RUN AND “CELEBRATE”
So, my alarm (first one) went off this morning at 4:45am. No big deal because I had been awake since 4:00am in anticipation for today’s 23-mile “fun run.”
As I mentioned the other day, today was our “celebration run” for Team To End AIDS (T2). So our group of marathoners (and marathoners-to-be) met at “0 Dark Thirty” (okay 6am, but it was still dark out) in Griffith Park. Huddled in the glow of lanterns, we were given specially made “celebration run bibs” courtesy of our coach JC and a very nice touch.
So after a pep talk from Ashley and a breakdown of the route from JC (apparently we were running everywhere on planet Earth… with a hill to boot), my pace group “Team Roadkill” or “Team Road Kyll” (if you go with our funky spelling this year) gathered our forces, 19 of us today, for the trek.
And at around 6:20am with the sun just starting to peak over the horizon, we all synchronized our GPS watches (amidst a chorus of beeps) and off we went.
Many of the members of Team Roadkill have been pounding the pavement together for several years, so we’re like a big running family. So for almost five hours today, we chatted away as we made our way through the streets of Glendale, Burbank and Toluca Lake… like I said, we ran everywhere today.
At each mile marker we paused to take a group selfie, fun reminders of the moment. Now, I don’t care how many races you’ve done, 23-miles is a long ass run. And of course at times some of our group faltered a little or felt that unwelcome tightness in their hamstrings or some other running hiccup… and it got rather warm as the morning wore on. I myself, felt a little tight around mile 18 and my stomach got a little rumbly too for a mile or so. That’s when you rely on your friends/running family to help pull you through or at least take your mind off the problem.
Approximately four hours and fifty minutes after we started, Team Roadkill started arriving at the finish line where the T2 support crew was holding a ribbon for us to break. I was in the first group of six to arrive at the tape, but we stopped just shy. We run as a team and we finish as a team. We all paused until our entire pace group joined us and we broke on through together.
We received our T2 medals (another wonderful touch) and I wear that as proudly as I do any other finisher’s medal… even more so. This medal signifies that we’ve made it through the program (just two taper runs to go) and reminds us of all the good we’ve done to assist APLA (over $135,000 raised so far) in their ongoing mission to help those people in LA whose lives are impacted by HIV/AIDS.
After some more photos, a few hugs, some snacks and watching other pace groups finish, it was time to bid my running family “adieu” and go about the rest of the day.
According to my Garmin, I had burned almost 3,850 calories on today’s run and was ready to eat everything in sight.
I’m a little sore right now and I’m sure I’ll be even more sore tomorrow as we recover from today’s excursion. But for the rest of today and the weekend I shall celebrate the run, my friends and the good we’ve done in helping others.
And three weeks from tomorrow (March 9th) the members of Team to End AIDS will gather at Dodger Stadium with 25,000 other runners and celebrate again.