Sunday, March 20, 2011

LA Marathon (the worst day ever?)

Running my first marathon was more than I expected, not in a good way. I expected to be slow, but not this slow. I expected it to be difficult, but not this difficult. I also expected it to be uncomfortable, but I certainly didn’t expect the torrential downpour I had to run in for most of the 26.2 miles. I also didn’t expect the 50 degree temps coupled with 20 mile per hour winds. In fact it was so cold and wet and uncomfortable that at mile 15 I declared this run to be the worst ever. I can’t think of worse conditions… Suffice it to say, I was beyond miserable… but I pressed on.
The course itself was difficult. Steady hill climbs at mile 16, 20, and then 22 made me question my sanity… each climb I thought to myself… “I paid to do this?” The streets turned rivers didn’t help either… but I guess it was a blessing that my shoes were soaked through as my feet were so cold, I couldn’t feel the blisters that had formed and then popped on my feet during my run. I’m certain everyone had the same sentiment about the day… going through the same pain. I heard more than a few people cursing the day. At mile 22 on the dreaded climb uphill, people did more than curse in fact… they grunted in agony and a few actually wept in misery. The streets were littered with people in fierce battles with themselves… mind versus body… and I was one of them. Limping in sheer pain like so many of my fellow runners… grimacing with every step. I had to walk mile 22… I had nothing left like so many around me. It was then the noise from the crowd started kicking in… the screams of “You can do it!”… The crowd of people braving the same elements we were, calling people’s names… “Go John!” Total strangers would call, kindly offering their encouragement… so I started to jog at mile 23… that jog turned into a steady yet painful run. In pain, I focused on the ground in front of me and said a prayer asking for a little strength. My slow jog then turned into quicker steps and soon I was running again. Mile marker 24 came and went, and my body was growing more and more unhappy, but I kept going… mile marker 25 brought more cheers from the crowds with a few hi-fives. “One more mile!” the crowd shouted… so I pressed on. The last mile seemed to last for eternity... running toward the finish felt like the longest mile of my life... but I finished… I ran 26.2 miles. Wet,cold, in pain, tired... but oddly satisfied and happy. I can't wait for the next one!

(By the way, to give you an idea of how cold and miserable it was… one of the guys I carpooled with was taken to the hospital having suffered from hypothermia… that’s right! Hypothermia! Sadly, there were quite a few people in the hospital being treated for the same thing…)

1 comment:

  1. Woah ... I'm glad you survived man. I could almost feel the pain you so vividly described. Very inspiring. You are an animal. Pain is your friend. When's the next one?