Category Archives: Motivation
Earlier this week I wrote a post in preparation for the inevitable deluge that was sure to turn our final pre-LA Marathon taper run into a swim or at the very least an 8-mile game of “dodge the puddles.”
And sure enough, it did pour in LA this week. Between Wednesday and today, the City of Angeles has been subject to the heavens repeatedly opening up and inundating us with sheets of pounding precipitation. Of course the rest of the country would describe the cataclysmic cloudbursts slightly different… it rained.
All kidding aside, we needed the rain to help the drought conditions. So while we did get a nice drink of water, Los Angeles is still quite thirsty.
In college I didn’t go Greek; rather I stayed in the dorms all four years serving as a Resident Assistant (in charge of 72 Freshman/Sophomore students). Sure it was hard work, but quite rewarding to help others. Oh, and I got free room, board and tuition… so Woo-Hoo!
So, while I was ecstatic to graduate without owing a penny in student loans, I always wondered what it would have been like to be in fraternity… to know that I could run into fellow brothers (or sisters) anywhere around the country or recognize someone wearing our emblem and have something in common.
Well, I did finally join a fraternity. It just took me twenty more years.
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.
Tomorrow morning I’ve got a long run to do. A very long run. 23-miles to be exact or about 88% of a marathon.
But this isn’t your ordinary 23-mile run. Rather, it’s a celebration.
Back in October, I started training for the 2014 Los Angeles Marathon with my running group Team to End AIDS (T2). For 5 months now we’ve been meeting up every Saturday (rain or shine) at Griffith Park to pound pavement together and raise money for APLA (AIDS Project Los Angeles). To date, our merry band of marathoners has raised over $130,000 to help those people in LA whose lives are impacted by HIV/AIDS.
And on Saturday we celebrate with our longest run of the season. Starting at 6am, we’ll spend the next 5 or so hours running through Griffith Park and along the streets of Burbank, Glendale and Toluca Lake.
Valentine’s Day is this week, that wonderful day when we thank the special someone in our lives (and Hallmark, Godiva chocolates and florists nationwide make out like bandits). And for us avid runners, that means our appreciation for that significant other who supports our sport or pounds the pavement right alongside us.
Well, this year I’d like to give thanks to a forgotten group of people… or should I say those people we’d like to forget… the “exes.” These are those previously exceptional people whose appeal wore off over time to the point where we scratched our heads while wondering, “What the hell was I thinking.”
Remember back in grade school when you’d receive a “certificate of participation” for finishing just about anything? Whether it was completing a science project, reading a certain number of books or just having good attendance, a certificate (featuring cool borders, formal sounding language and your name displayed in pretty text) made it seem “official.”
Today’s date, February 9th, 2014, is exactly one month until the Los Angeles Marathon. In just 28 days I’ll be pounding the pavement with 25,000 other leggers on the “stadium to the sea” course.
And I’m a little nervous.
Last week I ran my 25th half marathon (Surf City) and posted my best race time ever. While 13.1 miles is certainly nothing to sneeze at, I feel confident in my abilities when it comes to completing the half marathon. At this point, I’m working on increasing my pace in the hopes of breaking the 2-hour mark sometime this year. The half marathon doesn’t scare me anymore like it did the first time I laced up my shoes.
Not so with the marathon.
Last month I wrote about a tragic event, where Meg Cross Menzies was hit and killed by a drunk driver while she was on her morning training run.
It was something that rocked the running community. Out of extreme sorrow, however, came unity as runners everywhere (over 36,000) dedicated their runs to her memory…and they keep running. I don’t know how many miles they’ve tallied so far (well over 100,000) but the number keeps climbing. I hope it never stops.
In addition to the dedication of their miles, runners have also done their part to help Meg’s family by purchasing shirts in her memory.
Mine came last night and I’m honored to wear it.
For Meg… run on!
This Sunday I lace I up my shoes to run the Surf City Half Marathon for the just second time. I’ll be joined by almost 20,000 other runners as we pound the pavement along Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach. It truly is a beautiful vista to behold and should be a great time. Of course, I’m a bit biased as Surf City holds a special place in my heart and it has nothing to do with the surfboard finisher’s medals (which are really really cool).
You see, Surf City was my first.
Let’s turn the way back machine to early January 2009. I was three months into training with T2 (known then as AIDS Marathon) for my first Los Angeles Marathon. I was still quite the newbie and at that point our biggest run had been 12 miles, which was also the longest distance I had ever run in my entire life.
The Los Angeles Marathon had originally been planned for February 16th (President’s Day), but due to a convoluted scheduling snafu, the race date was forced to move to May 25th (Memorial Day). It was like finding out on Thanksgiving Day that Christmas was going to be pushed to March. Bummer.
“Change comes from within.” -Anonymous
Change is hard. Change takes time. Change hurts. Change is to venture outside your comfort zone and into the great unknown.
Let’s face it. Change is scary as hell.
We often will tolerate bad jobs, unfulfilling relationships and unsatisfactory life situations simple because we’d rather deal with that damn devil we know as opposed to put forth the effort to do something about it.
“What if we fail?”
“What if we make things worse?”
To that I say, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”
When it comes to family and friends, the old saying goes, “Blood is thicker than water.” Well, I’m not certain where sweat falls into that equation, but I bet it’s pretty damn important too.
With that said I, want to tell you about the runners, coaches and staff that make up T2 (Team to End AIDS)… my running family.
These are the people who I see during training season, week in and week out without fail. No matter what is going on in our lives, we get together each Saturday morning at 7:00am (sometimes 6:00am, oof) to talk, laugh, sometimes cry and to help others. And we also run… a lot.
In the short time I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve had a lot of fun telling my personal stories, giving out hints, race reviews and poking fun at something I love so dearly. I prefer taking a light-hearted and humorous approach to this and life in general.
But there are some things that irk me, make me mad or in this case utterly friggin’ pissed off.
I read a news story today and it made me want to yell to the heavens at the top of my lungs.
Yesterday morning Meg Menzies was out for her daily training run when she was hit and killed by a drunk driver. CLICK HERE for the news story.
A few days ago I wrote about why I run, but I purposely left out one important detail, so I could write about it today. January 3rd marks the one-year anniversary of the passing of the man who was my running coach, my mentor and my friend.
On this day I want to tell you about Scott Boliver. I want to tell you about the man who taught me to run.
As I mentioned before, back in the fall of 2008 I was a lost soul looking for something to call his own. I signed up with the AIDS Marathon training program looking to re-invent myself and do something I considered impossible. When I showed up at Griffith Park for that very first training run, however, I wondered if I had the personal strength and dedication to see it through.
Then I met Scott… Coach Scott.
We all have our reasons why we lace up our running shoes day in and day out. For some it’s as simple as “I’ve always run.” For me, it’s far more personal and I hope you’ll indulge me.
In the summer of 2008, my life was not in a good place for several reasons. First and foremost, I had to endure not one, not two, but three family health scares in just two months.
My mother had a rare heart condition that required her to have open-heart surgery… fortunately she pulled through like a trooper. Just a few weeks later my dad learned he had serious blockage in numerous arteries (caught just in the nick of time) and had several stents installed to keep his ticker ticking. And then my brother (who was the jock of the family) went in to get his heart checked and they found something wrong. Fortunately, a re-test showed that it was a phantom reading. Bullet dodged.