Monday, February 22, 2016

Why Is the Last Mile the Hardest Mile?

Me after completing my 3rd LA Marathon

So I'm sitting in a Starbuck's across the street from El Modena High School writing this to you. Amid sweaty high school kids after school who come here because they have no better place to go. Somewhere to be with their increasingly important friends talking and studying after being dismissed from their sports practices.

All the while I'm wondering why the hell I ALWAYS drag my feet in writing this blog. I love writing it. Yet, I always put it off. Maybe I just feel more and more overwhelmed every time that a lot of time passes because I feel like I need to share all those other things. 

In reality. I don't.

But I would be remiss in not mentioning that I was fortunate enough to see Morrissey in both Los Angeles at the Galen Center on New Year's Eve as well as shortly after that in Las Vegas on January 2nd at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel. Both shows were amazing and I was able to go with both friends and family to these two shows. 
Family at Hoover Dam while in Las Vegas

Many were theorizing that Las Vegas might be Morrissey's last show, but he, of course, has been working to finalize some more shows in other parts of the globe.

Moz Las Vegas
Meanwhile, I had been training rather hard for my third Los Angeles Marathon which was scheduled for Valentine's Day. 

I struggled through two of my longer runs. I was fighting a cold during my eighteen mile run and it was raining. I pulled a muscle on mile two of my twenty mile run and ran the rest of the eighteen miles with a pulled muscle. Yes, I felt pretty bad ass, but I was also pretty stupid because that pulled muscle led to another injury.

It led to a shin splint on my left leg-probably from overcompensating for the other injured leg. In a word, I was a bit of a mess. I had two weeks to recover from these injuries before the marathon.

It just simply was not enough time.

I iced it, massaged it, prayed upon it, and even considered voodoo but didn't go quite that far. The only realistic maneuver was to stop running until the day of the race and do whatever I could when I had to run.

So when it was time to run. I ran. And it felt a little uncomfortable. I won't bore you with describing the pain of shin splints. But chances are you have had them yourself or else know someone who has. So it will be no surprise that it hurt and it will be no surprise that with every mile the pain got slightly more intense.

I had wisely packed some ibuprofen and Tylenol to take as needed for my marathon. I told myself to wait until mile seven. But when I opened my pack, I could not find any meds. I realized then that when I had put everything in my gear bag while I was warming up before the race, I had also put in my water bottle and it leaked all over the bag. My pills were either decomposed or decomposing gels. I desperately licked up what was left of them in hopes that it would sustain me until the end. 

Sadly, I also didn't have any music because my phone charger decided to stop working the night before. I had 20% battery power at the start of the race. So I turned off my phone and ate up whatever music, entertainment and distraction I could until I was desperate. It gave me about an hour of Breakfast with the Smiths. 

At mile seventeen I decided to get ice at the medical tent. Mind you, I had been considering what to do up until this point. I was not sure if I was going to make it to the end. But it WAS mile seventeen. And that was a big investment. When the medical volunteer asked the runners there if we wanted the shuttle to the finish line, a few people said yes, but the young woman sitting next to me icing her leg, said, "No. I'm going to finish. Aren't you?" 

"Yes," I said, "Yes. I'm going to finish!"

So, I walked the rest. Ideally, it would have been nice to run to mile twenty at least. But the pain was bad and I wanted to finish. The only way to finish was to walk. Not very quickly either.

It took me nearly eight hours. But, I finished and I am proud of that. 

Roland and Oliver walked with me my last quarter mile. 

And  I got my medal. Finally.

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