How pretty it was
On Sunday March 18, 2018 I ran the LA Marathon. It was my first one and it was an amazing experience.
I never thought I would be able to compete in, let alone finish, a marathon, but on Sunday I did.
I started training, like really training, for the marathon last August. I would wake up every morning and walk for 45 minutes. This was to get me back into a shape that would allow me to run a bit.
On Sunday, September 24 I completed my first run since February 25th (basically 7 months between runs!). It was a 45 minute run that covered 3.82 miles. Over the next 6 months I slowly increased the distances I would run from that modest 3.82 run up to an 18 mile run. In total, I completed 89 training runs which covered 441.92 miles and spent 79+ hours running (see table below for details).
With all of the training that I did, there was a bit of December where I had pulled my right calf on a training run that forced me to rest for a couple of weeks. The only good news of that was that it coincided with a family trip to Utah where I would not have been able to really run while there (the average day time highs were in the teens and the ground seemed to be constantly covered in ice).
Also, with all of the training that I did, there isn’t really any way to train for race day itself. You get up early (in my case 3:50) and you take a shuttle to the start line and then wait. For hours. I got to Dodger stadium at about 5:00am but the race wasn’t set to start until 6:55am.
So I waited, with my running buddies, for the run to start. It was cold (about 48 degrees) and crowded. Once the race started it took nearly 20 minutes before I was able to cross the start line (there were nearly 25,000 people that ran).
None of the training that you do can really prepare you for this. Even if you do a race during your training, chances are it won’t have that many people, or have that many logistics involved with getting to and starting. That being said, having good company and a good playlist is essential.
I stayed with my coach, Marirose, for the entire race. We ran for the first 15 miles without stopping (except for a potty break at mile 5) and were making pretty good time. For the most part I felt really good.
But then something happened. At about 15 miles I hit a running wall. At 20 miles I hit a walking wall and didn’t want to finish. I think the only reason I finished was because I promised my daughter that I would finish a marathon and I wanted to keep my promise.
At mile 23 all I wanted to do was sit down and take a break, but I kept walking anyway.
Finally, at mile 26 I could see the finish line and Marirose and I ran the last 0.2 miles to the finish line. I had such a wave of emotion.
I kind of wanted to cry. I wanted to cry because I had accomplished an amazing physical feat. I wanted to cry because I hurt EVERYWHERE. I wanted to cry because it was my daughter’s 12 birthday and I was running a marathon and she was home with family friends.
With the wave of emotion and the feeling of having completed such an awesome experience I walked towards the people handing out the medals and got my finisher’s medal.
Now, not only did I have the feeling of completing the LA Marathon, I had a physical manifestation of that feat!
When it was all said and done my unofficial time for the LA Marathon was 05:56:08. Not too shabby for a first timer. Not too shabby for guy who 7 months earlier struggled to run 45 minutes and wasn’t sure he’d ever be able to get past 10 miles.
After the race on Sunday I said I’d never do a marathon again. I had checked it off my bucket list and that was that.
Now, sitting here, only a couple of days later, I’m thinking that never is a long time and that there is a possibility that yes, I might run another marathon.
But not for a while. For now, I’ll stick to my next goal of getting to a sub 25-minute 5k and running a half marathon every year. Those goals seem a little more reasonable, and a little less brutal on my body!