Thursday, November 17, 2011


I had originally intended to post after every run in the days/weeks/months leading up to the LA Marathon, but I couldn't think of anything more boring than recounting a very slow 3 mile run through Cheviot Hills, so I instantly abandoned that plan.
Instead, I'm going to just post when it moves me, and other vague writing goals.

I don’t have an official time for a 5k a 10k or a half marathon, though I’ve run all 3. There are two good stories and a warrior dash in here. Instead of a 5k I ran the warrior dash in Lake Elsinore, CA. It is one of those obstacle course type events that isn’t exactly 5k and isn’t exactly a run. It’s killer. I completed it in 36 minutes but could have gone much faster if I had any upper body strength at all and weren’t scared of heights. That last sentence is what I call making honest excuses. I don’t do that often. My point being that usually I blame anything but me for my less than average performance – average being about the best I’m capable of in this self-deprecating thought process I’ve wandered into.
I like the warrior dash, though, and once I am more comfortable with my fitness I plan on doing races like it – there are more and more every year – for fun and as an excuse to cross train almost exclusively without guilt to what it’s doing to my 22k time. That said, it was less of a run and more of an obstacle course which was clear to me up front, but not currently on my list of things to master. I do appreciate these events because they make running, which is inherently an activity I believe suited better to us up-in-our-heads folks, appealing to the masses, which as I see it and science confirms, are getting more unhealthy  day by day. Whatever gets them off the couch, I say, and if it isn’t self-loathing as it was for me, then let it be obstacle courses!
My 10k time is a different story, which is to say it is a story. I dragged my girlfriend into a 10k for her birthday last year. It was in long beach on the cement boardwalk and it was the 2nd annual something that benefitted some charity. We weren’t expecting much and didn’t get much. It was a small event and there were no chip timers so all we had to go on was the gun time. Easy enough, we just edged our way to the front of the pack and waited for the gun. There were markers at the 1st 4 km of the out and back race and an aid station awhile past the 4k marker. I was in the lead pack – like I said, small event – and we all ran past the aid station and onto a street which dead ended about a third of a mile down with a turnabout. It seemed like the perfect turn around so we ran through it and back along the path toward the finish.
Of course the aid station was the 5k turnaround and instead of running 6.1 miles (10k) we ran 6 and ¾ according to Google maps. Waaaaaaaah. An extra 2/3 of a mile is nothing. Unless the race is only a 10k, in which case that’s an extra 10%! We sniffed it out somewhere along the way back to the aid station and the lady at the front let them have it for not saying anything. I don’t remember my total time, all I could think of was how silly it all was. The course wasn’t closed so I’m sure people were running past them all morning and there were volunteers at all the other turns and street corners, so why this last and arguably most important group failed to assist is so far beyond me that I won’t even venture a guess and I’ll just shrug it off and wait for the next 10k to get an official time.
I realize that story has little to do with my girlfriend, even though I mentioned her in the first sentence of it. If I were in an editing mood I would fix that, but since I’m this far down I’ll just chalk it up to bragging that I, of all people, have a girlfriend – let alone one that would be down to wake up stupidly early and run a race on her birthday. She’s a keeper.
I also don’t have an official half marathon time. This one is kind of my fault, but also kind of not. I have Ulcerative Colitis. So sometimes when it’s time to run, I am not ready to run. During training it’s mostly an inconvenience. My morning runs turn into afternoon runs, afternoon runs turn into evening runs and evening runs turn into tomorrow runs. This is why I have given myself the nickname “Forrest Dump.” I am sorry for writing that. I have never had a nickname that I’ve known of which leads me to believe that they’ve all been too mean to call me to my face (remember: I hate me). Once I overheard a group of former friends calling me “Heavy G” which sucked but was one of the many wakeup calls I got in my life (I was well over 300 pounds at the time). I also tried, on my first day of little league, to have my teammates call me “GQ,” because it sounded cool. Thankfully only one of them remembers and I rarely run into him.
So we were late to the race. It was our first race with a packet-pickup (again, my girlfriend was with me) so we were a bit unclear, especially since the instructions were very unclear and didn’t mention that race-day packet pickup would be at the start line, so we turned our one-hour early arrival into a frustrated ten minutes early arrival. And then there was the bus. Ten minutes early for half marathon was 40 minutes early for the 5k. So we got into the back of the line three busses later got to the starting line 40 minutes later. We sped through gear check, I hit the porta-john again and we found the race director who was letting the straggling 5k’ers start and then had to reset the chip readers before letting the half marathon super stragglers start. And we started, and we ran and finished and no official time ever came.
That explains that. Next time I’ll make excuses for my first and only marathon finish.

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