It’s back in the saddle again! Four times wasn’t enough for me, so now I’m back training for the Los Angeles Marathon for the fifth year in a row. Training with Team to EndAIDS began again on October 18, 2014, and I found myself actually eager to get up early in the morning for a change as a result. All my running clothes still seem to fit me and haven’t fallen apart yet, so I don’t need to get any new threads just yet. However, I may want to consider getting some new running socks.
For once I got to the running site with plenty of time to spare. I was eager to catch up with a lot of friends I haven’t seen in a while and to greet the coaches who approach this training season with a wealth of enthusiasm. It was great to see Coach JC Fernandez, Kerry Quakenbush and Dene Preston back in action as they welcomed us with the usual speeches about fundraising goals and what to expect this time around when it comes to training. We were also reminded again of how territorial the bike riders are when they’re out on the road, and that was before we started running.
One of the best sights to take in when I arrived at the park was the tree planted in the memory of Scott Boliver, our former marathon coach who left this world far too soon. It was planted on the grounds a few months ago and it continues to grow taller. It’s a wonderful tribute to a man who inspired us all.
When it came to meeting friends who I have trained with in the past, I got to meet up with Chris who I ran the 2012 LA Marathon with, and this is the first marathon he has trained for in a couple of years. I also got to catch up with Kerry who, along with me and many others, survived the vicious monsoon that was the 2011 LA Marathon. A lot of our run together had us reminiscing about the memories of that exceedingly wet day, the kind that, ironically, we could use a lot of right now in California so we can get over this drought. Yes, leaping over the puddles back then was impossible as those puddles quickly became rivers we could only hope to levitate over (if only such a thing were possible).
It also proved to be a throwback to our training that year which had us running through a snowy Burbank where frost began forming on our clothes to where steam was coming off of them on our last few miles. It says a lot about us 2011 LA Marathon veterans that we came back for another marathon because that one was a clusterfuck of epic proportions (or a shittacular as others described it). For me, it was my first marathon and a time to realize that wearing cotton sweats was beyond counterproductive.
Today’s run was a simple one to determine which pace group we would be running in for the next few months. We ran two miles through the streets of Griffith Park, and we were encouraged to run at a comfortable pace to where we weren’t huffing and puffing. I did well for a guy who has kind of let myself go since the last marathon I ran, and I never ran faster than I needed to. After the last marathon, my hope was to run in other events around Los Angeles or in other parts of California, but that didn’t happen for a variety of reasons. Now certain parts of my body are much bigger than they should be, and they are not the parts I am eager to see increase in size. Hopefully I can trim a few pounds off my aging body before marathon day in 2015.
When I got to the finish line, I asked JC how badly I did (jokingly of course). He said I did fine and that I would be back in the 13 mile pace group. That sounds perfectly fine to me, and that means I will be again running at a pace of 3:1; running for three minutes and then walking for one. It soon turned out to be the most popular pace group as those who were in the 14 or 15 groups found themselves merging their way into ours. I guess we 13’s are still the hip crowd to hang out with!
So the easy work is done. Next week we will be running three miles and then increasing our mileage from there. I’m looking forward to another great marathon training season.
CAN I GET YOUR ATTENTION??!! Once again I will be raising money for AIDS Project Los Angeles which Teams to End AIDS works to benefit. My fundraising goal is $1,000, but I hope to go farther than that. I’m asking everyone reading this to donate at least $5 to my efforts. If you can donate more than that, you are a rock star (sounds lame, but it’s true). Keep in mind that these donations are tax deductible which will work wonders on your taxes at the end of the year. Please, it’s all for a cause that means a lot to me. Just be glad this is not another email asking you to support this or that candidate or this political party (I’m getting so sick of those). I hope I can count on your undying support.