Thursday, April 10, 2014

26.2 Miles of Morrissey

My medal from the Los Angeles Marathon (yes, I finished)

I am very proud to say that I completed the Los Angeles Marathon on March 9, 2014. I know I didn't even share on this blog that I was going to attempt the marathon, but after completing the Long Beach Half Marathon, back in October, I figured I was half way to a full marathon and it seemed a great challenge to undertake.

About five weeks into the training, however, I tore two muscles in my right leg and was out of training for five weeks. 

It was possibly the worst five weeks I've endured. Not because of the pain. It was NOT being able to run. You see, I've actually turned into a runner. I'm hooked. Seeing people run or hearing people talk about running was like being the only one not getting tickets to a Morrissey show but hearing all about it. Sheer misery. 

But I healed and with a lot of determination, I made it across the finish line. 

26.2 miles are a lot of miles to cover all on your feet. And people have asked me what it is I think about during the long run. I decided to compose this post into miles of thought-mostly to do with Morrissey since so much has happened over the time I have been training, recovering and neglecting this blog.
The start

Miles 1-2
Some people think that the "last mile is the hardest mile" but for me, its the first two. I guess its because I'm getting used the the whole idea of running a long distance. I'm kind of getting my breathing down still. 

Since his Autobiography, and the announcement that Morrissey was making a new album in France, I had been hoping that a tour would soon follow. My hopes became a reality. A full US tour was announced including a date in Los Angeles with none other than TOM JONES opening!

My shirt and number

Miles 3-4
I think miles 3-4 was when I needed to use the restroom and the line was crazy long. I mean, not to be too detailed, but if you HAVE to do anything other than pee, you haven't prepared yourself well. Seriously, what did those people have for breakfast? I waited nearly ten precious minutes for the restroom. I found myself wanting to yell,"What the hell are you doing in there?" but I didn't really want the answer.

Miles 5-6
During this portion of the run, I was thinking about how I was feeling mentally. I felt pretty good. At this point I was well into the run. I stopped at every watering stop and drank even if I wasn't thirsty and I walked a little as I drank. Because of the injury, I had to think about how I was feeling physically too.

On February 14, I was generously nominated for Teacher of the Year by my English Department. It was nice of them. Happy Valentine's Day to me.
Teacher of the Year (Me)

Miles 7-8
I was still feeling pretty good at eight miles. I was listening to my favorite radio show, Breakfast with the Smiths. I also kept getting tweets from Breakfast Champions encouraging me for the marathon.

One night in February, I went to a venue in Fullerton to see a Cure tribute band called The Curse and before they went on one of my teen idols, Richard Blade, was spinning records. I was able to say hi and get my picture with him. I also met, strangely enough, some "old timers" around my age who attended my high school back in the 80's. We had a great chat and it was fun to talk about how important Richard Blade and KROQ (a Los Angeles area radio station) were to us at the time.

Miles 9-10
I don't know how I'm feeling at 9-10 miles. I just keep going and get lost in the songs I'm listening to and what is happening around me. On the LA course, each neighborhood has something different and its full of character. You encounter mariachis, Chinese drums, disco dancing, for example. Plus, people are cheering for you and encouraging you so its easy to keep going.

My son, Miguel, has become quite a wrestler. We were very proud that he won league champion for his weight class in junior varsity. He certainly works very hard and deserves all his success. On my run, I thought about a lot about how much both our "foster" boys have changed over the last few years. Miguel would probably not want me to tell you this, but he was a chubby insecure boy when he first came to our home, and now he has so much more confidence and LOVES his sport-wrestling. No longer chubby, he has turned it to muscle and core strength.

Miles 11-12
I was just starting to get tired at this point. I wasn't  aching yet and I had consumed, at least 6 packets of Gu (sports "food"). I'm sure I also had to use the restroom again, which just adds more time because of the wait. However, the course is less crowded by this time so its a shorter wait.

Back in January, I went to see The Sweet and Tender Hooligans-my favorite and THE BEST Morrissey/Smiths cover band again. Several times. I went with Roland and I also went with my friend Madeline. Its ALWAYS fun. Can't help it. House of Blues was a venue in Anaheim that sold out and it was crazy. The other shows were smaller venues that sold out but they were certainly less crazy than Anaheim House of Blues.

Miles 13-14 
You have to become like Forrest Gump at miles 13-14. Just run. I felt good knowing I was half way there, but its also the realization that what I just did (half marathon), I had to do again. Only this time I was more tired.

Listening to music, its exciting that Morrissey has had a few re-releases of previous albums, Your Arsenal and Vauxhall and I. Vauxhall and I includes some bonus live recordings and Your Arsenal is remastered and the CD includes a bonus DVD. 

Miles 15-16
At this point I have sweat, it had dried, and I had sweat again. Not pretty. I actually wore make up when I ran this marathon. I figured, "What the heck? I may as well look better than if I never wore ANY make up." But the make up is gone. All that remains on my skin is the salty dried up sweat and I dare not think of my stench. But really, I didn't care. 

I love the name of Morrissey's new album World Peace is None of Your Business. That's just the title of the album and it gets your attention. We don't even know the names of the songs on it! Can't wait!!!

Miles 17-18
I run at such a slow pace, that my breathing at this point was not a problem. But my feet and ankles were hurting. During training, the most I ran was 18 miles so I wanted to go further just to prove to myself that I could do it. Mentally, I was feeling good about making it to 18, but I had to turn off my iphone because batteries were running low. It makes running lonelier for me because music is my constant companion. This means I could hear the cheering more and it kind of made me laugh when someone said, "You're almost there!" I mean, sure, I was closer than I was to finishing at mile one, but I still had to run 8 more miles. Ha ha!

So, I was able to purchase tickets to two Morrissey shows. One in Los Angeles at the Sports Arena with Tom Jones, the second at The Observatory in Santa Ana-which is in Orange County, or more affectionately known as The Orange Curtain. I paid a fortune for the Observatory since I bought them through Stub Hub. I'm bitter so I won't go into that now. Maybe later.

Miles 19-26.2
Despite aches and tiredness, which was all over my body, I kept running. Mile 22 was rough because I had passed my goal of 20 miles and I wanted to carry on but I just wasn't sure that if I kept running, I would make it. I wanted SOMETHING left in me to keep going so that I could cross that finish line. Every time I passed a person with a hose spraying the runners or a fire hydrant, I ran to it. For some reason, the water energized me and allowed me to keep running. However, to conserve energy, I walked a little of each mile after mile 23. When I got to mile 26, though, I ran. I SAY I ran, but by the time I got to that mileage, there was little difference in my speed between running and walking. But I "ran" across that finish line albeit looking like an old man. But I did it, right? 

When I got my medal, I was so happy, but I just wanted to sit down in the shade. Even though I was offered a free beer, the idea of walking ANYWHERE to get it just didn't appeal to me. And I only wanted water to drink because my mouth was so dry. 

I had to catch a shuttle back to my hotel in downtown Los Angeles and I was confused (probably from my exhaustion) and got off at the wrong stop and had to walk 2 miles to the hotel. I was dying, but I knew once I got there I could ice my legs and rest-which I did. And then I had a beer.

Later it hit me that while it took me 6 hours and 26 minutes (an hour slower than the average), I exceeded my goal of 20 miles and I FINISHED! 

I can't wait to do it again next year and improve my time! And I'll have even more about Morrissey to keep me going.