Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The 14 Mile Wipeout

After a recovery run of six miles which had me keeping up with my fellow pace group runners for a change, this week had us running 14 miles. I came into it with my usual confidence that I would complete it with little problem, but I was beset by some issues which came to take away from that confidence which may have been over-inflated unnecessarily.

The night before had me searching for my cell phone as I suddenly realized that I didn’t have it on me. This led me to have a near nervous breakdown as I have never lost any cell phone I’ve ever owned whether it’s a Nokia or an iPhone that is far past its prime. I searched the movie theater where I saw “The Peanuts Movie” as well as the Ralphs Supermarket I went to afterwards where I bought all the energy blocks I knew I would need for this run. After a great deal of self-flagellation which involved slapping myself in the face and yelling in my car at full volume, I found my phone which was lying on a sidewalk where it could have easily been taken. The fact that it wasn’t taken is amazing. Of course, realizing how tragic it was to lose my cell phone made me realize that, like everybody else, I am a slave to technology. It always felt like I avoided being a slave to it, but that was probably just me being in denial.

Anyway, I arrived at the Team to End AIDS meeting spot at Griffith Park just in time to hear Coach JC talk about how there’s still a stigma to admitting you are HIV positive. This past week saw Charlie Sheen admit to the world that he is HIV positive, and with that admission brought a strong realization of just how misinformed people are about this. By now it should be plainly obvious that being HIV positive does not equate to a death sentence. People are still able to live active and healthy lives even if they have been diagnosed as such. Coach JC became emotional as he told us how flabbergasted he is at just how many people around him don’t seem to have a clue about what being HIV positive really means.

This week’s route took us all over Burbank to where the map looked even more convoluted than the plot to the first “Mission: Impossible” movie. Heck, last week’s run was like that as we couldn’t figure out if we needed to take a right or left on Sonora.

Believe it or not, I actually managed to keep up with my pace group for the most part, but that inevitably changed towards the end. Because of my lack of sleep, my energy started to evaporate on the last few miles. I consumed more energy blocks than I usually do, and it got to where my heart was pounding as if John Bonham was doing his “Moby Dick” drum solo on it. This morning started off with a chill in the air which quickly made me put on my black Nike jacket, but with the sun already high up in the sky I knew it was not going to stay cold long so I left it on the bench before proceeding to the starting line.

It’s a good thing I left my jacket behind because the summer weather we thought had finally left us came back with a vengeance. The temperature went up to at least 80 degrees, and while I really could use the extra vitamin D, the heat really got to me more than usual. Thankfully the Bolivers were on hand to give us all the supplies we needed to cross the finish line. I’m not just talking about those peanut butter and pickle covered Ritz crackers they always have on hand; I’m talking about that cooler of ice cubes they had because I shoved as many of them as I could into my water bottles. Once again the colder my water bottles were, the more infinitely refreshing the liquids inside of them were. As a result, I found myself drinking more water than usual and consumed a couple of salt packets to help absorb it. I could feel the salt on my skin as I made my way to the finish line, so I knew I needed to keep consuming it even it was a bit disgusting.

Also, I couldn’t help but peruse the various yard and garage sales that were taking place throughout Burbank. I would spend less than a minute at each one because there was only so much time I could spend looking at the DVDs, VHS tapes and stuffed animals that were on display.
When it came to the last few miles, I had finally fallen way behind my fellow pace group runners but was still determined to cross the finish line back at Griffith Park. However, this did not keep me from stopping at one last garage sale where I found an Eeyore plush doll. Now anyone who knows me best understands just how big a fan of Eeyore, and I have gone a mission to rescue as many as I can. Plus, it was only a dollar.

I’m going to call this one Boliver Eeyore. The name seems more than appropriate.

Somewhere around mile 12, my pace group leader Walter drove up to me in his car and asked if I was okay and if I needed a ride back. I told him I was fine and thanked him for checking up on me. In retrospect, I think I should have let him drive me back as I was pretty much winded at that point and was practically crawling my way to the finish line. I guess it’s just that instinct I have inside of me to not quit anything. I need to remember that sometimes it’s okay to not finish a run.

Fortunately, the coaches were still around when I FINALLY crossed the finish line back in Griffith Park. Coach JC got a picture of me and my new Eeyore and gave me a certificate congratulating me on completing this 14 mile run which was the equivalent of a half-marathon. I thanked him and the others for waiting for me, and they calmly reminded me that it was their job to do so. Point taken.

The rest of the day had me resting and recovering from this run as it took a bigger toll on me than I expected it to. There was work I needed to do, but I was just too winded to do much of anything except lay in bed. It didn’t matter that I have trained for the LA Marathon five times before; my body still reminds me when I’ve pushed myself a little further than usual.

I still need to get those maintenance runs in during the week and increase my cardio activity as well. That belly on my body is far too big, and Thanksgiving has yet to take place. Pray for me!

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