Monday, February 9, 2015

Losing Myself with an 8 Mile Run

After treading the asphalt last week through Burbank and Glendale for 20 miles, we had a much needed recovery run this Saturday that was only 8 miles. That’s right; you know you’ve entered new territory when you tell someone who absolutely hates to run that you are running “only 8 miles.” It’s worth it just to see the look on their face. 

We were warned in advance that it would most likely rain on us, and the sky was overcast more than usual. I was going to put on my rain jacket, but I couldn’t seem to find it in the jungle that is my closet. As I was again running behind schedule (thank you Batman reruns on IFC), I just went ahead and put on my black Nike jacket and headed to my car. I also took the time to clean my sunglasses which proved to be filthier than usual. I hate it when those spots obscure your view while you’re trying to protect your eyes from the sun. I’d get a new pair if I could afford it, but anyway.

I arrived at Griffith Park just in time to hear Coach JC tell my fellow Team to End AIDS runners that if they decided not to run 20 miles last week because of some injury or pain they were experiencing, they did the right thing. There’s pushing yourself to do more than you ever thought you could, and then there’s taking it easy when you don’t feel so hot. So far during this marathon training season I have taken it pretty easy, not wanting to overdo anything. The only time I ran faster than I should have was when I had that interview with Ethan Hawke on his movie Predestination. Thank goodness I didn’t miss out on that!

This 8 mile run kept us inside Griffith Park as we ran past the Gene Autry Museum and the golf course. This allowed me the opportunity to watch a golfer lose sight of his clubs as they rolled away from him. Fortunately, he caught them just in time and those who were passing him by congratulated him on a great save. Still, with him being a golfer at Griffith Park, he probably has it a lot easier than the rest of us financially speaking.

I guess this is time to admit that I didn’t do my maintenance runs this past week. We’re supposed to do two of them throughout the week to keep our bodies in gear, but I decided to take an extra few days off from them which eventually turned into taking the whole week off from running. After this run I confessed my sins to Coach JC and he laughed and said, “You’re body always knows when you haven’t done your maintenance runs.” How true.

The fact is that I was lagging behind everybody to where I was running by myself for the last few miles and caught up in my own thoughts. The past week had me struggling to get any work done as I had to deal with someone from my past who is far too bitter to let go of the past, and I was once again reminded of how tedious it can be to transcribe an interview. And once again, I did not have an interval timing watch on me so I ended up losing track of when we were walking and running after a while. I could make out my fellow runners from a distance, but after a while they just became a blur.

Thankfully Winston, who I stayed behind with when experienced problems during our 18 mile run, waited up for me to make sure I was alright. Even he wasn’t sure if we were running or walking, and my Runkeeper app didn’t want to indicate where I was pace-wise. It was nice to have the company though as we made our way back to Zoo Drive where the breeze hit our faces in a most refreshing way.

I did make it to the finish line eventually, and I burned a lot of calories that I will more than likely put back into my body before I know it. One of the many things to keep in mind about running is that it can really increase your appetite in a way few other physical activities can. I found myself tearing into a package of Chips Ahoy cookies at the finish line to where I wondered just how bad my addiction to all things chocolate is. 

When it comes to runs like these where I end up falling behind everyone else, I usually come out of them feeling like I let myself down completely. But this time around I didn’t get into a state where I was beating myself up mercilessly. There were certainly things I could have improved on, but I really didn’t do a bad job. Regardless of how long it took me, I did run all 8 miles and crossed the finish line just like I should have. 

According to my trust Runkeeper app I ran for two hours and had an average pace of 14:22 per mile which was a little faster than usual for me. I burned 1,253 calories, but those calories will, of course, will be reentering my body at some point. 

For this next week I need to take care of a few things: I need to get a new pair of running shoes, a watch with interval timing and some new compression gear. My compression tights and underwear, which have gotten me through four LA Marathons, now have holes in them and need to be replaced. On one hand you could say I now have blessed clothing (their holy, get it?), but it’s time to get some new threads. 

A big thanks also goes out to the mentor of the Lucky 13 pace group, Jenn Alonzo, who continues to keep a good eye on us throughout each and every run and greets us at the finish line with a great big smile. Following this run, she also held a fundraiser at the Veggie Grill in the Farmer's Market next to The Grove. It's the kind of place where you look at the menu and become convinced that they do actually serve meat, but you should know damn well that they don't before you enter the restaurant. This is a vegan establishment through and through, and the fact that they have natural sodas instead of Coke and Pepsi should clue you into that.


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