at this point of the year. When it came to running up those darn hills, I felt a sudden need to perfect my speed walking skills as they have been waning during this particular marathon training session. As usual, I felt and looked ridiculous doing my speed walking and that meant I was doing it right.
One of the things that kept me going was a drummer who was practicing in a solitary part of Griffith Park, and his beat really invigorated me at a time when I needed the extra boost. In fact, this may be the same drummer that was playing in this same part of the park during the 2012 Los Angeles Marathon training session. It even reminded me of the 2009 Los Angeles Marathon which went right past my apartment and inspired me to run it two years later. There was a drummer who was pounding away at his drum set on Wilshire Boulevard back then, and I’m starting to think it was the same guy. Hopefully we will see and hear him again on March 17, 2013.
Another thing that kept our spirits up were Coach JC’s signs which he left for us on our route. One said “there’s a zombie behind you” which gave us a very strong motivation to run. Granted, there weren’t any zombies running behind us, but in this day and age anything’s possible (just as reporters at CNN).
There was another sign which pointed out a fact many of us are not aware of: “Chuck Norris never ran a marathon.” How about that! Norris fights off terrorists in the movies, does the television show “Walker Texas Ranger” for a long time on CBS, makes some crazy religious warning with his wife about what will happen if President Obama is re-elected, but the man has never ran a marathon. For once in our lives, we can safely say we have done something that Chuck Norris hasn’t. Yay for us!
So after finally making it back to the LA Zoo parking lot, I had myself some chocolate milk which remains the recovery drink of choice for marathon runners after all this time. Still, I yearned for an even colder beverage to drink as the heat really got to me this time. It wasn’t just our bodies that got warmed up; it was our water bottles too. Gatorade isn’t bad to drink when it’s warm, but it sure goes down better when it’s cold.
Heck, even those peanut butter and pickle covered Ritz crackers the Boliver family has been providing us suffered from the heat as well. As soon as they put the crackers out, the pickles dried up almost instantly, and they were not as refreshing as we usually expect them to be. The sun has been a relief to us when the mornings are so fiercely cold, but now its rays are warming things up way too quickly.
Anyway, some of us Lucky 13 runners made our way out to Home Restaurant, the same restaurant in Silver Lake we went to have breakfast at a couple of weeks ago. I ended up having a nice omelet with goat cheese, tomatoes and spinach, and I topped it off with a nice glass of ice water (something I really could have used during this run). Some of my fellow pace group members noticed that seemed a bit removed from their conversation, and the truth is my current state of unemployment has hit a huge snag. I’m not going into specific details here, but things need to change around for me quick. Fortunately I have a loving family who is willing to support me through tough times, and I’m doing my best not to let them down.
So next week we have our final training run which will be only 8 miles, and after that is the LA Marathon. I can already feel myself missing the company of all these great people I’ve gotten to know these past few months. As a result, I think next week is going to be a hard one, and by that I mean emotionally more than physically. They have all made me feel a lot less lonely during the toughest of times.
FUNDRAISING UPDATE: I have reached my fundraising minimum for AIDS Project Los Angeles and have raised $1,100. Wasn’t sure I was going to make it this time, but great friends always prevail. However, you are still welcome to make a donation if you would like as this is a great organization that has done so much to help those in need. Plus now is as good a time as ever to get caught up on your tax deductible donations.
CLICK HERE TO MAKE A TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATION.
Week 19 of 2013 Los Angeles Marathon Training
Week 18 of 2013 Los Angeles Marathon Training
Day 20 of 2012 Los Angeles Marathon Training