Monday, March 2, 2015

Running on, Instead of Digging in, the Dirt

Since we have now completed our “celebration run” of 23 miles, it is all about taking it easy before the actual Los Angeles Marathon which is now only a couple of weeks away. This week had us doing a recovery run of 10 miles, and we were encouraged to take it easy now more than ever. No need to run another 20 miles after what we endured last week as it would be beyond counterproductive to do so at this point in our training.

Coach JC, in his morning announcement, told us that we probably won’t run the LA Marathon any faster than we ran last week’s 23 mile run. Hearing that made me kind of depressed. My best time for running the LA Marathon is 5 hours and 46 minutes, and it took me 6 hours and 23 minutes to complete our “celebration run.” Deep down, I still want to shoot for a personal record like I have the last few years. Hopefully that is still a strong possibility.

Coach JC also told us that the volunteers ran out of Gatorade during the 2014 LA Marathon. Hearing that was a surprise to me because I don’t remember being any Gatorade being handed out throughout that marathon at all. Well, whatever the case, they better have plenty of it this time around.

The key piece of advice we were given this morning was to be prepared for the marathon way in advance and to not do everything at the last minute like we all do when it comes to everything else. Hearing Coach JC tell us that suddenly had The Lion King (the movie) going through my head and Jeremy Irons, who voiced the villainous Scar, singing “Be Prepared.” It’s always Disney villains that come to my mind during moments like this. Go figure.

Our route had us remaining inside of Griffith Park, but it quickly got altered when we were told that a tree had fallen down in the road (TIMMMMBEEEEEERRR!!!) along with a power line. The city workers told us that we would have to turn around as no one was going to let us through. As a result, we diverted onto a dirt path that took us around the fallen tree and towards Los Feliz Boulevard where we would we reach our turn around point.

After weeks of ridiculously warm weather, things have actually been cooling down a bit and there was even a strong chance of rain for a change. It never rained on us during this run, but it actually would have been a nice addition as this was a shorter run than usual. There may always be a resistance to change, but this change would have been very welcome as California is suffering through the worst drought in ages which has me constantly thinking of this line from Fred Allen:

“It didn’t affect me at first, but after a couple of weeks something told me to take a bath.”

I found myself getting winded far too soon which surprised me, and I couldn’t figure out why. I figured that running on dirt would be easier on my joints than running on asphalt, and don’t even get me started about what running on concrete is like. But Kerry, my fellow 2011 LA Marathon survivor who has done many trail runs in the past, informed me that running on dirt ends up absorbing more energy than we think. When running on asphalt, we end up getting a nice little bounce out of it which really helps. But with dirt, we end up getting a lot of energy suckage which takes a lot of us to where we realize that carbo load dinner of spaghetti with alfredo sauce didn’t give us enough to work with. Well, we learn something new every day.

We again met up with the Bolivers whose support of our runs remains never ending as always, and my addiction to those peanut butter and pickle covered Ritz crackers they provide us with remains forever infinite. I had more of them than usual on this run, but I again attribute that to running on dirt more than anything else. Perhaps I should have taken some energy gels too, huh?

So this 10 mile run turned out to be only 8.85 miles long due to a mid-course correction. Still, I ran for 2 hours and burned 1,402 calories, many of which I ended up inserting back into my body with chocolate milk, some chocolate chocolate chip cookies from Trader Joe’s and a stop by McDonald’s for a Sausage McMuffin with Egg sandwich. As bad as their food may be for me, the deliciousness factor of that sandwich supersedes any concerns I have for my cholesterol level.

This recovery run was full of unexpected surprises, and it taught me a thing or two that never occurred to me in my five years of training for the LA Marathon. This run was also proof that when a tree falls in Griffith Park, it does make a sound!

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