If you haven’t read Part 1 of this post, in short, I was inspired to sign-up for the LA Marathon by my dear friend who was battling cancer. Unfortunately, the Heavens above decided it was time for him to go home which deterred my training, more so emotionally than physically. I imagined crossing that milestone of a finish line and placing the medal over his head because, to me, he was the one who deserved it the most. He was a fighter. Though it took me a while, I got back into training as I remembered I was doing it for him. I knew he’d be disappointed if I didn’t and I hate to disappoint anyone.
On my first day back, I took my time because I had to mentally force myself to zone out into my ear buds and appreciate all that is life to regain strength into what I love: running. Let’s fast forward to my longest day of training: I had to run 20 miles and I couldn’t make it past 15. It was so hard and so very tiring. I was scared I wouldn’t be able to complete the full marathon at this point. Brian, my strength training coach saw me running on the street.
“Lift your legs. Swing your arms. Breathe. Focus on your center of gravity.”
Because my other passion is baking vegan cupcakes, he’d incorporate baking into our pep talks to tell me how to move my body. I won’t listen to “..with running, the biomechanics blah blah blah..” but I’ll definitely listen to “..with running, pretend you’re holding a bowl of cupcake batter. Are you going to let it slip?” My eyes popped wide open as I said “Of course not!” That description was to teach me how to focus on my center of gravity. It’s not as easy as you’d think! Because I love BRIK Fitness so much and wanted to represent them for helping me get my body in check for long distance running, I got one of their dry fit shirts to get this ironed on the back:
This was his jersey number. He’ll always be number 1 in my book.
As weeks passed and days crept up, my stomach would create knots and I’d want to throw up.
“How the heck am I going to finish 26.2 miles when I could barely do 15? What did I get myself into?!”
I had to mentally train myself to think “This is going to be awesome. It’s going to be so cool. You’re going to finish something you never thought possible!” Talking to my sister, she’d seem anxious herself but I would always express the opposite because there was no reason for two people to be freaking out at the same time! It came time to pick up our bibs as were eager beavers excited to be at the LA Marathon Expo. Of course, the Expo swiped us as she bought an official LA Marathon shirt and I bought the official Limited Edition ASICS LA Marathon shoes (only 5,000 were made!).
“LA” and “2013” are represented. The course route is designed on the bottoms as well as inner soles of the shoes. How crazy is that?!
ASICS used this picture in their “Inspiration from the ASICS LA Marathon” album on their Facebook page. How cool is that?! My motto is “Laugh. A lot!” My sister put “Like A Virgin” because she is (was, now) a virgin at running marathons.
Annnd, they’re off! This picture was taken by my friend Rey, who was supporting me, my sister, and Keith throughout the course. I was handing our other friend my sweatshirt here. There goes those Killer Guppies again! 😉
Super supporters (and marathon vets) Charlene and Thao! Seeing them at mile 16 (or was it 18?) was like the breath of fresh energy I so desperately needed.
I was huffing and puffing to hit mile marker 20 so I could bolt the last 6.2 miles. 6.2 miles – not a big deal. Boy was I a fool for thinking so! Running the next 3 miles felt like the first time I ran my very first 3-mile race: exhausting and impossible! I’d pass by stations that were putting anti-cramp deodorant/foam on runners legs thinking “I don’t need it. I’ll be fine.” After seeing a runner get it applied to his legs I thought “Well, at this point, what have I got to lose? He looks like a vet so he must know what’s good.” I got anti-cramp foam rubbed on both legs and several sighs passed under my breath as my legs were extremely angry at me for not doing it sooner. I continued to run (if you would call it that) the next few miles feeling like the lower half of my body was running away from my upper half! It felt extremely weird but..hey, whatever kept me going, right?! When I finally reached the home stretch, I sprinted as fast and hard as I could. I trained hard; I worked hard – that momentous finish line was mine.
Immediately after crossing the finish, I was a ball of emotions. I wanted to see him and place the medal over his head. That was all I wanted. It belonged to him.
For future participants of organized running events: wrap the mylar blanket around your entire body and keep it for the next run. Trust me.
I know what you’re thinking “Shouldn’t you be resting your entire body instead of doing that?!” I really wanted to capture the happiness that is completing the monster of 26.2 miles. Remember, we’re fully crazy.
To my dear friend Chang: We did it! We completed the marathon without having to crawl to the finish line! I miss you. I love you. May you rest in peace. ❤
Until the next post..
keep on running!