After surviving last week’s training run of 20 miles and crossing the finish line triumphantly, the Team to End AIDS runners returned to Griffith Park for yet another recovery run of 10 miles. Now at this stage of training, we come into certain runs saying that it’s only so-and-so miles long as we have long since proved just how much we can handle regardless of what the weather’s like. But while that can inadvertently annoy those who hate running with a passion and have zero desire to train for a marathon (let alone a 10K), it can also instantly blind us to how hard these recovery runs can be. We marathon runners have been coming into these runs thinking they will be a piece of cake, but they turn out to be more challenging because our expectations for them are all screwed up. Would this recovery run be more of the same?
I made it to Griffith Park just in time for morning announcements, and I am thrilled to say that I found a nice parking space and didn’t have to drive around in circles wasting gas. From there I greeted the “13: The Sequel” mentors Jessica and Esther who had a map of the route we were going to run in their hands. As always, it was nice to see Drea, Steve and all the others whose names I should know by now (shame on me). We’ve actually been missing a few pace group members these past weeks like Annette who has been dealing with back problems and Tom who has been busy with work and taking care of his young children. Hopefully we will see them again before marathon day.
Coach Ashley was determined to get us all super excited for this run even though it was just 10 miles, and she succeeded in doing so with her usual upbeat attitude. Seriously, she’s threatening to give Eugene a run in the boundless enthusiasm department!
As for Coach JC, he continues to yell out “GOOD MORNING T2” to where we can’t help but cheer in appreciation. He informed us that this run would not have any hills (the runners applauded this), but that next week’s run will (then they all let out audible groans).
This recovery run took us through the familiar streets of Burbank and wasn’t particularly exciting. We did run past a number of dogs who were either on leashes or observing us from behind a fence, and they seemed to be jumping (literally and figuratively speaking) at the chance to run with us. It also proved to be a combination of running on the streets and on the sidewalk as, with cars parked on the street, the distance between us and the cars coming at us kept decreasing at an alarming rate.
Now when it comes to running, we typically find ourselves running on the street or on the asphalt as opposed to the sidewalk which is safer but, because it’s all concrete, proves to be harder on our feet and legs. When the day of the marathon comes, we are all going to be running on the streets which will be closed off to traffic, so if you’re wondering why all these runners are running at you while you drive your Prius up and down Burbank, that’s why. Our feet need to get used to the streets in order for us to have a successful marathon. While running on the sidewalks might seem smarter, that’s not really going to fully prepare us for a 26.2 mile run from Dodger Stadium to Santa Monica.
The weather was also noticeably cooler that morning, but then again this past week has had Southern California doused with rainstorms (if you really want to call them that). The whole state has been drought stricken for a while, and it’s going to take many, many more heavy rainstorms to cure it of this predicament. Perhaps Seattle can lend us some of their rainstorms or maybe Chicago can give us a snowstorm or two (they just might beg us to take them all). Anyway, I managed to take my Nike jacket off before we got halfway into this run, so I didn’t freeze up or anything.
And as always, we had the pleasure of running into the Bolivers who had plenty of peanut butter and pickle covered Ritz crackers for us all. I actually didn’t consume as many as I did on previous runs, and maybe that’s a good thing. This belly of mine maybe getting smaller, but the sooner I appear as svelte as all those high school runners we see running past us, the better. The Bolivers also alerted us that next week they will be brining banana bread. Better save some room for that!
Now granted, I did say at the start of this that the recovery runs we do have started to seem harder than the regular ones, but this one actually wasn’t all that bad. Speaking for myself, I feel like I am in a good place now as I came through this one with no real problems. It didn’t feel like I was struggling at all, and that makes me see the progress I have made over these past few months. Here’s hoping that nothing bad happens between now and the day of the marathon.
I don’t think I got the name of the pace group that brought post-run snacks, but those snacks included some delicious blueberry bagels with cream cheese and some frosted mini brownies. I was told that the brownies were actually low fat, but doesn’t that seem like a contradiction in terms? The terms brownie and low fat are not known for going together, and it really doesn’t matter if they are low fat if you eat a dozen of them (for the record, I did not eat a dozen of them).
Next week we run 23 miles, and that will be our longest run before the day of the marathon. We need to stay dry (meaning no alcohol) this whole week and keep ourselves hydrated with water and Gatorade. We need to have a dinner loaded to the brim with carbohydrates Thursday evening so that we have the fuel we will need. We need to make sure we have all the energy gels we need to take every 45 minutes to an hour throughout that run. We need to lay off the caffeine a day or two before this run so that when we take those energy gels, we will feel the rush of the energy inside them and get the boost we will need. We also need to have some Advil or Aleve or Tylenol on us to take during or after the run because we will come out of it ridiculously sore. In short, we need to be seriously prepared. Oh yeah, we also have to be at Griffith Park at 6 a.m. instead of 7. That’s how we’re gonna roll.
FUNDRAISING UPDATE: I am still at 82% towards my fundraising goal of $1,000 for AIDS Project Los Angeles, having raised $821 to date. I need to reach my goal on or before February 17th. For those of you who are unsure about donating to a total stranger, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. If all you can afford to donate is a dollar or $5, that’s perfectly fine as something is always better than nothing. I know you hate to hear that times are tough for us all out there (I’m sick of hearing that too), but please keep in mind there are others out there who have it harder than we do (I’m sick of hearing that as well, but it’s true).
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We’re Going the Distance (20 Miles to Be Exact)
Week 17 of 2013 Los Angeles Marathon Training
Day 17 of 2012 LA Marathon Training