I made it back to Los Angeles after an extended holiday vacation in the Bay Area with my family, and I made it just in time for the longest Team to End AIDS run yet – 15 miles. The day before had me driving all the way from Northern California which took longer to accomplish as a traffic accident cause traffic to slow down on the Grapevine. I ended up stopping at a Jack In The Box restaurant to have dinner, and I had a Chicken Club Sandwich on sourdough, some curly fries and an orange Fanta. It’s probably not the best meal you want to chow down on before a long run, but when you’re on the road your options in terms of eating can be somewhat limited. Either that or I was looking for an excuse to have some fast food.
After being subdued by reruns of the Batman TV show on IFC, I got out of my apartment and drove to Griffith Park. Today’s run was special because it was in memory of the late Scott Boliver, a man who coached many of us to successful marathon completions time and time again. Scott passed away on January 3, 2013 after battling two different types of cancer that he did in fact beat. I guess the various treatments he underwent took a heavier toll on his body than we realized. Hearing of his passing two years ago was absolutely devastating, and we still bemoan how he was taken away from us far too soon.
As a result, an invitation was sent out to veteran Team to End AIDS runners to join us in a run in memory of Scott. This allowed me to catch up with Jessica, Annette and Virginia, my fellow “13 The Sequel” pace group friends who I have missed these past few months. Right now they are running with a group known as the Pasadena Pacers, and Jessica said she has been running only 5 or 6 miles a week as she has been suffering from “runner’s knees.” As for my own knees, they gave up trying to reason with me a while ago, and they have created a song that’s a knock-off of “Thanks for the Memories” which they have entitled “Thank You for the Cartilage.”
The temperature in Northern California went down to 30 degrees some nights, and I figured it would be slightly warmer when I got back to Los Angeles. If it was warmer, it was only slightly so and I prepared for the frigid weather accordingly. On top of dressing in layers, I also put my gloves on. I’ve been in very cold weather before where my hands became so numb that I couldn’t feel them. I don’t want to experience that ever again if I can help it.
I have misplaced the running watch my parents gave me last Christmas, and my Ironman watch, the same one that is now without a strap, just died on me. However, one of my Christmas gifts this year was a new cellphone, or more specifically an Android phone. Compared to my prehistoric iPhone, this one has up to date technology which meant I now had a phone that could successfully download Runkeeper. That’s right, I have finally caught up with the 21st century!
The run got off to a rough start as I was trying to figure out how to use Runkeeper. I had created a workout on it that had the 3:1 pace, but getting to the specific place where I could start it got a little complicated. In the end I just started it on a regular workout which meant I had to rely on someone else’s watch going beep, beep, beep when the time came. But once again, not everyone was on the same page.
There was another problem too; none of the Lucky 13 runners had a map at the start. We ended up missing a couple of turns, but some were able to figure that out before our 15 mile run became a full marathon by accident.
For me, this run turned out to be more of a struggle than I anticipated. If Runkeeper was correct, I was running faster than I should have been, and I found myself getting winded rather quickly. This was probably the result of me getting hammered on New Year’s Eve by myself as I rung in 2015 by catching up on articles I needed to finish. I also got to enjoy a lot of red wine throughout the week when I should have spent a lot more time hydrating. I did bring along some energy gel blocks, but they only did so much for me.
When it came to running up that deceptive hill on Sonora, I found myself doing more speed walking than running. To be honest, I didn’t have any breakfast beforehand as I figured I still needed to run off that Jack In The Box value meal. While it may be low in price, it’s ridiculously high in calories which I hoped to dropkick on this 15 mile run. Did I succeed in doing so? God I hope so!
The Bolivers were on hand, and I don’t just mean Scott’s parents. The rest of the family was there as well to pay tribute to him as they know this is where he’d want them to be. One of his daughters is now a senior in high school and is hoping that the rest of the year goes by quickly. We assured her that it will and that everything after it will go by even faster. This led one woman to respond, “And then you’ll wake up and your 50!”
This is the fifth time I have trained for the Los Angeles Marathon, but I came out of this run feeling a lot more battered than usual. I have a lot to be proud of, but my body got really sore in the process. In retrospect I should have seen this coming, but I figured I had this whole running thing figured out. Boy was I wrong! What’s wrong with me anyway?!
I do have to thank my fellow pace group runners for keeping an eye on me as I was the last one to cross the finish line, and by then I was limping. I had just enough energy to take the “15 Mile Award” certificate Coach JC was handing out to us. From there we stretched our sore legs out while partaking in a banquet of chocolate milk, bagels with cream cheese, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and mini chocolate chip cookies. This is typically my day for pigging out, but I need to focus on losing weight before the day of the marathon arrives. It’s far too easy to pig out over the holidays, and now we have a lot of flab to rid ourselves of.
To be honest, I came out of this run disappointed in myself. While I did run 15 miles and burned hundreds of calories, I felt that I dropped the ball in some ways. I should have spent more time hydrating myself with water and Gatorade during the week. Instead I partied hard even though I didn’t bother going to a New Year’s Eve party.
Floyd said we should all be proud of what we accomplished and that everybody did a fantastic job. I’m glad he said that, and I would have loved to feel the way he did after this run. I don’t know, maybe I’m at war with myself and beating myself up for no good reason. Running should be ridding me of bad vibes as well as calories. Oh well, at least I know what I need to work on.
It was great seeing Jessica, Annette and Virginia again. They ended up only running 5 miles as that was all the alums were expected to run. I tried to goad them into running the full 15, figuring that they would consume one too many peanut butter and pickle covered Ritz crackers at the Boliver rest stop. But anyway, they’re not training for the marathon this time around.
As I walked back to my car, I took the time to look at the tree that was planted in memory of Scott. It continues to grow tall, and it remains a wonderful sight to see. I look forward to seeing it grow even bigger as time goes by.
When I got back to my apartment, I did take an ice bath as I really needed one. At the supermarket I found some bags of Halloween party ice where the cubes were green and orange, and that made the bath all the more entertaining. It’s good thing nobody saw me take this bath because, once the ice cubes melted, it looked like I peed in the tub.
We miss you Scott.
Did you get all those tax deductible donations taken care of before the end of 2014? Good for you. Now you can get a head start on them by donating to AIDS Project Los Angeles, a non-profit group that has done so much for those afflicted with this disease. You want to donate just $5 or $10? That’s perfectly fine because a little money can still go a long way.