Day Six of 2012 La Marathon Training

An article on my 6th day of training with Team to End AIDS for the 2012 LA Marathon. This day has me coming back to Los Angeles and Griffith Park and also has all of us running in the aftermath of the Santa Ana winds.

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I was wondering if any of us would get into Griffith Park this weekend as it sounded like every tree in it had collapsed and blocked the roads leading into it. For those who didn’t know, the Santa Ana winds wreaked havoc on the Los Angeles area this past week ripping trees out of their roots, collapsing power lines and destroying all sorts of property with no mercy. Fortunately the winds had died down (if only a little), and getting into the park on December 3, 2011 was not a problem.

It was nice to be back with the Twisted Blisters after a week away, although many were not able to make it due to unforeseen circumstances or illnesses that they have not yet vanquished (darn flu season!). In the end, five in our pace group showed up to participate in our first double digit run. That’s right; today we were running 10 miles!

With us Team to End AIDS runners now enter double digit territory, it became more important than ever to have water and food on us as we would need to replenish our bodies once we were 45 minutes into our run. We needed to have something to eat as it would not take us long to burn through the calories we already had supplied for ourselves beforehand. Hydrating our bodies has taken on major importance from the start, but now it became a necessity we were not allowed to run without water.

Our run today had us going through part of Glendale where the houses were really nice and expensive looking. Running down Cumberland Avenue (or Cumberland Drive, I don’t remember) had us looking at homes that the coaches say we would be buying once we got rich or “made it big.” Mocking hilarity ensued as we passed one large house on a hill which looked quite nice and said:

“That’s where the poor people live!”

“Makes you feel sorry for the hardships they have to endure, huh?”

“Some people have it way too hard.”

After denying us the hills we needed (but didn’t really want) to run, we got some good ones today. The first was one of those deceptive hills where you don’t realize right away you’re running up one. But once we finished that one, we found ourselves going up another which was far steeper than what we had to deal with previously. It brought back vivid memories of running up that hill in Oak Hill Park during my Cross Country days at Monte Vista High School which had my legs burning up with an intensity I can never erase from my mind. Granted, I’ve been looking forward to the challenge of hills, but now I wonder what the heck I was thinking in the first place.

In retrospect, the pain my legs endured was not too bad. It was the huffing and puffing and breathing so hard which made the hills more of challenge than I anticipated. As we continued on our interval paces of running for three minutes and then walking for one, I found myself having to walk during our running intervals just to catch my breathe. I really need to concentrate more on doing my maintenance runs during the week.

I became increasingly obsessed this time on my form while running. Going up those hills, I started to wonder if I was leaning forward too much. That’s a big problem for a runner when this happens, and I kept trying to picture a big stick running down my back in order to keep straight. I wonder if my sense of balance is at all intact sometimes. Maybe this is why I haven’t used the Wii Fit in awhile. Getting that little red dot in the center of the board you’re standing on is impossible and infuriating. The game loves to tease you with the possibilities of achieving “perfect balance,” but you never do. Maybe the game doesn’t want you to achieve that balance because otherwise you might not have a reason to play it.

Today’s run also reminded me of the importance of using anti-chafe, petroleum jelly or other skin protectant on these runs. This is especially important as the weather is getting colder and colder when we start running in the morning. For me, certain parts of my body end up rubbing against each other to where the soreness is beyond irritating and just messes with the way I walk for the rest of the day. After today, I will be using the best skin protectant I can find because if I don’t, the soreness will get even worse.

We did have some water/snack stops, and those Ritz crackers covered with peanut butter and pickles were much missed by me over the Thanksgiving holiday. I also have to say that I’m not a big pretzel fan, but they never seem to taste as good as they do during or after a run. Salt might seem like the last thing you should be consuming during a run, but it is important to as it helps absorb the water you put in your body. Furthermore, it becomes important to replenish your body with salt as you expel a lot of it through sweating. For those who don’t understand what I am saying, it will make sense to you one day.

One of the things that drive me nuts about these runs is how bundled up we all get in the freezing cold of the morning. These sweats or sweater jackets we wear our necessities, but when the sun comes up and shows brightly in the sky, we wonder why we bothered wearing them in the first place. The great thing about the water/snack stops is that they give us the chance to drop our sweaters off with volunteers who will kindly deliver them to us at the finish line. For some reason though, I felt compelled to hang onto mine this time. Taking it off was a relief, but then my body got all cold again probably thanks to the sweat that was permeating through my compression clothing.

So today’s run proved to be more challenging than usual and for good reason. The hills were a pain but a necessary endurance test we will eventually have to face in March 2012. Time to get more serious about my training if I haven’t already and concentrate on those maintenance runs I need to do throughout the week. I also need to work on losing more weight as that is one of the reasons I decided to run a marathon in the first place. Did I gain any weight over the Thanksgiving holiday? I’ll have to plead the 5th on that…

FUNDRAISING UPDATE: I am still hovering around $300 towards my goal of the $1,000 I need to raise for AIDS Project Los Angeles. Any support you can give me would be most appreciated as it will help those afflicted with this unforgiving disease to buy groceries, and get the medical treatment and counseling they need to cope with their daily lives. Please click here to make a TAX DEDUCTIBLE donation.


For those coming into this blog of mine for the first time, click on the numbers below to view my previous days of training:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 5.5 Registered & Protected

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