Day 8 of 2012 LA Marathon Training

Hallelujah! I didn’t oversleep today! The alarm on my Ironman watch was dependable as opposed to the one on my Casio watch. Of course, that has to do with the fact that the battery on my Casio watch died earlier this week. Getting a new battery for it is easy, but since I’m still out of work and have yet to buy Christmas presents for my family, spending the money for one is not at the top of my list.

Anyway, today’s training with Team to End AIDS had us running 12 miles. The clouds in the sky were heavy and kept teasing us with the possibility of producing rain, but we got lucky. There were also rumors that the winds were going to pick up to 30 mph, but none of us got blown away or turned into human kites. However, our coaches informed us that we would be running not one but two hills today. Even though there are hills in the Los Angeles Marathon, running up them is something we never look forward to. Still, I yearn for a good challenge as the easy stuff doesn’t leave me all that fulfilled.

The coaches joked with us because they knew very well that running up a hill was never something we looked forward to. Regardless of how sexy Kate Bush made it sound in her song “Running Up That Hill,” nothing could change the minds of anyone at Griffith Park. Still, after we do run the LA Marathon, we will probably be thankful that we ran them at all.

We were encouraged to look at the first 6 miles as a warm up which was good advice. I find myself starting out too fast as I try to find an outlet for any repressed anger in my head. But knowing that we were going further into double digit mileage territory than we had previously, I kept telling myself to take it easy.

Our run went through the usual paths in Burbank and had us coming back to where we started our run. But it was at the starting line where the run REALLY began. Going up the hill had us desperately catching our breath as any energy left on our systems threatened to be fully expended long before we completed our 12 miles.

Running up those hills reminded me of when I ran Cross Country at Monte Vista High School. I have yet to run up another hill that was as punishing on my legs as the one in Oak Hill Park. Just thinking about it gives my legs that burning sensation which felt impossible to endure. But going up those obstacles in Griffith Park wasn’t as bad on my legs in that they were not in immediate assistance of Icy Hot or some other analgesic cream.

Once we got to the top (which seemed like an eternity), we had to watch ourselves going down as it was too easy to speed downhill. I remained conscious of NOT landing on my heel as the coaches have warned us how damaging to our bodies it is to do so. I can vouch for my pace group Twisted Blisters in that no one has forgotten that advice. I kept landing on the ball of my foot which has long since been burned into my conscious mind, and this is a lesson that will not leave me when I eventually run those 26.2 miles in March 2012.

One of our water stops had us runners indulging in one of our favorite snacks: Ritz crackers with peanut butter and pickles. I usually find myself hogging these to where I constantly expect other runners behind me to turn me around and say:

“Hey! Save some for the others!”

When it came to turning around and running back up the hill, it felt like we were out of energy and just wanted to be driven back to where we began. Seeing all those other runners walking when they should have been running gave us an excuse to walk as well. It was that collective feeling of “thank goodness” which overwhelmed us all.

What got me up and running was eating a packet of iodized salt and which sounds disgusting (it is) but is a huge help. Salt helps absorb the water we keep putting into our system which in turn washes out the sodium in our body. We need to keep replenishing our body because if we wash all the sodium out, we could end up dying. Besides, salt never tastes as good during or after a run. I was never a big pretzel fan before marathon training, but that sure has changed.

Finishing those 12 miles felt incredibly fulfilling for all of us, and the pace group I’m a member of (Twisted Blisters) had made plans to celebrate this run in advance. We piled all those calories we burned off back on at Porto’s, a Cuban style bakery in Burbank. Choosing what to eat was a challenge because there was so much sinfully delicious food on display. The guy at the counter was looking at me as if to say:

“Get on with it!”

I ended up getting a spinach and feta cheese croissant which looked too good to pass up, and a Cubano sandwich which has as its main ingredient slow roasted pork. Just reading that description had me channeling my inner Homer Simpson:

“Mmmm… Slow roasted pork…”

Next week will be a recovery run of 8 miles. I will be out of town for the holidays, but I will be running the miles on my own time as well as taking care of my maintenance runs which I intend to keep up with more often.

Fundraising has kind of come to a stand still as Christmas gets closer and everyone still has presents to buy. With the fundraising deadline coming up on January 20th, I am getting a little concerned about not reaching my goal of $1,000 in time. I’ve got to start thinking about a restaurant fundraiser or something else along those lines very soon, anything to keep from resorting to blackmailing others.

Click here to make a TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATION to AIDS Project Los Angeles.

Other days of 2012 LA Marathon training:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5.5, 6, and 7

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