Once again, I am back at Griffith Park because it’s that time of year again; the time to start training for the Los Angeles Marathon. This marks the sixth year in a row that I will be doing it as well as the sixth year that I have been running it with Team to End AIDS, and I’m sure that makes it sound like I am certifiably insane. Well maybe I am, but this training program always seems to come around at a time when I really need it.
This time it is called the Skechers Los Angeles Marathon. Many wondered why ASICS isn’t sponsoring the event this year, and in the end it all comes down to who ponies up the most money for sponsorship. It certainly does bring attention to your product line.
There are various reasons why I keep coming back to this: I’ve rediscovered my love of running (and it’s a love no one else in my family shares), I am desperately trying to lose weight because I’m sick of my belly hanging out over my shorts, I was in a deep depression and needed to escape from the emotional black hole I was being sucked into, or maybe I just want to see if I can set another personal record for myself. For me, this year is all about getting into shape, losing all that belly fat and staying away from the social elixir known as alcohol a little more often during the week. It certainly loosens me up, but it can also rob me of my ambition to do the things I love and get work done.
Even though it’s September, the last few weeks have unbearably hot to where my apartment feels like a makeshift sauna more than anything else. The heat made it almost impossible for me to get to sleep the night before, and I astonished myself for getting out of bed so quickly when my alarm went off at 6 am. I left myself plenty of time to get ready and drive to Griffith Park with time to spare, but then I remembered that I parked my car several blocks away from my apartment. Oh well, at least I got a good warm walk up as I made my way to my automobile.
It was already hovering around 80 degrees when Coach JC Fernandez greeted everyone loudly by shouting out, “GOOD MORNING T2!!!” If he appeared shy before, he certainly doesn’t now. He also told everyone that the JC stands for Juan Carlos and then went on to give us his full name which is beautiful. I say it’s beautiful because, like all beautiful names, I can’t pronounce it. It’ll probably take me a few months before I am able to.
Coach JC started off with the usual address to the marathon troops such as getting a good pair of running shoes from somewhere other than Foot Locker or Sports Chalet. As always we need to get our shoes from a store which employs runners who know what they are talking about (ARunner’s Circle). He also talked about not wearing headphones, that we would be running against traffic and that we needed to run more on the asphalt than on the concrete as the asphalt would provide more cushioning on our joints. And when the day of the marathon comes, we will be spending more time running on the asphalt than not, so this is our opportunity to get used to running on it.
But the most memorable advice from JC came when he told us not to wear cotton clothing while running as it absorbs moisture instead of wicking it away. He also presented us with an equation that I would have loved to have seen in a math class:
COTTON + MOISTURE = OUCH!
Today’s run gave us the option of running either a timed two miles, and that was mostly for newbies who had yet to see which pace group they would be most comfortable running in, or five miles for alumni. I was aiming to run five, but I knew that desire would be short-lived because I only did one maintenance run this past week. Despite having trained for the LA Marathon for the past few years, it always feels like I’m starting over again when the first week of training comes around.
I caught up with my fellow marathon veterans John, Floyd, Virginia and a few others whose names I should have learned a long time ago. Floyd admitted that he didn’t do any maintenance runs this past and decided not to run as a result. As for everyone else, they decided to run just three miles which sounded just right to me. But even with a short run, the heat still got to me as the summer weather still sears our bodies like we’re shish kabobs on a hibachi grill, and that’s even though Labor Day 2015 has already passed us by. It’s like the sun was telling us, “I AIN’T DONE WITH YOU YET!” It doesn’t matter that we ran the 2015 LA Marathon in the same unbearable heat because the sun, unlike humans, does not discriminate.
I’m still trying to remain conscious of my form while running because sometimes it feels like I’m slouching or hunching forward when I should be. It’s moments like that which make me miss going to the chiropractor twice a week.
After finishing the run, John came up to me and asked if Tilda Swinton was as cool in person as she is on the big screen. I said she was even cooler. Why this question? Check out the video below:
Regardless, I got off to a pretty good start and there’s nowhere to go from here but up. I just need to get as much cardio workouts into my schedule as possible as well as do those two maintenance runs during the week. I congratulated myself by stopping at Costco and buying gasoline for $2.85 a gallon (I remembered when that used to seem expensive) and having two Sausage McMuffins with Egg at McDonald’s. As a result, I REALLY need to get those cardio workouts in more than ever. If the heat doesn’t get me, the cholesterol will!
WRITER’S NOTE: I am once againrunning this marathon in support of AIDS Project Los Angeles and have set afundraising goal of $1,100. So far I have raised $100 which puts me at 9% togoal. I encourage you to donate to this non-profit organization which has doneso much to help those afflicted by AIDS as scientists continue to search for acure. Click here to find out how you can help.