Running down the middle of the street when there are no cars around sounds like a dream but on Sunday March 15th, I ran down the streets of Los Angeles for 26.2 miles. I had signed up for my first Los Angeles Marathon months before with the intention of really prepping up for it. Then life happened and I was scattered into every direction.
Saturday mornings were dedicated to weekend warrior duties full of hikes, road trips, friends and family. March was on the horizon and I concentrated on running sprints, eating better and the inevitable… no booze. The week before the marathon, my anxiety grew, along with the record-breaking heat wave hitting the city. Only in LA will you have 94 degree weather in early March (My condolences to the East Coast folks)! I had many mixed emotions about the marathon: what if I cramped up, what if I hit “the wall”. But there was nothing I could do. I had to wake up at 4 am that morning and go for it; giving up was not an option.
Off I went.
For a solid 13 miles, I didn’t listen to music. I heard nothing but cheers from people, conversations from other runners, and live music blaring from all sides. First it was the mariachi group, followed by the hipster young bands with their guitar amps in the middle of the sidewalks. It was glorious to see so many supporters out there so early on a Sunday morning.
I WAS pumped!
As I got closer to Mile 18, I hit “the wall”. Everything hurt so badly, I couldn’t tell whether my feet were bloated, blistered or cramping, but I was on fire. “It’s only temporary” I told myself, repeated that mantra in my mind over and over again – so much so that I began to close my eyes and really concentrate on each step.
By Mile 20 of the Los Angeles Marathon, I felt slightly better, but with temperatures rising, the battle was now 99% mental. “I’ve climbed mountains, I can do this… again IT IS only temporary!”
As I slowly ran down the street, I couldn’t comprehend how I got from Downtown LA to the beautiful Santa Monica coast with my two barely functional legs.
It was a painful, humbling experience. I was filled with an overwhelming sense of accomplishment, but it was just amazing being able to see Los Angeles from a difference perspective – really a dream come true.