Sunday, March 17, 2013

My 4-mile marathon - LA Marathon 2013

What an amazing day. As depressed as I was about not being able to run 26.2 miles in LA this March, today goes down in history for a lot of firsts.

Today I got to:

- Act like a security guard at the corrals and spot sneaky runners trying to get in corrals they were not supposed to. If you were nice, I let you through - but if you gave me attitude? Back of the line.

- Empathize with drivers trying to navigate away from Dodger Stadium amid endless road closures. It was an adventure.

- Ride an official race motorcycle to my cheering spot (mile 23) on the course from the finish (where my parking spot was too good to give up so I refused to do so). Cones? Road closures? Oh please. They don't exist for this mode of transport!

- Spectate a marathon!!! It dawned on me that I have never been a true marathon spectator. If there was a marathon where I was, I ran it. Except for one time way back when I waited at the finish for 2 friends of mine, but that's not the same.

Spectating is fun (but tiring) stuff. I was pacing up and down as my Roadrunner group was coming through, running a little with each of them to make sure they knew to kick a** on those last few miles. Then, miraculously, I was able to run/walk the last few miles with an amazing runner from my group, Bre. I am so proud of your finish girl! In fact, I am so proud of all of the LA Roadrunners. I'm already counting down to next season.

So, I ran about 4 miles in total and crossed the finish line like it's no biggie. I am thankful for making the mature decision not to run the entire race (there is no way the knee would have help up, anyway) and even more thankful for my legs holding together with minimal pain as I ran that last bit of the course.

It was a beautiful day, Los Angeles.

Elite ladies starting. Winner was Aleksandra Duliba (BLR) with 2:26

Elite men at the start. Winner: Eric Mose with 2:09

Mile 25!!!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Not taking it for granted (?)

So this is what's up. Over the past few years, I've been signing up for races one after the other. Sometimes multiple races at once. Last year, I ventured beyond the marathon distance, which only added fuel to the fire.

Over this time, injuries bogged me down here and there, thanks to my less than stellar biomechanics and probably inadequate attention to complementary strengthening. I'm talking about muscles you need to focus and work on to make you a better runner, but that you only really pay attention to when circumstances force you to.

It's always frustrating to have to sit on the sidelines for days, even weeks to listen to my body complain about what I haven't been doing right. I generally try to patient, listen and learn. But this time is different.

The LA Marathon is in 2 days and 10.5 hours. It's my favorite marathon for many reasons. This would be my 4th time running this course in total and the 2nd running it as an LA Roadrunner Pace Leader. I never had a doubt in my mind that I would be able to finish this year's race with my group. After all, this whole season, culminating in a 26.2-mile party, was about getting them ready and not me. I've been excited for each individual since we started training in September, when race day seemed so distant. Since then, I've been inspired by their dedication, amazing personalities and absolutely loved getting up early (almost) every Saturday to go running. Whether the runners of Group 7 liked it or not, I tried to pass on every lesson I have ever learned from every stupid mistake I've made since I declared myself a runner, no taboos. Anyway, never in a million years did I question my ability to be there for the group on race day. I took it for granted, completely.

And then my popliteus muscle and IT band decided to scream in symphony. Cacophony, really. I have done everything in the book (and beyond) to rehab, but progress is slow. I don't think there is an anti-inflammatory food or antioxidant or supplement I have not taken (say hi to the guinea pig).
I haven't given up on Sunday, but it's looking less and less likely with each step I take. So I try not to take too many steps, exist in RICE mode when possible and pray for a miracle.

If this was any other race, I'd be disappointed but I'd deal with it. In this particular case, however, I'm at a loss.

On the bright side, even if I don't get to run, I'll be there to see everyone finish. And from now on, I'm going to do things properly. More strengthening, more stretching, back to yoga. Like I've been telling others to do all along. Oh, and something about not taking things for granted. Yeah, that too.

*and I promise my next post will be way more cheerful*