Monday, November 3, 2014

Here Comes the Rain Again (and Finally)

The rain came down hard in Los Angeles on Halloween night. The following morning still had clouds hovering in the sky, leaves and branches were strewn all over the street, and my car finally got the wash it had been begging for constantly (but I’ll still need to take it to a car wash anyway). Yes, fall has arrived in Southern California, and it took the beginning of November for it to finally make its long overdue appearance. Of course, even with all the rain, it still won’t be enough to cure California of its current drought.

Although another Halloween has come and gone, the spirit of that wicked holiday still remained strong with Team to End AIDS. Then again, every day in Los Angeles is Halloween; it’s just that October 31st is one of the few days where we can embrace all the craziness with a ton of joy. 

Anyway, it was a small gathering at Griffith Park this morning, but it wasn’t because of the weather. Many of the T2EA runners were out of state getting ready for the New York Marathon which will be far stormier and have its participants dealing with headwinds that will undoubtedly slow them down in an incredibly frustrating way. Still, more power to them as the New York Marathon is, so I am told, one of the best and most entertaining marathons to run.

It was the annual costume run day which usually proves to be a good way to get people to donate to your efforts. One woman was dressed up as a delicious double cheeseburger, the kind we all see in those Carl’s Jr. and Burger King commercials. Of course, when you get to one of those fast food joints, the burgers never end up looking that great. Still, looking at that costume made me hungry and it felt like my cholesterol level went up a few points as a result. 

Then there was a guy who was dressed up as a hot dog. Not just that, but it had mustard on it as well. I don’t know why there was no ketchup on it, or maybe I wasn’t looking at the costume closely enough. At one point, I couldn’t help but ask the guy, “Do you relish wearing that costume? Is it ‘chili’ wearing it in this weather?” This was greeted with a couple of laughs and numerous audible groans, but I had to ask. My brother couldn’t stop telling me puns when we were younger, so I get it from him.

As for myself, I didn’t bother getting wearing a costume this time out. After seeing one of my forms of my employment come to a shockingly abrupt halt (temporarily mind you), I was too bummed to shop for a new costume. I considered putting on my Jason “Friday the 13th” Voorhees costume on, but I was tired of wearing it again. So instead, I just put on my usual running gear and a black rain jacket on top. If I had put a black poncho on and put the hood over my head, I could have said I was Bruce Willis’ character from “Unbreakable,” one of the few decent M. Night Shyamalan movies.

Today’s run had the newbies running 4 miles while the alumni ran 5. Since most of the people in the pace group were new (or so I thought) to marathon training, I figured they would only want to run 4, but I was surprised to see that the majority of them were willing to run 5. Was I cool with that? Absolutely! As much as we should be taking it easy with our marathon training, I was getting increasingly eager to rid myself of this spare tire which has formed over my stomach.

We went outside of Griffith Park again, down Victory Boulevard and towards Pickwick Gardens and Disney Animation Studios. We had to keep our eyes out for puddles, but what really made this run especially treacherous were all those broken branches and wet leaves we could easily slip on. And just when you thought it had stopped raining for good, it came pouring down once again. Memories of the 2011 LA Marathon went through the minds of its survivors, but they pressed on regardless.

I again kept the group on pace as I remembered to bring both my watches, one of which has interval time and a broken strap (which I hope to get fixed someday). I did, however, screw up at the beginning when I forgot when our first walk break occurred. We ended up running for 7 minutes straight as a result, and that forced me to carry my interval timing watch in my right hand to make certain this did not happen again.

I also have to give a special thanks to Winston for helping me let the runners know when to run and when to walk. I did my best to keep my fellow pace group runners on pace, but if they couldn’t hear me then they could certainly hear Winston. It’s always nice to have someone to back you up in anything you do.

This 5 mile run ended up making for a nice post-Halloween day. As the run came to an end, the sun started climbing out of the clouds and shone down brightly on us. At the same time, it was still raining softly and the sight of it against the sun was beautiful to take in. It reminded me of when Ron Shelton, in his commentary track for Bull Durham, talked about how he used machines to make it rain for certain scenes even though the sun was out and how embarrassed he was by that. Stopped being embarrassed Mr. Shelton (assuming he’s reading this) because it does happen and it does look beautiful like it did in your classic movie. 

Someone left us some utterly delectable chocolate fudge treats which proved to be completely addictive once you took your first bite into them. I had a couple but eventually had to force myself to lay off them as others had yet to finish their run and have them, and there is the issue with that spare tire I was talking about previously.

So it feels like we’re all off to a good start as we survived running 5 miles in the rain without slipping and breaking a bone in our bodies. Part of me misses the people who I have trained with in the past like Jessica, Annette, Marta and Tom among others, but I know I’m in good company with the ones who have decided to train this time around.

FUNDRAISING UPDATE: Things are still progressing a lot faster than I ever expected them to. I have now raised $686 for AIDS Project Los Angeles, and that puts me at 68% towards my fundraising goal of $1,000. Let’s get to goal before the end of 2014!

ONE MORE THING: I just want to say congratulations to JC Fernandez, Kerry Quakenbush, Kevin Costley, Bart Tangredi and Christina Diaz Harris for running the 2014 New York Marathon this past weekend and for finishing it triumphantly. Way to go everybody!

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