Day 1 of 2012 LA Marathon Training

by on January 25th, 2011
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October 29, 2011 marked my first day of training for the 2012 LA Marathon with Team To End AIDS. Training actually started last week, but I was still in the midst of deciding whether or not to do another round of endurance training. I was back and forth about participating, having been burned out from fundraising for last year’s LA Marathon and the Disneyland Half-Marathon before that. It seemed like I sucked as much money out of friends and family that was humanly possible, and with the economy still in the crapper, I predicted donations would be as tiny as my… Okay, I’m not going there.

But a few things made me change my mind; the fundraising goal was $1000 since I am a well-worn alumni, being a alumni also allowed me to register for only $50, I succeeded in losing a lot of weight last time and didn’t want to gain it back, and my mother offered to buy me a new pair of running shoes. I think that last one was the biggest motivator to be honest.

It felt like a much needed homecoming for me when I arrived at Griffith Park and greeted friends I hadn’t seen since last March. I was also just laid off from my job when I began training last year, and I am still unemployed at this time. Our team of Apollo 14 saw some of its members retuning while others were instead taking on the Santa Barbara Half-Marathon or the Honolulu Marathon coming up in December. Those of us who were back decided to go with a faster pace group as doing the same thing felt beneath us for once.

Being that it was a few days before Halloween, today was costume day for us runners. Many guys gleefully dressed up as girls with absolutely no shame, one girl was wearing a cow costume, and I remember another guy dressed as the comic book character The Flash. Whether or not he could run as fast as The Flash is another story. Heck, I’m not even sure a Nigerian runner could out race The Flash, but Mr. Spock is correct in saying that there are always possibilities.

I wasn’t wearing a costume myself. The only one I could think of putting on was my Jason Voorhees “Friday The 13th” costume which came equipped with a machete (fake of course). That same costume won me the scariest costume award at my former place of employment as well as a $5 gift card to Pinkberry (cheap skates). But in the end I thought I was more likely to get shot at or something. It’s not everyday you see Jason Voorhees training for a marathon while wielding a bloody machete. I still kept waiting for someone to ask me who I was dressed as so I could use that line of dialogue I stole from Christina Ricci which she said in “The Addams Family” movie.

“I’m a homicidal maniac. They dress up like everybody else.”

Today we had a choice of running 3 miles or 5, and I was thinking of doing just 3 since I hadn’t been marathon training for a few months (don’t want to run myself ragged). But when we got to the 1 ½ mile turnaround, I remembered how I like to be challenged and that I don’t like things to be too easy. Then again, after running a 26.2 mile marathon, 5 miles seems like a piece of cake. With a run like that, an ice bath doesn’t seem necessary (what’s wrong with spending some time in the Jacuzzi instead?).

The run was good and had us doing a run-walk interval of 3 minutes running and1 minute walking. Looking back, I think we could all tell that we were running a little too fast. One of our coaches was right to remind us that this was not about being fast, but of running at a pace which was comfortable for us. We can dream of running as fast as Nigerians do in these events, but many of us will not be able to match their speed or come even close. In a lot of cases, it’s probably just as well that we can’t.

It was actually rather cold that morning at Griffith Park which surprised me as the weather in October felt like summer was still with us, and I had to keep reminding myself that fall had in fact already arrived. That the leaves were turning brown and falling from the trees should have been a dead giveaway.

Still, the weather was preferable to what we experience on certain days last year. One of my fellow runners Kerry remarked about the time when it started snowing on us in Burbank during a double-digit mile run. I thought it was hail, but the news later confirmed that it was snowing during our run which was shocking as the sight of snow in Los Angeles is incredibly rare to say the least. Frost ended up forming on our clothes, and our jackets eventually had steam coming off of them. Hopefully we’ll be more prepared if this happens again. It’s always a possibility with climate change (or global warming if you want to call it that).

Snacks greeted us when we made it back to Griffith Park. There were a bunch of Nutri-Grain bars and others that looked sinful but had the vitamins and protein we needed. Having expelled the calories we did, we needed to put them back in our bodies to recover. Food never seems to taste as delicious until after you’ve ran a few miles.

Back at my apartment later as I drink a bottle of Nestle Chocolate Milk (great recovery drink by the way), I find myself excited at the prospect of doing another marathon. It’s allowed me to accomplish things friends of mine say that can’t even see themselves doing (there is a way to find out though). People joke about how they can barely run a mile or how running ends up boring them to death. For me it’s always been exciting, and that’s the case ever since I started running Cross Country back in high school.

The 2011 Los Angeles Marathon was overshadowed by monsoon-like weather which reached a furious pitch when we made it to the end in Santa Monica. Like many who survived it, I hope to run it in March 2012 instead of having to swim it.

Click here to visit my fundraising page to make a donation. It’s tax deductible so you can stick it to the man!

See also:

Images from the 2009 Los Angeles Marathon

My Adventures in Training for a Half-Marathon

Thoughts and Feelings from the 5th annual Disneyland Half-Marathon

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