My friends were registered for New Year’s Race Los Angeles at Night – a running event that includes a half marathon, 5K, and kids fun run. My sister encouraged me with “Come on, let’s run with them. It’s an inaugural event.” Ok, I already had one half marathon under my belt so “Why not? Easy peezy, right?” Wrong.
It was the toughest half marathon I’ve ever ran.
It was so tough that I told myself while on the course “Why am I doing this? It’s not going to be as amazing as my first half marathon. Why?!” At the time of my whining, I didn’t consider how poorly I trained for it (the holidays got me!), the course, or the fact that I was running at night. There were quite a few spots without lights so when I’d take a step, every other step would be a pothole. The ant farm around Dodger Stadium didn’t help as I quickly got bored of running in circles for about, oh, 5 miles. I mean, who would? I was over it.
Until I ran inside Dodger Stadium.
How quickly my frumpy-ness turned into greatness when I had the ultimate privilege of running onto the field and yelling “Steeerike!” without getting arrested. Though the downhill parts around the stadium took a beating to my knees (yikes!), I was ready to roll once I hit mile 9. I only had 4.1 miles to go so knowing that the finish was just around the corner, I was excited to gulp down my free cup of refreshing beer.
Get ready: u-turns ahead.
Excuse me? Are you serious?! There’s nothing more annoying (with the exception of running in loops) than running directly next to other runners going the opposite direction. As I made the last u-turn I saw a pacer with a semi-smile on her face. I semi-smiled right back because I was not going to let her run past me (I use pacers as my motivation to step it up)! Though I was confused at what mile I was on because there were one too many u-turns, I knew the finish was coming. I could see it.
Focus on the dot that’s about a mile away.
Question to course makers: why must you torture me so?! I felt like every step I took pushed the finish line even further. Have you ever experienced that? As I got closer, I could hear the crowds cheering “Gooo!” and I really wanted to but my knees were laughing at me. Cramps on my legs began to chuckle and I thought, for a split second, that I was going to have to crawl to the finish line. If that were to be the case, I’d do it. Once I start something, I fully intend on finishing it.
I crossed the finish line! Now where’s my medal?!
Immediately after crossing that yellow line, I was frantically looking for a volunteer to place that nice piece of medal over my head because I felt like I really deserved it. Like, really, because it was an exceptionally hard course to run. Later that night, after participants went on a social media frenzy posting similar complaints as mine, event coordinators surprised us with something that immediately turned my frown upside down:
“You just ran the second toughest (half marathon) course due to elevation. Congratulations!”
No wonder! And I survived and finished under my desired time? Whoo hoo, that’s amazing! This was a cause for a celebration!..the next day. I was aching and ready to doze off by this point but, truth be told, I went to sleep with a huge smile on my face. Another run to add to my list of running accomplishments. 🙂
Until the next post..
keep on running!