Monday, March 22, 2010
LA Marathon Thoughts
I ran the LA Marathon yesterday and 4 hours and 43 minutes later I remembered why the word “marathon” demands respect.
As I was pushing through the last three miles of the marathon, ignoring the excruciating feeling of my toe nail being pounded and slowly wrenched from my toe, it occurred to me that someday a scientist could do some kind of brain test on repeat marathoners to discover if we are missing something – a brain component that registers pain and reminds us to avoid it.
Remember. Avoid. Remember. Avoid.
Listen, it sounds like the cadence of feet running a marathon … remember, avoid, remember.
A couple of months ago, when I signed up for this marathon, I had recently enjoyed the Malibu Marathon. I had read Born to Run and just about every recent issue of Runner’s World cover to cover. I was feeling like a runner. I even flirted with the idea of ultra marathoning.
Everyone was talking about LA’s fabulous new “Stadium to the Sea,” mostly-downhill route, and I just didn’t’ want to miss out on the fun. I had finished the last LA marathon in what I considered almost great time, and I wanted to shave it down to 4 and half hours.
So a couple months ago I started training -- a few moderate weekday runs and regular weekend runs. I enjoyed my training runs with Kip, my daughter and friends from Students Run LA, but I didn’t really push myself much.
Which I realize is fine, but now that I have had 24 hours to process the marathon experience, I realize it is also why this race took me 13 minutes longer than I had hoped. And why it hurt so much.
I think running for fun is much better for the body than running competitively – even if the only person you are competing with is yourself. But I think my problem was that I trained for fun and then tried to run the marathon competitively. And that made it less fun.
So … I learned something.
It was also hot and I hadn’t slept well the night before. And I was getting over a slight cold. So maybe it was a combination of things. All I know is that it was more difficult than I had expected.
But maybe that was the problem. Maybe I just set my expectations too high. Two years ago I had never run four miles together and in the last 10 months I have run three marathons -- without much recovery time in between.
So today I talked to a friend about training for a triathalon. I thought about learning how to swim better so I could use that as my main exercise, maybe try pilates again or yoga.
Funny thing is, this evening I also caught myself saying, “next year when I run the LA marathon …”
So maybe I’m missing something.