Monday, November 9, 2015

There Will Be Hills

I’m sorry I haven’t written much about my marathon training recently. The last week or so has been insanely busy as I have been going from one press day to another, and I even got to interview Gaspar Noe, the director of “Irreversible” and “Enter the Void.” In the midst of all the driving I did around Los Angeles, I did manage to get one maintenance run in but not two.

Last week’s run was the Halloween costume run, but I didn’t get around to buying a new costume and wasn’t all that enthused to put on my Jason “Friday the 13th” Voorhees costume on again. So I decided to come dressed as the Team to End AIDS runner that I am and fell back on the Wednesday Adams excuse: “I’m a homicidal maniac, they look just like everyone else.” Other than that, I did very well and managed to keep up with my fellow pace group runners for a change. This surprised me the most as I didn’t get around to doing any maintenance runs before that run.

It should also be noted that the weather in Los Angeles has FINALLY cooled down after a summer season and hot temperatures that refused to go away. For once we got to wear layers of clothing, and we welcomed the warming rays of the sun for a change. Of course, it didn’t take long for me to ditch my Nike sweater jacket  as there was no way the weather was going to stay cool for very long.

This week’s run had us running 12 miles, and Coach JC sent us a message with a subtle take on one of Paul Thomas Anderson’s greatest movies:

He also indicated the following in that same post:

“I'm not saying when. I'm not saying which.
 I'm just saying that the LA Marathon ain't flat.”

Lo and behold, Coach JC had us running up that steep hill which led us to Crystal Springs Drive and the other side of Griffith Park. We of course were all huffing and puffing even before we made it to the halfway mark. When it looked like we got to the top, we quickly realized that we had not gotten to the top. Honestly, there was a lot more walking than running as a result. As “Spectre” was just released a few days ago, I kept thinking about what James Bond would do in this situation. Then I remembered that I don’t have any of his gadgets (that underwater car would be cool to have though).

Once we got over the hill, I started losing track of my fellow pace group runners, and I eventually fell behind them as I needed to drop the kids off in the pool (a.k.a. going to the bathroom). Fortunately, I did get a map from Coach JC before beginning this run as I didn’t want to get lost like I did before. Unfortunately, I either lost it or it just evaporated into thin air as I made my way down Griffith Park Drive. I don’t know how it escaped my grasp, but it wasn’t a disaster as I did remember where I needed to go. Even as I went through a repeat of “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Kenber,” I was determined to complete this 12 mile run even if there was no one alongside me. I was also determined not to get lost either.

Coach JC did pop up at one point during the run and encouraged me not to swing my arms in front of my chest but in front of me instead. I’m glad he pointed that out because I didn’t even realize I was doing that. While you run, your arms should be pointing in the direction you are going. Swinging your arms in front of your chest just robs you of energy and has you risking injury. I remember learning about that while attending an LA Marathon expo, and that has stayed with me ever since. So to be told that I was doing that was shocking to me because I thought I was way better than that.

Thank goodness that I had plenty of energy gels on me, and that Gu Roctane gel was a huge help when I had to run up the other side of that same hill. By this time the sun had risen much higher than we wanted it to rise, and it started to feel like summer all over again.

I made it back to our starting point in Griffith Park in one piece, proud of myself for completing this 12 mile run even as I spent most of it running by my lonesome. However, I was disturbed that I had fallen into the habit of crossing my arms in front of my chest while running. I also found myself slouching forward more than usual which I thought I was good at avoiding. I said out loud that every time I come back to train for a marathon, it feels like I’m starting all over again. This led Coach JC to say out loud, “Are you kidding me?” He then remarked that, even after having run dozens of marathons, he finds himself falling into bad habits all the time and constantly has to keep an eye out for them. It made me realize how everyone feels like they are just starting over again when they begin marathon training.

So next week we are having a recovery run, but I’m going to get my two maintenance runs and do my best to stay hydrated. Bring on the electrolytes baby!

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