Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Burning off a McRib

Just when summer thought it was out, Southern California pulls it back in!

Those of us who have trained for the Los Angeles Marathon previously love that we get to train during the coldest months of the year, but the weather in Southern California is proving to be as bipolar as ever with climate change wreaking havoc around the globe. I knew it was going to be warmer than usual in November when I arrived at Griffith Park, so I didn’t bother dressing in layers like I usually do at this time of year. 

For me, my main goal was to burn off that McRib I had at McDonald’s the other night. That’s right, the McRib returned to one of America’s far too famous fast food restaurants and, even though we are aware of how these sandwiches are made, people continue to flock to the nearest McDonald’s to have one or two as if Elvis has come back from the dead or something. That either means that people in America have a death wish or they just want to live on the edge for a little while. These days, eating at McDonald’s constitutes a major health risk as there’s no doubt that their food will be clogging your arteries mercilessly. Still, I was seduced to have a McRib as they are only available once or twice a year, and they are sinfully delicious and a guilty pleasure. Also, they are messy as hell and I lost track of how many napkins I made use of while I was eating. Many trees died to keep my hands clean. I probably should feel bad about that.

Coach JC was back in town after having completed the 2014 New York Marathon along with several other Team to End AIDS runners. Their accomplishment is all the more profound when you take into account how harsh the weather was in the Big Apple with runners having to deal with 40 mile an hour headwinds and frigid temperatures which made those 26.2 all the more challenging to conquer. While it may not have been as insane as the monsoon that was the 2011 Los Angeles Marathon, you have to give these runners a lot of credit as they were running in actual fall weather.

Before this 5 mile run began, Coach JC made sure that we had our water bottles on us because, as our mileage increases, we need it and Gatorade now more than ever. He also made it clear that, at this point in our training, we should be eating breakfast before the run. Among the suggestions for breakfast was half a bagel with cream cheese or an energy bar. JC, however, made it clear that a breakfast of bacon and eggs was not a good idea (damn). Since I had that McRib sandwich, I skipped breakfast this morning.

The 13 minute pace group once again proved to be the hip group to be in as we accumulated a few more runners. Chris and Drea decided to rejoin the 13 minute pace group as running in the 12 minute pace group was faster than they would have preferred. Drea also remarked that I have lost a lot of weight. God, I so want that to be the case, but my metabolism continues to betray me. Then again, I did have that McRib.

Our run took us down Victory Boulevard, and then we made a right on Sonora which of course had us running around the Disney Imagineering Studios (they just love to take away the T2EA signs). It also had us running past that building which continues to give off that wonderful smell of yeast which is just intoxicating and has me yearning for a slice of sourdough bread. We also passed by the Jack In The Box and Carl’s Jr. restaurants which had those signs outside advertising their delicious breakfast burritos, cheeseburgers that have at least two patties and Ranch Fries. We’re always tempted to snag one of those egg biscuit sandwiches, but it doesn’t take long for our common sense to kick in. Hmm, I wonder if they have a McRib McMuffin sandwich with egg… 

Actually, I didn’t find the breakfast burritos all that appetizing, but that may have to do with the one I got from Dunkin Donuts last summer while vacationing in Baltimore, Maryland. I didn’t exactly have a good experience with that one, and it was a hell of a lot smaller than it had any right to be. All the same, no fast food restaurant is gonna keep me from doing my Saturday morning runs, but if any of them have the McRib…

Today’s run also marked the ever so welcome return of those peanut butter and pickle covered Ritz crackers that the Bolivers just love to make for us year after year. I couldn’t get enough of them, and it got to where I almost lost sight of my pace group as they chose not to stop (they would on the way back though). WHOOPS! Oh well, at least I found something a little more addicting than the McRib.
When we got to the train tracks, that’s when we really got backed up. The gates came down for what we thought would be the Metro link or an Amtrak barreling its way down the tracks to a far off destination. Instead, we got this Union Pacific train that was hauling a countless number of cars behind it to where Floyd remarked that we were going to be waiting around for a while. It didn’t take long for us to see that he was right because those cars kept coming and coming, and I kept looking from side to side like I was Patrick Swayze looking through those subway cars in Ghost. When that final car passed us by, we were both shocked and glad that the train was gone as we feared we’d have to wait 20 minutes before we could cross.

But aside from that, it was another good run even as the unseasonably warm November weather bore down on us like we were lizards. We all stayed on pace, and we’re getting to know each other well (names are still a challenge to remember though). I also won a T2EA headband for being one of the runners  who has raised at least $500 so far (please donate). I’m not sure if I look good in a headband or not, but I guess we’ll find out at some point. 

So from here on out, the mileage will increase even more and I will need to start having some breakfast before driving my ass out to Griffith Park in the morning. Rest assured, I will not be having a McRib in the morning before I go. I’m just glad I burned this one off… Now I want another dammit.

FUNDRAISING UPDATE: I’m still at 69% to my fundraising goal of $1,000 for AIDS Project Los Angeles, and I have raised $686 so far. My hope is to get there before the end of 2014, and any donation no matter how small will go a long way to helping those afflicted with this terrible disease. The midterm elections are now over, so any money you didn’t give to Democrats, Republicans or any third party candidates would be best donated to this very important non-profit group.

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